It was Thursday June 7, 2012 and I arrived in Ottawa around 5 pm. My goal was the Albert House Inn on Albert Street just before Bronson. At the red light I managed to sneak this photo as I entered Wellington Avenue next to Elgin. I have proof that this second visit was a beautiful sunny day and not a loud thunderstorm like on my first visit.
Getting to the Albert House Inn was not too hard till I got on Albert Street. It is almost to Bronson and right before the Travelodge. There is a little parking space at the front. I had to go around the block and when I came back I got my first and only honk from a local in Ontario or Quebec. HA!
Turning into their driveway is a little tricky for there is a big tree and it is narrow. The parking is in the back and it is tight. Fortunately a guest was just leaving so I got the best spot in the corner by the fence.
There is no entrance in the back to the inn. You go to the front and up the very steep stairs through the front door. Once inside the reception desk is to the right. The attendant was very helpful and I was checked in quickly. She took me to my room on the 4th floor. There is no elevator. The staircases get shorter as you go higher. She offered to help me bring my luggage in. I took her up on it. I also reduced the amount of luggage leaving my big piece in the car. She carried the smaller one and put it in my room for me.
My room was lovely with a big bed, a desk and a separate room for the toilet from the shower (tiny) and sink. There was this very big screen TV in the room perhaps a little too big for the size of the room? They had one of the ductless heating and air-conditioners and I had to adjust it a little so it would not blow on me. I had one window that was normal size and the other was 18 x 18 inches. It had the best view.
Once I was settled in I headed out for dinner. The Bay Street Bistro was just down the block on the other side of the street. I sat outside because it was a lovely warm day in Ottawa. The next day it would be raining. While I was sitting there a large group of teenagers came to the entrance. They had to send them through and by my table into the restaurant. I think there were at least 30 of them. My dinner was delicious and probably the 2nd best dinner on my trip.
As I sat at the Bay Street Bistro, I noticed this cloud reflected in the building across from me.
Breakfast was service in the basement of the Albert House Inn 5 levels down. It is included in the room price. The first day Friday, the room was a little too crowded so I decided to get a cup of coffee and return to my room. I did have breakfast later and it was delicious. They do offer an assortment of food choices which is nice and they will cook you breakfast like pancakes or eggs. Saturday the room was much better and I had a lovely chat with a man who was from British Columbia.
Friday morning came and I had a decision to make.
What archive would I visit? There are more possibilities like cemeteries and church archives than the list below offers but it was what I was considering including a little sightseeing.
1. Library and Archives which was just a couple blocks away this time. I had been there for one day my first visit. I could spend time in their Upper and Lower Canada land records microfilm which I believe is self-serve: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/index-e.html/
2. The Ottawa Chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society: http://ogsottawa.on.ca/ They are at 100 Tallwood (near Baseline and Woodroffe).
3. The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa: http://www.bifhsgo.ca/ I have yet to jump the pond (Atlantic Ocean) but this might give me ideas. Also at 100 Tallwood.
4. The Ottawa Archives for the city of Ottawa are also at 100 Tallwood in Ottawa. http://www.ottawa.ca/en/rec_culture/museum_heritage/archives/index.html
5. The Ottawa Public Library, Cornwall Room http://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/main/overview I could have studied their city directories for the other side of the family in search of Brown descendants.
6. The Sir Carleton Branch of the UEL Association of Canada at 1547 Merivale Rd., Nepeau, Ontario.
7. The Outaouais Regional Centre http://www.craoutaouais.ca/of the Bibliothèque et Archive Nationales Due Québec or as it is written on their website: Centre Régional D’Archives De L’Outaouais (CRAO) I have found that if I Google: Outaouais Centre BAnQ it takes me to the main Bibliothéque et Archives Nationales Du Quebec website.
8. Société de généalogie de l’Outaouais (SGO): http://www.genealogieoutaouais.com/
I had a little trouble online trying to find this archive but I can guarantee it is at this location. If I recall there were several addresses for it and that is why it was confusing because I believe it moved. The address: 855 boulevard de la Gappe, Gatineau (Québec) J8T 8H9, 819-568-8798 or 1 -800-363-9028. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Time: 8 to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.
The Centre Régional D’Archives De L’Outaouais (CRAO) is in the last building on Blvd. de la Cité to the left. In other words, you go around the building to the north side.
There is a parking lot but you do have to park in certain rows (in the center) and obtain a permit if longer than 90 minutes (signs). The SGO website has the form so you could download and fill it out to be ready.
When you enter the building do not go straight ahead or you will come to the public library for Gatineau-Bowater.
The Archive is upstairs on the 2nd floor. So go through the doors from the parking lot and turn left. Proceed up the staircase or take the elevator to the 2nd floor. Once on the 2nd floor go right and then left down the hallway. Look for the two big yellow doors with the Room 211 sign. There is a sign on the wall in the hallway but it is a bit confusing. Go right. The reader board in the lobby is confusing, go to the 2nd floor.
This is when you need to make a decision. To talk to the volunteer of the Société de généalogie de l’Outaouais or not. It depends on whether you have French Canadian lineage or have English ancestors who settled in Quebec. My interests were anything to do with Pontiac County, Quebec.
Apparently the man behind the large counter area did not speak English and he did have a sort of frightened look on his face when the lady who was helping me from the administrative offices took me to the Room 211. I was confused as to where to go. She was very nice but also spoke little English.
I was introduced to a volunteer for the genealogical society who had been seated at the desk in front of the big counter area.
He started by telling me he did his “genealogy online and why was I there?” When I mentioned obtaining deeds he said “why?” I tried to talk to him but he just would not listen. He didn’t realize that my McDonald booklet was for the archive so he left it on the desk. When I approached the 2nd volunteer who had taken over later in the day. I discovered this miscommunication and explained it was for the archive, he assured me it would be given to their president. This means it was given to the society not the actual archive. Since they share the space I am hopeful it will be available for access by all who use the facility?
How to use this facility to the best of my ability.
1. Go here first. It gives and overview description of what is at this archive and their partner the SGO: http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/genealogie/ressources_documentaires_salle/centre_archive/centre_outaouais.html?language_id=1
2. Study the database Pistard at BAnQ for what is at the Outaouais centre. I do not know if the SGO’s collection is on this database. http://pistard.banq.qc.ca/unite_chercheurs/recherche_simple
3. Study the website links for CRAO and SGO which I gave above.
4. Get your parking permit and make sure your car is parked correctly if you will be there longer than 90 minutes.
5. Get a locker because you can’t take your computer case into the research room. The lockers are in a small room outside the two big yellow doors of Room 211. Do not loose your locker key.
6. As them to give you a tour of the centre. I didn’t do this and regret it.
7. There are finding aids in the facility and they are located on the top of cabinets.
8. There are BAnQ brochures and I took even the French versions because they didn’t have any English out. Again I should have asked if they had English versions somewhere.
- Guide du chercheur: A square-shaped brochure has the facilities map in back.
- Le guide de l’abonnement
- Les services à distance
- Bibliothéque et Archives Nationales du Québec
- Les collections partimoniales et les fonds d’archives
- This one was in English: Guide to subscriptions
What follows is a map of the Outaouais Facility that is a little out of date but close to what was there.
You can only access the centre through the two big yellow doors at the bottom left of the map which is blue. The locker room is labeled M. It is outside in the hallway.
Everything else is inside this centre – the blue area. Bathrooms in the hallway outside of the centre.
- F is the audiovisual. The door to the right is a hallway door to other offices?
- E is the periodicals and magazines
- A is slightly different and more circular now and has computers as well.
- This maps does not show the desk for the SGO. It is right before the black strip in the corner beyond A on the bottom of the map.
- C is the stacks of books. SGO’s collection is there and then the Archives is too but apparently they are in different locations in these stacks. I was not clear about that.
- D is where the family histories are. The first row facing into the center of the room. Also if memory serves they house the cemetery books?
- B is the computers and desks. I don’t remember the two tables between B and K.
- Tables to sit at are over by the windows at the top a good 7 big tables.
- G is a conference room
- H is Cabinets de Travail??
- I Table lumineuse??
- K is the maps and plans and table for consulting them
- L is where the one and only copier is located. Have change. I don’t remember a copy card function.
- J is the big microfilm and microfiche room with cabinets holding newspapers and more.
- The big lime green area behind a big counter which is represented by the black strip in an L shape. In that is where the individual sits. I believe he is the archivist or an assistant? The other desks in the back I do not know what they are about.
The SGO 2nd volunteer was very nice and pleasant. He tried to help me find notary records on the stacks but he was not able to. So that meant I had to wait for the archivist who had left and didn’t return for a very long time.
When he did I asked him about notaries. He did not speak English very well but I had written down what I wanted. I figured he could read English. He read my notes and was off to his desk to obtained a copy of an index of Notaries. It was a copy of a very large index book but only looked like it was the pages for this area. I will talk about this in a future post.
As I was copying a researcher was stacking books by the copier. She spoke to me in French and I said I was almost done and she immediately apologized and said she didn’t realize I didn’t speak it. She was very nice and I was tempted to ask her about the centre.
I studied their family histories in the D area and didn’t find anything on McDonald or is various spellings.
My visit was not the best but at least I had a visual idea of the archive and I could go from there. I was tired and my level of patience was gone. However, I do think that this centre needs to work on their customer service.
I headed back the way I came and found a McDonald’s on Maisonnneuve. I ordered my lunch and the young lady who served me said something to me in French that I interpreted as “enjoy.” It was not Bon Appetit. I read the Ottawa paper in English while I listened to French radio and TV. I was happy.
I targeted the Parc Jacques-Cartier on Rue Laurier to see if I couldn’t get a picture of Ottawa from that side of the river. I was right I could see Ottawa from their parking lot.
Another view a little more to the east. The weather had improved.
I returned to the Albert Street Inn, parked the car and headed to my room on the 4th floor. HA! I was back out on the street in no time to go for a walk and find some dinner. I really needed a good glass of wine. The Bay Bistro was a possibility but it was still a little damp from the day’s rain and I wanted to explore Ottawa one more time. I headed for Slater Street part of which is a mall area. I featured it in one of my posts of Ottawa.
I had not intended to go all the way to D’Arcy McGee’s but I did. So I decided to have my last dinner in Ottawa at this establishment and hoped that the rain would not send us scrambling. At first it was very cold and I thought I should go inside but all of a sudden the wind stopped and I was fine.
On the way back I went over to Wellington and walked along enjoying the Parliament buildings. This following picture is taken at that time.
This picture was taken several weeks ago when I visited Ottawa the first time. The building on the right has scaffolding. By the time I returned to Ottawa it was all the way to the top. See the photo from D’Arcy McGees above.
Saturday June 9, 2012 was my last day in Canada for now. It was time to checkout, pack up and head to the airport.
I did try to go to the Ottawa Chapter of the OGS but the building was closed for regular maintenance. Well, I had changed my plans so you can expect this type of problem. I was not that disappointed. See the picture above for 100 Tallwood.
So I spent most of my time at Digby’s Restaurant on Bank St. below Heron waiting, relaxing and reading my NookColor. The waitress was okay with my dithering and around 1:30 pm I paid my bill and headed to the Ottawa Airport via the Airport Parkway and started remembering leaving the airport my first day.
I followed the signs to the car rental return. They don’t have those gates with the big teeth on the ground. I turned in the Dodge Caliber at Hertz and was told I had done 2117 miles. This was a record. No wonder I was tired. HA!
At ticketing I had to adjust the weight of my large luggage bag it was 57 lbs. and she refused to accept it. So I put some things in the smaller one and adjusted it and I made it but it meant I had to carry some items with me and that was going to be tiring. Usually I ship things back home saving me this problem but I was a little afraid it was going to cost a lot.
The next hurdle was customs. No problem I was through in a snap. I had made a list of the things I had purchased so I had something to work with. Security was also easy and I was soon at the gate. It is not that far to the gates at the Ottawa Airport.
The plane was not full from Ottawa to Chicago. As we took off I said “Good Bye” to Ontario and looked forward to getting home to my kitties. In Chicago they changed the gate 4 times and once from C to B for my flight to Seattle. My sister picked me up at the airport and I walked in the door at 12 midnight.
Home Sweet Home! I think I was homesick this trip!