UPDATE: NOW AVAILABLE
Ottawa may be our capital city but it's also a place of contradictions--the official version offers numerous, beneficent historic sites, institutions, museums, and galleries, but there are other stories to be told. In this latest edition of Arsenal's Unknown City series of alternativecity guides for both locals and tourists, Ottawa comes alive as a diverse, quirky town that may look like a government city on the surface but boasts a small-town charm. The book charts a course through the city's hidden landmarks, shopping, dining, and nightlife hot spots, as well as secret histories that will come as a surprise even to life-long locals.
Among the Unknown facts about Ottawa:
- A rumour persists that Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as Canada's capital by playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with a map of Canada
- When Oscar Wilde visited Ottawa in 1882, he met a young portrait painter named Frances Richards; she later moved to Europe and painted Wilde's portrait which allegedly became the inspiration for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray
- In 1945, a clerk at the Soviet embassy in Ottawa defected, bringing along with him hard evidence of a Soviet spy ring in North America, making him a prime target for the KGB; his story became the basis of the 1948 film The Iron Curtain
- The Rideau Canal was officially named the "longest skating rink in the world" by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2005
Witty and urbane, this Unknown City book takes readers on a beguiling journey through Ottawa's past, present, and future, warts and all.
About the author
Born in Ottawa in 1970 at the late lamented Grace Hospital on Wellington Street near Parkdale Avenue, rob mclennan currently lives in directly between Ottawa`s Chinatown and Little Italy neighbourhoods, and was called "Centretown`s poet laureate" by David Gladstone in The Centretown Buzz in the mid-1990s. The author of twelve previous trade poetry collections in Canada and England, he has published poetry, fiction, interviews, reviews and columns in over two hundred publications in fourteen countries and in four languages, and done reading tours in five countries on two continents. The editor/publisher of above/ground press and the long poem magazine STANZAS (both founded in 1993), the online critical journal Poetics.ca (with Ottawa poet Stephen Brockwell) and the Ottawa poetry annual ottawater (ottawater.com), he edits the ongoing Cauldron Books series through Broken Jaw Press, edited the anthologies Evergreen: six new poets (Black Moss Press), side/lines: a new canadian poetics (Insomniac Press), GROUNDSWELL: the best of above/ground press, 1993-2003 (Broken Jaw Press) and Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (Chaudiere Books), and runs the semi-annual ottawa small press book fair, which he co-founded in 1994, currently under the umbrella of the small press action network - ottawa (span-o), which he also runs. Fall 2007 sees the appearance of a new poetry collection with Ireland`s Salmon Publishing, a collection of literary essays appears with Toronto`s ECW Press, and a title for Vancouver publisher Arsenal Pulp Press, Ottawa: The Unknown City. His online home is at www.track0.com/rob_mclennan, and he often posts reviews, essays, rants and other nonsense at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com.