(ABOVE: A sign installed on a post at the scene of the murder of Robert McCaffrey.)
This sounds interesting: “Have you heard stories about ghosts, murder, cemeteries and other unknowns in your community? Attend this event on February 18 to discover in full detail all of the grisly or odd activities that have taken place right here in your own backyard. There will be displays with court records, photos and written accounts of these unknowns.”
Local researcher Lesley McKay is helping to organize the event and she sent along a preview of some of the “secrets” that will be on display. They’re all rooted in what was known as Goulbourn Township, a large area that included Richmond, Munster and Stittsville prior to being amalgamated into the City of Ottawa in 2000.
Some of the stories are rather dark:
- A love triangle that led to a murder in 1882. (Commemorated by a sign installed on a post at the scene of the murder, pictured above.)
- The KKK’s presence in the area starting in the 1920s. (“‘It’s a forgotten part of Canada’s past, and conveniently forgotten. Everybody knows about the Klan in the United States, but if you tell Canadians what happened here, they say – ‘What, us?'”)
- A few ghost stories, including an abandoned pioneer cemetery in Marlborough Forest. It was discovered by municipal surveyors in the 1990s.
….while some of the stories are a little more light-hearted:
- Stittsville native Ken Doraty, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins in the 1920s and 1930s. He was the smallest man to ever play in the NHL, at 133 lbs and a height of 5’7”.
- How a Montreal millionaire financed a school garden in Richmond – part of a radical idea to change Ontario education.
- Goulbourn’s booming cheese industry. (“After the 1938 Richmond bank robbery, it was concluded that the three robbers knew that the bank was holding more than the usual amount of cash. This was surmised because three of our local cheese factories had issued cheques for milk supplied, hence making for a profitable robbery.”)
- Lost quarries and watering holes, where kids used to cool off in the summer long before air conditioning and water parks.
The event is on Saturday from 1:00pm-4:00pm at the Stittsville Library, as part of Heritage Day activities. More info here…
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