Saturday, September 16, 2006

Another one bites the dust

Interesting story in today's Ottawa Citizen, about a piece of local history. Reuben Traveller, a cabin boy who served on board Nelson's ship, the Victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar, is buried across the river in St. James Anglican Church Cemetery in Gatineau. The article has a lot of interesting information about Traveller's life, and about the historical importance of the cemetery, which dates back to 1823. One short paragraph caught my attention:
The Anglican diocese of Ottawa says it appears it has no choice but to sell the St. James Church, built in 1901, along with the cemetery that dates back to 1823.
Traveller's grave, you see, is for sale. And while "there may be some takers on the cemetery", there's no mention of comparable interest in the church. There are no quotes from any representative of the diocese - perhaps the selling off of church property isn't something they really want to discuss in public. But an historian and archivist, Michel Prevost, is quoted, saying rather innocently:
"The cemetery is one of the most significant historic sites in Gatineau and Ottawa," Mr. Prevost said. "Wright is a great figure in Quebec and Canadian history. It is too big to expect the people who attend the church to pay for it."
Especially as "the people who attend the church" appear to be nobody.

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