Monday, October 14, 2013

Billings Estate

Sometimes, it's hard to believe that I have lived in Ottawa for 43 out of my 48 years on this planet, and not visited all of the museums and historic sites and attractions of our fair city.

Like the Billings Estate Museum, the location of this month's Where In Ottawa.

This national historic site is Ottawa's oldest surviving house, and is the oldest wooden-framed house in Ottawa, dating back to 1827-29. It opened to the public as a museum in 1975, and I didn't even lay eyes upon it until early to mid September.

And I thought I knew Ottawa!

Here are the clues, explained:
  1. Have you seen the bridge? Where's that confounded bridge?—yes, I was quoting lines from a Led Zeppelin song, but the clue had nothing to do with the iconic rock band. I was, of course referring to the bridge that Braddish Billings built over the Rideau River, in the area that is now called Billings Bridge, near where this house is situated.
  2. That's some old wood—one guess alluded to the Ottawa Rowing Club boathouse, saying that the boathouse is the oldest wooden structure. While that may be true, the Billings Estate is the oldest wooden-framed house. Almost 200 years old.
  3. You can't shop here—not far from the estate is a large shopping mall, named for the neighbourhood. The Billings Bridge Shopping Centre.
  4. Massachusetts-born builder—Braddish Billings, though he moved to Ottawa in 1812, was born in Ware, Massachusetts, in 1783.
Congratulations to my dear friend, Barbara Greenwood-Dufour, who correctly guessed the location. She receives a copy of Songsaengnim: A Korea Diary for her troubles (and Bee, while you won the contest fair and square, I would have gladly given you a copy of my book, had you only asked—though, I'm glad to hear you enjoy playing the game).

Have you been playing Where In Ottawa for months, without success, but still want my book? You can purchase it, online, from Chapters-Indigo, Barnes & Noble,, and other fine book stores.

Where In Ottawa returns Monday, November 4.

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