Report of the Ottawa and Hull Fire Relief Fund (Date of fire: 26 & 27 April 1900.)


Cat No.:   CA0188:

While preparing the midday meal in their wooden house in a crowded section of the city of Hull, a woman noticed that a faulty chimney had set the roof on fire. The family couldn't control the fire and by the time the fire brigade had arrived the fire had already spread to the adjacent shanties and was soon out of control. From this small beginning started a fire which destroyed large sections of both Hull and Ottawa during the 26 and 27 April 1900. Despite making 15,000 people homeless and destroying the major part of the industry in both cities the miracle was that only 7 people were killed.

A photographer, R. J. Robillard had the presence of mind to find a vantage point to make a photographic record and the book contains the resulting, half meter long, panorama of the fire burning on both sides of the river.

As early as 27th of April, before the fire had even been fully doused, preparations were underway to care for the homeless and to help them rebuild their lives. This book provides the record of the Ottawa & Hull Fire Relief Fund which was founded on that second day to manage the collection and distribution of aid both in cash donations and in food, clothing and materials. Donations from across Canada, Britain, The Colonies, The US and even as far as Chili are recorded in the book. They range from thousands of dollars from cities to gifts of just a dollar or so, made by individuals. It even identifies a donation of $2.25 collected by two children in Walkerton, Ontario.

If people couldn't make cash donations they donated in kind; food, clothing, whatever they could spare and this is all recorded. Businesses were donating their products, there is even a record of a furniture company donating 1,000 chairs, valuable because after the fire absolutely nothing was left. There are some chilling pictures in the book of the scene after the fire. The destruction was complete.

If you had family living in Ottawa or Hull in 1900 their lives were almost certainly affected by this great tragedy. With two thirds of Hull, one third of Ottawa and most of the industry in both cities being laid waste there can hardly have been a family uninvolved, if not as a victim then as a Samaritan providing help and relief.

Quite aside from the compelling record of the fire this book provides, it also contains a fold out map of the cities of Ottawa and Hull showing the names and locations of the streets in the city at that time. At first glance this looks like any modern map of the city but a second look shows hundreds of different road names, road layouts not to mention showing the 1900 limits of the city's building. Shading on the map indicates the area destroyed by the fire.

Published in the following year this book is a complete record of the Fire Relief Fund and includes summaries of the cost of the fire, the relief provided and even a list of the buildings, houses and industrial, rebuilt in an astonishing period of less than eight months.

The CD is fully text searchable using the Search or Find functions of the common PDF interpreter applications such as Adobe Reader (compatible with V4 or above, V6 or higher recommended.) We have provided a free downloadable sampler of the book on our Downloads web page.

We are indebted to the Historical Society of Ottawa for kindly loaning us this wonderful book so we could reproduce it for you on CD. Please join with us to thank them for their public spirited generosity in allowing us to make this valuable book more accessible. Another successful Archive CD Books Canada cooperative project. Also thanks to the Bytown museum who house and maintain the Society's book collection for their cooperation.

You can also reach the Sampler by clicking on the following link Sampler

You can return to this page by closing the Sampler Page when you are ready to purchase.

No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

FastFind:  No;  ISBN No.:   1-897338-60-0;