Recently on March 1st, as a Saint David's Day tribute, the Bytown Museum posted an historic photo of the Lewis Williams family. Lewis Williams came from Wales in 1817 and settled along the Rideau River in then Nepean Township; the heritage-designated Williams house still stands at 96 Southern Drive, in Old Ottawa South.
Following the dramatic flooding in the spring of 1928, (see last month’s column “Years of the Great Floods”, OSCAR, April 2008, pgs 22-23), Ottawa City Council decided to take action to mitigate against the annual Rideau River inundations. One of the flooding “hot spots” was in Ottawa South at the islands in the river just upstream from Billings Bridge where the ice would often jam causing the river to back up and flood both Ottawa South all the way to present day Carleton University and Billings Bridge (Nordic Circle) west of Bank Street.
Today the Rideau River looks quite different along this stretch, due in part to the flooding abatement project undertaken in 1930-31.