Happy Colonel By Day.

While many people across Canada celebrate the August Civic Holiday, it takes on a unique significance in Ottawa. The city has designated it Colonel By Day, in honour of the man who was responsible for building the Rideau Canal and Bytown, which later became Ottawa.

But despite his pivotal role in the formation of Ottawa, there are still a lot of people who don’t know this is his day in the city. Many don’t know much about Colonel John By at all.

Organizers of the Colonel By Day celebrations are trying to change that. Events and activities went on all day in and around the Bytown Musuem.

“He was our first town planner because he layed out Uppertown, Lowertown, the Byward Market, the Byward Market building. So he’s really quite special in our minds,” says Catherine Lindquist, Executive Director of the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa.

The day also commemorates the workers who built the Rideau Canal, including the over 1,000 who died along the way.

The Rideau Canal is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.