Colonel By and the Duke of Wellington — the story of one man’s courage and another man’s treachery. A behind-the-scenes look at the building of the Rideau Canal
Date: Thursday April 20, 2017
Time: 7:00 P.M.
Place: Ottawa Public Library Main Auditorium (120 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, ON)
Description: Sharon Buckingham, well known Ottawa screenwriter and producer, has many credits, including the award winning CTV television movie STICKS & STONES, and the feature film, starring Richard Harris, TO WALK WITH LIONS, nominated as Best Film at the Canadian Genie Awards.
Asked by Ottawa producer Jo MacFadden to develop a six-hour drama series about the building of the Rideau Canal, she found the research both intensive and intensely rewarding — a story of political intrigue that elevated one man to glory and condemned another to infamy, a deeply personal story of tragedy and triumph, courage and raw ambition.
Creating a waterway stretching some 125 miles through an uninhabitable wilderness will be one of the greatest engineering feats ever attempted and Colonel By knows he faces a stiff challenge. What he doesn’t know is that the biggest obstacle he faces is not the perilous Canadian landscape, but the wily manoeuvring of the man who gave him this commission — the arrogant and duplicitous “Iron” Duke of Wellington.
Building Rideau Canal, however, is more than a drama about two men and the conflicts they faced. It is also a very human story about others who participated in an historic act of unprecedented daring — Irish immigrants, facing starvation at home and shipped to the colonies to work on the project; French-Canadian labourers in the employ of wealthy contractors; and a First Nations couple who helped By find sites, navigate the waterways and avoid land infested with dangers.
This is a tale of unsung heroism, of men and women who, without political honours and rewards, lived and died to create and unite a nation.
Sharon will tell this fascinating tale with zest and verve.