Peoples’ History Walking Tours is an Ottawa-based tour business that was inspired by similar tours in North American and Europe. We combine extensive social movement experience, political radicalism, and academic expertise to offer a unique historical experience.
Our tours provide you with an unforgettable learning experience that focuses on the lives and experiences of the people who actually built Ottawa (and Canada) but who are usually ignored by official history: the Indigenous peoples who lived here for thousands of years prior to European settlers, the Irish navvies who dug the canal, the skilled stonemasons who built the Parliament Buildings, the women who occupied the House of Commons in the battle for abortion rights, the brave few who organized Canada’s first demonstration for gay and lesbian rights and many others.
While other tours tell you about famous politicians or wealthy lumber barons, Peoples’ History Walking Tours provides an unexpurgated account of Ottawa history, one that includes the poor, the oppressed, the dispossessed, the outsiders and the troublemakers. Our tours show the common people forcing their way onto the stage of history to have their say, protest their working and living conditions, fight for equality and change the way they were treated by the rich and powerful.
By taking you behind the official story and resurrecting the hidden history of Ottawa’s 99%, our tours give you an understanding of this city that few residents ever attain. Join us for a walk through the city that will change your understanding of Ottawa and Canada forever.
In August 2014, a special Peoples Social Forum edition of the radical newspaper The Leveller ran a story about our Rideau Canal tour.
In May 2015, CBC radio’s Saturday morning program, In Town and Out, ran an extended interview with Brian about his Unauthorized History of Parliament Hill tour.
In the fall of 2015, Peoples’ History Walking Tours guide Brian McDougall participated in “Profane Perambulations” — a walking tour organized to highlight opposition to the Harper government’s proposed Monument to the Victims of Communism. Brian’s contribution, about the politics of the new War of 1812 monument, is summarized in a 2016 Carleton University blog.
In April and September 2016, our tours were the basis for a Learning in Retirement course offered by Carleton University: Walking through History: ‘Forgotten Stories’ from a Radical Tour Guide.