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What is the oldest community within the current City of Ottawa, Ontario?

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Richmond Village, Ontario – the oldest community within the current City of Ottawa – celebrated their 200th anniversary of their founding during the weekend of 15 to 17 July 2018. Richmond was originally a military settlement established in 1818 as a military post, and that following demobilization, members of the 99th Regiment – a unit that distinguished itself in the Peninsular campaigns under Lord Wellington and in the War of 1812 – were offered land to establish a force-in-being to withstand any future U.S. incursion. To understand Richmond's military history, it is important to note the regiment's official lineage such that in February 1816, 'The 100th (or His Royal Highness the Prince Regent's County of Dublin) Regiment' was renumbered the 99th Regiment retaining the title of H.R.H. the Prince Regent's county of Dublin Regiment and was disbanded in 1818.

On 21 September 1962, an historical plaque erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board (now called the Ontario Heritage Trust) commemorating the Richmond military settlement was unveiled on the fairgrounds. Under a heading of 'Richmond Military Settlement', the tablet offers the following short description: "In August, 1818, some thirty disbanded veterans of the 99th Regiment, led by Captain G.T. Burke, arrived in newly surveyed Goulbourn Township. These formed the advance party of a military settlement planned and supported by the quartermaster-general's department. Here they laid out a town site named after the governor general, the Duke of Richmond. Storehouses were built, settlers' cabins erected and the colonists provided with farm implements and rations. Under the general supervision of Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Cockburn, about 400 heads of families, including some civilians, were established in the settlement by the end of 1818, thus forming the first large community within the present Carleton County." This tablet is now among the nearly 1,300 familiar blue and gold plaques that have been erected so far by the Ontario Heritage Trust in communities across Ontario.

To commemorate Richmond's bicentennial, it added a 7th mural to their heritage mural gallery. Officially unveiled on 16 June 2018, Richmond artist Karen Xarchos included scenes depicting the founders of Richmond village, the 100th Regiment, the fox, early landmarks, milling, farming, the Jock River – known locally as the Mighty Jock, the annual Richmond Fair which goes back to 1844, George S. Lyon – the pride of Richmond – who captured Canada's last Olympic gold medal in golf, winning in 1904 at the age or 46, as well as other images of figures, iconic landmarks and symbols interspersed within the 20 foot wide by 8 feet high mural.

On this day, 15 July 2022, we commemorate the 204th anniversary of the establishment of Richmond Village – the oldest community within the current City of Ottawa, Ontario and mark nearly 60 years since a provincial plaque was erected to commemorate the Richmond Military Settlement of 1818.

André M. Levesque

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