The Lost Stories Project seeks out little known stories about the Canadian past and transforms them into inexpensive, site-specific works of public art. This process is documented through a series of short films. Along the way, forgotten moments from Canadian history are brought to light, and viewers have an opportunity to see the choices that have to be made when a story is turned into a work of art. Read more about the Lost Stories project.

Lost Story: From the North to Ottawa’s Southway Inn

Why does a hotel in Ottawa’s south end fly the flag of Nunavut?

The answer to this question is a story of family, home, and community. It is also a story of Canada’s North and South. After opening in 1958 close to the city’s airport, the Southway Inn became a cherished place for people travelling to and from the Arctic, especially the Baffin Island region. More than just a place to stay, the Southway also served as a wayfinder for new arrivals trying to make sense of Ottawa’s urban geography, as Inuit men, women, and children travelled for work, school, and healthcare. A ‘home away from home,’ the Southway served as a distinctive space that linked families and communities together. Today, Ottawa has the largest urban Inuit population south of the Arctic, including many whose first relationship to the city began with a stay at the Southway Inn. This project involves the installation of an original piece of commemorative artwork, created by the Canadian Inuk sculptor, Couzyn van Heuvelen. That piece in now visible at the former Southway Inn (now the Waterford Retirement Residence) following its unveiling on 07 September 2017.  Mosha Folger, an Inuk filmmaker who was once a visitor to the Southway Inn himself, directed a documentary film about both this “lost story” and also Couzyn’s journey to create a commemoration of it. To see the film and read more about this project, please visit the Lost Stories website.