Why Oscar Wilde was offended by the Ottawa River
Ottawa Citizen

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By Randy Boswell, Ottawa Citizen, August 21, 2016

When the renowned Irish poet and essayist Oscar Wilde gave a public lecture in Ottawa in May 1882, about a decade before his rise to further heights of fame as a novelist and playwright, the controversial aesthete diverted from his prepared remarks on the decorative arts to denounce the sorry state of the sawdust-choked Ottawa River.

“This is an outrage,” Wilde lectured the locals, the reaction likely muted in a national capital ruled not by legislators but lumber kings, and where thousands of families depended for their livelihoods on Ottawa Valley forests and the sawmills of the Chaudière Falls.

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