Capital Facts: This was the Single Biggest Killer of Rideau Canal Construction Workers
In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, the Citizen is rolling out one fact each day for 150 days until July 1, highlighting the odd, the fascinating and the important bits of Ottawa history you might not know about.
Malaria was the single largest cause of death among construction workers of the Rideau Canal in the mid-1800s. Transmitted to humans through mosquitoes, malaria during the time of construction was often referred to as “Lake Fever” or “Swamp Fever.” Many of the construction areas, located near stagnant water swamps, were perfect mosquito egg-laying habitat.
— Elizabeth Payne