Malak Karsh (1915 – 2001)
Malak Karsh was born in Armenia, then still the Ottoman Empire, in 1915. At age 21, Malak followed his brother, Yousuf Karsh, to Ottawa to work in his families established photography shop. His second day in Canada, his brother took him to visit the Gatineau Hills. Passionate about nature photography, Karsh was captured by the beauty of the area. He bought property in Cantley and built himself and his family a cabin.
In Canada’s national capital region, Karsh began his prolific career as a commercial photographer. Notably, he photographed tugboats behind the parliament buildings in 1963. His image was used on the one dollar bill between 1974 and 1984, before the loonie was introduced. Karsh is also credited for the establishment of Ottawa’s annual tulip festival.
He passed away November 8th, 2001. His funeral was held at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Ottawa. Thirty-two pots of tulips were flown in from the Netherlands for the ceremony and the casket itself was surrounded by white tulips.
After the funeral, he was buried at MacLaren Cemetery. His grave reflects his achievements, depicting a simple illustration of a tulip. Shortly after Karsh’s death, Pat Maloney, a teacher at Low, arranged for his students to plant tulip bulbs, provided by the NCC, along the rail fence of MacLaren in honour of Karsh.
Anita Barber Rutledge (1926 – 2018)
Anita Barber Rutledge grew up in Clarendon, in the Ottawa Valley, in 1926. Living much of her life in Wakefield, Quebec, both during her career in the federal government and after her retirement, Anita was an active and influential member of the community.
She worked diligently as both a local historian and writer. Anita was a regular contributor to the local historical publication Up the Gatineau! She had a reputation as an incredible researcher with a great attention to detail. She also often worked behind the scenes as an editor, helping others with their own work.
Along with her writing, Anita was an impressive community organizer. She gave her time to countless committees. In her article on Anita, Nicole McCormick lists some of these committees: Member of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society Board of Directors, the Wakefield Community Association, the Wakefield Covered Bridge Project Committee, the Heritage Committee of the Municipality of La Pêche, the Wakefield Cemeteries Pioneer Monument Committee, and the Wakefield Cenotaph Restoration Committee. This list is by no means exhaustive.
Anita was also instrumental in the establishment of Fairbairn House, serving on its steering committee and then its board of directors. A plaque was recently installed on a wall in the house recognizing her vital contributions to the museum.
In 2018, she worked on the Wakefield River Walk/ La Promenade Riveraine, a series of interpretive panels installed throughout Wakefield that provide locals and visitors the opportunity to learn about the village’s historic buildings as they walk along the river.