Ottawa

City app lets users travel through time

If you've ever wondered what might have happened on the street you're wandering down, the City of Ottawa now has an app that can put the answer in the palm of your hand.

Time Traveller app inspired by last year's Canada 150 celebrations

The Time Traveller app displays spots on a map indicating interesting pieces of local history, along with photos of the events. (Ryan Tumilty/CBC)

If you've ever wondered what might have happened on the street you're wandering down, the City of Ottawa now has an app that can put the answer in the palm of your hand.

Time Traveller is a map-based app that lets mobile device users see historical photographs taken right where they're standing.

The app really brings that concept to life that everywhere you turn, something historic may have happened.- Paul Henry, City of Ottawa archivist

City archivist Paul Henry said last year's sesquicentennial celebrations fuelled the idea to delve deeper into local history.

"We were inspired a little bit by Canada 150, and we thought we would take a look at what we can do," Henry told CBC's All In A Day.  

"The app really brings that concept to life that everywhere you turn, something historic may have happened."

New stories wanted

Henry said the app already contains a good roster of local stories, but its creators are looking for more. 

"Our intention is to do 150 stories. We have 70 in the app right now and we hope to have 90 by the end of the year," he said.  

Henry said he's been amazed by some of the stories, including one dealing with the birth of an important Canadian icon.

"Just up the corner is the scene of the old Russell [House] hotel where the letter was read out announcing the donation of the Stanley Cup," he said. 

The city is inviting residents to submit stories to the development team so they can be added to the app. Contact information for the archive team is available in the Time Traveller app.