How to Join Lost Ottawa


Joining Lost Ottawa’s Facebook Community is very easy.

All you have to do is go to our Facebook homepage at Look for the “like” button towards the upper right of the page. Click on the button — and you’re in! Of course, you must have a Facebook account already.

Once you have liked the page, posts from Facebook will show up in your feed — but Facebook won’t send you very post from Lost Ottawa. It has a Giant Algorithm that decides what you are really interested in, and what therefore goes in your feed.

One way to tell Facebook you are really interested is simply to participate. So be sure to click on a picture, leave a comment, or like a post. The Giant Algorithm will notice.

If you want to make sure you see more photos from Lost Ottawa in your feed, you can go to the Facebook home page hover your mouse over the “like” button. A menu should appear with several choices, one of which is to “send me all the pictures.” Choose that.

Even when you ask for them, it seems that Facebook won’t really will send you all the posts from Lost Ottawa. That algorithm is very powerful! That means it is always worth visiting the homepage to see what’s happening and browse through the posts you’ll find there.

If you eventually feel like you are getting too many posts in your feed, then you can always come back to the home page, hover over the “like” button, and change your settings.

The Facebook Community

Lost Ottawa began as a Facebook Community devoted to the history of Greater Ottawa, Greater Gatineau, the Outaouais as a whole, as well as towns and villages up and down the Ottawa Valley.

The Facebook Community still exists and is still growing. Indeed, with over 40,000 members, Lost Ottawa is one of the capital’s largest communities of any kind in the nation’s capital.

What happens one Facebook is pretty simple. A community member, or Lost Ottawa itself, shares a picture together with a short description of something believed to be “lost,” as in not-there-anymore, or simply lost to memory.  We publish the picture, normally at a clip of at least four posts a day.

The posts pop up in Facebook or Twitter feeds, members see the pics, the posts and, when it captures their fancy, they start to comment. Over the years, we’ve collected thousands and thousands of comments on almost every conceivable topic concerning Ottawa and its environs.

We like to think of Lost Ottawa on Facebook as a sort of online research community, where the research takes the form on a of a vast conversation, in which people share their experiences, tell you what they know, and tell you things you could never learn another way.

The conversation is always informative and often downright hilarious.

Join the conversation on Facebook today!

What to post

The official time period covered by Lost Ottawa is the dawn of time up to the year 2000. In practical terms, that means the age of analog pictures, including drawings and paintings, and especially photographs — things that weren’t born digital.

We’re interested in things that are lost. This can mean lost as in “gone.” Or lost as in changed beyond all recognition. It can also mean “lost in plain sight.” Still there, but no one notices, or everyone has forgotten the meaning. Lost to memory, would probably be the most general way to say it. Something worth sharing.

In terms of materials, we are similarly inclusive. We post pictures from books, articles, advertisements and archives, as well as photos of people, places, and things shared with us from private collections.

Archives help us cover the earliest years, but the reality is that most prints and slides from the past 50 years haven’t made it to archives yet. They are still in those shoeboxes in your closet, or those albums in your mama’s basement! We especially welcome those, because its the history of Ottawa and Gatineau in the last 50 years that is especially missing.

It’s not all about the ancient photos in your closet, however. A hidden sign, an unknown park, a mural on a alley wall — all these things constitute things that are lost in plain sight. Lost to most people’s memory. Feel free to whip out your phone and send those picture along.

We ask that you give the source for picture you send. This gives credit to the persons who took or have the photograph. If it’s worth posting, it’s worth giving them the credit for taking or preserving it. Plus, it helps everyone later when they are trying to track that picture down.

Lost Ottawa on Facebook is a research site, so we expect a certain amount of leeway in terms of copyright law. However, we don’t want to publish photos taken from websites that were clearly taken by an individual who actually does have the copyright and did not give permission. Photos by a professional photographer displayed on their website would be a good example. Instead of sending a photo, it’s often possible to share a link to a page that has interesting pictures.

Privacy is another issue, although a somewhat murky one, since who is a public figure and who is not is often debatable. Let’s just say that you shouldn’t send pictures of people who can be clearly identified, doing things in private, or going about their private business, that you know they wouldn’t want posted on Facebook.  Most of our posts are actually about places, not people.


People who are clearly Please don’t send pictures of clearly identified people who

Basically, that means new photos from the web, identified by the person who owned them.

and This help everyone later.

Photos from

Before the age of digital

Lost in plain sight

Where to post

The easiest way to post a picture to Lost Ottawa on Facebook is to go to the community page at

Look for the status box at the top of the page, which should says something like “Write something …” Write a comment. Drag and drop a picture, or use the photo dialog. Send. This is just the same as your own feed.

One thing you can’t do is post multiple images. If you have multiple images, then it’s best to attach them to a message or send an email to

You can also share posts from your own feed [but this needs investigation so that I can describe it properly]