Welcome to Lotta56sparks.ca, a website and blog dedicated to the woman who made 56 Sparks Street one of Canada’s most iconic addresses, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, C.C. (1909-1990).

My name is David Rain. I have been a volunteer and worker with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization since 2016, and for 22 years I had the privilege of working with the organization Lotta founded, USC Canada (the Unitarian Service Committee), from 1993 to 2015.

I have created Lotta56sparks.ca with two objectives in mind:

  1. To offer a space for those who still remember Lotta to reminisce a bit, to reconnect with old memories, to explore emotional connections that she made with so many of us, and to share with others their own stories and recollections.
  2. To offer a space for younger folks (who did not grow up with Lotta) to learn more about this great Canadian, the remarkable role she played in our social history, and the legacy she left us through the seeds of compassion, tolerance and respect for others that she planted both here in Canada and around the globe.

A few acknowledgements:

  • First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge Clyde Sanger, Lotta’s biographer, whose painstaking research in the 1980s has provided all of us with a wealth of material on Lotta’s life that I will be using frequently in this blog.
  • Joy Thierry Llewellyn has also been an inspiration to me through her writings and pilgrimages to various parts of the world that were dear to Lotta herself.
  • My late friend and USC Canada colleague Lillian Holowka deserves special mention for her inspiration, including arranging for a huge birthday cake to be baked for Lotta’s 100th anniversary in 2009, and also successfully requesting the City of Ottawa to proclaim November 28 “Lotta Hitschmanova Day.”

It goes without saying that I alone am responsible for the content of this blog, but I warmly invite visitors to make comments at the bottom of pages or posts, or to share your own Lotta stories or reminiscences.

NB: unless otherwise indicated, all photo credits for images of Lotta are USC Canada.

7 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. This is a wonderful tribute to Lotta and her lifelong work. My mom was Lotta’s caregiver for many years and our family has lots of fond memories of Lotta.
    I also have a welcome medallion/medal that was given to Lotta from the Mayor of mokpo-si, Song, sungyong. At least that is how the Korean inscription has been translated for me. I also have her book that was autographed and given to my Mom. Lotta was a remarkable, kind and charming woman. I certainly hope the commemorative stamp becomes a reality. Her tremendous work should never be forgotten.

    • Thanks for sharing your family memories of Lotta, Sharon! And how lovely that you have this treasured memento too. We won’t know for a while whether the Lotta stamp will become a reality, but hopefully sometime in 2021, we’ll hear something. Thanks again, David Rain

  2. I am fascinated by the pic of Lotta Hitschmanova with the little Hutterite children, since generally Hutterites aren’t keen to be photographed. Do you have any info. on where and how this photo was taken?

    • I believe this photo was taken in the 1970s, Judith, in or around Lethbridge. My long term goal is to gather more information about Lotta’s amazing cross-country trips across Canada, and hopefully more information will come to light in the coming months.

  3. Well done, David! So many stories we could tell, in my case, inspired by Lotta’s work and the strong memories carried by the people who met her. Friederike

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