The Spanish Flu began in China in 1918 and spread to North America on ships carrying home soldiers wounded in the First World War, reports the Ottawa Citizen in a look back at the 1918 epidemic and its impact on the city. Five weeks later, when it was finally over, at least 520 Ottawa residents—and about 50,000 people across the country—had died, many of them young adults. One Ottawa newspaper, the Journal, told the tale of a healthy baby who starved to death as the rest of the family (a mother, two brothers and a sister) lay sick in their beds with flu, unable to get up and feed the infant. In Ottawa, schools, theatres and concert halls were closed; churches cancelled services, and the Ottawa Electric Railway was made to disinfect its streetcars with formaldehyde daily. Short of doctors and nurses because of the war, health services were overrun; at least five doctors died of the flu. The death that struck the city the hardest, the Citizen reports, was that of Hamilton (Hamby) Shore, a 32-year-old local-born hockey star who died after nursing his wife back to health. Tributes to Shore appeared in newspapers throughout the city. After the outbreak was finally over, nearly 200 children and teens in Ottawa were orphaned by the disease.
"The deadliest disease in history"
At least 520 Ottawa residents died in 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic
FILED UNDER: history