網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

RIVER GRAND.

[ocr errors]

OWN from its birthplace in the wilderness comes

the noble Ottawa. For nearly 1,000 miles it flows among woods and lakes. Its navigation is impeded by rapids and falls, but these freaks of nature lend to the river marvellous beauty. Its cradle is on the confines of Rupert's Land, on the western slope of the Laurentian watershed; on the other side of which the Saguenay is born. It does not long remain an infant river. Through the horn-works of Grand Lake, and the zig-zags of Lac des Quinzes, it rushes into island-studded Temiscaming. It begins early to absorb tributary streams. Before it widens into Seven League Lake, Blanche and Montreal have become co-partners in the stream. From the point where it is joined by the Mattawa, the rushing flood is known as the Ottawa, or Grand River.

Between its young life in the North, and its old age on the St. Lawrence, there runs a current of 800 miles ; its crystal waters gradually losing their bright sparkle, until they have become sun-burnt and rock-stained into the well-known brown floods of the lumberers' stream. Main stream and tributaries, drain a district eight-ninths the size of Great Britain. From source to mouth, is a greater distance than from Caithness to Cornwall; and its banks are as varied in the peculiarities of river-scenery, as Fair Isle and Kent in land-garb. The Ottawa is con

nocted with the St. Lawrence at Kingston by the Rideau canal. A still greater mission has been planned for the noble river, viz: to become a link in a great highway from the north-western settlements to the ocean. It would then be connected by cuttings with Lake Huron ; vessels passing west up the Mattawa, thence by canal into Lake Nipissing, and thence by French River, into the waters of Georgian Bay.

This engineering achievement would shorten the distance by water, from Liverpool to the Lake Ports, 760 miles; save a week in time; and probably reduce charges for insurance and freight. We hope that the plan will be carried out. We anticipate that this will be the route some day, from England to British Columbia; viz; from Liverpool by steam viâ the St. Lawrence and Ottawa, on through Lakes Huron and Superior to Fort William ; thence by a Northern Pacific Railroad, through the “ fertile belt" to New Westminster. This however is all in the future.

The Ottawa with its feeders forms the means of transit for the largest lumber trade in the world. On the South bank, such streams as the Mattawa, Madawaska, South Nation aud Rideau ; on the North side, the Gatineau, the Rivières du Lièvre and du Moine, North Nation, Rouge and Assumption, contribute annually their cargoes of logs. The navigation has been greatly improved especially for timber-by the construction of dams and slides, to facilitate its passage over rapids and falls.

I always think upon unkempt, frolicsome River Grand with delight. I am never weary of calling to mind its foaming cascades and forest-hemmed shores. Many a tale of adventure in their dangerous calling will the voyageurs and lumberers tell you: of woodland life of winter, storm-of spring floods--of hauling their boats over the “ carrying places," or (as the French Canadians call them) “Les Portages”.

I had a great desire to ascend the Gatineau for about 100 miles. An open-hearted Canadian volunteered to accompany me for a few days spent on river and lake, with raids into the forest. We passed up to village some miles to the north of Ottawa city. Will. Chamberlin had here his little lumber-mill. He owns land with a river-frontage of half a mile; and yet because his possessions do not take a money shape, he calls himself a poor man! Poor or not in material wealth, he was rich in hospitality and goodness to the stranger. His own friends were the second household of settlers who came out into the forest wilderness of the Ottawa. (The Wrights were the first. Both families came from the States about the same time.) A short time before I came to know him, a party of English officers had been campingout and hunting near his place. He had spent some time with them, and thoroughly enjoyed their company. He had lived and travelled in the United States for a few years; and he told me the story of his being followed for three days by an Irish thief in Missouri. Having his suspicions excited, he took into counsel a detective. They set a watch for the Arab, and succeeded in catching him in Chamberlin's bed-room, in flagrante delicto.

Next day my guide was ready. His rifle would supply wild duck for our camp table; we should be sure to find a bed of skins or a shake-down of rice-straw, at some settler's shanty. Two little steamers ply on the river, but their cruising-ground is limited by rapids. When we left the stream, a tramp through the forest or a row upon the lake awaited us. In this way the time passed quickly and pleasantly. All inconvenience was more than counternected with the St. Lawrence at Kingston by the Rideau canal. A still greater mission has been planned for the noble river, viz: to become a link in a great highway from the north-western settlements to the ocean. It would then be connected by cuttings with Lake Haron; vessels passing west up the Mattawa, thence by canal into Lake Nipissing, and thence by French River, into the waters of Georgian Bay.

This engineering achievement would shorten the distance by water, from Liverpool to the Lake Ports, 760 miles ; save a week in time; and probably reduce charges for insurance and freight. We hope that the plan will be carried out. We anticipate that this will be the route some day, from England to British Columbia; viz; from Liverpool by steam viâ the St. Lawrence and Ottawa, on through Lakes Huron and Superior to Fort William ; thence by a Northern Pacific Railroad, throngh the “fertile belt” to New Westminster. This however is all in the future.

The Ottawa with its feeders forms the means of transit for the largest lumber trade in the world. On the South bank, such streams as the Mattawa, Madawaska, South Nation aud Rideau ; on the North side, the Gatineau, the Rivières du Lièvre and du Moine, North Nation, Rouge and Assumption, contribute annually their cargoes of logs. The navigation has been greatly improvedespecially for timber—by the construction of dams and slides, to facilitate its passage over rapids and falls.

I always think upon unkempt, frolicsome River Grand with delight. I am never weary of calling to mind its foaming cascades and forest-hemmed shores. No tale of adventure in their dar calling voyageurs and lumberers tell

odt

[graphic]
« 上一頁繼續 »