The Gatineau Valley Historical Society promotes matters of historical or heritage significance in the general area of the Gatineau Valley in west Quebec.

Pat Evans Archives, located in the lower level of Chelsea Library, is open from 1:30 to 3:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays - see hours and location.

New to the GVHS

2016 Auction Report
Summary of the 2016 Annual Auction, Silent Auction and Bake Sale.

Up the Gatineau!
Volume 42

Released in May 2016, this volume contains 9 articles and 1 poem - from research-based to memoir style. Available to order or pick up at several local retailers.

Wes Darou
wins the Arthur Davison Prize for best article "Cantley’s Iron Mine: A Moving Exploration" in Volume 41, Up the Gatineau!.

GVHS Awards
See list of awards presented at the Annual Dinner & Awards Evening.

Up the Gatineau!
index for all 42 volumes

a comprehensive 126 page local reference guide available online or to order.

Following Florence by
W. C. (Bill) Allen

published in Up the Gatineau!
Volume 42
is now available online.

Membership payments
can now be made with PayPal.

See current GVHS Newsletter

Coming Events

La Famille Alexander et la « Meech Lake House »
par Michel Lemaire

Meech Lake House
Le lundi 24 octobre 2016, à 19h30
Bibliothèque de Chelsea,
100 ch. Old Chelsea, Chelsea

Durant la première moitié du XXe siècle, une auberge attirait les visiteurs au lac Meech. Propriété de Thomas Cowden, la «Meech Lake House» fut exploitée par Andrew Alexander et son épouse entre 1914 et 1918. Les Alexander étaient une famille bien connue des résidents du lac. La «Meech Lake House» sera vendue au riche industriel Ambrose O’Brien puis à la Commission de la Capitale nationale qui la fera raser. Mais où était située cette auberge? Plus personne ne le sait.
La présentation sera en français, mais M. Lemaire sera heureux de répondre aux questions en français ou en anglais.

This talk is part of our French series.
The Alexander Family and Meech Lake House
with guest speaker Michel Lemaire
Monday, October 24, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.
Chelsea Library, 100 Old Chelsea Rd., Chelsea

In the first half of the 20th century, there was a popular inn at Meech Lake. Known as Meech Lake House, it was owned by Thomas Cowden and operated for some years by Andrew Alexander and his wife. In 1930, the inn was sold to Ambrose O’Brien, a wealthy industrialist, and in 1970 to the National Capital Commission, who levelled it. Where did this inn once stand? Few people know, and speaker Michel Lemaire will reveal the results of his research into this mystery.
This presentation will be in French, but Mr. Lemaire will be happy to answer questions in English or French.

"All the Things Never Done—The Last Days and Final Sacrifice of David Rouleau"

Monday November 14, 2016,
Talk starts at 7:30 pm
Wakefield Library, Centre Wakefield La Pêche
38 Valley Drive Wakefield, Quebec

The Society welcomes back Dave O’Malley from Vintage Wings of Canada for a special talk during Remembrance Day week. The subject of his talk is the story of David Francis Gaston Rouleau, a member of the RCAF killed in action at the age of 23 during the Second World War. As a result of the meticulous research undertaken by Dave O’Malley, he was able to reconstruct the short military life of David Rouleau—from his flying training up to the last week of his life. The Rouleau family had many connections to both Chelsea and Wakefield, and local historian Norma Geggie has written about one element of this fascinating story in “David Rouleau’s Flight Jacket,” in Volume 36 of Up the Gatineau! An evening not to be missed!

Remembrance Day Ceremony

Friday, November 11, 2016 at 10:30 am
Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery and Cenotaph,
587 Route 105, Chelsea

At the graveside of Private Richard Rowland Thompson the only Canadian to receive the prestigious “Queen’s scarf”.

Cérémonie du jour du Souvenir
Le vendredi 11 Novembre 2016. 10:30
Cimetière Pioneer et cénotaphede Chelsea,
587 Route 105, Chelsea

À la tombe du soldat Richard Rowland Thompson le seul Canadien à recevoir le prestigieux " Queen’s scarf ".

Other Events

The “Lost Villages” of Chelsea

Lost Villages
New Gatineau Valley Historical Society Exhibit
At the Chelsea Library (to October 27)
In 2016, a number of local non-profit community groups from the Gatineau Hills came together to present River Pride major arts and recreational events in La Pêche, Cantley and Chelsea. The objective was to put the spotlight on our love affair with the Gatineau River, its historical significance and continued relevance to our daily lives.
This exhibit of three panels was created for River Pride. The panels were sponsored by the Gatineau Valley Historical Society and created by its long-time president, Marc Cockburn. After an initial exhibition at the Chelsea Library (to October 27) the panels will be rotated for display at other various locations.
These “lost villages” panels highlight life along the river in the first part of the last century in three specific communities - Chelsea Island, once accessible at the end of Mill Road, and the once-thriving waterfront villages of Kirk’s Ferry and Cascades. In 1926-1927, the massive hydro-electric project of the Gatineau Power Company dramatically raised the water level of the Gatineau River and changed the waterfront landscape and river forever. A dam and power plant now squat on Chelsea Island and the core of the villages of Kirk’s Ferry and Cascades were essentially submerged, giving rise to the expression “lost villages”.

See also article "Memories flood back: Stories of the River" in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the September 14, 2016 issue.

Past Events

British Home Children in Western Quebec
Held at the Mill Road Community Space in Chelsea on Monday, October 17, 2016.
It was a full house last night at Mill Road Community Space to hear Gloria Tubman share her research on tracing British Home Children.

See also article "GVHS sheds light on legacy of 100K displaced children" in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the October 12, 2016 issue.

GVHS at NCC’s annual Fall Rhapsody
On October 2, GVHS volunteers showcased historic photos of the area and an array of publications at a "picnic" organized by the Municipality of Chelsea, in conjunction with the NCC’s annual Fall Rhapsody. Despite damp weather, about a hundred visitors stopped at our site overlooking the covered bridge to join in activities that included kite-flying, music, and information about history, plants and animals of the area.

See event archive for additional past events.

New Publications of Local Interest

Works by Florence Helena McGillivray
A Collection of Works by Florence Helena McGillivray by Bill Allen $120.
A large, high quality coffee-table style book with hundreds of images of oil and water colour paintings and other forms of art created by Whitby artist, Florence Helena McGillivray (1864-1938) in the early 20th century. With two sisters living in Wakefield, Florence visited the Gatineau Valley frequently, and made it the subject of many paintings. Printed in limited edition, the book is available from the Society. Bill Allen who gathered this collection of images also contributed an article on Florence in the latest volume of Up the Gatineau! and was guest speaker in May 2016 at our annual awards dinner.

Your Help is Needed!
Toronto author Bill Allen is continuing his quest to identify the Gatineau Valley locations of several dozen sketches, drawings and paintings by Canadian landscape artist Florence McGillivray. These were painted during her visits to the Gatineau region from 1915 to 1935. He would be interested in any insights from GVHS members and is hoping to return to our area soon to photograph as many locations as possible. He has left a folder in the GVHS archives in the Chelsea Library for public consultation. Please feel free to drop by during our office hours on Monday and Wednesday afternoons or he can be contacted directly at wca55@sympatico.ca. See some selected images.

Touring Historic Wakefield
Touring Historic Wakefield by Norma Geggie for $22. Contact publications@gvhs.ca for information or ordering.

The Last of the Wild Rivers
The Last of the Wild Rivers: The Past, Present, and Future of the Rivière du Moine Watershed by Wallace Schaber for $30 plus shipping (softcover 8.5"x 8.5", 248 pages with over sixty photos and maps).
This is the story of the Du Moine River Valley in Western Quebec, the last of the undammed Quebec tributaries flowing into the historic Ottawa River. As a guide and founding partner in Trailhead and Black Feather Wilderness Adventures, the author (and resident of Chelsea) has been taking clients down the Du Moine for nearly half a century. Over that time he gathered local stories and researched the history of the watershed.
The book is available directly from the author beginning December 15. He can be reached at dumoineriver@primus.ca.

Reflections of the Past
Low Municipality - Reflections of the Past
by Don Kealey
Please note, that the request for orders for purchase of “Low Municipality – Reflections of the Past” have now closed. Don Kealey wishes to thank all those who have shown support and interest in the book.

Copies of the book are available for reading at the following locations:
  • Low Municipal Library (Low, Quebec)
  • Gatineau Valley Historical Association Library (in GVHS archives)
  • Archives Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)
  • Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Quebec (Gatineau and Montreal, Quebec
  • City of Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa
  • Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, Ottawa, Ontario

See event archive for past events.