Welcome to the Gatineau Valley Historical Society

Founded in 1962, the Gatineau Valley Historical Society promotes matters of historical or heritage significance in the general area of the Gatineau Valley in Quebec. Browse this site for news on our upcoming events and publications. Access our content-rich resources including newspaper and other articles on local history, historic photos, maps and oral history.

The GVHS archives in the lower level of the Chelsea Library are open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment.

See current GVHS Newsletter Number 2014 - 01, January 2014

Coming Events

Lost Landscapes - Up the Gatineau! with Google Earth
Lost Landscapes Tuesday April 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm *Note change of day
The Wakefield Centre, 38, ch. Valley, Wakefield, QC
Join us as the GVHS marks Earth Day with an historical virtual tour up the Gatineau River.
Society President, Marc Cockburn, will take us on multi-media voyage from Hull up to Low and beyond, using Google Earth and archival photos and maps to reconstruct how the river's landscape looked before much of its natural and built environment was flooded in 1927.

GVHS Annual Awards Dinner
Tuesday May 20, 2014
Details to follow.

Alcove Excursion
Saturday June 14, 2014
Details to follow.

Other News

Cascades Club Dinner and Movie
Friday, March 28 at 7pm
Cascades Club, 100 ch de la Rivière, Chelsea, QC

$20/person, $10 children under 10 (this is a fundraising event for a new projector for the Club).
Following dinner, Duncan Marshall and Wayne Anderson will be showing their Video taken from a helicopter following the steam train along the Gatineau River and a slide show of some of Duncan's favourite shots of Chelsea and La Pêche from the air.
Contact gillianrowlands@gmail.com to confirm so we have an idea of numbers.

Top 40 Movers and Shakers of the Hills
The GVHS is proud to note that three members of its current board are included in the "top 40 movers and shakers of the hills" as recently rated in an informal poll by The Low Down to Hull and Back News and posted it it's Special 40th Anniversary Edition. Congratulations to President Marc Cockburn, Past President Carol Martin and Director Shirley Brown, numbers 11, 12 and 35 respectively, and the 21 other Society members recognized on this list for their service and efforts to the wider community.

Community volunteers lend a helping hand to enhance the entrance to the Old Chelsea Protestant Burial Ground

This September (2013), GVHS members Carol Martin and André Renaud, who are members of Chelsea's municipal cemetery committee, were given a small budget to improve landscaping at this cemetery. The volunteer landscapers who planned and carried this out are members of the Wakefield Walkers and the Gatineau Valley Gardeners: Dave Dunphy (who is also a GVHS member), Dan Paré, and John Udvarhelyi.
Dave, Dan and John designed and created two garden areas. Around the "historic site" sign at the entrance, they constructed a box, filled it with new topsoil, and planted three bright, blooming chrysanthemums. Along the path leading to the cemetery, at the information panels, they then built a dry stone wall and filled it with topsoil to create another small garden. This area will later contain some shade plants, mainly hostas, offered by local gardeners. We all worked to prune back some overgrown shrubbery and tree branches on the north side of the cemetery, as well.  P.S. We spent $235 and a few days. Many thanks to all!

Chelsea's Old Town Hall Plaque Unveiled

In July 2013 a plaque, saved from Chelsea's original town hall, was erected beside the entrance to the present Town Hall, with signage beside it giving the history of the community's three town halls. In November 2004, volunteers from the GVHS obtained permission from the Hendrick family to remove the plaque before the property where it was located was sold. They formed a work party to successfully cut it from the building, and it was then stored on municipal property until funds were committed to re-erect it as a monument.
GVHS members André Renaud and Carol Martin, members of Chelsea's Culture and Heritage Committee, worked with Ronald Rojas, Director of Recreation and Culture, Councillor Charlotte Laforest, and Mayor Caryl Green to realize the project.

New Publication of interest to GVHS members
Historic Churches of the Ottawa Valley by Alan H. Bentley - $25 - see press release.
The recently-published Historic Churches of the Ottawa Valley is Alan H. Bentley's illustrated account of many of the historic brick, stone, and wooden churches found in Ottawa and its surrounding communities. It's an interesting snapshot of the early beginnings of these churches.
The book can be purchased locally at the Earle Pub in Wakefield or can be ordered from Alan H Bentley at 51 Midland Crescent Ottawa ON K2H 8N2. He can be reached by email at alanbettybent@rogers.com. It's also available from the publisher, General Store Publishing House at www.gsph.com.

Recent Events

Editor and Publisher Nikki Mantell reminisces about "The Low Down to Hull and Back News"

On Monday October 21, 2013 about 75 Society members and friends attended a special anniversary talk and viewed an exhibit celebrating 40 years of reporting by the Gatineau Valley's English language weekly, The Low Down To Hull and Back News. Nikki Mantell, this family-owned newspaper's publisher and editor, addressed the crowd and took questions from the floor, which included a number of the paper's current and former staff, reporters and editors.

Re-visiting Rupert Village circa 1900
Rupert Forty-five GVHS members and friends met in the Rupert Community Centre to kick off the Rupert Tour. Linda Bardell supplied a number of historic photos from the Image Bank for display. Seven aerial photos from Duncan Marshall were added, some taken in the 1990s, and a "Then and Now" of a 1926 and 1985 aerial (the latter from RJ Hughes). All photo prints were donated to the Centre. Long-time Rupert residents, David Gibson and Ian Moore narrated the photo show before the tour started, which included stops at the Rupert United Church with Eileen Moore, then on to the site of the Methodist Church, the Rupert Union Cemetery and ending at the Reilly Cemetery with a presentation by Barbara Rielly. See photos on flickr.

Gatineau River Heritage Day Regatta on June 9, 2013

It was a warm sunny day when Friends of the Gatineau River (FOG) and the Cascades Club joined together for a family-oriented day of water activities at the shoreline in Cascades. Shirley McGlashan and Louise Schwartz manned a publication table with historic photos and publications, attracting much interest. GVHS Director RJ Hughes presented the Cascades Club with a custom poster of the historic photos of the Lost Village of Cascades in honour of their new boathouse, and provided a short history of the club to those in attendance. See photos on flickr.

Annual GVHS Dinner and Awards on May 27, 2013

Over 100 members and friends dined at the historic Wakefield Mill, to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the mill. Lynn Berthiaume, a Mill co-owner, was the after-dinner speaker. The evening also saw the release of the 2013 Up the Gatineau!, the 39th volume of the Society's local history journal. A number of Society members were honoured for their contributions to the Society, and commendations were presented to area organizations and individuals who have collaborated with the Society. See the full list of honours and awards and view photos on Flickr from the evening.

What Lies Beneath: Cantley before the great flood

On April 15, more than 110 people visited La Grange de la Gatineau to experience an amazing journey through time in talk held jointly with Cantley 1889. Marc Cockburn, GVHS president, used Google Earth and archival photos and maps to reconstruct how the river looked before much of its natural and built environment was flooded in 1927, with the construction of the hydro dams at Chelsea and Farmer's Rapids.

The Babbling River: The Gatineau Valley in Verse and Song with Phil Jenkins
Phil Jenkins On March 18, author and songwriter Phil Jenkins entertained GVHS members and friends in a special evening of poetry readings and songs, which he titled "The Babbling River: The Gatineau Valley in Verse and Song." See photos on flickr.

Talk on the Early Days of Skiing in Gatineau Park with Charles Hodgson

A keen crowd of about 75 members and friends packed the lower level of the Chelsea Library on February 18 2013 to hear guest speaker Charles Hodgson talk about early skiing in Gatineau Park. Charles' talk was complemented with a slideshow of historic skiing photos, early trail maps, and excerpts from early Ottawa Ski Club newsletters. There was a lively discussion with the audience, many of whom were skiing enthusiasts, including one former Trail Rider and another long time skier who recalled working as a youth in the 1940s at one of the many Park lodges. The talk was preceded by the Annual General Meeting and an Archives Open House.


See event archive for additional past events.

Browse images from Gatineau Valley Historical Society events

Want to contribute? Become a member? Contact us at info@gvhs.ca or any member of the GVHS Executive.