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Gatineau River Heritage Paddle: A Guide

Cascades (see Origin of Name and Claim to Fame below)

Select location on map below for more information or return to Guide menu.

  • North Rapid

    Site of Former North Rapid

    Levi Reid on his scow

    As one heads south, this is where the first of five rapids was found.

  • Green Rail line Shed

    Green Rail line Shed

    Once used to store the railway's small track cars, also known as "putt putts".

  • Site of "Grey Owl" Filming

    Site of "Grey Owl" Filming

    Site of Grey Owl Filming

    Behind the grey fence, portions of the 1999 Attenborough film "Grey Owl" starring Pierce Brosnan, about naturalist Archie Belaney, took place. A now-dismantled set with several buildings was constructed.

  • Union Church

    Union Church (now a private residence)

    Union Church

    The little white church with arched window and blue roof was used for church services on Sunday and as a schoolhouse from the late 1800s.

  • Peerless Rapids

    Site of the former Peerless Rapids

    Peerless Rapids

    This area was once treacherous, filled with rapids and rocks jutting out. After the flooding in 1926, the section known as the narrows denotes the area where the Gatineau Boom Company would string cables across the river to stop the logs from continuing down the river. The logs, which had been free floating from the Paugan dam to this point, were grouped into floating corrals, called booms. In this form, they would continue down to the Chelsea dam. On the east side of the river is Pike Bay.

  • Peerless Hotel

    Site of the former Peerless Hotel

    The Peerless Hotel

    The famous 4 story 30-room hotel was owned by the Wilson family and was built in the early 1890s. It was a popular spot housing a post office, telephone exchange and general store. The large brick structure was closed when the Gatineau River was flooded by the dams at Chelsea in 1927 and remained standing until the 1940s.

    A daughter of Alice Wilson, a church organist for 40 years at the Union Church (see above), recalls that after she and the other children went to bed at night, Alice would practise her hymns for Sunday. Through a stovepipe hole in the large dining room of the Peerless Hotel, the music and heat, wafted up to the bedroom above, where at least four of the younger children slept in wintertime.

  • Float Plane Tie Up

    Float Plane Tie Up

    Float Plane Tie Up
  • Log Boom House (now Cascades Club Dock)

    Site of former Boom House (where the Cascades Club dock is)

    Log Boom House

    In the post flooding period (after 1926) a boom house was located where the Cascades Club dock is now. The Cascades Club is now a thriving paddling club featuring dragon boat, kayak and sprint kayak programs for youth and masters paddlers. The club now sends local athletes to regattas across Canada and around the world.

  • Ramsay Point and McDiarmid heritage cottage

    Ramsay Point and McDiarmid cottage

    McDiarmid heritage cottage

    As one looks straight ahead, the white and red McDiarmid heritage cottage with turret is visible in the distance. On the south shore of Ramsay Bay, it overlooks the lost village of Cascades. This period cottage was built in 1875.

    Merriweather cottage

     

     

     

     

    Merriweather cottage

     

  • Jenness cottage

    Former cottage of Diamond Jenness (1886-1969) and "the Doll House"

    Jenness cottage

    One of Canada's greatest scientists and anthropologists, Diamond Jenness and his wife Eileen spent most of their married life in summer cottages in Chelsea. In 1930, they purchased some property at the northern tip of Ramsey Point and built a cottage, since replaced by later owners with a year-round residence. In 1937 a boathouse was added, located inside Ramsey Bay, which can be seen from the railroad. In 1950, they added a little cabin on a tiny slice of property north of Ramsey Point. It can be see hidden behind trees along the shore close to a rock cut on the rail line. Eileen Jenness used this as retreat where she could retire to read. She called it "the Doll House".

    In 1957, they decided to live year-round in Chelsea, build ing a home on Jenness Road further north in Cascades.

  • Jenness cottage

    Jenness cottage

    Jenness cottage

  • Tollgate #3

    Site of the former Tollgate #3 on the old macadamized road

    Tollgate #3

    Now underwater, Tollgate #3 existed until the hydroelectric project of 1926 flooded the macadamized road which had been built in 1896. The first tollgate was in Wrightville (now part of Gatineau (Hull)), and the second was at Chelsea. The amount of the toll was based on the number of horses and the type of vehicle - express or wagons.

  • Gilmour log storage

    Site of the former Gilmour log storage

    Logging at Cascades

    Originally used to store logs for the Gilmour Mills. The Gatineau Boom Company operated a steam jenny in the middle of the river. Apparently, the steam jenny created power for an engine used to winch the thick cables used to hold back the large log jams until the sawmills at Chelsea were in need of them. As a side benefit, it might have been used for other practical purposes, perhaps boiling water for tea, warming up at lunch time, drying wet boots and clothing during the cold season and may have even had a whistle for an S.O.S.

  • Lost village of Cascades

    Lost village of Cascades

    Lost village of Cascades

  • Gilmour log storage

    Site of the former Gilmour log storage

    Logging at Cascades

    Originally used to store logs for the Gilmour Mills. The Gatineau Boom Company operated a steam jenny in the middle of the river. Apparently, the steam jenny created power for an engine used to winch the thick cables used to hold back the large log jams until the sawmills at Chelsea were in need of them. As a side benefit, it might have been used for other practical purposes, perhaps boiling water for tea, warming up at lunch time, drying wet boots and clothing during the cold season and may have even had a whistle for an S.O.S.

  • South Rapids

    Site of Former South Rapid

    At this point, one comes to the final of five rapids that comprised the Cascades Rapids.

  • Old steam jenny

    Site of the former Gilmour log storage

    Logging at Cascades

    Originally used to store logs for the Gilmour Mills. The Gatineau Boom Company operated a steam jenny in the middle of the river. Apparently, the steam jenny created power for an engine used to winch the thick cables used to hold back the large log jams until the sawmills at Chelsea were in need of them. As a side benefit, it might have been used for other practical purposes, perhaps boiling water for tea, warming up at lunch time, drying wet boots and clothing during the cold season and may have even had a whistle for an S.O.S.

Cascades

Origin of Name
Named after its five cascades or rapids, with a fall of 7.5 feet.

Claim to Fame
Nicknamed the "lost village of Cascades" because of the impact of the flooding of the Gatineau River in 1926-27.
It is home to the Cascades Social and Sports Club, a recreational community club established in 1920.