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Valley Lives - Earnie - Valley Voices Mahoney

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the May 06, 2009 issue. Reprinted with permission.

His pen left indelible mark on Gatineau Hills

by Chris Holloway

When I first came back to the Gatineau Hills in 1987, I met Ernie Mahoney at the Buckingham office of the West Quebec Post. He had recently taken over stewardship of the Post's Wakefield office and by then had well honed his journalistic flare through his work at the Low Down. I was new at the Post and at the time was assigned to cover meetings of the Aylmer council.

Ernie even then was easy going. And generally speaking, nothing really ruffled him. There is a certain air about people who make in their life's calling, a desire to observe, analyze and record the daily life of people in the community that inspires them.

There is certain ease, a profound understanding, a willingness to communicate and certain adeptness at writing mounds upon mounds of script. Ernie was one of these people.

Journalism, more than anything, is a reflection of events around us and Ernie served as a classic representation of the people who aspire to record and write.

I remember him on several occasions sitting around the journalists' table at La Peche council meetings. While there, and in several other venues, Ernie would be there with his camera and a pen. His objective would not always be to comment on the events around him, but merely in a balanced way, to reflect those events as they occurred. This was Ernie's consistency.

Ernie was a sailor. He started out on Y-Flyers and later graduated to a Tanzer... Most sailors eventually at some stage, learn to navigate the elements and at the same time develop the patience thai it takes to move the boat forward while dancing with the winds and the waters. Ernie was one of these people.

In his sailing and his writing and in his love for animals and the nature of things, Ernie Mahoney intertwined himself into the remarkable history of these Gatineau Hills. His spirit over the course of his lifetime of writing largely made the history of what we have in the Hills today.

It was Ernie who recorded developments of the Steam Train, the operation of the many bars in the logging era, the construction of the Comet, the eight-sided house in Farm Point, and the hotel that once stood on an island in the middle of the Gatineau River.

Ernie's own interest in the evolution of people and places in the Gatineau Hills largely made our life in the hills what it is today. His reflections and observations in the Low Down, the Post, and Up the Gatineau, will forever bear his indelible mark. And I for one will miss his greatness and his warmth.


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