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The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the June 09, 2004 issue. Reprinted with permission.

'Up the Gatineau' hits 'hot' topic

by By Bob Mellor

It may be coincidental, but the 30th annual edition of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society's "Up The Gatineau", now on the newsstands this week, has hit on a "hot" and current topic.

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Volume 30 of Up the Gatineaul features the late Bob Philips, of Cantley. Philips was a former president of the GVHS, weekly newspaper publisher and proponent af the Gatineau River.

The annual publication, which deals with stories and anecdotal material from the earliest days af the Gatineau's histoy, includes the stoy of how uranium was discovered in the Hills, and where the packets are.

This is topically significant because of the recent discovery of uranium and radon gas in many af the wells being tested in Chelsea.

A stoy by Donald D. Hogarth details how the radioactive pockets were discovered in the early part of the century by Morley E. Wilson, of the Geological Survey of Canada. He called them the "Buckingham volcanics".

The pockets stretch from Buckingham to Meech Lake along a fault line.


Many of them, in Gatineau Park, weren't discovered until the 1950's when Harry H. Harris, a part-time prospector uncovered them during the Uranium Rush of that time but they were never mined because the uranium content was too low.

As has come to be expected in these annual editions, the stories cover a broad range. There's a heartfelt tribute to Bob Phillips, the late author, publisher, historian and former president of the GVHC.

At the other end of the spectrum is a delightful yarn by Preston Wilsan abaut one-armed bandits in the Gatineau Hills, and the ploys that were used to keep them from being seized by the provincial police.

There's a history of the Healeys of Harrington Lake, the family who owned the farm that eventually became the summer residence of many prime ministers. Stan Healey, who died in 1989, stayed on to become the caretaker and fishing guide for Pearson, Diefenbaker and Joe Clark.

Newcomers and old-timers alike will enjoy this collection of Gatineau Hills memories, assembled and edited by Carol Martin.

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