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The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the May 28, 2014 issue. Reprinted with permission.

History lovers rejoice: Up the Gatineau! celebrates 40th birthday

by Anastasia Philopoulos

Ruth Laura Parson was only 16 in 1886 when she accompanied her father on a business trip from Ottawa to Maniwaki by carriage. Her six-day, 270 km adventure was luckily captured in a diary she kept for school and is the subject of Helen. E Parson's chapter in the Gatineau Valley Historical Society's (GVHS) newest volume of 'Up the Gatineau!'.

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The five story contributors for this year's Up the Gatineau! (from left to right): Frances Curry, Margaret Phillips, Carol Martin, Romola Thumbadoo and Helen Parson. Photo courtesy Adrienne Herron.

"It's sort of a jewel of a journal in my opinion. I'm a bit biased, of course," said editor-inchief Louise Schwartz.

This year is special for the journal, as it is celebrating its 40th edition. The theme is the Gatineau River, which Schwartz credits as a historic point of connection for the area.

"Many settlers came here because of the Gatineau River, the fertile farm lands, the history of logging, even cottagers who came later. People have deep roots in the river and it's all about strengthening that collective memory and passing it from one generation to the next."

This year's edition was unveiled at the GVHS annual awards dinner, held on May 20 at Camp Fortune. The dinner brings together members of the community who have contribued over the past year to the organization's mandate to preserve and promote Gatineau Valley history.

Volume 40 includes five stories centered in one way or another on the river. Parson's story about her great aunt's trek to Maniwaki is, in fact, the second chapter that finds its roots in a teenage girl's diary. Other chapters include stories about Algonquin elder William Commanda, Chelsea Island, and the creation of a Cantley waterfront property, home to La Grange. Two poetry selections are also included in this edition, something editor Schwartz decided to introduce a few years ago.

Every year the journal is put together by a large team of volunteers who handle editing, photos, indexing, and cover design. "It's a massive exercise each year, but I think it's worth it," Schwartz said. Hundreds of authors have contributed over the many editions and Schwartz says GVHS is always looking for more (although space is currently booked up until 2017).

'Up the Gatineau!' will soon be available in a number of locations across various municipalities, including the M&R Dépanneur in Chelsea and the Wakefield General Store. Copies cost $10 each and Schwartz adds that interested history buffs can request previous editions. For more information visit gvhs.ca.

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