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The Way We Were

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the February 29, 2012 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Backtracking old Ottawa Ski Club newsletters

foreword by Charles Hodgson

The Ottawa Ski Club (OSC) was officially organized in 1910 but, alas, ran into financial difficulties in the late 1980s and folded. I've assembled a collection of old OSC newsletters covering 1921 up to 1974 from various sources, including the Ottawa Ski Museum and the City of Ottawa Archives. Here are some selected excerpts. Enjoy browsing the full set at guidegatineau.ca/ottawa-ski-club-archive.

Trip to Pink Lake for the inauguration of the Pink Lake Lodge. This lodge is on the Kingsmere-Ottawa trail. It may be reached by the Mountain Road or via Kingsmere. A short and easy trip; no difficult hills. Distance from Kingsmere 3 miles; distance from car terminus 4 miles. Join the skiers at (1) the Central Station for the 9 a.m. train if you want to go to Kingsmere, (2) at the Hull Electric Station (foot of Chateau Laurier) at 9:30 a.m. if you want to go to Mountain Road.

The Way We Were
The ski lodge at Camp Fortune in 1931. This lodge was later destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Society.

On Saturday, January 16, trip across Kingsmere mountain from Kingsmere to Tenaga [sic] where the skiers will be received at Mrs. Dickson's cottage. Distance 6 miles. Half way stop for lunch at Camp Fortune. Only one climb (Murphy's hill). Splendid down slopes. Good bush trail all the way. This is a much easier trip than the trip from Kirk's Ferry to Camp Fortune. Bring a lunch for dinner and supper. Take Gatineau train at 9 a.m. for Chelsea at Central Station and drive from Chelsea to Kingsmere (25¢).

Members using lodges at Pink Lake or Camp Fortune are requested to sweep the floor and wash the dishes before leaving. Our maids are on strike. Please do not leave water in the pails as it freezes and bursts the seams.

First party going to Camp Fortune must bring tea and sugar, if they use the 'dope', as stocks are exhausted.

Ladies going on evening hikes are requested to make sure that their fittings are in good order before leaving home. Fixing fittings in the dark is not satisfactory.

We are informed by the medical authorities that unvaccinated skiers will not be allowed to proceed further than Chelsea. There are no unvaccinated skiers, however, in the Ottawa Ski Club, and no one wants to go further than Chelsea anyhow.

Ironsides may be reached two ways (1) the Chelsea Road; (2) through the field (splendid trail). Skiers going through the fields must pass through the openings that have been provided for this purpose in the fences and that are blazed and marked. They must not, on any account, pass through, under or over any fence. This is the agreement entered into with the farmers, and under which fences have been opened. The club is honour bound to respect it. Failure to do so will entail the loss of skiing rights forever. Any skier going over a fence will do the club the greatest injury he can do.

What badge are you wearing? This year's (1921-22) or last year's (1920-21)? Be careful. Old badges are unlucky. They make you fall. Get a new one. It will cost you your membership fee, which the club needs.

A roomy cottage, back of Wm. Murphy's place at Kingsmere has been rented for the winter season. Skiers driving up from the station may use it to get warmed up before starting.

The trip to Low will be arranged sometime in February, on the invitation of our Mr. McCaffrey, now located there. Splendid skiing. Wonderful scenery at the Paugan Falls.

John Hendrick's rigs at Chelsea are reserved for our members (half rates). Show your badge and take a seat. Mr. Hendrick has received instructions to take only red badges.

Mrs. Dickson is blazing a new trail from Cascades to Tenaga this weekend. Will report in next circular

The Kingsmere Lodge under Mrs. Wattsford will receive for 25¢ a head a limited number of skiers coming from Chelsea on Sunday and desiring to get warm before starting out in the mountains. Tea or bouillon will be provided. The police called at our office yesterday to inquire about members in arrears. Told them "we did not have none". Said they would call again and look through our books. Pretty serious to be in arrears. Get busy. We can't shield you forever.

Charles Hodgson loves the old cross-country ski trails and is creator of www.guidegatineau.ca.


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