GVHS Logo

Places - Towns, Villages and Municipalities

Tenpenny Commons

Historical Snapshots
Instantanés historiques

Original document in PDF format 40.9 MB

Tenpenny Commons
Jimmy Tenpenny and house (1956) | En couverture : Jimmy Tenpenny et la maison (1956)

Marie-Jeanne Musiol
Maureen Kitts Amey

This new contribution to the Tenpenny Commons, initiated in 2015 with the Forest and Flora publication, broadly outlines through the voice of several individuals how the small cottage community on Lake Tenpenny was established and what vision has been informing its growth to this day. Enjoy the walk in time!

© 2022 Marie-Jeanne Musiol and Maureen Kitts Amey All rights reserved. This document is published by the Tenpenny Lake Owners Association for the use of its members. It may be reproduced and printed with permission of the authors. Introduction, editing, coordination and photos (unless otherwise indicated) by Marie-Jeanne Musiol | Interviews by Maureen Kitts Amey | Design by Moira White

Ce nouvel apport aux Tenpenny Commons, lancés en 2015 avec la publication Forêt et flore, esquisse à l’aide de plusieurs témoignages individuels les origines de la petite communauté de vacanciers sur le lac Tenpenny et la vision ayant guidé son évolution jusqu’à présent. Promenez-vous dans le temps !

© 2022 Marie-Jeanne Musiol et Maureen Kitts Amey Tous droits réservés. Ce document est publié par l’Association des propriétaires du lac Tenpenny à l’intention de ses membres. Il peut être reproduit et imprimé avec l’autorisation des auteures. Introduction, édition, coordination et photos (à moins d’indication contraire) par Marie-Jeanne Musiol | Entrevues par Maureen Kitts Amey | Conception par Moira White

Table of contents | Table des matières

  1. A Brief Historical Overview of the Early Years at Lake Tenpenny | by Marie-Jeanne Musiol | Un bref aperçu historique des premières années au lac Tenpenny | par Marie-Jeanne Musiol
  2. Edith Tenpenny: Reminiscences of Tenpenny Farm and Area | by Maureen Kitts Amey
  3. Early Cottage Lore: Interviews | by Maureen Kitts Amey
    1. Hamilton Quain
    2. Dorothy Rowat
    3. Benny Smith
    4. Eleanor and Ramsay Cook
    5. Doug Hill
  4. O Canada at the Cottage | by Ramsay Cook (The Globe and Mail, July 1, 2004)
  5. Early Water Testing - 1946 Document | Analyse d’eau initiale - Document de 1946
  6. Références complémentaires | Additional Resources
  7. Archival Photos | Photos d’archives

Supplementary documents:

  • Forest and Flora 13.3 MB - Forest and Flora of Lake Tenpenny.
  • Surficial Geology 11.5 MB - The geological history and surficial geology of the area surrounding Lake Tenpenny.
  • Water Testing Results 2 MB - Water quality from the testing of Lake Tenpenny in 2021 (en français).

A Brief Historical Overview of the Early Years at Lake Tenpenny

by Marie-Jeanne Musiol

Un bref aperçu historique des premières années au lac Tenpenny

par Marie-Jeanne Musiol

Tenpenny Commons
View of Tenpenny farmstead near gate (1967) | Vue de la ferme Tenpenny près de la barrière (1967)

Although recent 19th century colonization seems to offer a convenient starting point for a quick overview of the lake area’s development, millennial occupation of the Outaouais region by the Anishinabeg (Algonquin) people had been extensive. It was predicated on groups gathering near rivers in the summer and nomadizing on the territory year round to fish and hunt. In the 1800s as forestry, agriculture and mining expanded in the region, the Anishinabeg retreated further north where the Kitigan Zibi reserve was created in 1853.

Bien que la colonisation récente au 19e siècle semble offrir un point de départ commode pour brosser un aperçu rapide du développement des environs du lac Tenpenny, l’occupation millénaire de la région de l’Outaouais par les Anishinabeg (Algonquins) avait déjà été continue. Elle s’articulait autour de rassemblements l’été près des rivières et de nomadisation à l’année pour pêcher et chasser sur tout le territoire. Au cours des années 1800, alors que la sylviculture, l’agriculture et l’exploration minière se développent dans la région, les Anishinabeg se retirent plus au nord vers la réserve de Kitigan Zibi créée en 1853.

Tenpenny Commons
View of Tenpenny farmstead (date unknown) | Vue de la ferme Tenpenny et de ses dépendances (date inconnue)

In the early 1830s, Colonel By rewarded one of his lieutenants, Colonel Cantley, with some “Crown” lands to develop east of the Gatineau River. Concessions for agricultural activities were granted to settlers, many of them Irish, and the Tenpenny brothers who had emigrated mid-century from Ireland eventually bought lots, establishing themselves on what became known as the Tenpenny farm (Wilson’s Corner).

The original farm encompassed the lake and land around it. As can be seen in older photographs, the former farmhouse, barn and sheds were located mainly near the actual gate entrance.

Au début des années 1830, le colonel By récompense l’un de ses lieutenants, le colonel Cantley, avec des terres de la « Couronne » ouvertes au développement à l’est de la rivière Gatineau. Des concessions pour les activités agricoles sont accordées aux colons, dont plusieurs sont irlandais, et les frères Tenpenny qui ont émigré d’Irlande au milieu du siècle achètent éventuellement des lots pour s’établir sur ce qui deviendra la ferme Tenpenny (Wilson’s Corner).

La ferme d’origine englobait alors le lac et les terres qui l’entouraient. On peut voir sur les photos d’époque la maison, la grange et les bâtiments annexes qui étaient localisés près de la barrière actuelle.

Tenpenny Commons
Remnants of old fieldstone wall | Vestiges de mur en pierre des champs
Tenpenny Commons
Remnants of wall | Vestiges de mur

The farmhouse burned down sometime after 1975, but remnants of a long old stone wall on lot 344 testify to the former presence of fields now overtaken by vegetation. Similarly, stumps of large white pines harvested in the area for lumber and hauled out during the winter can still be spotted on properties around the lake one hundred years later.

The name Tenpenny itself is a source of interesting spellings that have variously been used on local road signs, maps and tombstones: Tenpeny, Tenpenny, Tempeny, Tempenny, Tempeney. Several headstones in the cemetery of Église Ste-Élisabeth in Cantley highlight this indiscriminate use. The road sign at the Hwy 307 turnoff used to post directions to Tempenny Lake, picked up by Google Maps as well.

Cette maison a brûlé après 1975 mais les vestiges d’un ancien mur de pierre sur le lot n° 344 attestent de la présence de champs autrefois cultivés et maintenant recouverts de végétation. Les souches des grands pins blancs, abattus sur le terrain pour servir de bois de charpente et sortis de la forêt l’hiver, peuvent encore être aperçues cent ans plus tard sur les propriétés autour du lac.

Le nom Tenpenny lui-même a donné lieu à des orthographes variées sur les panneaux routiers, les cartes géographiques et les monuments funéraires locaux : Tenpeny, Tenpenny, Tempeny, Tempenny, Tempeney. Plusieurs tombes dans le cimetière de l’église Ste-Élisabeth à Cantley attestent d’ailleurs de ces utilisations libres. Le panneau de signalisation à l’intersection de la route 307 a longtemps annoncé la direction vers le lac Tempenny, reprise également sur les cartes Google.

Tenpenny Commons
Road sign at Hwy 307 turnoff | Panneau de signalisation sur la route 307
Tenpenny Commons

Tenpenny Commons
Tenpeny headstones at the cemetery of Ste-Élisabeth | Pierres tombales au cimetière Ste-Élisabeth

Hamilton Quain and Lake Tenpenny: a prescient developer

The planner behind the acquisition of the Tenpenny farm lands and the creation of property lots on Tenpenny Lake was Hamilton Quain. His vision for developing the lake was decidedly ahead of its time and focused on environmental protection.

In 1961, H. Quain purchased approximately two hundred acres around Lake Tenpenny: one hundred acres consisted of the original farmstead with a provision for James Tenpenny, the last descendant owner, to use the house until his death; another adjacent lot bought from William Tubman’s estate of Ottawa completed the assembly of the lake “domain” as we know it today.

Hamilton Quain et le lac Tenpenny : un développeur voyant loin

L’homme d’affaires ayant fait l’acquisition des terres agricoles de la ferme Tenpenny pour créer des lots autour du lac Tenpenny se nommait Hamilton Quain. Sa vision de l’aménagement du lac était en avance sur son temps et axée sur la protection de l’environnement.

En 1961, H. Quain achète environ deux cents acres autour du lac Tenpenny : cent acres de la ferme d’origine avec une clause permettant à James Tenpenny, le dernier descendant propriétaire, d’utiliser la maison jusqu’à sa mort et un lot adjacent appartenant à la succession William Tubman d’Ottawa - ce qui lui permet d’assembler le « domaine » du lac tel que nous le connaissons aujourd’hui.

Tenpenny Commons
Stump of large white pine | Souche de grand pin blanc

H. Quain parcelled out large lots that were sold under his company name Timberlake Construction Limited with the stipulation that structures had to stand back from the water and that no motorboats were allowed. A requirement in the deeds was included for the creation of an association that would also own the lake bottom, still a rare occurrence in Quebec today (see Maureen K. Amey’s interview of Hamilton Quain on page 21).

An extensive list of common and specific Servitudes and Restrictions was drawn up that burden each property to this day. Taken as a whole, the servitudes provide a comprehensive framework to lessen the impact of human presence on the environment. The elaborate structure of Building Lots, Associated Lots, Associated Properties and Common Properties designed by H. Quain was intended to minimize the environmental footprint, allowing every property owner to have access to the lake either through their own property or through a right of way to the beach.

H. Quain délimite alors de grands lots qui sont vendus sous le nom de sa société Timberlake Construction Limited, avec la stipulation que les structures doivent être en retrait du lac et qu’aucun bateau à moteur n’y est autorisé. Les actes de vente prévoient aussi la création d’une association qui sera propriétaire du fond du lac, encore une rareté au Québec aujourd’hui (voir l’entrevue de Maureen K. Amey avec Hamilton Quain à la page 21).

Une longue liste commune de Servitudes and Restrictions spécifiques est dressée qui grève encore aujourd’hui chaque propriété. Prises dans leur ensemble, les servitudes fournissent un cadre cohérent pour réduire l’impact de la présence humaine sur l’environnement. Une structure élaborée de Lots à bâtir, Lots associés, Propriétés associées et Propriétés communes conçue par H. Quain cherche à minimiser l’empreinte écologique en donnant à chaque propriétaire accès au lac soit par sa propriété, soit par un droit de passage vers la rive.

The developer’s overall vision is best captured by the following assertion in the servitudes for Associated Lots: “The buyer... agrees that he will not do anything which will be contrary to the principle of keeping the general area as natural, rustic and unspoilt as possible.” This initial blueprint continues to inspire and guide the Tenpenny Lake Owners’ Association (the TLOA incorporated in 1975) and individual owners in their stewardship of the lake’s natural setting for the benefit of all.

Early cottage life, lasting community spirit

Lucky buyers of initial lots divided up by H. Quain were tasked with building a permanent structure within two years of purchase as shelters like trailers were not allowed on properties. This led to the quick establishment of cottages on the lake.

La vision globale du promoteur est bien rendue par l’affirmation suivante qui figure dans les servitudes pour les Lots associés : « L’acheteur... s’engage à ne rien faire qui soit contraire au principe consistant à garder l’ensemble aussi naturel, rustique et intact que possible. » Ce plan initial continue d’inspirer et de guider l’Association des propriétaires du lac Tenpenny (l’APLT incorporée en 1975) et les propriétaires individuels dans leur gestion du cadre naturel du lac pour le bénéfice de tous.

Débuts de la vie de chalet, esprit communautaire durable

Les heureux acheteurs des premiers lots créés par H. Quain s’engagent à construire une structure permanente dans les deux ans suivant l’achat, les abris comme les remorques n’étant pas autorisés sur les propriétés. Cela favorise la construction rapide de chalets sur le lac.

Tenpenny Commons
View of Lake Tenpenny, protected to this day | Vue du lac Tenpenny, qui demeure protégé à ce jour (Photo: Moira White)

Early and enduring friendships developed within the emerging community. A tennis court was created on common property; volunteer crews saw to the creation of the first stable roadbed and its maintenance, and to many other tasks. Potluck suppers, activities and Canada Day celebrations were highlights as vacationers could spend one or two summer months with children at the lake. Socialization was a way of life that several long-time owners still remember fondly.

Busy schedules and proximity to the city with the enticement of shorter stays have somewhat altered the former cottage lifestyle. Old telephone landlines have been superseded by internet access. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced new possibilities with the cottage becoming for many an alternative office/working space, thus extending home options.

Des amitiés de première heure durables se développent au sein de la communauté émergente. Un court de tennis est installé sur une propriété commune ; des équipes de bénévoles stabilisent le lit de la route, l’entretiennent et s’affairent à de nombreuses autres tâches. Les repas-partage, les activités et les célébrations de la fête du Canada sont des moments forts alors que les vacanciers passent un ou deux mois d’été avec les enfants au lac. Socialiser est un mode de vie dont plusieurs propriétaires de longue date se souviennent encore avec bonheur.

Des horaires chargés, la proximité de la ville et l’attrait de séjours plus courts ont quelque peu modifié l’ancien style de vie au lac. Les lignes de téléphone fixes ont été remplacées par l’accès à l’internet. La pandémie de la Covid-19 a ouvert de nouvelles possibilités, le chalet se transformant pour plusieurs en espace de travail alternatif, élargissant ainsi les options du travail à la maison.

Tenpenny Commons
Tenpenny has had a ban on motorboats since the beginning | Les bateaux à moteur sur le lac Tenpenny sont interdits depuis le début (Photo: Moira White)

The present spirit however remains predicated on ensuring quiet enjoyment of the natural surroundings for all — Lake Tenpenny having been spared the intractable problems faced on bigger lakes like McGregor and St-Pierre where watercrafts and wake boats are destroying shorelines and spreading invasive species in the ecosystem.

A single annual general meeting of the TLOA membership, doubling as a common social event, has replaced former gatherings. Nevertheless it still generates interest in shared purposes such as overall quality of life around the lake, road maintenance, garbage disposal, forest health, systematic water testing and occasional representation within wider regional forums.

L’esprit actuel autour du lac reste ancré cependant dans le maintien d’une jouissance tranquille du lieu, le lac Tenpenny ayant échappé aux problèmes intractables rencontrés sur des lacs plus grands comme les lacs McGregor et St-Pierre où les embarcations et les bateaux de sillage détruisent les berges et propagent des espèces envahissantes.

Une seule assemblée générale annuelle de la TLOA, assortie d’une rencontre sociale, a remplacé les activités antérieures. Néanmoins, elle continue de susciter l’intérêt pour les actions communes qui assurent la qualité de vie autour du lac, l’entretien de la route, la gestion des déchets, les analyses systématiques de la qualité de l’eau et une représentation occasionnelle au sein de forums régionaux plus larges.

Tenpenny Commons
Regardless of the season, Tenpenny inspires | Quelle que soit la saison, Tenpenny inspire (Photos: Moira White)

With the amalgamation in 1975 of Perkins, St-Pierre-de-Wakefield and Poltimore into the Municipality of Val-des-Monts, oversight of broad environmental concerns and safeguards have gradually been devolved from the province to the municipality. It now has the responsibility of actively enforcing environmental laws and water quality in lakes, controlling invasive species, inspecting septic tanks, ensuring garbage disposal/ recycling, and tending to a host of issues that have extended those already on H. Quain’s prescient radar.

As benefactors of this exceptional heritage, called by some “paradise,” we are now tasked with ensuring that shared understandings help us keep Lake Tenpenny pristine for the next generations while also reckoning with climate change and its imminent challenges.

Avec la fusion en 1975 de Perkins, St-Pierre-de-Wakefield et Poltimore dans la municipalité de Val-des-Monts, la surveillance et l’application des mesures de protection de l’environnement ont été progressivement dévolues de la province à la municipalité. Cette dernière est maintenant chargée de faire respecter les lois environnementales et la qualité de l’eau dans les lacs, de contrôler les espèces envahissantes, d’inspecter les fosses septiques, d’assurer l’élimination et le recyclage des déchets et de s’occuper d’une foule d’autres questions qui élargissent les visées avant-gardistes de H. Quain.

En tant que légataires de ce patrimoine exceptionnel, considéré par certains comme un « paradis », nous sommes désormais chargées.és de veiller à ce que des approches communes nous aident à préserver l’intégralité du lac Tenpenny pour les générations à venir, tout en prenant en compte les changements climatiques et les défis imminents qu’ils présentent.

version française

A Brief Historical Overview of the Early Years at Lake Tenpenny

by Marie-Jeanne Musiol

Tenpenny Commons
View of Tenpenny farmstead near gate (1967) | Vue de la ferme Tenpenny près de la barrière (1967)

Although recent 19th century colonization seems to offer a convenient starting point for a quick overview of the lake area’s development, millennial occupation of the Outaouais region by the Anishinabeg (Algonquin) people had been extensive. It was predicated on groups gathering near rivers in the summer and nomadizing on the territory year round to fish and hunt. In the 1800s as forestry, agriculture and mining expanded in the region, the Anishinabeg retreated further north where the Kitigan Zibi reserve was created in 1853.

In the early 1830s, Colonel By rewarded one of his lieutenants, Colonel Cantley, with some “Crown” lands to develop east of the Gatineau River. Concessions for agricultural activities were granted to settlers, many of them Irish, and the Tenpenny brothers who had emigrated mid-century from Ireland eventually bought lots, establishing themselves on what became known as the Tenpenny farm (Wilson’s Corner).

Tenpenny Commons
Remnants of old fieldstone wall | Vestiges de mur en pierre des champs

The original farm encompassed the lake and land around it. As can be seen in older photographs, the former farmhouse, barn and sheds were located mainly near the actual gate entrance.

The farmhouse burned down sometime after 1975, but remnants of a long old stone wall on lot 344 testify to the former presence of fields now overtaken by vegetation. Similarly, stumps of large white pines harvested in the area for lumber and hauled out during the winter can still be spotted on properties around the lake one hundred years later.

The name Tenpenny itself is a source of interesting spellings that have variously been used on local road signs, maps and tombstones: Tenpeny, Tenpenny, Tempeny, Tempenny, Tempeney. Several headstones in the cemetery of Église Ste-Élisabeth in Cantley highlight this indiscriminate use. The road sign at the Hwy 307 turnoff used to post directions to Tempenny Lake, picked up by Google Maps as well.

Tenpenny Commons
Road sign at Hwy 307 turnoff | Panneau de signalisation sur la route 307

Hamilton Quain and Lake Tenpenny: a prescient developer

The planner behind the acquisition of the Tenpenny farm lands and the creation of property lots on Tenpenny Lake was Hamilton Quain. His vision for developing the lake was decidedly ahead of its time and focused on environmental protection.

In 1961, H. Quain purchased approximately two hundred acres around Lake Tenpenny: one hundred acres consisted of the original farmstead with a provision for James Tenpenny, the last descendant owner, to use the house until his death; another adjacent lot bought from William Tubman’s estate of Ottawa completed the assembly of the lake “domain” as we know it today.

H. Quain parcelled out large lots that were sold under his company name Timberlake Construction Limited with the stipulation that structures had to stand back from the water and that no motorboats were allowed. A requirement in the deeds was included for the creation of an association that would also own the lake bottom, still a rare occurrence in Quebec today (see Maureen K. Amey’s interview of Hamilton Quain on page 21).

Tenpenny Commons
Stump of large white pine | Souche de grand pin blanc

An extensive list of common and specific Servitudes and Restrictions was drawn up that burden each property to this day. Taken as a whole, the servitudes provide a comprehensive framework to lessen the impact of human presence on the environment. The elaborate structure of Building Lots, Associated Lots, Associated Properties and Common Properties designed by H. Quain was intended to minimize the environmental footprint, allowing every property owner to have access to the lake either through their own property or through a right of way to the beach.

The developer’s overall vision is best captured by the following assertion in the servitudes for Associated Lots: “The buyer... agrees that he will not do anything which will be contrary to the principle of keeping the general area as natural, rustic and unspoilt as possible.” This initial blueprint continues to inspire and guide the Tenpenny Lake Owners’ Association (the TLOA incorporated in 1975) and individual owners in their stewardship of the lake’s natural setting for the benefit of all.

Early cottage life, lasting community spirit

Lucky buyers of initial lots divided up by H. Quain were tasked with building a permanent structure within two years of purchase as shelters like trailers were not allowed on properties. This led to the quick establishment of cottages on the lake.

Early and enduring friendships developed within the emerging community. A tennis court was created on common property; volunteer crews saw to the creation of the first stable roadbed and its maintenance, and to many other tasks. Potluck suppers, activities and Canada Day celebrations were highlights as vacationers could spend one or two summer months with children at the lake. Socialization was a way of life that several long-time owners still remember fondly.

Busy schedules and proximity to the city with the enticement of shorter stays have somewhat altered the former cottage lifestyle. Old telephone landlines have been superseded by internet access. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced new possibilities with the cottage becoming for many an alternative office/working space, thus extending home options.

Tenpenny Commons
Tenpenny has had a ban on motorboats since the beginning | Les bateaux à moteur sur le lac Tenpenny sont interdits depuis le début (Photo: Moira White)

The present spirit however remains predicated on ensuring quiet enjoyment of the natural surroundings for all — Lake Tenpenny having been spared the intractable problems faced on bigger lakes like McGregor and St-Pierre where watercrafts and wake boats are destroying shorelines and spreading invasive species in the ecosystem.

A single annual general meeting of the TLOA membership, doubling as a common social event, has replaced former gatherings. Nevertheless it still generates interest in shared purposes such as overall quality of life around the lake, road maintenance, garbage disposal, forest health, systematic water testing and occasional representation within wider regional forums.

With the amalgamation in 1975 of Perkins, St-Pierre-de-Wakefield and Poltimore into the Municipality of Val-des-Monts, oversight of broad environmental concerns and safeguards have gradually been devolved from the province to the municipality. It now has the responsibility of actively enforcing environmental laws and water quality in lakes, controlling invasive species, inspecting septic tanks, ensuring garbage disposal/ recycling, and tending to a host of issues that have extended those already on H. Quain’s prescient radar.

As benefactors of this exceptional heritage, called by some “paradise,” we are now tasked with ensuring that shared understandings help us keep Lake Tenpenny pristine for the next generations while also reckoning with climate change and its imminent challenges.

Tenpenny Commons
Regardless of the season, Tenpenny inspires | Quelle que soit la saison, Tenpenny inspire (Photos: Moira White)

remaining document

Un bref aperçu historique des premières années au lac Tenpenny

par Marie-Jeanne Musiol

Tenpenny Commons
View of Tenpenny farmstead (date unknown) | Vue de la ferme Tenpenny et de ses dépendances (date inconnue)

Bien que la colonisation récente au 19e siècle semble offrir un point de départ commode pour brosser un aperçu rapide du développement des environs du lac Tenpenny, l’occupation millénaire de la région de l’Outaouais par les Anishinabeg (Algonquins) avait déjà été continue. Elle s’articulait autour de rassemblements l’été près des rivières et de nomadisation à l’année pour pêcher et chasser sur tout le territoire. Au cours des années 1800, alors que la sylviculture, l’agriculture et l’exploration minière se développent dans la région, les Anishinabeg se retirent plus au nord vers la réserve de Kitigan Zibi créée en 1853.

Au début des années 1830, le colonel By récompense l’un de ses lieutenants, le colonel Cantley, avec des terres de la « Couronne » ouvertes au développement à l’est de la rivière Gatineau. Des concessions pour les activités agricoles sont accordées aux colons, dont plusieurs sont irlandais, et les frères Tenpenny qui ont émigré d’Irlande au milieu du siècle achètent éventuellement des lots pour s’établir sur ce qui deviendra la ferme Tenpenny (Wilson’s Corner).

Tenpenny Commons
Remnants of wall | Vestiges de mur

La ferme d’origine englobait alors le lac et les terres qui l’entouraient. On peut voir sur les photos d’époque la maison, la grange et les bâtiments annexes qui étaient localisés près de la barrière actuelle.

Cette maison a brûlé après 1975 mais les vestiges d’un ancien mur de pierre sur le lot n° 344 attestent de la présence de champs autrefois cultivés et maintenant recouverts de végétation. Les souches des grands pins blancs, abattus sur le terrain pour servir de bois de charpente et sortis de la forêt l’hiver, peuvent encore être aperçues cent ans plus tard sur les propriétés autour du lac.

Le nom Tenpenny lui-même a donné lieu à des orthographes variées sur les panneaux routiers, les cartes géographiques et les monuments funéraires locaux : Tenpeny, Tenpenny, Tempeny, Tempenny, Tempeney. Plusieurs tombes dans le cimetière de l’église Ste-Élisabeth à Cantley attestent d’ailleurs de ces utilisations libres. Le panneau de signalisation à l’intersection de la route 307 a longtemps annoncé la direction vers le lac Tempenny, reprise également sur les cartes Google.

Tenpenny Commons

Tenpenny Commons
Tenpeny headstones at the cemetery of Ste-Élisabeth | Pierres tombales au cimetière Ste-Élisabeth

Hamilton Quain et le lac Tenpenny : un développeur voyant loin

L’homme d’affaires ayant fait l’acquisition des terres agricoles de la ferme Tenpenny pour créer des lots autour du lac Tenpenny se nommait Hamilton Quain. Sa vision de l’aménagement du lac était en avance sur son temps et axée sur la protection de l’environnement.

En 1961, H. Quain achète environ deux cents acres autour du lac Tenpenny : cent acres de la ferme d’origine avec une clause permettant à James Tenpenny, le dernier descendant propriétaire, d’utiliser la maison jusqu’à sa mort et un lot adjacent appartenant à la succession William Tubman d’Ottawa - ce qui lui permet d’assembler le « domaine » du lac tel que nous le connaissons aujourd’hui.

H. Quain délimite alors de grands lots qui sont vendus sous le nom de sa société Timberlake Construction Limited, avec la stipulation que les structures doivent être en retrait du lac et qu’aucun bateau à moteur n’y est autorisé. Les actes de vente prévoient aussi la création d’une association qui sera propriétaire du fond du lac, encore une rareté au Québec aujourd’hui (voir l’entrevue de Maureen K. Amey avec Hamilton Quain à la page 21).

Une longue liste commune de Servitudes and Restrictions spécifiques est dressée qui grève encore aujourd’hui chaque propriété. Prises dans leur ensemble, les servitudes fournissent un cadre cohérent pour réduire l’impact de la présence humaine sur l’environnement. Une structure élaborée de Lots à bâtir, Lots associés, Propriétés associées et Propriétés communes conçue par H. Quain cherche à minimiser l’empreinte écologique en donnant à chaque propriétaire accès au lac soit par sa propriété, soit par un droit de passage vers la rive.

La vision globale du promoteur est bien rendue par l’affirmation suivante qui figure dans les servitudes pour les Lots associés : « L’acheteur... s’engage à ne rien faire qui soit contraire au principe consistant à garder l’ensemble aussi naturel, rustique et intact que possible. » Ce plan initial continue d’inspirer et de guider l’Association des propriétaires du lac Tenpenny (l’APLT incorporée en 1975) et les propriétaires individuels dans leur gestion du cadre naturel du lac pour le bénéfice de tous.

Tenpenny Commons
View of Lake Tenpenny, protected to this day | Vue du lac Tenpenny, qui demeure protégé à ce jour (Photo: Moira White)

Débuts de la vie de chalet, esprit communautaire durable

Les heureux acheteurs des premiers lots créés par H. Quain s’engagent à construire une structure permanente dans les deux ans suivant l’achat, les abris comme les remorques n’étant pas autorisés sur les propriétés. Cela favorise la construction rapide de chalets sur le lac.

Des amitiés de première heure durables se développent au sein de la communauté émergente. Un court de tennis est installé sur une propriété commune ; des équipes de bénévoles stabilisent le lit de la route, l’entretiennent et s’affairent à de nombreuses autres tâches. Les repas-partage, les activités et les célébrations de la fête du Canada sont des moments forts alors que les vacanciers passent un ou deux mois d’été avec les enfants au lac. Socialiser est un mode de vie dont plusieurs propriétaires de longue date se souviennent encore avec bonheur.

Des horaires chargés, la proximité de la ville et l’attrait de séjours plus courts ont quelque peu modifié l’ancien style de vie au lac. Les lignes de téléphone fixes ont été remplacées par l’accès à l’internet. La pandémie de la Covid-19 a ouvert de nouvelles possibilités, le chalet se transformant pour plusieurs en espace de travail alternatif, élargissant ainsi les options du travail à la maison.

L’esprit actuel autour du lac reste ancré cependant dans le maintien d’une jouissance tranquille du lieu, le lac Tenpenny ayant échappé aux problèmes intractables rencontrés sur des lacs plus grands comme les lacs McGregor et St-Pierre où les embarcations et les bateaux de sillage détruisent les berges et propagent des espèces envahissantes.

Tenpenny Commons
Regardless of the season, Tenpenny inspires | Quelle que soit la saison, Tenpenny inspire (Photos: Moira White)

Une seule assemblée générale annuelle de la TLOA, assortie d’une rencontre sociale, a remplacé les activités antérieures. Néanmoins, elle continue de susciter l’intérêt pour les actions communes qui assurent la qualité de vie autour du lac, l’entretien de la route, la gestion des déchets, les analyses systématiques de la qualité de l’eau et une représentation occasionnelle au sein de forums régionaux plus larges.

Avec la fusion en 1975 de Perkins, St-Pierre-de-Wakefield et Poltimore dans la municipalité de Val-des-Monts, la surveillance et l’application des mesures de protection de l’environnement ont été progressivement dévolues de la province à la municipalité. Cette dernière est maintenant chargée de faire respecter les lois environnementales et la qualité de l’eau dans les lacs, de contrôler les espèces envahissantes, d’inspecter les fosses septiques, d’assurer l’élimination et le recyclage des déchets et de s’occuper d’une foule d’autres questions qui élargissent les visées avant-gardistes de H. Quain.

En tant que légataires de ce patrimoine exceptionnel, considéré par certains comme un « paradis », nous sommes désormais chargées.és de veiller à ce que des approches communes nous aident à préserver l’intégralité du lac Tenpenny pour les générations à venir, tout en prenant en compte les changements climatiques et les défis imminents qu’ils présentent.

Tenpenny Commons
Regardless of the season, Tenpenny inspires | Quelle que soit la saison, Tenpenny inspire (Photos: Moira White)

Edith Tenpenny1: Reminiscences of Tenpenny Farm and Area

Edited by Maureen Kitts Amey

Edith Clarke (1894–1989) married into the Tenpenny family. With her husband Frank, she lived until the 1930s in the farmhouse that stood near the gate entrance to the lake on Chemin Tenpenny in Val-des-Monts. In May 1986, Edith Tenpenny called on Daun Kennedy, then owner of another farmhouse at 87 chemin Tenpenny, accompanied by grand nieces Muriel and Marilyn. She had expressed the wish to see the lake one more time before dying. Prompted by Daun’s photographs of farm and family, Edith, still a lively 92, recalled with a great sense of humour her life at the lake, Wilson’s Corner and Wakefield. Some of her observations recorded on that occasion are transcribed below.

Edith’s early days

Edith was born Edith Clarke in 1894. Her mother Kate (“Kitty”) Maxwell was from Kirks’ Ferry. Edith said that her father was born “across the river from Wakefield.”

Her maternal grandfather, Tom Maxwell, immigrated to Canada from Ireland at the time of the Great Famine of 1845–1852. Edith remembered that he “had a great white beard down to his waist.” She recalled that Tom’s brother, her great-uncle, “got kind of looney.” He had to be watched because he would try to run away to Ireland where he wished to be buried, saying “I’m going to leave my bones in the auld sod.”

Edith was born and grew up in a log house on the Cascades side of the Gatineau River, “across from Kirk’s Ferry,” she said. She attended a school right by the river but in the winter studied at home. “We used to walk across the river to go to school. Cantley was too far.”

She and other children used to swim in the river, which was deep and could be dangerous; in fact, one of her young cousins drowned there. Children used to play ball on the main road: “There were only horses and no such thing as cars.” Her father got around by bicycle, riding on the big hill behind the house.

Edith recalled that her own family home was still standing when the area was flooded to make way for construction of the Chelsea Dam in 1926. By that time, however, Edith was already married to Frank Tenpenny and living on the farm at Wilson’s Corner that belonged to her husband’s family, early settlers of the area with a story behind their name.

The name “Tenpenny” is believed to be a corruption of Tierney, the family name of two brothers who left Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century during the potato famine, escaping from an enraged farmer who claimed they had stolen his pig. When they landed in Quebec, so the story goes, a French priest entered the brothers’ family name in a register as Tenpenny (an Irish word for a half-moon shaped drum) so that they could not be traced back to Ireland for their misdemeanor. We have no record of their first names.

The Tenpenny brothers’ journey eventually brought them to West Quebec where they settled in Ironside with a Crown grant. The land proved to be unsuitable for growing potatoes, so the two brothers bought land in Wilson’s Corner near a lake reminiscent of Ireland, which they named Tenpenny.

Tenpenny Commons
Aerial view of Lake Tenpenny | Vue aérienne du lac Tenpenny

One of the brothers may have been Michael Tenpenny, whose son Francis (1846–1914) was married twice: first to Catherine Moore with whom he had a daughter, Anne. The second marriage was to Bridget Foley (1857–1933) from Templeton (Quebec), mother to Michael (1886– ?), Frank (1891–1961), and James/Jimmy (1888–1967) — the last family to have inhabited the Tenpenny farmstead.

Tenpenny Commons
Headstone of parents Francis and Bridget, and son Jimmy Tenpenny | Pierre tombale des parents Francis et Bridget, et de leur fils Jimmy Tenpenny
Tenpenny Commons
Headstone of Edith Clarke and husband Frank Tenpenny | Pierre tombale d’Edith Clarke et de son mari Frank Tenpenny

Edith’s married life

Frank’s own father, Francis Tenpenny, had already died at Kirk’s Ferry in the middle of the winter of 1914. It was 40 below and a team of horses brought the body out. Francis was buried in Cantley.

After his father’s death, son Jimmy Tenpenny came on to stay at the farm with his mother. Grandma Tenpenny had a beautiful garden and an apple orchard just off the highway. A few of the apple trees are still standing near the gate: a testament to former agricultural activities.

Edith Clarke secretly married Frank Tenpenny in November 19202 because she was Anglican, he was Catholic and Edith’s family was against such a union. Afterwards, the couple moved in the Tenpenny farmhouse built by Frank’s father. Their two children were born there, attended by Dr. Geggie from Wakefield (the nearest hospital being in Wakefield in the house on Riverside Road).

In 1921, Edith recalled, Frank started working away from the farm, going with a certain George Cleary to the shanties up north. On the farm, Edith took care of the children while tending twenty head of cattle and some pigs and sheep.

Sometimes Edith took Jimmy Tenpenny’s boat out on the lake to catch salmon trout with a worm on a hook. Fish was an important supplement to the family’s diet.

“If we didn’t have meat for supper, we’d catch fish, clean them up. But there was no winter fishing.”

Edith baked six loaves of bread twice a week. She kept chickens and milked a few cows by hand, selling the cream to the dairy. The butter Edith made was kept in a wooden crock with salt.

“You can’t imagine how good home-made butter is,” she reflected.

Edith recalled that farmers were paid twenty cents per pound for butter. The family raised calves and pigs, selling a spring pig in the fall to the local butcher for five cents per pound.

“That was why we left the farm. You couldn’t live that way.”

Edith and Frank left the Tenpenny farmhouse in 1939 and moved to Ottawa, where they rented rooms on the third floor of a house on Broad Street on LeBreton Flats, close to the Booth Street railroad station. Frank worked with a friend driving a team of horses, making deliveries in Ottawa. The stables were next to the house. At that time, Edith’s father was a stationary engineer at the paper plant Gatineau Mills International where he worked for 19 years until he retired at age 69. Edith remembered that “he was lost when he retired.”

Edith’s memories of the farm

Edith had many memories of her life on the Tenpenny farm. At the time of her visit with Daun Kennedy in May 1986, Edith was reminded of the seasonal invasion of mosquitoes and the ferocious blackflies; her remedy for getting rid of the pests was to smoke them out!

Tenpenny Commons
Old apple trees still standing by the road | Vieux pommiers encore debout sur la route

Edith remembered not only the hard work and times of the 1930s, but also days of leisure and entertainment: outings to the nearby La Flèche caves where Fiddler Joe Dubois played, as he did at all the dances, and where Edith’s neighbour, Joe Cleary, provided sleigh rides. She had heard that the caves were closed at the time of her visit because a little girl had drowned in the pond nearby.

Edith recalled the evening when the MacGlashan store on Highway 307 burned down.

“It had a verandah all the way round. The fire started in the evening; the store burned first. The house burned down too, [but] the neighbours helped to get the furniture out.”

“Old Mr. Macglashan, he had a beautiful garden, took such pride in it. His wife, Annie Brown, died early. [There] used to be a big old house across from McGlashan’s.”

Edith remembered many neighbours and other members of the community: the Dubois family — Dan Dubois (at the foot of the road) and his mother Laura Dubois. Maggie Cleary was Joe’s sister.

“The Milks — knew them all. All attended the St. Elizabeth’s Catholic church at Cantley.” The family included Bernard Milks; Hector and Nellie Milks [who] lived alone. Hector died in the 1980s. Arnold Milks, their son, delivered sand and topsoil, sometimes to the TLOA.

There were the Dowds: Paddy and his old sister who was tall and slim used to come to the house. Her brother, John Dowd, lived on the road to Wakefield. The Charron family lived on the right side of the road [in Wilsons Corner]. The Sullivans were neighbours.

“Robert Brown kept the Council books — first thing he thought of were the records when the house or the Catholic Church burned.”

Tenpenny Commons
Fiddler Joe Dubois and sons (undated) | Le violoneux Joe Dubois et fils (non daté)

Upon visiting the farm again, Edith was surprised to see so many trees growing by the side of Tenpenny Road, and to see the fields and orchards overgrown. At the bottom of the “big hill” (Tenpenny Hill), there were still some of the old farm buildings including the big barn and the old horse barn (now converted into a house).

On seeing the lake again, (“one last time”) Edith remembered the big rock on the south shore, the creek, and the cottage owned by Mr. Tubman the trapper. So much had changed at Tenpenny/Wilson’s Corner but Edith still had her memories and shared them with great enthusiasm.

Some of Edith Tenpenny’s neighbours mentioned in the recordings and whose names are still familiar in the area include the following: Cleary, Aldenage | Cleary, Joe/Jimmy/ Maggie | Foley, John/Bridget | MacGlashan family | MacDonald| Mulcane, Raymond | Dubois, Joe | Holmes, Reggie/Hannah |Maloney, Eva | Milks, Arnold/Hector/Nellie/ Bernard |Brown, Annie/Robert |Tenpenny, Annie |Featherstone, Catherine |Prevost, Willie | O’Toole, Father |Lawless, Mildred|Sullivan family | Morris, Tom/Joe/Frank/ Matt/Annie | Easey, Dora.

Jimmy Tenpenny, last owner of the farm

Jimmy, the youngest son of Francis Tenpenny and Bridget Foley, never married. He lived on the farm helping his mother with shearing sheep, carding the wool and selling it to local buyers. He had two horses, was afraid of bears and used to go out with a revolver and a lantern [to scare them off.] Edith commented that she was not afraid and described herself as “not the nervous kind.”

After Frank and Edith moved to Ottawa, Jimmy continued to live on the farm with his mother. Edith said that Jimmy was a “pretty good surveyor” and made money at it. She never knew how he had learned surveying, although she did know that an André Cleary had “the outfit,” by which she probably meant the surveying equipment.

In the 1950s, Jimmy Tenpenny ran a taxi service. A taxi ride from Wilson’s Corner to Ottawa cost 50 cents and there were two or three trips a day. Jimmy lived and worked on the Tenpenny family farm most of his life. In 1961, Jimmy sold off the 200 acres of Tenpenny land to Hamilton Quain. He died in September 1967, survived by his brother Michael, the last child of Francis and Bridget. By then, several summer cottages had already been built around the lake and the Tenpenny Lake Owners Association was taking shape.

Tenpenny Commons
Jimmy Tenpenny’s mother (at left) and visitors (undated) | Mère de Jimmy Tenpenny (à gauche) et visiteurs (non daté)

Early Cottage Lore: Interviews

by Maureen Kitts Amey

Maureen Kitts Amey, herself a long-time cottager who has now left Lake Tenpenny, had interviewed a few vacationers in 2000 to capture the spirit prevailing in the early years of life at the lake. Only Dorothy Rowat remains the owner of an initial lot carved out by Hamilton Quain of Timberlake (lot 227). The following conversations were transcribed in 2010.

Conversation with Hamilton Quain, 18 July 2000

John Hamilton Quain (1930–2018), an Ottawa lawyer, developed Tenpenny Lake by selling lots and establishing the blueprint for an environmentally focused cottage community.

In 1961, Hamilton Quain bought the land around Lake Tenpenny from the old bachelor farmer James Tenpenny who lived in the farmhouse at the bottom of Tenpenny hill and completed his land assembly with an acquisition from another adjacent owner. Quain then divided the area into lots and proceeded to sell off each lot himself.

His idea was to create a lake community similar to the one he had developed at Kingsmere in the Gatineau Hills, with large lots and no motor boats allowed. He personally picked and planned every individual building lot under his company name Timberlake Construction and created sixteen lots within 200 feet of the lake. Other lots behind the lake were to share common beaches at both ends of the lake.

In surveying and subsequently dividing the land into cottage lots, H. Quain had a vision to avoid spoiling the lake’s natural beauty, so he made the lots large, allowing only one dwelling per lot. He drew up a legally binding document laying out strict rules, the Servitudes and Restrictions that each buyer would be expected to sign. In preparing the legal documents for the sale of the cottage lots, Quain included in the deeds the requirement for an association (incorporated in 1975). He was particularly insistent that the lake association would own the lake bottom.

A major restriction was the prohibition on tree cutting, except for removal of trees considered a danger to buildings. Another attraction for buyers was, and still is, that there could be no motor boats on the lake. It is largely due to this approach — the care in keeping to the servitudes and the strong sense of community which developed over the next fifty years — that we can enjoy today one of the cleanest lakes in the area.

Quain said he rescued the lake from the beavers. He bought the old Tenpenny farmhouse (another property at 87 chemin Tenpenny?) as a control. It had a swamp with a 400-coliform count and he built a dam to create a pond. He designed a system with a six-volt battery-charged electric cattle fence and four-inch plastic pipes. He also said he re-built the house. He commented that “the road was a shambles,” running right by the front door and he had a new road traced to bypass the property. Hamilton Quain recalled that in 1964, he and early owner Benny Smith (see page 25) continued with the tapping of maple trees in an already established gravity-fed sugar bush on the south facing slope by the old farmhouse and invited all the neighbours (now Brad and Tom Rasmussen’s property). Later, Quain recalled, initial owner Robbie Thomas financed the building of the tennis court.

Conversation with Dorothy Rowat, 12 July 2000

Dorothy Rowat is the last original owner of a lot bought directly from Hamilton Quain in 1964 (lot no. 227).

One morning in 1964 sitting at breakfast in their Ottawa home, Dorothy and Dave Rowat spotted an intriguing listing in the classified section of the Ottawa Citizen:

“Twenty minutes as the crow flies from Parliament Hill” ran the advertisement, “for the sale of large, treed lots on a small lake.” This sounded like a perfect spot to build a summer getaway close to home and work.

Dorothy and Dave had no idea where Lake Tenpenny was so they consulted an ordnance survey map. After making a telephone call, they set off across the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers and drove up Highway 307 to their appointment with the man who had placed the advertisement, Hamilton Quain.

In 1964, there were no paved roads beyond Cantley Hill. The Rowats travelled up on the old road, still seen today below Highway 307 (Chemin du Vieux-Chemin), just past the entrance to the Laflèche Caves.

Former resident Rosemary Thomas already owned a cabin on the lake. The Neames and the Hills were also establishing their summer cottages around the same time. Standing on the east beach, Dorothy and Dave surveyed the small, quiet lake, surrounded by well-established trees, mainly birch to the south and conifers to the north and west.

Tenpenny Commons
The iconic rock on Lake Tenpenny | Le rocher iconique du lac Tenpenny

“When I saw the rock, I knew that was where I wanted to build my summer cottage,” Dorothy recalled, “I made up my mind there and then. We borrowed the Neame’s row boat to go and look at the property.” Hamilton Quain had a flat tire that day, so Dorothy and Dave drove him back into town, having already assured him they definitely wanted to buy the lot with the rock.

At the Rowat property, Quain had blasted out the bedrock to make a driveway. Lodged in the rock was a burl maple, a very valuable tree. The Paul Bunyan Society (a community volunteer group) cut down the tree to prevent the rock from splitting.

The Rowats tented during the summer of 1964 with their four children: fifteen-month Stephen, three-year old Rob, seven-year old Marnie and nine-year old David. A playpen was lashed to a tree for Stephen. Dorothy used to take the children in the row boat to the east beach and taught them to swim from there. They had other children to play with: Thelma Neame was there with her three children and across the lake was Benny Smith with his three.

Tenpenny Commons
Detail of Rowat’s Rock | Détail du rocher Rowat sur le lac Tenpenny

In 1967, David Rowat drew up construction plans, cleared much of the underbrush and put in a foundation of building blocks. The cottage was built during the following summer of 1968.

While the Rowats were building their cottage, Charles Carron was busy constructing an unusual house on his lot no. 235 (subsequently sold to the McEwens).

The Rowats learned that others had enjoyed the lake before Quain bought the two hundred acres from the Tenpenny family and Tubman estate to develop the cottage lots. For example, in the 1950s, a Stanley Metcalfe ran a scout camp on Bouchard’s lake and swam in Lake Tenpenny. Access to the camp was from the north side of the lake across what is still known as Bouchard’s land.

Among others already established at the lake in 1964 were Rosemary and Robbie Thomas who was Reeve of Thorbolton township at that time; George Bain, first Globe and Mail columnist in Ottawa; Pinny (or Prinny) Fraser, a WREN in WII and a blues singer; Brian Reesor, a T.V. broadcaster; Margaret Pickersgill, a weaver; Bob Lee, an army photographer; Ron Collister, a journalist.

Dorothy also recalled that a needlepoint or hooked rug hanging entitled Reflections and depicting the lake was made by a friend of Rosemary Thomas and was at one time displayed at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Conversation with Benny Smith, 9 July 2000

The late Benny Smith, the original owner of lot 319, carved and raised the totem pole still visible on the property from the lake. He was one of the authors and signatory to the incorporation documents of the TLOA.

During the summer of 1964, while the Rowats were checking the map on their way through Cantley, Benny Smith was laying the foundation stone of his cottage on the opposite side of the lake. Benny built the place himself, stone by stone. As he recalled, it was a lot of hard work and took several years, but was very much worth it. His three young children were the first of many who were to enjoy summers at Tenpenny.

Nearby was the Hill family, Doug and Moira with their sons David and Mark and daughter Sarah. Benny’s cousin, Rosemary Thomas, had a cottage near the fork in the road. Rosemary had bought the original woodman’s cottage in early 1960.

Benny agreed with Dorothy Rowat that the appeal of the lake was its proximity to Ottawa and “no motor boats”; that made a difference! Twenty minutes from downtown Ottawa and you found yourself in paradise.

Tenpenny Commons
Totem pole still visible from the lake | Totem encore visible à partir du lac
Tenpenny Commons
Detail of Benny Smith’s totem pole on Lake Tenpenny | Détail du totem de Benny Smith vu du lac Tenpenny

Conversation with Eleanor and Ramsay Cook, summer 2000

Eleanor and Ramsay Cook (d. 2016) travelled from Toronto for annual stays at the family cottage. Both were deeply appreciative of the lake environment and compiled an exhaustive list of bird sightings.

In the summer of 1970, the Cooks were looking for a cottage. They had read the weekly stories that Globe and Mail columnist George Bain wrote about his summers at a lake and wrote to him asking if he was interested in selling. In 1971, when Bain went to France, the Cooks rented his cottage at Tenpenny and did so again in 1972. In the summer of 1973, they finally bought the property.

The Cooks noticed the abundance of white trilliums and water lilies around the lake and watched many different birds. In 1982, Ramsay first spotted the loons and began noting the various migratory birds that came to the lake. These included the bittern which caught frogs. The lake was a breeding ground for the thrush and the veery. A heronry was wellestablished at that time. The Cooks offered as reference their list of birds observed over the past thirty years.

Bullfrogs then were harvested by outsiders. Eleanor has a photograph of their son at three years of age holding a very large bullfrog. The lake was also stocked with trout by keen fisherman Brian Reesor but the loons ate them.

The Tenpenny farmhouse was still standing when the Cooks came to the lake. They remember that in 1980 the Dubois garage burned down. Madame Lauzon sold sugar pies.

Conversation with Doug Hill, 4 August 2010

Doug Hill was the original owner of lot no. 335.

Doug recalled that he and his wife, Moira, drove all over the Gatineau region looking for a cottage at a reasonable distance from Ottawa. They were particularly looking for a lake where motor boats were not allowed. One day they saw Hamilton Quain’s classified advertisement and drove up to Tenpenny straight away.

The lot the Hills bought had no cottage at first, but it did have a small cabin , the twin of one on the Thomas’ property. They eventually built their cottage and Doug commented that he and Moira regarded the TLOA Servitudes as a blessing.

When Doug Hill and his family were posted overseas, they returned every summer to Canada to spend time at Lake Tenpenny. As recalled by Doug, there were at least four distinguished journalists staying at the lake during the early years: Bruce MacDonald, who eventually went to work for the Globe and Mail; George Bain, columnist for the Globe and Mail, who sold his cottage to the Cooks who are still the owners of no. 315; Norman Campbell, Parliamentary correspondent for the Ottawa Citizen; Ron Collister, journalist with the Toronto Telegram.

Doug remembers an amusing anecdote when he and his family arrived at their cottage to find a group of people standing in the kitchen. It turned out these people had mistaken the Hills’ cottage for that of the Cooks’ and, after some friendly discussion, were redirected. It was an interesting group: Tommy Douglas, David Lewis, Angus McGuinness and Bob Rae!


O Canada at the Cottage3

By Ramsay Cook

Ramsay Cook (1931–2016), former Canadian historian and professor of history at the University of Toronto, owned a cottage on Lake Tenpenny where he vacationed for several decades with his family who continues to come. His opinion piece translates in vivid detail the yearly migration to cottage country, epitomized here by Lake Tenpenny.

In Canada, summer begins 10 days after the summer solstice, on Canada Day, July 1. School’s out, the black flies are in decline — most years — and vacations start. When I was a child, Dominion Day was a time for footraces, hot dogs and pop. Later, sweaty, dusty baseball tournaments in small prairie towns or even cow pastures marked the national holiday. Cottages beside cool lakes came much later, only after many humid Julys spent slaving in the un-air-conditioned Public Archives of Canada on Sussex Street in Ottawa. It was then, in the mid-1950s, that the attractions of the Gatineau River and the sparkling nearby lakes became irresistible. How I envied the lucky ones who left for a Gatineau weekend, or longer. Sometimes I tagged along with generous friends.

Then in late autumn, 1969, my chance arrived. I read a column by George Bain in the Globe and Mail that might have been titled “How I spent my summer holiday.” Tongue-in-cheek, he bemoaned the trials of summer at his Gatineau cottage: the mosquitoes and mice, the gin shortage and the hard labour of building stone walls, presumably to match those that Willie King had erected at Kingsmere.

Immediately I wrote to the journalist: “Dear Mr. Bain, If you don’t like your cottage, why not sell it to me?” That cottage, I knew, had been built on a very special, micro lake: No trees were cut on the waterfront, ecologically safe septic tanks were required and, best of all, motorboats were prohibited. It took Mr. Bain until March to reply to my impudence. I’ll rent the cottage to you, he said, and if I like France better than the Gatineau, I may sell it to you. After he’d seen Paris, and tasted its wines, George Bain allowed my family into paradise.

Almost every July 1 since, we have gathered with our neighbours, stuffed with hot dogs and beer, to sing O Canada, in French and English, at 1 p.m. sharp. Canadian summer is ceremoniously inaugurated, the hammock beckons.

July and August are usually dog days in the Outouais. Once the Canada Day fireworks fizzle out, the big house on the Hill shuts down, politics vegetate, the public service fades away, disruptive street repairs begin, tourists and the chamber-music festival take over the sleepy capital city. In the Gatineau, newspapers, TV, cellphones and even, for sensible people, the Internet vanishes. Pileated woodpeckers noisily teach carpentry to their young, frogs dodge bass and herons, Monarchs search for milkweed, toothy beavers fell birch trees and an occasional bear ravages the garbage dumpster. Near perfect peace reigns, broken only by the screech of the blue jays and the sharp snap of a Laser’s sail by day, or the eight eerie hoots of the barred owl by night.

This year, on July 1, as we discordantly serenade the “ pays de nos aieux,” we know things are different. The Canadian people have just days ago spoken with a forked tongue. That the electorate should refuse a majority mandate to any of our parties is hardly surprising, for none deserved one. What a collection of designated losers: Paul Martin mistakenly thought that a soft-headed nationalist could substitute for a clear-headed federalist in Quebec; Stephen Harper pretended that Alliance neo-cons could be recycled as new Conservatives; Jack Layton forgot that most NDP MPs voted for the Clarity Act, and proposed a now-you-see-it, later-you-won’t inheritance tax.

All three allowed Gilles Duceppe deceptively to mask his driving ambition to locate my cottage in his preferred nation-state. The result: a Parliament in which Chuck Cadman, the unaffiliated MP for Surrey North, may hold the balance of power.

Stranger things have happened, for in 1926 one sleepy Progressive, T. W. Bird, brought down the Meighen government (since he was paired he should not have voted), and the King-Byng crisis unfolded as it shouldn’t have.

So this summer the Gatineau air, and beyond, will be polluted by the sounds of political machines revving up, and by the smell of political deal-making. The sweet sounds and smells of summer banished, we will wearily lug the newspapers to the beach, leaving the novels and detective stories for next year. Ottawa will feast on rumours. The pundits will again come at us out of our radios and televisions explaining, usually inaccurately, what Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson is empowered to do when the Martin government comes tumbling down.

And so it will, for the new electoral finance rules that Jean Chrétien, of blessed memory, left us make it unnecessary for the parties to make Parliament work even long enough to refill their war chests. Now they need only ask for the $1.75 a vote that voters recently gave them and they are ready to go.

With le Bloc visibly salivating at the prospect of devouring the few remaining Liberal morsels in Quebec, and acting as a major power broker in the next Parliament, the life of any minority government will be mean, solitary, nasty, brutish and certainly short. By Labour Day, as we drive home to resume the brutal urban struggle against SUVs and Hummers, the roadsides that normally display Queen Anne’s Lace, wild aster and goldenrod could already be ablaze with ugly non-biodegradable admonitions to vote for the candidate of some party’s choice.

Even a disrupted summer would be worth it if, in a soon-to-be-seen-in-yourneighbourhood election, we could be guaranteed something more challenging than the game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey that the general election of June 28, 2004, offered. A good start would be the death of the party leaders’ TV debate, a deserving victim of information underload.

Still, some of the warm sunny days of July and August will likely be saved from these unwelcome intrusions, since the mice, the mosquitoes, the collapsing stonewalls and the gin deficit remain urgent challenges to be conquered.

And when you think of it, we’ve been through these endless crises before: nine unstable minority governments since 1921 (who needs proportional representation?), the 1970 October Crisis, two independence referendums in Quebec, one successful and two failed constitutional renovations since 1968. In the Gatineau, we even survived the Quebec Hydro strike during the rain-drenched summer of 1976, though the Bourassa government didn’t. Every glorious Canadian summer reveals that, notwithstanding the folly of politicians, the land is strong. Alas, autumn and winter lie ahead.

O Canada!

Ramsay Cook, general editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography / Dictionnaire biographique du Canada ( http://www.biographi.ca)


Tenpenny Commons
1946: Water from Lake Tempeney is safe to drink | 1946: L’eau du lac Tempeney est potable

Additional Resources

Gatineau Valley Historical Society (http://www.gvhs.ca/index.html) has many resources detailing the early pioneering families of Gatineau and area. | La Société historique de la vallée de la Gatineau (http://www.gvhs.ca/index.html) possède de nombreux documents sur les familles des pionniers de Gatineau et des environs.1989, 48 pages.

Phillips, R.A.J. L’histoire de Cantley | The History of Cantley. Municipalité de Cantley, 1989, 48 pages.


Archival Photos

Tenpenny Commons

Tenpenny Commons
Foundations of burnt Tenpenny house near gate, with charred remains of bed frame and stove | Fondations de la demeure Tenpenny près de la barrière, avec les restes calcinés d’un lit et d’un fourneau

Tenpenny Commons
Bridget Foley & Francis Tenpenny, 1885

Tenpenny Commons
Bridget Foley Tenpenny, Jimmy’s mother | Bridget Foley Tenpenny, la mère de Jimmy

Tenpenny Commons
Jimmy Tenpenny with horse | Jimmy Tenpenny avec un cheval

Tenpenny Commons
Jimmy and kids gathering hay | Jimmy et des enfants ramassant du foin

Tenpenny Commons
Jimmy Tenpenny with his horses. The Tubman cottage (now Elliott home) is on the hill, in the background. This cleared land has grown over. | Jimmy Tenpenny et ses chevaux. Le chalet Tubman (maintenant la maison Elliott) est visible sur la colline arrière. Le terrain défriché est à présent boisé.

Tenpenny Commons

Tenpenny Commons
Tenpenny farm, 1942 | la ferme Tenpenny, 1942

Tenpenny Commons
Tenpenny farm, 1972 | la ferme Tenpenny, 1972

Tenpenny Commons

Tenpenny Commons is a record of collective knowledge about Lake Tenpenny and its environment. These small publications on forest, fauna, geology and history express the community’s shared values.

Tenpenny Commons est une archive de connaissances collectives sur le lac Tenpenny et son environnement. Ces petites publications sur la forêt, la faune, la géologie et l’histoire traduisent des valeurs communautaires partagées.

 

 

Compiled and published by the Tenpenny Lake Owners’ Association | Compilé et publié par l’Association des propriétaires du lac Tenpenny.


Refrences

  1. The information in this section was provided by Robbie Thomas, an initial cottage owner at Lake Tenpenny who was present at this encounter.
  2. Edith was shown a photograph of herself: “That’s my picture. I was about 20, chubby.”
  3. Globe and Mail, July 1, 2004. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/o-canada-at-thecottage/ article744595/

Supplementary documents:

  • Forest and Flora 13.3 MB - Forest and Flora of Lake Tenpenny.
  • Surficial Geology 11.5 MB - The geological history and surficial geology of the area surrounding Lake Tenpenny.
  • Water Testing Results 2 MB - Water quality from the testing of Lake Tenpenny in 2021 (en français).