Monday, August 5, 2019

Along The Old Portage Route

My path in Gatineau took me to a spot I had been in before. A sign along this street noted that this was the likely pathway of an old portage route around the nearby Chaudiere Falls, used from time immemorial by the First Nations peoples here. The more recent history of this place includes the 1900 Great Fire, which destroyed the original core of what was Hull at the time before being finally brought under control over on the Ottawa side of the river. This pub dates to after the Great Fire- 1908 is etched near its roof.

At one point this was a church, but now houses a tech operation.

Across the street, this building, with its crest and mural, caught my eye. It appears to be a local branch of a Mexican university.

A short walk away is this monument to the founder of what is today Gatineau. Philemon Wright was a farmer, businessman, and lumberman who came up from New England and established a settlement at the Chaudiere Falls by 1800. He called it Columbia Falls Village, others called it Wrightsville, and it ended up becoming Hull, and ultimately Gatineau.

I had actually gone a little further then I had intended to, into a park along the Ottawa River just upstream from the Chaudiere Falls. These Canada geese had their priorities straight- eating grass and ignoring me.

Turning around gives us a view of a sculpture set. Boat Sight is a 1984 sculpture by John McEwan and was commissioned for this site. The boat represents culture, while the animals react to it with fear and curiosity.

I headed back a bit, as I realized I'd missed the turn off for the Chaudiere Bridge. I passed alongside the building that was in the background of the monument shot up above, and photographed its field stone exterior.

Two months ago, the Chaudiere Bridge was pretty much cut off from any crossings; the high waters of this past spring on the Ottawa River closed it up completely. At present it's mostly only open to pedestrians and cyclists, as work is being done on the road on either side of this main span. The road passes through the islands here that occupy this portion of the Ottawa River. The bridge crosses the main channel, with the Chaudiere Falls just upstream from here. I'll bring you over there tomorrow.

My last shot for today looks downstream where I started. The Portage Bridge is over there, with Parliament Hill in the background. I photograph the downstream view from there a couple of times a month, and will be doing so this month. The next post for that series comes in September.


  1. You are a very organized person!
    Great post... as usual

  2. The Canada geese make me smile. The field stone exterior is really interesting, neat photo.

  3. My favourite is the last picture of the stream and blue sky.

  4. The dog and the bridge really caught my eye.

  5. Interesting to read the history of Gatineau, facts previously unknown to me.

  6. I hope to hear more about the Mexican University.
    It looks like the weather was perfect for walking.


  7. Boat Sight is a super sculpture.. enjoyed the walk once more William ✨

  8. what a walk, looks like fun!! bridge is my fave. have a super great week. hope u get into lots of fun-ness. ( ;

  9. ...portage routes are still important in the Adirondacks!

  10. @Catarina: thanks!

    @Maywyn: thank you.

    @Nancy: it is quite a spot.

    @Stefan: I like it.

    @Iris: me too.

    @David: I am quite familiar with it.

    @Janis: unfortunately that is as much as I know.

    @Grace: thank you.

    @Beth: thanks!

    @Tom: here too.

    @Marie: so do I.

  11. Nice walk. I like those wolf sculptures.

  12. The boat sculpture probably catches the eye of a walker. I wonder if Indigenous peoples had boats to portage of that shape however...a bit big in the hull I'd imagine. But as someone already commented, taking a river route often still includes carrying the crafts around falls.

  13. I am seeing Canada through your photos!

  14. Sculptures seem abundant where you are ~love them and love the vintage look in your photos today ~ preservation is great to see.

    Happy Day to YOu,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  15. McEwan has a lot of sculptures here scattered about the city. I like his work.

  16. A beautiful walk and you captured the area well in photos.

  17. You are super organized with your posts. You must lay them out well ahead of time and add to them until post time. Makes for a first class blog.

  18. A wonderful walk. I really like that sculpture.

  19. Hello, a wonderful walking tour. I like the sculpture and the monument. Enjoy your day, have a happy new week!

  20. I always enjoy my interesting tours and the history of your city William, thank you!

  21. Nice sculpture. Above all, I love your Canada geese!

  22. I really like the Boat Sight sculpture.

  23. I love the Boat Sight and animals sculptures.

  24. THe animal sculptures were a delight. Tweeted.

  25. I am amazed that big bridge was closed up by high waters. You had an interesting walk, William.

  26. I like the sculptures any ones. Interesting sights

  27. Great pictures. Interesting building on the corner!

  28. Everything is lovely, and the sculptures very interesting. I live near a portage between two major rivers, and it plays heavily in local culture here.

  29. A great walk ..,natural beauty, history, interesting architecture and (my favorite thing to find in the city outdoor art! I enjoyed this.

  30. The Boat Sight sculpture is fascinating:)

  31. Well done! I'm just getting caught up on life!!!

  32. @DJan: so do I.

    @Barbara: they'd have used canoes. Much more efficient in the wilderness.

    @Sandi: a pleasure to show it.

    @Carol: thank you!

    @RedPat: I wasn't too familiar with his work.

    @Michelle: thanks!

    @Red: I do get them done in advance.

    @Sharon: so do I.

    @Eileen: thanks.

    @Denise: you're welcome.

    @Aritha: they're characters.

  33. @Shammickite: so do I.

    @Bill: me too.

    @Mari: thanks.

    @Marleen: the waters were high in spring.

    @MB: thank you!

    @Francisco: thanks.

    @Happyone: I think that one building is near the end of its shelf life.

    @Joanne: it's very much the case here.

    @Sallie: I enjoy showing it.

    @Kay: thanks!

    @Rosie: it is.

    @Jennifer: thanks.

  34. That sculpture set is neat! Also cool that an old church is being reused for a business!

  35. Love the sculpture -- for a minute I thought it was real!