Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Quebec Countryside

Before starting, I wish all of our American readers a belated Happy Fourth of July. We came home too late to post this issue, but having spent many a summer visiting American cousins in the Boston States, my thoughts were with you on this special day.

Yesterday, we took off for a drive down the Quebec countryside from Gatineau to Grenville along the Ottawa/Outaouais River, and covered such areas as Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais, La Lièvre et la Petite-Nation, and Les Laurentides.

Remember how I said it was going to be sunny? It rained! Not all the time - but enough to be bothersome.

However, we pushed on through the rain drops, and while we didn't visit as many museums nor sites of interest as we would have liked, we did drive around quite a bit in the rain, and had time enough to enjoy a nice supper back in Ottawa.

We started from the easterly side of the city of Gatineau, which includes the sectors of Alymer, Gatineau, Hull, Buckingham, and Masson-Angers. These cities and towns were amalgamated into the City of Gatineau in 2002.

After a short delay so that my husband could check for a laptop part at a computer store, we took off to follow the river almost down to its mouth at the St. Lawrence.

The Ottawa River was a key river in Canada's settling, as it was the waterway to the heart of the country for early immigrants to Canada, and vital to the early lumber industry.
Ottawa River, located near Thurso, Quebec

The first place we went through was Thurso. It was settled in 1886 by Scottish people, and was named Thurso after the town in Scotland.

Its liveliehood has been in lumber industry, and in the early days sent its lumber to England to be used by the British Navy, but there are rumours now that the paper plant (after troubles in the lumber industry) is set to close.

It is a village of 2,000, and today the population is mainly French, although there is still a healthy population of English-speaking residents with Anglo-Celtic roots.

The next place we visited was Papineauville.

It is a pretty town, the former seigniory of Louis-Joseph Papineau, one of Quebec's early politicians.

It was settled around 1855.

And then on to Montebello, a very picturesque town which has become an artist's paradise, and is home to the Chateau Montebello, a first-class hotel and the largest log structure in the world. It was built in 1930.

We stopped at the nearby tourist bureau, which is an old train station (note the "weather vane" on the roof), and it was here that we encountered our first of many rain showers.

Tourist Bureau in Montibello, Quebec

We continued down the road, following the Ottawa/Outaouais River to Hawkesbury, going through such settlements as Fassett and Grenville.

Until tomorrow ...

In the meantime, there are some places to check for genealogy -

The Quebec GenWeb page on West Quebec at <> has a free look-up based on what area you are researching in the West Quebec (Outaouais) region, and <> has listings of cemetery transcriptions for the province of Quebec, such as the website found at <> for some the areas we travelled yesterday.

Also, check on other sites mentioned in this blog.