Gatineau River Heritage Paddle: A Guide

Burnett (see Origin of Name and Claim to Fame below)

Select location on map below for more information or return to Guide menu.

  • South Rapids

    Site of Former South Rapid

    At this point, one comes to the final of five rapids that comprised the Cascades Rapids.

  • Old steam jenny

    Site of the former Gilmour log storage

    Logging at Cascades

    Originally used to store logs for the Gilmour Mills. The Gatineau Boom Company operated a steam jenny in the middle of the river. Apparently, the steam jenny created power for an engine used to winch the thick cables used to hold back the large log jams until the sawmills at Chelsea were in need of them. As a side benefit, it might have been used for other practical purposes, perhaps boiling water for tea, warming up at lunch time, drying wet boots and clothing during the cold season and may have even had a whistle for an S.O.S.

  • Ramsay Point and McDiarmid heritage cottage

    Ramsay Point and McDiarmid cottage

    McDiarmid heritage cottage

    As one looks straight ahead, the white and red McDiarmid heritage cottage with turret is visible in the distance. On the south shore of Ramsay Bay, it overlooks the lost village of Cascades. This period cottage was built in 1875.

    Ramsay Point
  • Jenness cottage

    Former cottage of Diamond Jenness (1886-1969) and "the Doll House"

    Jenness cottage

    One of Canada's greatest scientists and anthropologists, Diamond Jenness and his wife Eileen spent most of their married life in summer cottages in Chelsea. In 1930, they purchased some property at the northern tip of Ramsey Point and built a cottage, since replaced by later owners with a year-round residence. In 1937 a boathouse was added, located inside Ramsey Bay, which can be seen from the railroad. In 1950, they added a little cabin on a tiny slice of property north of Ramsey Point. It can be see hidden behind trees along the shore close to a rock cut on the rail line. Eileen Jenness used this as retreat where she could retire to read. She called it "the Doll House".

    In 1957, they decided to live year-round in Chelsea, build ing a home on Jenness Road further north in Cascades.

  • Beattie Point

    Beattie Point

    Beattie Point

    The south end of Ramsey Point (identified by the green boathouse) has become known as Beattie Point after its current residents. It was first called Dickie's Point after Dr. J.K.M. Dickie who lived there with his wife, Eva. The point used to be much bigger but the erosion of land with the annual spring breakup has reduced it to about half of what it was in the 1950s, until an adequate breakwater was built.

    Before a road was built in 1965 to Beattie Point, writer Catherine Joyce (nee Beattie) recalls her family parking at the bottom of Burnett Road. They would row across in a little rowboat with groceries, four kids, two adults and the dog swimming along side. When her father arrived home from work, he would honk his car horn, with two long/ two short toots. Someone would row over and get him every evening.

  • Rock Island

    Rock Island

    Rock Island

    This island is visible across from Beattie's Point on the east side of the river. It has a few small trees and bushes. There is some controversy over this island; many call it Banana Island.

  • Banana Island

    Former site of Banana Island

    Banana Island

    This little island was often visited by locals, especially teenagers. There were many trees and plants on it, with lots of sand on the shore side and small pebbles on the river side. It was close to the east shoreline and was protected from the river current by a log boom. However, when the logging stopped and the boom removed, gradually everything got washed away, in spite of the efforts of resident Alan Hopkins who planted a tree and put a fence up to prevent its erosion. When the water level is down you can still see it. He and his wife Melanie knew it as "the sand bar".

    Burnett resident Norman Dahl recalls meeting an elegant woman in 1953, who lived in a house at the top of Burnett Road. Her name was Mrs. Way, and she claimed her cottage had been moved there from an island in the centre of the river, before the flooding. Thereafter, Norman and his partner George called the island "Way Island".

  • Connor House

    Connor House

    The original site of the Elder home, then the Clark farm. J.H. Connor & Son Limited manufactured washing machines, wringers and steel ranges at various locations in Ottawa. Son William Connor purchased Johnny Clark's farm, on what was to become Connor Road. William Connor went on to buy over 1000 acres in Cantley (including the site where the Connor mica mine was). The log building on their property had been Mr. Clark's barn. It was moved to higher ground when the river was flooded in 1926. The Connors used it as a summer residence. In 1948, the Connor house was built by stonemasons from Orleans and local builders, including Mervyn Hogan of Cantley. A lot of the butternut, elm, oak and cherry, used in the house, came from the Hogan bush and was milled by Mervyn and Alfred Hogan. The floors of the house are constructed of 20,000 board feet of 2 by 4's on edge.

  • Burnett Farmhouse

    Burnett Road to the former Burnett Farmhouse

    This road was cut off by the flooding of the river in 1926. Below the water in the bay area was fertile farmland and the former Burnett Farm. Now underwater, the former mayor of Chelsea, Judy Grant, (nee Bradley) recalls swimming as a youth through the window frames of the homestead.

  • Diving Rock

    Diving Rock

    Diving Rock

    A rock along the shore 30 to 40 feet south of the boathouse (the Lochheads') was often used as a spot for diving.

  • Paddlewheeler

    Diving Rock

    Hopkins' paddlewheeler

    As one paddles south arriving at Burnett, one can see the Chrisalis II in the distance. This paddlewheeler is fully equipped and has been used as a summer cottage by its owners. It was built by Alan Hopkins from a ramshackle hull of a 25 year old logging barge which was home to les draveurs, the raftsmen. It was named after his two children, Chris and Lisa.

  • Maxwell farmhouse

    Former Maxwell farmhouse and Dutchman's Harbour

    Maxwell farmhouse

    The bluish grey home along the bank of the river was built by the Maxwell family when their old farmhouse was expropriated for the flooding of the river. Their daughter, Edna, eventually married Harvey Ditchfield who had helped build the house. It passed into the Ditchfield family, from Harvey to David. Tom and Rose Ann Reid bought it from David in 1980. According to Rose Ann, the bay is called Dutchman's Harbour after the family who used to live there.

  • Dutchman's Harbour

    Dutchman's Harbour

    The bay is called Dutchman's Harbour after the family who used to live there.


Origin of Name
Named after one of its first farming residents, Burnett is also a major road in the area leading down to the river.

Claim to Fame
Canada's 14th prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lester Bowles Pearson (1897-1972), owned a cottage in Burnett for many years (it's still in family hands), as did Ken Lochhead, the distinguished artist and educator (1926-2006).
Burnett is home to "Chrisalis II", a magnificent paddlewheeler, built by late resident Alan Hopkins.
Burnett's official name on maps is "Burnet," with only one "t". Local legend has it that this arose when the name of the stop was painted on the roof of the Burnett station, a standard practice; the painter miscalculated and ran out of room for the second "t". This was never corrected.