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Transportation on the Gatineau Over the Years

Possibly as we now travel over our up-to-date highways and on trains, we don't think much about transportation 300 years ago in Canada.


Arial view of the Gatineau river at Cascades
Arial view of the Gatineau river at Cascades (pre-1926).

Generally speaking any travel in Canada now usually is by automobile or bus on very good roads, by train on well-established routes or on the water by boat. Looking back about 300 years when newcomers were exploring Canada, the rivers and lakes provided routes to travel by boat and canoe and Indian trails provided routes to travel by land. In the wintertime when the rivers and lakes were frozen over new routes were provided on the ice.


Dr. Stevenson on a house call.
Dr. Stevenson on a house call with horse and buggy (early 1900s).

When time was a consideration later on, when horses were available, they were used either for riding or as pack animals on some trails or to pull carts and in the winter to pull sleighs on the ice. The main problem was to have established routes and as these were set up people and goods were moved more quickly. Many roads and train routes we use now have been developed from the original Indian trails. Undoubtedly a very high percentage of the early travel was by water or on the ice in winter.


Steam Engine 909
Steam Engine 909 running from Hull to Wakefield

A new aid to the Gatineau Valley came in at about the turn of the century when the railroad was completed to Maniwaki. It was planned for 23 years with many ups and downs but finally, when completed, was a welcome addition as it remains today.

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