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History of Squaw Lake | About the Mine

Royal tour of the Ottawa Valley

Seven years before Confederation, Queen Victoria was worried. Where would her Empire find the timber needed to build ships and maintain the position of the British Navy as the rulers of the sea? Far across the ocean in her colonies of Upper and Lower Canada were vast areas of virgin forest waiting to be harvested. In order to ensure that Britian would continue to have sufficient lumber supplies, the Queen sent hers sons to her Canadian colonies to negotiate these transactions.

Prince Edward VII came in 1860 and was taken on a tour of the Ottawa River on the steamer, the Ann Sisson. He stayed overnight at Mrs. Benjamin Bean's stopping place in Quyon. Mrs. Bean, the great-grandmother of Fred Hutchison, was accustomed to feeding the travellers on the river but never had been asked to serve royalty before. As soon as she heard that Prince Edward was coming she sent word to all her neighbors to lend her their best linens and fine cutlery so that he could be served in style.


In 1872 Prince Arthur who later became the Duke of Connaught and acted as Governor General of Canada from 1914 to 1918, traveled up the Ottawa River to Otter Lake . He came with representatives of two of the largest lumber companies, Gillies Brothers and Gilmour Brothers. The highlight of the trip was a hunting expedition up the Picanoc River . On their way up, they stayed overnight at “The Farm”, a depot or stopping place for lumbermen in Otter Lake . David Lunam of Campbell 's Bay is proud of the fact that his grandmother, Elizabeth (Reid) Lunam, cooked for the Prince. She was the mother of David Lunam Sr. whose picture is in the photograph.


About twelve miles for Otter Lake on the Picanoc Road , a monument has been erected where the Prince is believed to have cut down a tree at their campsite.


Many of the lumbermen who accompanied Prince Arthur on this hunting expedition were French speaking. They are believed to have serenaded the Prince with a song which originated in France , “V'la le Bon Vent,” a humorous account of the Princes attempt at hunting. According to the song, he aimed at a black duck but shot a white one.


Visit of a Prince

The year 1872 was an eventful year for the municipality of Leslie Clapham .


It was in this year that, according to records, the first meeting was held to elect Councillors for the Muncipality. These meetings were carried on with the Mayor and Councillors acting in their capacity, but not recognized by the Quebec Government until January 1 st , 1876 , when this Municipality was officially incorporated.


A highlight of the year was a visit to the Gilmour Lumber Company Logging Camp , on the Picanock River, by Prince Arthur the third son of the Late Queen Victoria . The Prince took part in a hunting expedition which proved to be a successful venture, with 2 moose, a deer and a bear for their efforts. “Certainly a dainty dish to set before a King!”



Unveiling of the Plaque

In August 1973 a short ceremony took place to unveil the plaque. Taking part in the ceremony were members of the erection committee, David Lunan Jr., Major James McCuaig, famous historian Basil Quaile Mayor, Hon. Raymond Johnston. Mr. McCuaig supplied and administered, the “spirits”. It wasn't all used on the stone!




Lumbering has always been the main industry of this municipality, farming however, has been carried on in some areas where soil is of a better quality.


From the earliest records available we find that Gilmour and Hughson operated the first Lumbering business in the Picanock area, and floated logs out by the Picanock and Gatineau Rivers . This Company was followed in the business by the Riordon Company, who later sold their business to The Canadian International Paper Company, who are present owners, and are operating a pulpwood and logging industry.


Gillies Brothers operated a business in logs, being situated at the Colounge River ; this Company was a great asset to this municipality. It was in their limits that the local men and boys were able to find work during the winter months. Consolidated-Bathurst purchased the Holdings from Gillies Bros. in the mid 1960's. E.B. Eddy Co. also purchased wood in this municipality.


In addition to the affore mentioned Companies there were numerous small mills in operation in the municipality. Adolph Zimmerling, in 1933, built his sawmill in Otter Lake , this mill remained in the family and in operation until 1946, when Independent Coal and Lumber Company bought the business. This company was a tremendous help to the municipality in providing work for local men and using our raw material.