Side trip to Pontiac village

If you are interested in history you should take the left turn after Onslow School. Follow the blue signs to Tim Horton’s Camp des Voyageurs. The descriptions follow Pontiac road, Cimetière and Canal, quiet winding roads, as shown on the map from top to bottom, from Quyon to the original settlement of Pontiac village, close to the camp entrance.

Quyon village, North and South Onslow and Eardley townships amalgamated in 1975 to become one municipality - Pontiac, named after this early settlement. Little remains of the original village save a ruined log house that belonged to Miles Pepper, a “holy well”, the foundations of the original St. Mary’s Catholic church, and its cemetery. Draper, Mulligan, Trudeau and Stanton are families who first settled in Pontiac Village in the 1840s, whose names are still common in Quyon and Onslow.

Along the road are several small hewn log houses, a wonderful heritage.

#211 Ch. du Pontiac. This was built about 1890 by John Trudeau and is still in the same family. The present owners are Austin and Grace Trudeau.

#197 Ch. du Pontiac is the Cyril Trudeau house, built about 1890. Cyril and John Trudeau were brothers. They were among the last generation of broad-axemen and raftsmen in Ottawa Valley forestry folklore. Mary MacInnis lives here now.

After turning right onto 3e Concession, keep straight on for about 400 m past the turn to Cimetière. On the right side at 1500 3e concession is a red brick farmhouse, c. 1900 (IPBRO). Note the interesting detail along the edge of the roof.

Retrace your path back to the junction with Cimetière and turn right. St. Mary’s Catholic cemetery (from 1927) is on the left on Ch. du Cimetière.

#1237 Ch. du Cimetière has a hewn timber part behind a later addition. E. L. Trudeau lives here.

#175 Ch. du Canal. The Proulx house, about 1890.

Where Ch. du Canal bends is Pontiac Village Cemetery, the original cemetery (c. 1880, IPBRO) of St. Mary’s Church which is now in Quyon. Although the “new” cemetery was started in 1927, the last burial here was in 1980.

The Camp des Voyageurs property (Tim Horton’s camp) covers most of the site of Pontiac Village.
The horse-drawn railway or Union railroad, that transferred passengers between steamships above and below Chats Falls also passed by here (approximate position drawn as a red line on the map below, from the south of Pontiac village to Union village, named after the company). It was 3.5 miles long (5.5 km) and built in 1845. The trip took about an hour. Pontiac Village was a hive of activity by 1847 because of the horse railway but Pontiac Bay was busy from 1814 or earlier, when Philemon Wright started a work site. The bay was used to reassemble rafts of logs after they had passed the Chats Falls. From 1833 the steamship Lady Colborne from Aylmer docked nearby. Pontiac village survived until 1886 when the Pontiac Pacific Junction railway arrived.1

At the end of Canal road is the abandoned Georgian Bay Ship Canal, bypassing Chats Falls, on the route to Georgian Bay and Lake Superior. The channel between islands is drawn in blue on the map below, with the parts cut through rock (the canal) visible at each end of the blue line as the lighter blue of the printed map.

The photo below shows S.S. Ann Sisson at “Quyon Wharf” (Pontiac village) in the 1870s. The white horse of the horse railway can just be seen on the platform at the right, reached by a long stairway.

The Indians and later the voyageurs had a portage across an island to get around the Chats Falls (before the hydroelectric dam was built), and this can still be seen on the south side of Pontiac Bay

Point Indienne (also known as Indian Point, Mondion Point, Point Julien, and on the above map, as Pointe Hudson), a kilometre below Chats Falls, was first settled by Joseph Mondion in 1786. Later the North-West Company had a trading post there and later still the Hudson’s Bay Company, who finally closed it in 1837.

End of side trip, return to Clarendon Street

1. Manon Leroux, L’Autre Outaouais, 2012.
IPBRO = Inventaire du patrimoine bâti de la région de l’Outaoauais.

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Updated: Saturday, 29 December, 2012