The Ottawa-Gatineau area in 1826 was actually a settlement of about 800 people working primarily in agriculture and lumbering located on the Quebec side of the river. By 1828, in anticipation of canal construction, a settlement of about 1,000 people existed on the Ontario side. The city of Bytown would be incorporated as a town in 1847 and in 1855 was given city status with a new name, Ottawa.
Ottawa has always been connected to the river. The LeBreton Flats area, adjacent to our Pumphouse whitewater facility consisted of massive lumberyards, housing, hotels, storage for coal, railyards etc. In fact it blended into an area known as Chaudiere, encompassing the Chaudiere and Victoria Islands. The Chaudiere name was from the proximity to the Chaudiere Falls, which unfortunately is not as spectacular as it once was due to the power generating dam. The original intention (of Lord Dalhousie) back in 1820 was to have Colonel John By build the Rideau Canal from Dow's Lake to Chaudiere Falls across what was to become LeBreton Flats area. Apparently Captain John LeBreton purchased the land from under Dalhousie's nose, speculating it's value would rise. Dalhousie was miffed and changed the plans to have the canal exit between Parliament and the Chateau Laurier(property he owned). LeBreton Flats takes its name after the wily but unsuccessful Captain. Also of interest, is that ill fated Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, laid the first stone of the Rideau Canal locks in 1827, with the man made waterway completed in 1832. Many labourers contracted malaria and died during the construction through some of the swampier areas between Ottawa and Kingston.
The following are pictures from the National Archives web that show a marked contrast to today's network of bike paths, museum, condos, and of course whitewater paddling area.
View of LeBreton Flats and Chaudiere from Bronson hill and Christchurch Cathedral area, though it is difficult to see the pumping station clearly in the jumble of houses and factories which transition to the lumber storage areas.
The view below appears that it could be the outflow channel from the pumphouse, with buildings perched on stilts along the road on the west side. The 1894 Ottawa map appears to validate this. www.ottawariverrunners.com/detail.php
From the waterside the area looks a bit more industrial, and there is no surprise why there has had to be much contaminated soil removed recently as the NCC and City of Ottawa have move to fix up this area, primarily after 2000.
This is a view from the LeBreton/Chaudiere area looking South East ( It appears that Christ Church Cathedral may be the spire behind the stack of lumber in the foreground)
Here is view from the same area - near the waterside, but looking Southwest across the neighbourhood. It is not clear what this channel is - perhaps outflow from the existing Pumping Station?
Copyright 2017 Ottawa River Runners. All rights reserved | Admin