The Historic Madawaska River System
Renfrew County, Ontario, Canada

From Algonquin Park to Arnprior

April 6, 2010:
October 8, 1835 Baptism of Prospere, aged 8 mos., of the marriage of Francois Proulx and Rose Benoit of Madawaska Godparents: Joseph Lepine and Felicite Lepine August 12, 1851 After one publication of banns, marriage of Edward Dodge of Madawaska (Renfrew County), widower of Elizabeth Tranchemontagne, to Elmire Leclere / Leclair of the same place, widow of Alfred Lauzon Witnesses: Louis Paul, Philibert Bastien, Widow Bourgeois, the bride's aunt (Note: There are many Dodge's buried at Calabogie ... Al) Source: Drouin Records for Notre Dame Cathedral, Ottawa, available at
Al / Ken: I am attaching a map I drew over a 1939 Renfrew map before the flooding from Hydro dams. I need to confirm the approximate location of the specific chutes and was hoping you guys could help. I plotted them in yellow dots. This map will be the bases for the next map, years after all the dams went in and new lakes formed. The Ottawa Valley sure has changed landscape over the years. Taylor Kennedy PS It is an Excel file. And there are 2 roads from Black Donald Mine. The solid orange was the original route. They took Graphite from the mine to Calabogie to meet the train. I also plotted train tracks. The dotted orange line was the new one cut through the bush as stated in the story of Black Donald Mine. ... Taylor Kennedy The Madawaska River System, Ontario, Canada Map compiled by Taylor Kennedy, based on 1939 information (Before Centennial Lake was created) Madawaska River Map, Ontario, Canada, 1939
March 10, 2012 The Township names listed on the above map, are: Raglan, Lyndoch, Sebastopol, Griffith, Gratton, Brougham, Admaston, Horton, Blithfield, Bagot, McNab, Pakenham and Fitzroy. October 20, 2013: The Madawaska River was important in the history of the Ottawa Valley. Prior to contact with Europeans, a branch of the Algonquin First Nation, called the Matouweskarini, inhabited the Madawaska River from its headwaters in Algonquin Park to its outlet into the Ottawa River at present-day Arnprior. See the book Algonquin Traditional Cutlure by Kirby J. Whiteduck (map on page 2). Early Fur Traders and Lumbermen used the Madawaska. Alexander Barnet was an early lumber baron on the river. (photos below taken at the McDougall Museum in the Town of Renfrew).
Log Jam on the Madawaska River, 1880's Alexander Barnet, Lumber Baron on the Madawaska River, Ontario, Canada
Keywords: A. V. Lawton, High Falls on the Madawaska River in 1887, Thomas Mackie, P.R. Cummings, Thomas Low. New November 2, 2013: The picture below is called "Cutting the High Fall's Dam" from the CD Shanty, Forest and River Life in the Backwoods of Canada - 1884, by (Rev.) Joshua Fraser, Archive CD Books Canada, catalogue number CA0244, ISBN 1-897338-92-9, original book printed by John Lovell and Son, Montreal, 1883
High Falls on the Madawaska River, 1880's
The Water Levels of the Madawaska River, Ontario, Canada. The Madawaska River, Water Flow Levels, Ontario, Canada Here is an early map of the Madawaska River. At this time, the only major dam on the river is Camel Chute in Matawatchan Township. The location of the Black Donald Graphite Mine is shown. It is now under eighty feet of water. The River flows through ten townships from Jones Township in the west to McNab Township in the east. The River empties into the Ottawa River at Arnprior, Ontario. Black Donald Mine is shown as a black dot on this map.
Map Source: The Upper Ottawa Valley: A Glimpse of History, by Clyde Kennedy, page 158. Old Madawaska River Map, Ontario, Canada
Madawaska River Map, 2004 Showing Water Route Changes due to new Hydro Dams and the Creation of Centennial Lake in 1967 Points of Interest Mountain Chute Dam, Dodge Lake, Norcan Lake Map compiled by Taylor Kennedy, based on 2004 information Madawaska River Map, Ontario, Canada

New March 10, 2012 The place names listed on the above map, are: Brudenell - Roman Catholic Church Records, Rockingham, Combermere, Jewellville, (named after the Jewell family?), Palmer Rapids, Quadeville, Wadsworth Lake Foymount, Lake Clear Ashby Lake, Weslemkoon Lake, Effingham Lake, Mazinaw Lake Constant Lake, Dacre, Mount St. Patrick, Griffith, Camel Chute, Matawatchan, Centennial Lake, Black Donald Lake, Mountain Chute, Renfrew, Hurds Lake, Shamrock, Norway Lake, Calabogie, Calabogie Chute, Barryvale, Calabogie Lake, Barrett Chute, Arnprior, Arnprior Chute, Stewartville, White Lake Pakenham, Hayes Bay, Almonte, Clayton Lake, Carleton Place Three Mile Bay, Mile Lake, Poland, Innisville, Mississippi Lake, Dalhousie Lake Norcan Lake, Long Schooner Lake, Fortune Lake, Brule Lake, Buckshot Lake, Canonto Lake, Palmerston Lake, Part of Crotch Lake, Sand Lake. _________________________ Al: The black dot in the 2004 map above is the approximate location of Black Donald mine and is under about 80 feet of water according to scuba divers. There is one area that is supposedly 350 feet deep or more and nothing there, spooky. That may have been where the explosion / cave-in occurred. ... Taylor

Topographic Map of the Black Donald Lake and Mountain Chute area of the Madawaska River Valley, Ontario, Canada Mountain Chute Map - Madawaska River, Ontario, Canada Mountain Chute Photograph - Madawaska River, Ontario, Canada
Al How old is the map above? The map I used was an Ontario map 2004. I am interested in the little lakes also. Dodge and Leclaire are important, also Sullivan Lake. These were the many residents in Brougham Township. Taylor ______________________________________ Taylor, The copy of the map which I have was created in 1984. On the map it says "Updated from Aerial Photographs taken in 1979". I think that the original topographic maps were created long before that, maybe in the 1940's. ... Al
Mountain Chute Generating Station Mountain Chute Hydro Generation Station

Calabogie Lake in Renfrew County in 1862 Map Source: Wallings 1863 Map of Renfrew County High Falls would later become Barrett Chute Generating Station. Calabogie Mills is located in the village of Calabogie Barrett Chute Dam in August, 2009 and would later become Calabogie Chute. Calabogie Lake, 1862 Barrett Chute Map - Madawaska River, Ontario, Canada

Taylor has sent along the following newspaper article from 1948: OTTAWA CITIZEN - FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1948 NEW LAKE TO BE BORN The Ottawa area is to see a brand new lake being born over the weekend, when the water starts to rise along the Madawaska River back of the newly completed Stewartville Dam. When present plans are completed, there will be a lake reaching back almost 15 miles to Calabogie, and extending to a width of approximately 500 feet. Before the water attains its maximum depth, it will have to rise more than 120 feet. Official opening of the dam will be Saturday, September 25, 1948 when Premier George Drew will be present. Today the water is still running through a tunnel in the rocks. But sometime on Sunday, depending on the water flow, the tunnel will be closed, and the waters of the Madawaska will start to back up. It is expected that with an average flow, water will begin running through the sluices at the top of the dam next Tuesday. It is not believed that the waters will rise very quickly, but by Tuesday night, it is just possible, that the new Stewartville Lake will be in existence. The Ontario government, in conjunction with the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario, plan to make quite an occasion of the official opening, on September 25. Prime Minister Drew and Robert H. Saunders, commission chairman will be among the distinguished guests. It is expected that a large number of Ottawa Valley people will be invited to the opening ceremonies.
April 8, 2010: Taylor Kennedy has sent in an article from the Ottawa Citizen: Rivermen's Graves on the Madawaska River System

May 1, 2010:
The Workings of the Calabogie Light and Hydro and the Sale to Ontario Hydro from the 1920's
... Taylor Ottawa Citizen - October 20, 1920 Excerpt from an article relating to several issues of teachers, organizations and Burnstown, Ontario, Canada. - The Calabogie Light and Power Company intend to lay a power line from Renfrew to Burnstown, a distance of ten miles, so that the village may have power and electric light. As the line will pass through one of the finest and most up-to-date farming district of the Ottawa Valley, it is expected that the farmers will take advantage of the power line to install electric light and power on their farms. It is interesting to note that the increased consumption of electricity in Renfrew as a result of the reduction of the rate charged by the town council. The two plants that generate the power are municipally owned. In August and September, 1919, the consumption of current for domestic and commercial lighting was 67,689 kilowatts, for which users paid $3,067. In August and September, 1920, the current used in the same services measured 114,418 kilowatts, for which the users paid $3,094. Ottawa Citizen - July 4, 1929 Ontario Hydro Describes New Power Purchase Toronto, Ontario - Jul 3 - The M.J. O'Brien water power interests that are being acquired by the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario are located on the Madawaska and Mississippi rivers, approximately fifty miles west of Ottawa. They consist of two plants in operation, one at Galetta, where the Mississippi river enters the Ottawa, and one at Calabogie, at the foot of Lake Calabogie, on the Madawaska River, says an official statement issued by the commission today. Galetta, Ontario, Canada - Hydro Generating Station Hydro Dam at Galetta, Ontario, Canada The Galetta plant has an installation of 1,400 horsepower, and includes the transmission lines to Arnprior, Galetta, Carp, Kinburn, Braeside, South March, Sand Point and in the Townships of Fitzroy, Huntley and March. The Calabogie plant has a present installation of 6,000 horsepower, with machinery of 3,000 horsepower capacity awaiting installation and distributes power to Calabogie, Renfrew, Barryvale, Burnstown and in the townships of Bagot, Blithfield, Horton and McNab. The power distributed in Renfrew is to certain industries only but power is on occasion sold to the municipal distributing system. The purchase includes the O'Brien interests in undeveloped sites on the Madawaska River with capacities totalling an installation of 85,000 horsepower. These are all located on the Madawaska River between High Falls and the mouth of the river, the sites being at Claybank, Stewartville, Burnstown and High Falls. In addition to the developed and undeveloped power sites, certain of the larger lakes will ultimately be developed for storage reservoirs. These will likely be at Big Opeongo Lake, Aylen and Bark Lakes, and at Palmer Rapids. These in all will provide storage of about 400,000 acre feet, materially assisting in the regulation of the river flow, reducing the natural spring freshets and augmenting the natural bow flows on the river. The Madawaska River headwaters are located in about the middle of Algonquin Provincial Park and the river flows in a general easterly direction until it reaches the Ottawa River at Arnprior. Its principal tributary is the York River. The flow of the Mississippi River is at present regulated by storage reservoirs. The largest of these are at Cross (Crotch), Gull and Long lakes. The Hydro Electric Power Commission now operates two power plants on the Mississippi River, one at Carleton Place (800 horsepower) and one at High Falls (3,600 horsepower). The Commission also owns three undeveloped sites on the Mississippi River with a total capacity of 6,000 horsepower possible installation. In addition to the O'Brien interests in undeveloped sites on the Madawaska River now being purchased, there are four other undeveloped sites between High Falls and Palmer Rapids, which, when developed, will bring the total capacity of the Madawaska River up to approximately 150,000 horsepower. Transcribed by Taylor Kennedy.

November 20, 2010:
Madawaska Lake To me, this painting looks as if it was executed from what is now the Public Boat Launch at Calabogie Lake, before the dam went in. If so, the mountain in the background would be Calabogie Peaks Ski Hills. Painting Source: National Gallery of Canada Artist: A.W. Holdstock, 1840-1901 Painting of Madawaska Lake, Upper Canada, by A. W. Holdstock

January 12, 2014: William Brymner was the son of the Dominion Archivist in Ottawa. At the beginning of his career, he sketched illustrations like the one below which appears in the Book / CD Shanty, Forest and River Life in the Backwoods of Canada (1884). This sketch shows High Falls on the Madawaska River. See also our local Art History web page. Painting by William Brymner. High Falls on the Madawaska River, c. 1880 This fascinating and most realistic book is available on CD from Archives CD Books Canada, stock number CA0244.

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