HOW TO GET THERE
THE first question one
asks when hearing of a new place is “How do you get there?” I asked this
when I used to hear, in Ottawa, of the silver land of New Ontario. I
knew, as you know, that Cobalt is away up somewhere in the north. That
is all I knew.
I went to the Canadian
Pacific station in Ottawa and asked for a ticket to Cobalt, and the
train did the rest, It was in the middle of May, that charming month for
travel. One needs but sit in one of the palatial cars of this great road
and glide through beautiful changing panorama, not once noting the
passing of time—ever and anon looking out upon rapidly growing towns
along the way. Oh it is delightful!
I am ever interested in
the towns along the way, each with its own individuality.
There was the live town
of Carleton Place, then Almonte with its busy mills. It was to Almonte
the Prince of Wales— now the good King Edward—was driven from Amprior
while on his memorable visit to Canada in i860, and Amprior with its
vast lumber mills, sixteen miles away, where again we reach the Ottawa
River, which we had left at the Capital. Seventeen miles beyond is the
beautiful town of Renfrew, with its well-laid streets, miles of concrete
sidewalks, and its varied industries. Cobden, whose life went out when
the old Ottawa River boats no longer ran the upper river, is another
sixteen miles away. Onward nineteen miles and we have come to the great
lumber and manufacturing town of Pembroke. Here my mind ran back to that
day three years before when I started from here to go up Lake Allumette
on that jolly 50-mile trip to Days-Washing (spelled Des Joachims) with
Captain Murphy. Sweet memory, that day three years ago!
At just 198 miles from
Ottawa we come to Mattawa, once the livest, busiest town in all the
north. It may not be what once it was, but it has given to other
Canadian towns, men who have made those other towns. I later visited
Mattawa, and found those who were left, a charming people, genial and
courteous. It is here that the Mattawa River enters the Ottawa, which at
this point turns toward the north, to run in tumbling rapids to Lake
Temiskaming, 39 miles away. Along the eastern bank of the Ottawa runs a
branch of the C.P.R.; it passes Lumsden’s Mills, or Temiskaming, where
it connects with a steamer line whose boats run up the lake for nearly
100 miles, and goes on a few miles north-easterly to the beautiful
Kippiwa Lake, with its 600 miles of indented shore line. At Temiskaming
is the popular summer hotel—the Bellevue, and the great mills of John
Lumsden, of Ottawa.
Beyond Mattawa, some 45
miles, we reach North Bay, destined by reason of its advantageous
situation to become a large city. It was a result of the Canadian
Pacific Railway— nothing in the early 8o’s, now a business and railway
centre of many thousand people.
North Bay is 244 miles
a little north of west of Ottawa. It lies on the north shore of Lake
Nipissing—at its eastern extremity. The Nipissing is but a spot on the
map of Canada, and yet it looks here to be a great lake as it goes out
of "sight to the west. Its waters flow west to the Georgian Bay through
the French River, and the Ottawa carries a part of it to the east,
through the River Mattawa; the lake is fifty or more miles in length.
So full of lakes is
this great north, that the “little ones” don’t count, and thus many a
charming sheet of water is never heard of until one by accident runs
across it. This is why Canada is well called “The Land of Surprises.” No
preconceived notion of it will fit the situation. One must see it to
know even a little bit about it. This of the eastern half—the grandeur
and the sublimity of the western may never be painted, and cannot be
told. Through the length of both runs this great railway, through varied
and ever-changing beauty, each year becoming better known and more
popular as a tourist road.
THE TEMISKAMING AND
At North Bay begins the
Government railway, the T. and N.O., and here is where passengers from
the east and west change to go to Cobalt, which lies 103 miles to the
This railway is the
consummation of the Hon. Frank Latch-ford’s dream. For years he worked
for it, session after session, when in the Provincial Parliament as
Minister of Public Works, He was finally successful and before he went
out of power he saw trains running to the north for more than 100 miles.
The Whitney Government took up the work and are pushing it rapidly on
toward James Bay, many hundreds of miles toward the North Pole. From a
small beginning it promises to become one of the most important in the
country, by reason of the vast forests and millions of acres of farming
lands that will be made available by it, not to mention the thousands of
square miles of mineral lands which may be made practical for mining.
What was once called “
The Land of the Muskeg and Stunted Poplar” will yet be found rich in
mineral and a very garden in productiveness. Along its line are growing
up prosperous towns, many destined to become cities by reason of the
vast wealth that lies around them.
It is well called “ The
Picturesque Temiskaming,” for here and there all along the way are lakes
and rivers with magnificent falls pouring down through deep defiles of
Lake Temagami is in a
forest reserve of 1,400,000 acres. It in itself is one of the most
beautiful lakes in the north, and besides, this vast reserve contains
innumerable other lakes and many rivers. The Montreal, with its endless
interest, bounds its northerly edge. It is reached at 72 miles from
North Bay, at Temagami Station. Here a number of lines of steamers
connect and carry the tourists far up and around its borders. It is so
full of islands—they do say nearly 1,300 of them—that the scenery is
kaleidoscopic in its beauty. Many hotels are here and there along the
way, private residences peep out at the passing steamer through vistas
on the islands, palatial yachts flit by with merry parties from the
hotels and cottages, and—but it would take a book to tell you about it,
and I’m on my way to Cobalt on the T. and N. O.
Beyond Temagami, and a
few miles before reaching Cobalt, we cross the Montreal River at
Latchford, named for the Hon. Frank. Here are big lumber mills. It is
from Latchford that the mining country of the Upper Montreal River is
reached by steamer, or if you are in a hurry, by canoes.
We now come to the end
of our destination, Cobalt, as before said, 103 miles from North Bay,
and 347 miles from Ottawa.
It has been a pleasant
trip, fine scenery, and many bright travelling companions, all intent on
“what we’ll find when we get there.” Enough of them had been there
before to point out the places of interest along the way, and to tell
the “tenderfoot” what to expect when he got there. Elsewhere I have told
you of some of the more important places along the line of the road.
It is one of the
pleasures of the writer to meet old friends in new places. When in
Pembroke in 1904 I was indebted for many courtesies to W. D.
Cunningworth, who was then with the Canada Atlantic. I had lost trace of
him and had often wondered where he had gone, but coming to the far
north I found him an active part of the T. and N.O. Railway line. The
Commission certainly deserve credit for its selection for the road’s
management. From its genial young manager, J. H. Black, down through the
office force, the young men are wideawake and efficient. At North Bay a
fine office building of stone is being erected; its stations are models
of beauty, especially those of Temagami and Englehart—the latter rarely
equalled, for size, in places less than a large city. The roadbed is
well laid, the cars are remarkably well built, after the latest models,
and manned by a train force, from conductors to brakemen, whose courtesy
is most pleasing. “Why so efficient”? I asked, and was told than UJ. H.
will have nothing less.” The road is now completed to McDougall Chutes,
204 miles from North Bay, and regular trains will shortly begin running
beyond Englehart, the divisional point. From McDougall Chutes to the
crossing of the Transcontinental Railway it is some over 40 miles, and
for this portion of the line the contract is let and work is progressing
Transcontinental, under the wise supervision of our good friend S. N.
Parent, Chairman of the Dominion Railway Commission, is rapidly going
forward. At the crossing, east and west, a section 150 miles in length
is being cleared, and the roadbed being graded. It is a vast
undertaking, since to get material for the roadway and supplies for the
army of men and the hundreds of horses requires great generalship. Were
the T. and N.O. completed to the crossing it would be but comparatively
easy, but to overcome the 40 miles of a gap may require the blasting out
of the rock along the bed of the Abitibi River, that steamers may carry
down the material and supplies.
So silently move the
vast works of this great upper country that one must see to realize