SOME cities boast of
their manufacturing facilities; some, of the rich farming lands
surrounding them; others of beauty of situation, with scenery of forest
and stream. Still others of their healthfulness. Rare, indeed, is found
one that can boast of them all.
When my eye first
caught sight of Murray City, the balmy June morning I crossed the lake
from Haileybury, I could not but exclaim: “Here is the ideal site for a
great metropolis!” As the little steamer plied its way from lake into
river, the high banks extending for miles far up to where river turns
from north to east, I was charmed with the scenery; when later I visited
the mighty rush of water down the fifteen rapids, the unused power
appealed to me as I saw the future uses to which they must be put for
manufacturing; looking at the rich fields, which lined the way, I saw
agricultural possibilities that would have made glad the heart of an
Illinois farmer; and still later, when I found that the only doctor in
town had gone to seek his fortune among the mines of northern Quebec, I
could not but feel that here was a veritable health resort. “Rare,
indeed, is found the one that can boast of them all,” but here I had
found “the one,” as surely 'twas an ideal site for a great city that
burst upon our view that morning as we steamed up the Quinze River.
“Where is the site that
commands so much enthusiasm?” I knew you would ask that, and I had my
answer all ready.
Lake Temiskaming is a
magnificent inland sea, more than seventy-five miles long, and in places
six to eight miles wide. It is one of the chain of lakes of which the
Ottawa River is made up. It is the greatest of the many. It begins at
the south, at a place with many names: “The Long Soo,” “Temiskaming,”
and “Lumsden’s Mills.” It ends, or possibly more properly begins, at
what might well be called “Ideal City,” of which I am writing. It lies
between the Provinces of Quebec, on the east, and Ontario on the west.
An Indian Reserve
Murray City is in a
60,000 acre Indian Reserve. It lies in the Province of Quebec—and not
far from the west line.
I had the pleasure of
meeting Mr. Adam Burwash, the Indian Agent, who came up here, a third of
a century ago, from Lachute, in Argenteuil. He was one of the pioneers
of this north country. I asked him of the Indians of whose welfare he
has to look after.
“How many are there in
the reserve”? I asked. “Of the old families there are but three left:
the Wabis, the Masinikijeks, and the Matawsens. Of these there are 220
people. I might mention Coquana, one lone member of a once great family.
When he is gone—and he is now very old—the family will be extinct.”
“Do they own the land,
these few people” ? “ Yes, in a way, but they cannot sell, save through
the Quebec Government, which decides, when"an oiler is made, if the
price is proper.”
Mr. Burwash lives on
the east side of the river, across from the town, where he is laying out
into town lots his 200 acre farm, in anticipation of the great boom that
must be when the Canadian Pacific Railway comes up from Lumsden’s Mills.
The wise ones have already begun to take up lots, which, owing to the
magnificent situation, overlooking river, town and lake, must become
most valuable the minute the rcfad reaches here on its way to strike the
great transcontinental, 100 miles to the north.
Originator of a Great
Mr. Burwash was the
originator of the now famous Hudson Bay and Temiskaming Mining Company,
whose one dollar shares are now held at as high as $300, since the great
find of September 9th. Few^companies, in all time, have equalled the
success of the Hudson Bay, whose originator had never made any pretence
as a financier. From a poor man he has within a few short months become
one of the wealthy men of the land. In the hands of such as he, money is
The Real Heroes of
To Mrs. Burwash, the
cultured wife of the Agent, much is due the building of the fine
hospital at New Liskeard. She it was who called its need to the
attention of Lady Minto—after whom it was named: “The Lady Minto
Hospital”—who at once set about securing a grant that made its building
All throughout the
country this good woman is known. Many a sick room has been brightened
by her cheery presence. She has ever been the friend of the
pioneer—friend when there was most need.
“The real heroes of
Canada,” says she, “are not they who shoulder their rifles and go to
battle, but the pioneer wife and mother, who endures hardships and
privations which would try the bravest hearts. Talk about the builders
of the Empire! It is not the men whose names find place in history, but
these grand women who go with their husbands into the wilds of the
forests, there to suffer and often die, far from home and loved ones,
back at the ‘Front.’ These are the heroes! All honor is due their noble
lives.” As I listened to her enthusiastic words in behalf of the pioneer
women, I could not but think of the vast good that a little of the rich
man’s money could do, in sending trained nurses to the various backwoods
sections, where many a woman dies for want of meagre care.
One day, while passing
a cabin, in a far backwood, the man with me said: “ See that little
house ” ? Several unkempt children were playing around the yard as we
passed. The man continued: “Last winter the wife and mother died under
most distressing circumstances.” I later learned the circumstances. The
husband was away. A neighbor passing, was hailed by one of the little
children, who, crying, said: “ Oh, mister, my mamma said she was going
to die, and now she won’t talk to us” ! He went in and found the woman
unconscious. He secured help, but it was too late. Two lives had gone
out, in that backwood cabin, when a few dollars of the worse than wasted
wealth of the idle rich might have saved both.
Could they who are ever
looking for fads on which to spend their money see here a need, they
surely would give heed to a suggestion to send trained nurses to lessen
the hardships of the pioneer women of this north country, where, to get
a doctor, is often an impossibility. Incidentally, doctors have to go,
at times, as far as forty miles, into sections almost impossible to
reach—and to their honor be it said, they seldom refuse the call of the
Old Friends in New
I am ever meeting old
friends in new places. No matter where I go, some of the boys have
gotten there first. Almost the first one I met, at Murray City, was John
Foran, who used to do my engravings, when at the head of the Federal
Engraving Company, on Elgin Street, Ottawa.
“Happy”? repeated Jack.
“Why, I wouldn’t change for two farms. Never knew what real living was
until I came up into this free, clear, bracing air I” And he looked the
“Happy Jack.” Of course the fact of his having acquired no end of good
mining claims would naturally tend to make him feel on good terms with
all the world.
A Great River with a
“Jack,” I asked,
pointing to a broad stream that flowed by the town, “what river is
“That,” said he, “is
the famous Quinze,” but you’d never have believed it’when you heard it
pronounced. It’s just like you went to say “Has” with a “C” instead of
an “H’’—-Cas. It means the Fifteen River, fifteen falls, which I
referred to before, and which gives it a^possible right of being
pronounced any old way, because of the greatness of its unused power.
Just to think of it! In
going eighteen miles it drops 270 feet Some time it will drop to a
purpose, and then you will not have to be told where Murray City is to
Thomas Murray, the Many
No wonder Thomas Murray
quit Renfrew politics to buy here and start a city which must sometime
become one of the great ones of Canada. Its situation, as I have said,
is ideal for a vast manufacturing centre, besides being a distributing
point for a great area of back country.
To refer to Thomas
Murray is but to mention a name too familiar in Canada to need any
introduction. You who have followed Canadian affairs know of his eight
years in the Dominion Parliament, and his twelve years’ service as
member in the Ontario House.
Mr. Murray is not a
novice at town building. He it was who saw the future of North Bay, and,
with John Ferguson, started this enterprising city towards the position
it must hold among the great ones of Ontario. “Great” by reason of its
situation, and the enterprise of the people who have since come to it.
It was Thomas Murray who secured for North Bay its Court House and other
public buildings, and had the back country opened up by roads.
Besides his interests
in Murray City, he will shortly start to build a town at the mouth of
the Montreal River, which, by reason of the wonderful power, soon to be
harnessed by two great companies, must become more than town. It too
must become a city of factories. And not only that, but the beauty of
the site will attract those who are ever looking for ideal summer homes.
‘The King of the North”
Murray City is fast
becoming a summer resort, for what with the magnificent lake, the river
of many falls, so full of beauty spots, and the pure air of this
northern clime, it is attracting many from our own country as well as
from Canada. The Temiskaming Navigation Company’s steamers make daily
trips to this point throughout the season, bringing many tourists and
The Gibbons, R. and P.,
saw here the need of a hotel, and have built “The King of the North.”
They built for the prospector, the traveller, the tourist and the
hunter—built as they thought large enough for them all, but once the
beauty of the situation of Murray City is known abroad, the “Eng” must
be enlarged again and again to accommodate the many who will come to see
The River of Rapids
I could not but think
this the day I went up the Caz River, to look upon sights and scenes
nowhere else to be found in the world. To tell you of this river of
rapids would convey but little of the real grandeur of the scenery. So
swift and seething the waters that great bodies of foam, like floating
ice blocks, reach from the first rapid—two miles away—to the landing
near the hotel.
These rapids, in their
order, were given me by the famous river man, Ben. McKenzie: First
Chute; Second Chute; The Devil’s Chute; The Island, which is two miles
long, is made up of a number of nameless rapids: Pipestone, so called
from the stone the Indians used in making their pipes; Little Pipestone;
The Kayha, Indian for hawk; The Cypress; The Maples; and The Head. There
are others but they are small and nameless.
The Devil's Chute
Here is what I wrote
the day I sat upon the great rocks overlooking the Devil’s Chute. It
will but feebly convey the enthusiasm I felt in the presence of so much
that was beautiful. It must be seen to be appreciated.
“The third rapids is
called The Devil’s Chute. If strength, power and awe make the name, then
it is well named. But if beauty, grandeur, and inspiration be taken into
account, then it is Godlike. Would that my “Ideal” could convey to you
what lies before me this bright June morning! To the left, some three
hundred yards away, the tumbling waters come into view from the east, at
the bend of the river, and sweep, a rolling rapid, round a basin to pay
very feet, where they break into an incline of forty-five degrees, down
which the whole Ottawa pours, a mighty mass, through a narrow gorge, and
falling into a roaring caldron, chums into a cloud of mist as the waters
foam and sweep away to the rapids below. The grey titanic rocks on which
I sit, as I pen these lines, add to the grandeur of the scene. Looking
in all directions around, upon the verrdure-clad hills, is a picture so
magnificent that one might cross a continent to gaze upon.
“Wait! Wait! A boylike
spirit comes over me. I will go up the rocky bank and roll into the
rapid one of those great logs that have caught and hold their feeble
tenure in the eddy, then return and watch it plunge down the chute.
Quick! It is off! BuUong before I can get back it has shot through and
is tossing in the caldron like a feathery thing.”
So little is all this
appreciated by the people, that to reach this chute I had to pick my way
through the underbrush along the river bank, and when I would return, by
way of the hill above, I had to hold my camera in my teeth as I pulled
myself up the steep ascent by catching hold of small stems that grew
along the side. But the enterprising Gibbons boys purpose having a path
made, by means of which their guests may easily find their way to the
Chute, which when known will draw vast numbers to see and enjoy its
The Indian Church
There is at Murray City
one of the quaintest little churches I have seen in Canada. It is
Catholic, under the wise care pf Father Laniel. I attended it while
there, and more devotion I have seldom seen than was manifested by the
Indians, who make up the larger party of the congregation. Some of them
have good voices and joined heartily in the singing of the services.
Murray City is on a
direct line to the great hunting grounds of the north. Here the hunter
is wont to fit out for his expedition. The house of Murray & Foran, as
well as J. P. Ranger, keep every requirement for hunter, fisher and
tourist. No one intend-ing to go for moose, for fishing in the lakes,
toward the Height of Land, or for mere pleasure, need bring an outfit,
as all may here be had on most reasonable terms.
Incidents by the Way
On the way over to
Murray City, there were three priests that morning on the steamer. I
always make it a point to meet and know the good fathers. I’m ever sure
to find in them good travelling companions. This morning I was specially
fortunate, for one of them proved to be the famous Father Fafard, O.M.I.,
of Albany, James Bay, the priest who made the 500 mile snowshoe trip
from Albany to Murray City last winter. He told me of that trip,
jokingly saying, “I came for my health.” Now what do you think of that!
Five hundred miles through a trackless wilderness, with the thermometer
on friendly terms with fifty below! Well, for mine, I’ll take the health
prescription with 490 miles off, and that in the good old summer time.
Fifteen years ago he
was stationed at Murray City, then North Temiskaming, and from here went
to his present home in the far north.
He was full of pleasing
reminiscences, and could tell a good story. When passing Wabis Point he
Big Wabi, the Indian,
Who Followed the Way of the White Man
“Chief Wabi,” began the
father, “was certainly one of the characters of the country. I asked him
one day: ‘Wabi, how do you get on so well’? ‘How I get on? I tell you.
One tam it was Little Wabi, little eat, big work. I see white man, I
follow he’s way. Now, little work, big eat, Big Wabi.’
“To give his conception
of the ways of the white man he told of how he had succeeded in
following those ways: ‘I sit in cabin, on day. White man came along. Hay
very scarce that year. White man he say, “Wabi, got any hay?” I say,
“Yes, three ton.” “How much”? “ Fifty dollars ton.” He pay me, and I
have heap money. Nuther man came along, and he say: “Wabi, got any hay?”
I say, “Yes, three ton.” “How much”? “Fifty dollars ton.” He pay me and
I feel big rich man. Nuther man came along. Hay very scarce. Every body
want hay, but nobody want hay till winter tam. He say: “Wabi, got any
hay”? I tell him same as before, and he pay me. What? Oh, yes, same old
hay! Sell him three tam, and have beeg, beeg money. Winter tam come
long. Ver* cold winter! Cattle eat all grass, then stan’ round and get
ver’ thin and poor. I feel ver’ sorry for cattle, and then I feed ’em
white men’s hay. White men come after while and all say: “Wabi, want
hay.” I look ver* sad, and say, “ Cattle*eat it up. Hay all gone!” White
man no get mad. He used to it!’ I have seldom heard a more apt
Besides “health” Father
Fafard had come to have printed some books in the Cree language. He was
about to return to Albany. This time by canoe.
These meetings are the
pleasures of travel—the incidental meetings. Which reminds me of the
three young prospectors who got on the steamer at Murray City to cross
to Haileybury. They were just returning from months of prospecting in
northern Quebec. They had three bags of samples, and reported great
finds. Two were from British Columbia, and one, a doctor, from a Quebec
town. Once knowing a very prominent man who had lived in that same town,
but^who had died some years ago, I naturally asked of the doctor if he
had known him. “ Oh, yes, I knew him well. Fine man he was too!” “Yes,”
said I, “and a fine lady, his wife!” “Right you are there,” said he
smiling. “I know, for she is my wife now.” Little world this!
The doctor had read a
number of my books, and we were at once friends. An author’s readers
always have a peculiar interest to him. They ever seem nearer.
This was my first trip
to Murray City. All throughout the summer I have many times gone across
the lake. Some times alone, but oftener with pleasant parties from
Haileybury. The Temiskaming is surely a most delightful pleasure lake.
It has many places for a day’s outing, all along, and around its
charming shores, from Murray City, at the north, to Lumsden’s Mills at
the south, where lake again turns to river, to flow in tumbling rapids
through more lakes, and on down, for hundreds of miles, to join the
beautiful St. Lawrence at Montreal. Sweet memories—this summer spent in
the far north!