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The Real Cobalt
Murray City


(North Temiskaming)

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 Mining Company

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 a blessing.

The Real Heroes of Canada

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 possible.

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 pioneer.

Old Friends in New Places

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 Deceiving Name

“Jack,” I asked, pointing to a broad stream that flowed by the town, “what river is that”?

“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 be found.

Thomas Murray, the Many Times M.P.

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 pleasure-seekers.

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 and enjoy.

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 beauty.

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.

Hunters' Supplies

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 told of

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 illustration.”

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.

Incidental Meetings

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!


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