History

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The Ann Sisson in front of Pontiac Village. 1869. Library and Archives Canada, C-008593.

Aside from stunning scenery, Chats Falls Park has a rich and fascinating history.

Did you know that well before Europeans set foot on the continent, the park was an Aboriginal portage site?

It was also the site of :

  • A trading post that belonged successively to the Company XY (1800), the North-West Company (1804) and the Hudson’s Bay Company (1821-1837);
  • Two villages that were abandoned after two decades, one of them relying on forestry (Pontiac Village);
  • A horse railway (Union Railroad, 1847-1886) whose path is still visible in the park;
  • Different remnants that reflect the history of the Upper Ottawa Valley.

Back in the day, Chat Falls were a major tourist attraction. Prior to World War I, steamboats departing from Aylmer would take tourists to admire the falls. For many centuries, the falls, now gone, were an important part of the natural and cultural landscape.

And these are only a few examples…