Head, Clara and Maria Local History
Deux Rivières' Face Lifted By Hydro Dam
Full Text
Deux Rivieres’ Face Lifted by Hydro Dam

How the building of the Hy¬dro dam at Rapides des Joach¬ims, which necessitated the mov¬ing of several villages, has re¬lieved Deux Rivieres from dan¬ger of flood is explained in the following article which appear¬ed in a recent issue of the 'Globe and Mail:

'Spring rains today are honey¬combing the ice along the upper Ottawa River as it winds in its deep bed between the picturesque hills of Ontario and Quebec. Soon the full force of the sea¬son's flood will pour down from Lake Temiskaming, and from numerous feeder streams that churn into the Ottawa from both provinces.

But residents of this village on the Ontario shore, 22 miles downstream from Mattawa, aren't worried about high wa¬ters. Two years ago this village was moved lock, stock and bar¬rel to high ground.

The move was made because the Ontario Hydro Electric Pow¬er Commission had constructed its dam at Rapides des Joachims, 35 miles downstream. Even from that distance, the great dam would back the water up suf¬ficiently to flood a large part of the village.

There was grumbling about the need to move, even though the Hydro said it would reim¬burse residents handsomely. But a visit to the village today shows the grumbling is over. In¬deed, residents claim the move was the best thing that's hap¬pened to their little lumbering community in its 150-year his¬tory.

Now setting down snugly in its new location about a quarter-mile inshore, the village today looks out across three miles of water to the Quebec side, when the river is full in spring and summer. Old width was 50 0 yards.

At present, islands of stumps intervene between the provinces because the water is low.

The move involved the Angli¬can church, the United church, a general store, a large boarding house for lumbermen, eight houses and a group of tourist cabins. And extending for 10 miles north of the village, as far as Klocks, the railway line had to be moved back, too.

The Anglican church, a small, ancient log structure, was torn down. Today about a quarter-mile distant the new church of 'St. Augustine stands upon a small knoll against a backdrop ('Please Turn to Page 6) of pines—one of the prettiest little churches In the province.

The United church was torn down, too, but so far it hasn't been rebuilt. The tourist cabins were moved a half mile down the shore. Edward Burton de¬molished his general store and today has a spanking structure on the inland side of the high¬way that runs between Ottawa and Mattawa, Here and there on the hilly shore, are small, new homes.

There's a brand-new school, too, erected in the general splurge to improve the com¬munity. The old one was above the water line, but it was a log structure, 75 years old.

To top it off, early this year, villagers put away their coal oil lamps for keeps. Electric power was brought from the great Rapides des Joachims plant which had initially seemed their nemesis.

"The move has certainly done us more good than harm," says hotelman Andrew Cotnam, who was born here 59 years ago. He was a member of the council of the united townships of Head Maria and Clara for l2 years, and is now a member of the school board.

"Everybody was well paid for the property the Hydro took over, and the appearance of the village is greatly improved with some of the old houses gone," he declared.

Moreover, the backing up of the river hasn't interfered with anglers, tourist and local. Resi¬dents claim that some of the best fishing on the Ottawa is to be had at its junction with Deux Rivieres creek.

It's now possible to travel by outboard motor boat the full 57 miles between Rapides des Joachims and Mattawa. Formerly, five long, hard rapids had to be portaged.

The backwater has taken away some of the glamour of lumber¬ing along the Ottawa, but woodsmen say they are glad it's gone. Formerly, logs produced here, on passing through this area, had to be driven down¬stream in the traditional way by sweating, lumberjacks who risk¬ed their lives.

Today the big sticks of timber are just boomed together and towed down the placid waters by tug.

Media Type
Item Type
Article reprinted from the Globe and Mail, highlighting the changes in Deux Rivières brought on by the forced relocation of the city. The construction of the Swisha dam caused the water levels of the Ottawa River to rise. Buildings needed to be torn down and relocated.
Though there was some "grumbling" over the need to move, the move is believed to have been the best thing to happen to Deux Rivières in its 150 year history.
Place of Publication
Original: Globe and Mail
p. 1, 6`
Date of Original
Date Of Event
Loretta Boissonneault
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 46.25012 Longitude: -78.28284
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Globe and Mail
Head, Clara and Maria Public Library
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Deux Rivières' Face Lifted By Hydro Dam

Article reprinted from the Globe and Mail, highlighting the changes in Deux Rivières brought on by the forced relocation of the city. The construction of the Swisha dam caused the water levels of the Ottawa River to rise. Buildings needed to be torn down and relocated.