Sunday, 28 February 2016

De Larondes - Louis Denis and Charles F. their history

By Martin Hunter
A Fur Trader
Even in the wilds one meets unlooked for people and when least expected.
When I first went to the Nipigon Country in the middle seventies I became acquainted with an old Hudson’s Bay officer, who from his cast of countenance and commanding mien, I put down at first sight as being a man with a history. Nor was I mistaken; later on the old gentleman took quite a liking to me and unfolded his history and that of some of his ancestors.
On the company’s register he appeared as Charles F. De Laronde, Chief Trader, but in reality he was none other than Comte de St. Simon of France and a descendant of the Bourbons. In fact I never saw a more striking resemblance than that of the old gentleman to pictures I had seen of Louis Phillippe, the Bourbon King of France, and well it might, seeing he was a direct off-shoot of the Bourbon family.
Later on when I had been some weeks at Nipigon I prevailed on Mr. De Laronde to tell me something more connected about his parentage and he imparted the following.
About the year 1790 one of the sons of the Duc de St. Simon, Louis De Reuvrey, emigrated from France to Canada. The fur trade being the principal commerce of the country at that time, young de Reuvrey, of De Laronde, (taking his mother’s name) attached himself to the Coureurs des Bois, visiting Quebec at intervals of a year or two.
On one of these returns to civilization he married a French lady of the ancient city and after making one more voyage to the Nor’West, the English Governor granted him an emplacement where St. Rock’s is now built and De Laronde became the official Indian interpreter. However, he did not fill this office very long for in 1797 he moved to where Valleyfield now stands and took up a farm on land  belonging to the Seminary of the Sulpicion Order, where he became a Canadian Habitant.
To him and his wife one son was born shortly before their departure from Quebec and in their new home two other boys came into the world and this constituted the De Laronde family in Canada in those days.
In the year 1810, after passing through many adventures as a fur trader and Indian fighter, Pere De Laronde died at the early age of forty, and to the widow and small boys was left the care of the farm. The bush instinct soon developed itself in the growing boys.  Game and fish abounded in the forests and waters near their home which with the boys’ wonderful aptitude for hunting and trapping precluded any chance of want for substantial food.
The mother and the eldest boy attended to the small crops and domestic stock, while the two youngest roamed the forest and fished the waters.  But this in time was too restricted a sphere for youths in whose veins their father’s blood flowed and the call of the wild, the Great Unknown, consumed them to be off to its depths.
The old gentleman with whom I was acquainted and of whom I write had a wonderful memory of dates, amongst others cited to me the years when these three boys were born. Joseph, the eldest first saw the light of day in the Ancient Capital in the year 1796.  The second son, Louis Denis, born at Valleyfield, in the year 1798, while Charles F., my recounter, having first drawn breath of life five minutes before midnight, on the 31st of December 1799.
The widowed mother was loath to see two of her sons leave the home circle, but it had to be.  Few mothers can keep their brood about them from the cradle to the grave, and the time had come when these two strong boys wished to see more of the big world in which they lived.
In the year 1817 the Nor’West Fur Traders of Montreal were about at the height of their prosperity, reaching out more and more into new territory and establishing new trading posts wherever they considered prospects justified opening such.
It was on the 25th of April in that year when Louis Denis and Charles De Laronde bade their mother and brother good-bye on their departure for Montreal to join the great Fur Company.  To cross opposite Valleyfield in their dugout canoe through the swift waters was too risky and furthermore the canoe had to remain for the use of Joseph for fishing purposes.
Along the south shore of the St. Lawrence they therefore shaped their course on foot, sometimes along the beach and again where the shore became impassable they were compelled to take the Indian footpath along the heights.  At noon they stopped at a settler’s log house and got some refreshments, rested for an hour and once more shouldering their packs pushed on for the Iroquois village of Caughnawaga.  Late in the afternoon they became footsore while yet a considerable distance from their goal and were compelled to camp in a disused shanty at the Chateauguay River.
The next morning the river was before them and no vessel to ferry them over.  Going exploring along the west shore of this river trusting to find some means of reaching the other side they came across a settler who had quite an extensive clearance and several cattle and appeared to be very well off for those days. He expressed his regrets that they had not found his house the previous night and a good warm breakfast was put before them by the good wife.  When this had been disposed of as only two hungry youths can eat, the man of the house ferried them over in his dug-out and wishing them “Bon Voyage” as they clambered the banks of the river turned his canoe and recrossed to his home.
The walking was now much improved as they were following long used Indian trails that led from Chateauguay to the Iroquois town.  As they did not wish to arrive in the city towards evening they arranged with a French half-breed to lodge them for the night and ferry them to Lachine in the morning.
Everything was strange tos the boys who had never seen even a village before but they were brave of heart and pushed on inquiring the way as they followed the Lachine road into Montreal.
Their objective point in the town was the Nor’West Fur Traders’ headquarters.  This they reached without much difficulty as almost anyone knew where the great Company’s warehouses were situated.
The boys reached the office after the noon hour and there found Mr. McGillivery, one of the head partners, who patiently listened to Louis Denis, who acted a spokesman.
When Louis Denis had finished his story of how it was their desire to join the Company, Mr. McGillivery spoke and said he could give them a place as his Company were always on the lookout for strong, capable young men and the De Larondes appeared such to him.
Evidently he was much impressed with their appearance because he suggested them signing their indentures at once, possibly with the fear that they would be secured by some one else.
The gist of the engagements that they signed was that they should obey all orders from their superiors, devote their whole ability night and day to the benefit of the Nor’West Co. and being pledged for three years they were to receive the magnificent sum of five hundred francs per annum, equal to one hundred dollars of present day money.
In the interval between their engagement and the starting of the big canoes for the west the boys were lodged and boarded at a near by tavern on St. Paul Street, and worked by day in the large stores packing trading goods of all descriptions in suitably sized packages for transportation into the interior.
At last the great day of departure arrived, the tenth day of May.  The lading of the canoes had been teamed to Lachine in advance. The partners of the Company and all the new recruits were assembled at the point the night before, the Iroquois voyageurs crossed over in the morning.  The great canoes were put into the water and under command and overseeing of one of the partners were quickly loaded.
Each canoe’s load had a distinguishing mark painted on each piece of its lading.  This prevented dispute or confusion at the portages.
These marks were put on each and every piece and consisted for one canoe of A*, for another AX, AG, for another 11-H and so on. These marks were quickly seen by the man in charge and readily picked out from a pile of stuff on the beach.  A list of lading was given to each petty officer before leaving and it was his duty to check these off each time the canoe received its lading at the head of each carrying place.
When all were loaded, the last hand shake given, the last good-bye said, the crew thrust their canoes a little out from the landing and each one bared his head.
The priest from Caughnawaga, who had crossed over with his red children, now fell on his knees with the mothers, wives, and sisters of the crews and offered up a fervent prayer for their successful journey and safe return.
This ended, a musket was fired as a pre-arranged signal, and as one, those eighty paddles flashed in the sunlight and bit the water. To the chant of “Lavalette” the canoes in a short while disappeared from the view around the first point on their way to the mouth of the Ottawa.
The old gentleman described in detail their wearisome journey up that river, then branching off on the Mattawa across the height of land on to the waters of the Nipissing, then down the French River to Lake Huron, all of which was very interesting to listen to and must have proved a wondrous journey to those two youths.
Tracking up swift waters, poling up rapids, carrying their loads on the portages and the glorious camping out at each day’s finish, listening to the old voyageurs’ stories of former trips and hairbreath escapes from dangers of all descriptions fired their imaginations and made them wish to be as these men.
Where the town of Penetanguishene now stands near the mouth of the Severn River, the Nor’West Company had a post and this was the head place for what was termed the Simco District.
When the brigade of canoes debouched out of the French River, one of their number which was laden exclusively for those posts, separated from the others, turning south along the Georgian Bay.
The brothers parted here never to meet again;  Charles F. Laronde receiving orders to report with his canoe at Severn while his brother continued on with the fleet to be dropped off many days after at Nipigon.
In the year 1821, after the Nor’West and Hudson’s Bay Companies had been strenuously opposing each other for many years, the two companies became amalgamated under the name of “The Hudson’s Bay Company”.
Positions were offered to all the employees of the former Company, which most of them accepted, among the number the two De Larondes.
It made no difference to them in any way, only the change of name, nor were they removed from the sections in which they were found serving.
Louis Denis from serving as a clerk in the Nipigon District rose to be in full charge.  He married a native woman of the country by whom he had several children.
En passant, I might mention that one of his sons served with distinction through the American Civil War on one of the monitors. This shows how the descendants of men get scattered.
Charles, on the contrary, never married and after serving for many years in the Simcoe District, was, on the death of his brother, appointed his successor in charge at Nipigon.
He had been there two years when I met him, idolized by his nephews and nieces and all the Indians.  Sir Charles was the name under which he was best known, and his full signature of which he was very proud was:- Sir Charles F. De Laronde, Comte de Saint Simon. He considered he had a perfect right to the “Sir” as he received the title from the Governor-General, Sir Francis Bond-Head.
The Governor attended a big pow-wow of the Indians at Severn, coming out from Toronto by special request of the Home Government to adjust some treaties.  Charles F. De Laronde from his long residence amongst the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron Indians acted as official Interpreter.
Sir Francis, noticing his noble cast of countenance and name he bore, got him to tell of his ancestors. “Why,” said Sir Francis at the conclusion. “Comte de Saint Simon has its equivalent in “Sir Charles” in this country. Kneel, Mr. De Laronde, and receive your right title at my hands.”  Saying which before the Governor’s staff our grand old man knelt and the Governor tapped him gently on the shoulder with his sword and said, “Arise, Sir Charles;” and ever afterwards the old man thought he had a perfect right to the title.
Last year when revisiting Nipigon I stood by the grave of him who was a direct descendant of the French nobility – Born 1799, Died 1882. Rest in Peace.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

A-GAT, Survivor Woman - 1869

A-GAT , Survivor Woman - 1869
From Hunter- Trader- Trapper by “Martin Hunter”
I got an idea of relating the story of ‘A-Gat” from reading in the last number of hunter-Trader-Trapper, of the “Lost Hunter’s Contest”, in which several men are to do certain achievements in a limited time with restricted equipment.  This trial, I take it , will be attempted and no doubt performed by men of bush experience, to whom, providing they go into a rabbit country, it will only be fun.
What “A-Gat”, an old woman, crippled in her lower limbs , accomplished with no accessories but a broken bladed jack-knife is set forth in the following story.
In the spring of 1869, that is, Spring on the great watershed, albeit the month of June, I saw one morning a queer looking craft propelled by a single paddle, in the hands of a woman, slowly approaching the shore on which our Post was built.  The craft was so devoid of any set lines I hastened to the beach to receive the new arrival.
I recognized the occupant as an old woman by the name of “A-Gat” belonging to a certain band of our Northern Indians. I also recognized by her appearance that she had passed through some severe privations.
I had her carefully transported, at once, to one of our men’s houses and placed under the care of the man’s wife, a very careful and tender woman.
Her craft I had lifted from the water and carried into one of the sheds and this is a description of this unique vessel.  Length eight feet, breadth two feet.  Two round poles for gunwales, tied together at each end and extended midship by one bar which was merely whipped at each end on to the gunwales by wattap or roots.
The sheathing of the craft was composed of nineteen pieces of birch bark of different sizes and shapes all of which had been laboriously sewed together and to the gunwale with roots from the spruce tree.  The shell was extended and given a certain amount of rigidity by five timbers, three abaft of the only bar and two between it and the bow.
All we found in the craft after the old woman had been taken to the house was a birch basket smeared with an inside coating of clay: packed inside the clay protection we found a quantity of broken up rotten wood, in the heart of which was a tiny fire. (In the olden days Indians often carried fire in this way for months to be blown up into a blaze when a camp fire was required.)
One small-sized rabbit-skin robe, a broken single-blade jack-knife with a bare two inches of the blade remaining, the hind leg of a rabbit roasted, and a drinking cup in the shape of a deep saucer made of birch bark and held together by a cleft stick.  Her one and only paddle was merely a piece of split cedar fashioned roughly to shape and about four feet long.  The foregoing is everything that poor old woman possessed and brought to the Post.
With care and attention, good food and warmth, in two days she was strong enough to be questioned and this is the story I drew from her:
Among the Indians who had cared for her during the past winter she numbered children and grandchildren.  After their moose hunt to the south they came and camped on Maple island, a large Island on Lake Victoria, situated about fifty miles to the south of our Post and frequented each April by same band of Indians for the syrup and sugar the trees produced.
The Wapoos band of that year consisted of three men, four women and several children, and old “A-Gat” was one of the number.  With abundance of smoked moose meat, an occasional rabbit and sugar en masse they lived sumptuously all the month of April and up to the middle of May.
One morning in May they broke camp and began carrying their belongings down the mountainside to the lake where their canoes had been cached on the Indian’s arrival.
“A-Gat” was told to remain at the camp fire until all was ready to embark when the two men would carry her down on a stretcher.
The rascals never returned and never intended to.  They were tired of dragging and carrying the poor old woman about and had deliberately left her on that island to live or starve.
When night came on and no return of the Indians, the old woman recognized the fact that she had been deserted. She had heard of such things being done before by Indians, why should they not do this to her?
However, like a brave old woman, she set to work at once to make the best of things. She replenished the fire and drew herself on hands and knees about the old camp scraping for what she could find. Apart from the old knife already mentioned she only discovered some scraps of smoked meat, a few bones and a small piece of parchment. As she had no matches, flint or steel it behoved her to preserve fire above everything else.
In properly prepared rotten wood fire can be kept aglow for several days and this she saw to as her first duty to her salvation.
As there was yet snow in rocky crevices near the camp which could be converted into water A-Gat remained at the old place for several days, crawling about the bush on her hands and knees to any promising birch tree that she could peel a sheet from.
With her half-bladed knife she hacked down two sound young tamaracs for the gunwales of her canoe.
As the ground became clear of frost on the sunny side of the mountain she dug up her roots to sew the sheets of bark together and gathered gum from the spruce trees to pay her seams when her craft would reach the proper stage of advancement. The scraps she found about the old camp proved sufficient to sustain her for a few days.  The old bones were then pounded up to extract the marrow and other fatty particles.  This she succeeded in doing by making a large bark kettle well gummed at the seams.  Into this she put the crushed bones with plenty of water, into which, from time to time she dropped hot stones raked from the fire, replaced by ones that had already done their part towards heating the water.  This work she did after night had settled in for as long as there remained any day light she kept at other necessary work.
Before starvation overtook her, she had to crawl to a not very distant clump of young trees a resort for rabbits… There she broke down young wood for them to feed upon.  When they were tamed down by feeding unmolested for a few nights she set snares made out of twisted strands of the inner bark of the cedar.
As she advanced her work for the canoe requirement, she caught and smoke-dried several of these little food supplies.
The poor old woman must have had a great system and worked every minute of her time.  Just think of the handicaps she laboured under, her inability to walk a step or even assume and erect position. Yet able-bodies people of half her age would have given up in despair and simply laid down and died.
The lake lay a quarter mile distant from the mountain top, the descent was not in any way precipitous, but rather a gentle slope. A-Gat, however, knew that if once she made the lake shore she would never be able to return.  The necessity of going down, canoe and all, presented itself before her reasoning powers and so she decided to construct her craft at the old camp and work her way down by gentle stages.
All her material being ready the sheets of bark, the roots to sew them together, the gunwales, the timbers, the gum to serve the seams and a plentiful supply of dried rabbit meat for her subsistence, A-Gat set to work on the construction of her craft that was to carry her to white people and safety.
An awl to pierce the bark in sewing a canoe is an essential tool but A-Gat had none.  To overcome  this want, she used a dry, hard branch sharpened to a point and then made harder by shoving it into hot ashes several times, she affixed this to a palm and a good substitute for a steel awl was ready for use.
I need not lengthen this article by following the building of her rough craft, suffice to say in three days she had her canoe ready and the start was for the next morning.
As the canoe and her belongings had to be dragged to the water’s edge and to do so over rough uneven ground would destroy the bark and gum, she hit upon a plan for it protection by tying branches of balsam boughs in three places along the canoe’s bottom and adjusting them from time to time as they became displaced.
Consider the laborious work entailed on this descent.  The old woman had to crawl the length of the canoe each time she moved it and then work ahead till the stern was in her hands and repeat this for a quarter of a mile.  Even when the descent was favourable for a gentle shove she dare not loose command of its motion in case it would come to grief against some tree or rock.
At last the lake was reached and as its surface lay calm before her the old woman decided to embark at once and make what progress she could towards the Post.
Being paralysed in her lower limbs she had great difficulty in embarking and debarking from her craft, a proper and suitable flat shore was absolutely necessary.
After availing herself of every calm she eventually arrived at the Post as has already been stated and these she became a pensioner of the Company to the end of her days.
Her cruel and unnatural relatives hearing of her escape from the island and her reception at the Post feared being punished and attached themselves thence-forth to a new trading Post several hundred miles away.
I kept that fearful and wonderfully made craft in our shed as a curiosity and left it there on my removal to another district.
I heard from my successor at that Post of the death of old A-Gat several years after my departure, well looked after during her declining years and decently buried at the end.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Journey up the Nipigon River, 1887 letters


Letter from Keith Denis, Director, Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society. August 12, 1975

TO: L. M. Lein, Nipigon Historical Society

Dear Buzz:

The enclosed copy of ‘Journey up the Nipigon River”  from “the diary of Hiram Worcester Slack, Summer of 1887” is forwarded to you at the request of Mrs. Nye who published the diary this year.  The original is in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Would you please send a letter of acknowledging receipt of “Journey Up The Nipigon River” to Mrs. Allen M. Nye, …  St. Paul Minnesota … I am certain she would also appreciate your comments.

I enjoyed reading the diary and it certainly covers a period about which little has been published except in magazines.  Note the prices!

I expect you have been busy this summer and I hope to hear more about what you have collected.

Yours very truly,


REPLY from Buzz:

Dear Keith:

Just got the  “Journey up the Nipigon River” in 1887 and I most assuredly will be writing to Mrs. Nye as soon as I have read it about six more times.

It sure seems queer to be reading information like this about places that no longer exist but which are clear and distinct places in my mind.  It is almost like going on a fishing trip up that river with those guys.  I suffer through the flies – how well I remember what it was like in the days before fly dope.  And those Nipigon River thunderstorms, bottled up in the diabase canyons, furiously trying to light their way out – or over.

I deplore some of those pictures.  The cover picture is 1960 vintage, I’m sure. And some opther photos of the rough water on the Nipigon River, were, I suspect, taken before EC’s time.

I think perhaps that I will send Mrs. Nye a copy of that 1886 sketch map of the Nipigon River.  It is more suitable than the fish derby map used. You will also note that I have enclosed one for you to attach to your own copy.

I have not yet managed to catch up to the “log of the North Shore Club”.

Again, many thanks for the book and be assured that I will be writing Mrs. Nye shortly and thanking her too.  Best regards, Buzz

Letter to Mrs. Allen Nye from L. M. Lein – August 17, 1975

Dear Mrs. Nye:

Journey up the Nipigon River

It was easy for me to accompany your father on his fishing trip up the Nipigon River.  In spite of the fact that by the time I got here most of the primitive river was gone,  there was still enough of it left to give a good idea of what this stream was like.  When my input from numerous reports and personal conversations affects the interpretation, I come up with a darn good idea of what it was like.

Your father never even thought that some day someone would be reading his day book for historical pleasure.  This methodical and careful man was merely keeping a record because that’s the kind of man he was, right? And many thanks to you Mrs. Nye, for going to the trouble of having this booklet put out.

The fishing permit at the front of the book is the first one that I have seen.  The Newton Flanagan who signed it was Junior Chief Trader Flanagan who was in charge of the Hudson’s Bay Co. Red Rock trading post which was situated on the west bank of the Nipigon River near the present government dock in Nipigon.  Nothing of it remains.

Notes: July 25. For Bousha read Boucher.  For Lake Ellen read Lake Helen.  This is the first time I have seen the prices for railway fares in this time period.

Notes: July 26.  Camp Alexander was a camping place just below the present Alexander Falls. Note that they had an oil stove.  This was probably part of the package deal that would have been made with the H.B.Co. who arranged the tours and supplied the canoeing gear and guides.

Notes: July 27. The Long Portage was the portage around Cameron Falls.  Today a highway follows this route almost all the way. The first reference I have found to this by-pass was by John Long in 1776.  For Lake Marie read Lake Maria.  Don’t forget tha his guide was probably more familiar with French.

Notes:  July 28. Note that they were rowing the canoe and not paddling it.  This was very common.  The spectacular waterfall he came on was the White Chutes at the discharge of Lake Emma which no longer exists.  His upstream journey ended at the pool below Virgin Falls.  This in its day was the most famous trout pool in the world.

Notes:  July 31.  The guy is lonesome.  First time a long way from home in true wilderness? And he is most certainly not accustomed to the cold wet weather that we have in this country, walking over a portage after one of those rains would be like walking through an ice cold shower bath.

Notes:  August 1.  A thunderstorm in the Nipigon River valley is still a fearsome experience.  There are lots of them in the latter part of July and August. The storms seem to get trapped between the high diabase cliffs and try to blast their way out.  Louis must have got whatever it was he threw on the fire from the resident priest at the Lake Helen Mission.

Notes:  August 3.  For Bouscharg, read Bouchard.  There are many Bouchards still here.

There are a couple of , to me, curious things.  First, they didn’t catch very many fish in a place where he should have worn his arm off hauling them in.  And he doesn’t get excited over of the size of the ones they did land. They certainly never mentioned speckled trout the size of the ones they get anywhere else.  Secondly he barely gives passing mention to blackflies, mosquitoes and sand flies that infest the place.  Other early travellers were profanely lyrical about their hate for these insects.

I note also that there is no mention made of the coasts for the guides and the gear. Maybe Mr. Evans paid for this?

When it comes time to run off another edition of this journal, I am enclosing a copy of an 1886 sketch map of the Nipigon.  Along with the modern map shown this contrast will be of interest.  The cover photo is from the 1960’s and is of the Nipigon River immediately above the highway bridge that crosses the river.  May I suggest that one of the William Armstrong’s sketches of 1886 or the C.P.R.’s photos of 1885 or thereabouts.  You can get a good photo of the Hudson’s Bay Co. Red Rock Trading Post from the Ontario Archives, Queen’s Park, Toronto.

One of these days soon I will be starting on an area history.  I would appreciate permission to mention this journal with appropriate credit.

I am so pleased that I received a copy of this journal.  Special thanks and appreciation to the people who went to this trouble to make it available.

Yours truly,

L.M. “Buzz” Lein, Nipigon



Nipigon Museum the Blog POST of August 14, 2011



In 1887, Hiram Worcester Slack of St. Paul, Minnesota, came to the Nipigon River to fish and to observe the countryside. Thanks to his daughter, Julia Slack Nye, his record of the trip has been preserved and what follows are some excerpts from it.


Written by L.M. "Buzz" Lein  1981

Sunday, 14 February 2016




“The Charm of freshwater,

The Charm of mirror-like surfaces

…and the sweet smell of the woods”

-          Victoria Hayward

Like a flower escaped from a garden is the fish-net found in inland Canada.  Nets belong to the sea, to the sea-mists of the Atlantic shores and the salmon-runs of the Pacific.  What are they doing inland, out of habitat, “fish out of water,” as it were?

But when you chance upon the “inland net” of the Indian, wound around a crude wheel whittled out of saplings, something inside, some inner sense, speaks out saying: “This is the original.  The Seacoast nets of America came here long after this!  These threads, these meshes – they run back, back,  back to the Garden-of-Eden-time of this continent.”  And recent discoveries of fossil-skeletons are placing that period back much further than the 20,000 years to which we had become accustomed even if we couldn’t understand or comprehend it.

The nets of Nipigon need no aid from men in order to write themselves as belonging in that class of simple things which appeal to the heart.  When we happen on one of them in some clearing, its gossamer length thrown about the old wheel’s throat it speaks to us with the same human touch as of some bright shawl.

What a vist of a world of the wild and free, it conjures up.  The “Twine” as inanimate written on the the page of the Government’s “Indian Allowance” becomes a thing of life, when you happen upon it changed by the handiwork of the Indian into one of these inland nets.  Nets of a lightness of quality to compliment the frailty and mobility of the dainty canoe which is the hyper-sensitive fishboat of the world of Inland lakes and rive(r)s.

Like some lace veil is this Old…Inland…Net!

You feel you might take it in hand and run it through a finger ring. Compared with it, how crude seems the coarse strength of tanned lengths that is the herring-trap of the Atlantic coast.  How rude and strong and thick gunwale and heavy timbers, the long oar-sweeps’ of fishboats that work the herring nets!     These are fine paintings, jealously hung in an inner room… not many of them …rare.  Those others, in the beauty of their strength, are the sculpture in the gallery of Canadian handiwork.  There is no question of superiority only an interesting and very entertaining one of difference.  Sometimes we are in the mood for the sculpture,  for the strength of the sea;  and nothing can satiate this hunger when it is upon us, but the way of the Maritime…East or West.

But these  inland nets that stand for Canadian lakes and rivers, those wonderful water highways, or mere bridle paths,  and canoe-trails of water, have their own charm… the charm of freshwater, the charm of mirror-like surfaces, the charm of the deep peace and the sweet smell of the woods.

What sort of world’s work, someone murmurs, can be accomplished of these toy nets… more like feminine draperies than tools of an industry?

These filigree meshes wound about this old , weathered skeleton of a reel do not purport to be a Blue-Book of immensity and range of the freshwater fisheries of Canada… and they are immense… so much as a point-finger of the hundreds of miles of lakes and rivers opened up to sportsmen following the beckoning of … “the nets of Nipigon.” -  Victoria Hayward.

This article by Victoria Hayward was headed by side-by-side- photos of fly fishermen on the river and an insert of a sketch of a net reel. Newspaper scans turn out pretty weird so I am leaving them out.

In another eight years this article will be one hundred years old. The newspaper it came from is in quite good condition considering it was in a Cameron Falls closet. Cameron Falls was the first Dam (1920) on the Nipigon River and the community homes moved down to the Nipigon townsite circa 1973.

What would be interesting is if any of these delicate nets are still around in 2016?