Tour Locations | Ottawa: Pioneering Days

  • LOCATION 4 | Ottawa: Pioneering Days

    Nepean Point

    Make your way over to Champlain's statue and stop when you get to it.

    [2 SECOND PAUSE]

    Looking up at the statue, you can see Champlain is holding an Astrolabe in his hand. Its an instrument he used for navigation. One lost by him 400 years ago was recently discovered upriver, to the left of here. The statue sculptor unknowingly positioned it in his hand upside down.

    [2 SECOND PAUSE]

    From the base of the statue, have a look around you at the view. Behind us is the City of Ottawa and on the other side of the river, the City of Gatineau.

    Facing across the river, upriver to our left, in the distance, we can see the rapids of Chaudiere falls.

    Way around downstream, to your right, on the far side, just beyond the far bridge, is the mouth of the Gatineau river. It flows in from the North.

    Opposite it, on this side, not visible from here, is where the Rideau River flows in from the South-West. Rideau is French for Curtain, which describes the falls where it drops into the Ottawa. Both of these falls would provide power for the mills and the rivers would provide transportation. They are the reason why Ottawa began and prospered here.

    An American, Philemon Wright, arrived here from Massachusetts with 7 families and 25 axemen in the winter of 1800. There was nothing here but trees. They settled by the falls on the far side of the river.
    They cleared land for a farm on the far side of the river. Local indigenous chiefs payed a call, and he settled their claim for this land with fair words and 30 dollars/

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