The village of Portage-du-Fort is one of the early settlements along the great artery of east-west trade and transport that the upper Ottawa River once was. Situated as it was at the eastern end of a series of five difficult cataracts, this spectacular site served as a natural stopping place for explorers, missionaries, fur traders, voyageurs, loggers, raftsmen, settlers, and river travellers. Its period of greatest prosperity began with the coming of steamboats around 1836, and it served as the commercial centre of Pontiac County for over fifty years. By-passed by the railway in 1886, and ravaged by a fire in 1914, “Portage” has seen little development in over a century. Our walk will explore the village’s heritage of rough-hewn stone buildings constructed in the mid-1800s to serve as homes, businesses, and places of worship.
The route will take us along Main St., Craig St., Nancy Lane, Mill St., Usbourne St., and Church St. The points of interest include the following:
If you are driving from Ottawa or Gatineau, you have two choices:
Chris Seifried is president of the Pontiac Historical Society.
Father Basil Tanguay is a specialist in the local history of Portage-du-Fort.