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From Île aux Allumettes to the Mattawa River
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From Île aux Allumettes to the Mattawa River

Île aux Allumettes
Cobden
Mattawa

Île aux Allumettes

This was the last stop for Champlain on the banks of the Ottawa River. Champlain appreciated the way he was welcomed by the Algonquins on the island, in particular from Tessouat, also known as the one-eyed chief, one of the most famous Algonquin chiefs.

Its strategic location allowed the Algonquins to prevent the French from heading west because they wanted to hold onto their position as intermediaries in the fur trade. To do this, they started rumours to pit the Hurons and the French against each other. When, in 1615, they could no longer stop the French from moving towards Huronia, they imposed a tax on all those who crossed their territory. Historians confirm that Champlain was not exempt from this toll!

Indian Encampment on the Ottawa River

Indian Encampment on the Ottawa River, Ontario [ca. 1870]
National Archives of Canada/C-45487/Detail

Bones that were recently found prove that Île aux Allumettes would have been the first site in the Outaouais to house people following the melting of the glaciers.

Cobden

It was in 1613 that Champlain lost his astrolabe, and without it he found it very difficult to find his bearings. Amazingly, more than two centuries later, in 1867, Edward Lee, a 14 year old farmer from the city of Cobden, Ontario, found Samuel de Champlain's astrolabe in the field he was ploughing.

Next, the voyageurs crossed the Joachims' Rapids, submerged following the construction of the Rolphton Dam, as well as the Creuse River better known as Deep River.

Champlain found the region from the Ottawa River to the Mattawa River to be rather wild. He was glad to find many blueberries, raspberries and other small fruits in the area. He noticed the Amerindians dried them to sustain themselves throughout the winter. In fact, it is partly due to these forest fruits that Champlain did not starve on his voyage through Huronia.


Raspberries and Wildberries

Raspberries and Wildberries

Strawberries

Strawberries


Throughout his voyage by canoe, he noticed several "very attractive" islands with an "abundance of game".

In July of 1615, Samuel de Champlain fixed his canoe and took the opportunity to rest for a few days on the shores of the river in present-day Mattawa.

Mattawa

The Algonquin word "Mattawa" means "meeting of the waters".

Étienne Brûlé visited this region as a scout before Champlain. He stopped on the bank where the Ottawa and Mattawa rivers meet and slept under the stars, protected by the mountains.

Mattawa was also an important stopping place during the fur trade years. It is the oldest establishment in the Nipissing area.

Today, the Mattawa River holds the title of "Canadian Heritage River" and borders the Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, with its 2 500 hectares of flora and fauna, history and legends.

Mattawa River, Ontario

Mattawa River, Ontario





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