Cantley 1889 Articles

Echo Cantley Echo

The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 25 no 9, April 2014. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.

A Trip Down the Old Cantley Road

by Bob McClelland

You may find the daily trip across the Alonzo Wright Bridge and home to Cantley a nightmare, but imagine what it was like in 1950, or in 1850!

The first settlers arriving in Cantley used the river because there were no roads. Over the years, rough trails were cut but even by 1900, Highway 307 was only a trail. The best route North from Hull was on the West side of the Gatineau River through Chelsea. Travellers to Cantley took a ferry which operated from Kirk's Ferry to the end of what is now Prud'homme Road. The first bridge was the Alonzo Wright Bridge built in 1866. The Cantley Road remained a gravel road until it was rebuilt a kilometre or two each year and paved during the 1950s and early 1960s. These images show the Cantley Road taken on these bygone days.

Bob McClelland lives on and operates the original 1840s family farm in Cantley with his wife Sue and is a board member of Cantley 1889.

Believe it or not, from the 1930s to early 1960s, you could take a bus from St Pierre de Wakefield to downtown Ottawa. The service was operated by the Lachaine family from St Pierre. This 1950s image shows the bus going South on the Cantley Road between the actual Duclos and Hogan Roads.


The view, circa 1910, is looking North on the Cantley Road at the intersection of St. Elizabeth Road. Herbert Smith in the buggy on the left was a life-long farmer in Cantley. The field at right behind the log fence is Amerispa present location.


What is today the Depanneur Tassé and Petro Canada was first opened as a BP gas station by Cantley resident Aurele Chénier. This photograph shows the business shortly after it opened in 1970.


The Alonzo Wright Bridge viewed from the West Bank of the river in 1920. The first bridge was built entirely of wood in 1866 at a cost of $7,000 but it collapsed in 1878. Over the years, the bridge experienced many problems and reconstructions, not to mention being a cause of frustration for commuters.


Photos: Courtesy of Gatineau Valley Historical Society, Claire Hogan, Graeme Smith.

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