20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Radishes and Gooseberry in Mattawa

Saturday morning Keegan had a spa appointment, so we dropped him off in Corbeil and continued along Highway 17 east to Mattawa


Located where the Mattawa (above) and Ottawa (below) rivers meet, Mattawa means "meeting of the waters" in Ojibwa.

This place is steeped in history. Etienne Brule was the first European to visit here in 1610. He likely camped on Explorers Point (below) now home to the Mattawa Museum


Samuel de Champlain traveled through Mattawa in 1615, as did Jesuit Father Jean de Brefeuf in 1626. One of the few things I recall from history class involves the explorers Radishes and Gooseberry, nicknamed because the English could not pronounce either Pierre Radisson's or his brother-in-law Medard Chouart des Groseilliers' names. Radisson visited Mattawa in 1659, and his partnership with Groseilliers led to the founding of the Hudson's Bay Company on May 2, 1670.


Four centuries later the Hudson's Bay Company is in decline, but Mattawa retains much of its natural beauty. As you can see above, the trees were covered with hoarfrost. It made for breathtaking views, but oh my it was cold! With a daytime high of -21 Celsius, even John commented how brutal it felt.

Wooden sculptures of many of those early explorers can be found around this town of 2000 inhabitants. I'm unsure who this is, but I swear he has his arms wrapped around his torso to keep warm.


Outside the Mattawa Museum is a statue of folk hero, Big Joe Mufferaw. 

Photo courtesy of Mattawa Museum
The best way to describe Big Joe's many accomplishments is to let another Canadian legend, Stompin' Tom have the stage... 


Did you tap your feet? Me too. I just wish I'd done that yesterday. My toes would have thanked me! Along with the many statues are wall murals. 


I'm partial to the fourth one, if only because of the frozen rose hip bush in front.


Across the Mattawa River is the impressive St. Anne's Church. Designed by architect Pierre Legare, and featuring a non-figurative stained glass window by Frederic Back, we had to take a closer look. 


No matter where I stood in the parking lot I couldn't fit the bell tower all in. Still, I love the detail. For whatever reason it reminds me of the sculpture on the shores of Lake Nipissing.  


We stopped for a tasty and satisfying lunch at Myrt's Family Restaurant, and on our way back to North Bay picked up Keegan at the puppy spa. Was the 3-hour long appointment worth it? You be the judge. Here's his before and after pics.


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