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The Gatineau Soundtrack - Te Na Gadino Zibi is the Algonquin name for the Gatineau River.

Behind the Songs.

Village- was originally written as a protest song supporting Friends of Lansdowne, a group that fought against the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. It was completely re-written for this play except for the verse about “the need to make things bigger...”   which seemed to have equal resonance with several communities in the hills these days.

Where the Wild River Flows- When Philemon Wright came to Upper Canada in 1807 he brought 35 settlers from Vermont. This song was imagined to be a ponderance on the shores of the Te Na Gadino zibi, looking north at this formidable river.

Trouble- In the late 1800's two boys stole a scow just north of the Wakefield rapids, during spring break up. Somehow they survived the ice flows, logs and rapids and were rescued before they hit the Cascade Rapids.

Wonderful Nights in London- In 1914, Laura Gamble signed up for the First World War as a nurse. After an adventurous trip across the North Atlantic, Laura found herself in London, England. The war got off to a slow start and she found herself far away from Wakefield, having the time of her life enjoying the London nightlife. It all came to an abrupt stop when a German dirigible bombed The Strand. Shortly thereafter she was sent to the Crimea and the horror began. She returned to Wakefield a changed woman.

Log Driving Time on the Fierce Gatineau- The history of lumbering and logging in the Gatineau and Ottawa forms a rich part of European's past in Canada. The streets of both Ottawa and Hull are named after many of the lumber barons of the era but it was the men on the river who did the very dangerous work.

Cook in the Galley – traditional Newfoundland accordion tune.

Jack's Song- written and sung by Dylan Phillips, the song was written for “A River Runs Through Us”   during a songwriting workshop at Carleton University. Dylan performed in all three plays.

Log Driver's Lament- Although there is great romance and mythology about the log driver's life, it was hard, dangerous work and the industry was built on the backs of these young men. There are no streets named after these men, only the captains of industry. More often than not they were treated like expendable machines.

Sally's Jig/ Doggie Doggie- Bark at the Cat- traditional accordion tunes.

Last Log on the River- One day I saw an old boom log drift around a corner of the Gatineau River. I have no idea how old the log was but to me it represented the end of age. The Gatineau had been a logging river since the early 1800's and the last run was in 1991. Vestiges of that logging era can still be seen along her banks and as the river return to pre-industrial health, fish are returning and another age for the river waits around the next corner.

Nan Milk the Cows – Life on the farms of the Gatineau Hills was not easy . Often the farmer was unable to make a go of it solely from the farm and so went to the logging shanties in winter. The women of the household were left to do all the farm work as well as raise a family.  

A Certain Young Man- When the Chelsea, Farmer's, and Paugan dams were built on the Gatineau River between 1926-28, it was considered to be one of the largest projects of its kind in the world. In Chelsea, camps were established to house and feed 6000 workers. Many young women around Chelsea served meals to these labourers.

There Will be a Pie- The Cantley picnic ran every summer from 1880 to 2004. Long before the telephone, long before electric stoves, women somehow communicated with each other, organized and served the picnic for up to 4000 visitors. It was reported that up to 100 pies were made for the Cantley picnic.

Prohibition Days in the Gatineau Hills- The end of prohibition came gradually to the Gatineau Hills, for example, Hull had taverns but several communities up the line remained dry, some could serve beer but not hard liquor. However, this did not stop the patrons of various establishments from serving a drink. Often excise men were sent to communities along the Gatineau but as the story goes, their arrival was forewarned by the steam train's whistle! Ms Mona Monette told me that the booze at her establishment in Brennan's Hill was quickly hidden in a false basement,  a rug placed over the secret trap door and her grandmother placed in a rocking chair on the spot.

Up the Hills of Down – Another traditional accordion tune by Matt Selic.

Built for the Beauty- After the Wakefield (Gendron) bridge was burnt in 1987, some citizens of Wakefield felt they could not live without this visual and striking landmark. It took ten years to raise the funds but in 1997, after years of volunteerism and fundraising the bridge was rebuilt and put in place. It is now a symbol of community spirit and whenever anyone doubts that spirit, one only need look up the river.

I found it to be an incredible thing at the end of the 20th century that a town would build a bridge for the aesthetics of the structure, build for the beauty.

He Could Dance the Buckles- One of my main sources for the play A Summer – A Fair was Maurice Gauthier, 93, and a citizen of Cantley, Quebec most of his life. He was a wellspring of knowledge

and his Francophone perspective gave me a different look at life in what was largely an Irish / Anglophone community.

Mauric Gauthier also told me of his love for the Saturday dances at the Orange Hall and he was known as very graceful dancer. I believe it was Clara Holmes who stated that he could “dance the buckles right off my shoes!”

There's a River- The Gatineau River leaves an indelible mark on those who live along its shores. From the rivers time as post glacial pathway, a route for the Algonquin of the area, its time as an industrial passageway and now as a recreational refuge, there is something about a river and, particularly this river.

Ghosts of the Homestead- Many of the songs on this project deal with the past however, it seems to me  the ghosts and spirits of the Gatineau Hills are very much alive and will continue to be alive if we  acknowledge their presence in our lives today. This song was originally written in 1972 but rewritten for “A Summer- A Fair”.

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