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Usborne Depot. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)In the 18th century, Portage-du-Fort was well established as a fur-trading post. The unnavigable part of the Ottawa River here required a 12-kilometre portage.* This village became the commercial centre of the area with the coming of the steamboat. In 1914, a terrible fire destroyed 80% of the buildings in the village. The stone buildings, this one among them, survived.

This warehouse, or depot, now a residence, was built in 1847 by Henry Usborne at a time when the timber trade was the main commercial activity in the Ottawa Valley. George Usborne, who operated a lumber camp in the interior, was one of the Pontiac’s lumber barons.

*Editor’s note: The name Portage-du-Fort referred to the portage on the way to Fort Coulonge, further upriver.