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AYLMER TO L’ISLE-AUX-ALLUMETTES: A SCENIC ROUTE UP THE OTTAWA VALLEY, PART 2

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Author: 
Matthew Farfan

larger_IMG_6960.JPG(Continued from Part 1)

Back on the 148, we continue for about two kilometres, then turn south again onto Highway 303, towards Portage-du-Fort. We are now in Clarendon township, and the scenery is lovely, rolling farmland. On the way to Portage-du-Fort, we pass through the hamlet of Stark’s Corners.

The United Church, built in 1893, still holds regular Sunday services, one of only two in Clarendon doing so.

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A few kilometres further on, we arrive in Portage-du-Fort. Before the days of the railroad -- which altered the destinies of many small towns in the Pontiac -- Portage-du-Fort was the main commercial centre in the region.

A stop on the steamboat route up the Ottawa River, the village boasted many businesses, quarries, and mills, as well as some elegant limestone homes.

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In 1914, a disastrous fire destroyed much of the town, leaving only a few of the sturdier stone buildings. A number of these survive today, and give the visitor an idea of what the town must have once looked like.

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Another interesting sight at Portage-du-Fort are the dams on the Ottawa River.

The road into Ontario crosses these dams and the view of the village is magnificent.

Heading back to the 148 again, this time via Highway 301, we turn left towards Bryson, which is a few kilometres away, and just off the highway. larger_IMG_6973.JPG

Like Portage-du-Fort, Bryson was once an important steamboat stop. And like that town, Bryson has seen better days.

For those wishing to explore Grand Calumet Island, a bridge leads from Bryson to the island.larger_IMG_7160.JPG

(See Part 3...)