10. Depot Harbour

Mark Despault, 2017

JR Booth had a huge impact on the Ottawa Valley, the lumber business and the development of the land that what would eventually become Algonquin Park. In this trilogy, we try to tell some of his story starting from his early days growing up on a farm in the eastern townships, taking a ride on The Ottawa-Arnprior & Parry Sound Rail which ran from Ottawa to Depot Harbour.

It was the largest railroad in its time owned and operated by one man. Depot Harbour was built by JR Booth to accommodate the unloading of various cargo from Great Lakes ships and continue transporting the commodities via rail. The town was destroyed by fire in the 19th century and is now a forgotten ghost town.


[G] [C]
As I walk amongst the ruins

[G] [C]
Of this old town beneath the moon

[G] [C] [D]
I close my eyes and hear the sounds of it’s story

From the lads that worked the dock
Unloading ships around the clock
With western grain and other stock
At Depot Harbour
There’s the Kearsage and the George
And the SS Arthur Ore
They are bound across the lakes on one more journey
And I hear the whistle blow
from the trains that come and go
From across Ontario
To Depot Harbour

Bridge 1

Hear the laughter and the song

As the families gather round

At the town hall where the music
Will be playing

Do See Doe right to the middle
Join the squeeze box and fiddle
For it’s Saturday night again
In Depot Harbour

Verse 2

As I made my journey back
Down a rusty railroad track
Past the concrete and the slats
Of Depot Harbour
And I swear I heard a sound
Of an engine rumbling down
And the sweet and mournful sound
Of a whistle blowing

Bridge 2

All the stories and the tales

Of the buildings and rails

Can be heard amongst the sound

Of breezes blowing

Amongst the ashes and stone
Where the roundhouse stands alone
Where the spirits are at home
In Depot Harbour