8. Master of the North

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.


D A  G  BM  G  A   D

D               A         G           D
My father settled in Quebec
Bm                 A          D
From Ireland he had come
                           A             G           D
And planned that I should farm the land
          G        D      A
For I was his 2nd son
      G  A   D
But I was meant for bigger things
Then just to plough and sew
       D         A            G  BM
So I left my home at 21
     G           A       D
To Vermont I did go

I worked the rails for three long years
But little profit saved
So I headed  back to Canada
My fortune to be made
And with a new bride...... by my side
I found work in Bytown
And there I learned the trades of men
Where my future would be found

As time went on my fever grew
For white pine and for lands
Now I employed.... 4000 men
Working mills... and timber stands
But the lumber from.... the forest deep
Must move a faster way
So I laid down track ...through Lac Deschens
Past Scotia...   to the Bay