The time had come for me to visit the locations and towns that I had been first introduced to by my Aunt Miriam’s notes back in about 1986. It was not until 1999 that I finally started the search for my family history. I started with the McDonald’s in all its various spellings.
The goal for May 21st was to tour Renfrew County, Ontario and Pontiac County, Quebec. It was Victoria Day in Canada so a lot of places would be closed. It was sunny and muggy.
These two counties share the Ottawa River. Renfrew is on the western side and Pontiac is on the eastern. Here are the tourism websites for these two counties and they are very different in approach and information. You are going to have to dig to find what you want on these websites.
I headed up Hwy 17 and took a detour onto to Sutherland Road. I was curious about the McDonald Burying Grounds. There is not much there according to online sources, probably about 4 stones left. I didn’t find it. Well I was to learn it was on the western side of Hwy 17 up Sutherland road to the hill so don’t turn right if you are heading toward Pembroke.
One of the volunteers at the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group is working to clean it up of the poison ivy and to get a memorial plaque and stone placed there. There is a McDonald family buried there but they are Presbyterian not Roman Catholic something to keep in mind when you are researching. They are Scottish not Irish origin another factor. In preparing for this trip I learned that a great many Irish came to this area and that includes Irish McDonnells. If you want to learn more about this cemetery contact the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group for information. (See side bar link to the right under Ontario links.
I was not going to dither in Pembroke long because I had a lot of ground to cover. I would be back later in the week. I took the Greenwood Road into Pembroke so I could get a feel for the city.
Albert Street is in the heart of the town and I turned right toward the river. They have a park and a marina at this location. It was my first introduction to the Ottawa River. I had only caught glimpses of it as I drove up Hwy 17.
Off in the distance was Allumette Island. According to my Aunt Miriam, Ronald her father and my grandfather grew up there. So this was going to be great to finally see this island.