Press-Republican

Columns

July 13, 2012

Les Rochers reflected the craggy bluffs

Last weekend we were invited to a soiree at the prime minister’s summer residence. Okay, that sounded a little snooty.

We weren’t actually invited by the current prime minister, and the residence, at Riviere du Loup, 200 km east of Quebec City, belonged to a prime minister — Canada’s first, Sir John A. Macdonald — who last stayed there in 1890, the year before his death.

It also wasn’t a “soiree,” but an afternoon birthday gathering for an old friend. It was a completely booze-free occasion, which might not have pleased Sir John, an extraordinary politician but a notorious drunk.

I couldn’t help thinking as I tested the solidity of the thigh-high rail rimming the open gallery with its soul-stirring view of the St. Lawrence River, if a tipsy Sir John had ever taken a tumble.

The founding father of Canada started summering in what was then called St. Patrick in 1871. There are several theories why he chose this particular spot, seeing that it’s a long train ride from the nation’s capital of Ottawa and the bustling cities of Montreal and Quebec. One story says Sir John was seeking a healthful climate and discreet getaway for his brain-damaged daughter.

Regardless, Sir John rented a modest farm property to begin with, but in 1882 upgraded to the spacious manor-like residence, which he named Les Rochers, to reflect the craggy bluffs on which seaside houses were built in the area.

But it was the original farmhouse that was the scene of what I like to call (and indeed wrote a 2007 magazine article about) Sir John’s “lost weekend.”

To make a long and mind-bendingly complex story short, what happened was Sir John, according to several reports, disappeared for a period of about three days in August 1873.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg World in palm of our hands

    A newsroom workshop made writer Susan Tobias realize how far technology has come since she started working at the Press-Republican.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time