Historical Walks

The Gatineau Park Story

by Katharine Fletcher

C$19.95; 192 pages
ISBN 1-55041-772-X

Fitzhenry & Whiteside: 3rd Edition, 2004
Chesley House Publications: Second Edition, 1997
Chesley House Publications: 1st, 2nd and 3rd printing, 1988; 4th printing, 1992

"My friends and I have been on every walk. Thank you so much for making the park so accessible!"

"Without your book to encourage us, we never would have experienced the wonderful views from the fire tower."

"I've been skiing in the park for years and your book is almost always in my day pack."

For history buffs, nature lovers, bird watchers, and hiking enthusiasts, Katharine’s Historical Walks continues to be the unique guide to the human and natural history of Gatineau Park. Fully illustrated with maps, archival and contemporary photographs, the book is a one-stop reference and handbook to the 363-square kilometre park situated on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, just 20 minutes north of Parliament Hill by car.

In Part I — The History of Gatineau Park — Katharine tells the story of the pioneers and settlers who originally homesteaded here, and explains how the park came into being.

In Part II — Setting the Mood — the reader is invited to explore a range of ecological zones including the micro-climate of the Eardley Escarpment, the tranquility of beaver ponds, and sylvan meadows. Here, Katharine also offers numerous tips on bird and wildlife viewing throughout the park.

Part III - Trails that Beckon - features 24 summer hiking trails. (Although primarily a summer hiking guide, Katharine indicates shared bike paths throughout the park, and describes winter trail usage for winter hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers.)

The full text of a very popular walk to the ruins of Thomas "Carbide" Willson's super-phosphate mill near Meech Lake can be found here at our site as a sample.

When she moved to Ottawa in the mid-1970s, Katharine discovered the joys of hiking in nearby Gatineau Park but was surprised at how little information was available about it. The idea of writing a guide to the history, wildlife and the trails grew over the next few years.

In 1988, after 30 rejections from potential publishers - most expressing concern about it being "too small a market" - Katharine decided to self-publish the book. By the end of 2001, five print runs and more than 11,000 copies have been sold. And, in 1998, the book was translated into French.

In 2002, Fitzhenry & Whiteside approached Katharine, wanting to publish Historical Walks and two other titles. All three were published in 2004.

Most bookstores and outfitters in the National Capital region carry Historical Walks.

And, if you've used the book, email us to tell us how you liked it - and let us know if you found anything you think we should consider adding for the next edition.

Last updated 2011-02-15