Run­ning the slide

Canada's History - - TRADING POST -

Around 1880 Ge­orge Grant, prin­ci­pal of Queen’s Univer­sity, and a group of friends took the plunge down the four- part Chaudière tim­ber slide. Here is his re­port of their ad­ven­ture:

Ahead for a quar­ter of a mile ap­pears a nar­row chan­nel, down which a shal­low stream of wa­ter is con­stantly rush­ing, with here and there a drop of some five or eight feet. The ladies gather up their gar­ments as the crib, now be­gin­ning to feel the cur­rent, takes mat­ters into its own hands; with rapidly- quick­en­ing speed, the un­wieldy craft passes un­der a bridge, and with a groan and a mighty crack­ing and splash­ing, plunges nose for­ward, and tail high in the air, over the first drop. Now she is in the slide proper, and the pace is ex­hil­a­rat­ing; on, over the smooth tim­bers, she glides swiftly....

Now comes a big­ger drop than the last, and the wa­ter, as we go over, surges up through our tim­bers, and a shower of spray falls about us. A del­i­cate “Oh!” from the ladies com­pli­ments this ef­fort.... An­other in­ter­val of smooth rush, and again a drop, and yet an­other. Ahead there is a gleam of tossed and tum­bled wa­ter which shows the end of the de­scent; down still we rush, and with one last wild dip, which sends the wa­ter spurt­ing up about our feet, we have reached the bot­tom, clev­erly caught on a float­ing plat­form of wood, called the “apron,” which pre­vents our plung­ing into “full fathoms five.”

We have “run the slides.”

Men run a crib down a tim­ber slide on the Ottawa River near Par­lia­ment Hill, af­ter 1880.

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