Athabasca Brigade

Grand Rapids

Freighting Activities


Captain Shot (Louis Fousseneuve). Lac La Biche Yesterday and Today, 24.

[A river guide and a Roman Catholic missionary] advised that square-ended, flatbottomed scows would likely be swamped at Grand Rapids, where the river drops thirty feet in half a mile, but that if this dangerous spot were portaged, experienced boatmen might, under normal water conditions, successfully run the lesser rapids to the north.

This assessment proved accurate, and in the early summer of 1882 a small flotilla of specially designed boats set off downstream from Athabasca Landing. The Métis boatmen portaged the cargoes around the Grand Rapids, eased the lightened vessels through the rocks and white water, and made it safely through to Fort McMurray. (Athabasca Historical Society 1986, 25)

Narrow Gauge railroad on Grand Rapids Island
Grand Rapids Island (railroad)
Group of boatmen at Grand Rapids, 1899.
Freighters at Portage at Grand Rapids, 1899.
Scow going over Cascade rapids
The island at Grand Rapids
Tracking up the rapids, Athabasca River, Alberta.
Poling up the rapids on the Athabasca River, Alberta, 1899.
Steamer "Sparrow" wrecked on the Grand Rapids
Treaty party portaging goods, c.1903-1906
150 men taking steamer boiler through Grand Rapids.

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