Lachine Rapids Then and Now


I took advantage of a trip my husband and I took two weeks ago to visit friends to do just a bit more research for my book, The Confederation Diary of Rosie Dunn, in Ottawa and Montreal. In Ottawa I spent a day at the Rideau Canal Locks, watching boats lock through–and getting the rise and fall of the water in them right. I also spent a couple of hours in the Bytown Museum down beside the end of the locks. I had spent several days in Ottawa last summer doing the main part of my research before starting the book, but had not had time to investigate that little museum. Housed in Ottawa’s oldest stone building, the museum is a treasure trove of information about the history of the city and the locks.

Then we went on to Montreal. I had written an exciting account of Rosie’s trip through the Lachine Rapids on the family’s way from Ottawa to Cacouna for a few weeks’ respite from the summer heat, and wanted to make certain that I had got the facts right, so Jim and I booked an afternoon on a jet boat tour of the rapids. I had most of it right, but I hadn’t realized just how big and scary the rapids really are. For an hour we jetted and played around in the waves and in and out of the rocks.

“Bring a change of clothes,” we had been advised. They should have added, “including underwear.” We were battered and drenched, but we had a marvellous time and I was left with a healthy respect for the little steamers that took those rapids on in the 1800s.

Back home to tweak the (first) final revision and I got it off to my editor on July 1st. Very appropriate.  The book is due out with Scholastic Canada in September 2013, and my editor and I will spend the next year working on it.

Who says research is boring?


About Karleen Bradford

I am an award-winning author of children's and young adult books.
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