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The Forgotten Ottawa Valley

This past winter during the covid lockdown, I released two short films featuring a vintage Bernzomatic lantern that I purchased from a friend. If you know me, you know I love all things vintage! I was looking for a reason to test out the low light performance of my newly acquired Canon 1DX Mark II camera, and this lantern seemed like a perfect subject. I was very pleased with the results, and I must say, it was a really fun project that kept me busy during the dark winter months. So much so that it left me wanting more...


I want to make a short film.



They say if you write something down, you're more likely to see it through to completion. So this is me writing it down. I want to make a short film! Something in the range of 15 minutes, and worthy of entering the video into a short film festival.


I have plenty of excuses on hand to prevent myself from embarking down this path

This idea has been nagging at me for some time now. Like a whisper in a dream, the thought seems to have originated from the depths of subconsciousness. I've tried to push it away. I have plenty of excuses on hand to prevent myself from embarking down this path. Too busy, not good enough, wrong equipment, don't like the sound of my voice, afraid of critique, etc, etc. The list is plenty long, I assure you. But no matter how far I push the thought away, it returns.


I want to make a short film.


Alright, let's explore this idea for a little while - entertain the thought and see where it goes. What unique story could I tell through video? I need something more than just a lantern. What do I get excited about? Where does my mind wander when I need to relax? What do I love talking about?


Then it hit me, like a huge "aha" moment - my local history books! My prized collection of old Ottawa Valley history books sitting on my shelf. Books that I have been collecting and reading for years. Our pioneering past, the lumber trade, forgotten timber slides & dams, abandoned villages, old rail lines, lost farms, stone walls & wood fences, Algonquin Park, the Ottawa River, and forlorn water mills.


I want to make a short film about the Ottawa Valley.




My fascination with local valley history has grown over the years. Growing up between Pembroke and Petawawa, Ontario, I remember from my early years seeing relics of the past when out fishing on the Ottawa river or camping at Achary in Algonquin Park. Tug boats in dry dock by the "short turn", large chains anchored into the rocks at "the point", the train station at Achary, the steam engine water tower on Nelson St, and on and on. The past was everywhere. My fascination turned into a passion back in 2011 when I picked up a free copy of the Renfrew County Visitor Guide from the registration store at the Golden Lake Park campground. There near the back of the magazine was an article about Craigmont, a ghost town not too far from our camping location!


How could an entire village rise and fall into complete abandonment in such short time?

Wait, what!?! A ghost town in Ontario? How could that possibly be? Settlement in the Ottawa Valley really doesn't show up on the map until the mid 1800's. How could an entire village rise and fall into complete abandonment in such short time? The gears in my head began to turn - if there was one ghost town, what else was out there from our past?



So this is where I'm at. I want to make a short film that looks at some of our forgotten history in the Ottawa Valley. I'm still working through exactly what that means, but at least I have a starting point! My plan is to start capturing short video clips of all the neat little places I've discovered over the years, and then voice over the video mix with a story. Again, I haven't exactly figured out what the story will entail, but I have a few ideas floating around in my head.


I want to make a short film about the history of the Ottawa Valley


My story might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it will be something that is unique from my experience growing up in the valley.

I don't have the best cinema video camera (although the 1DX MK II does decent 4k), but I'm gonna work with what I have! My story might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it will be something that is unique from my experience growing up in the valley. It's gonna be so much fun working on this, and best of all, it gets me out into the back country of the Ottawa Valley!


Thanks for making it this far, and stay tuned!




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