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Club History

History of The Cascades Club

(Information taken from Deeds of Sale, the original Charter, the Gatineau Echo, The Low Down to Hull and Back, articles from Up the Gatineau and past minutes; this was written by Lynne Evenson starting in 2010 for the 90th birthday of the Club)

1920 – The date that the original Club house was established on the shores of the Gatineau River across from the Cascades Railroad station and Gordon’s country store in the village of Cascades on land owned by Jason Cross (Lot 20C, Range 14).  Down the road was the Peerless Hotel.  The club house had a wood stove and a piano and was then used for social events and community meetings.   Not far from it were tennis courts, a sand beach on the River, and a baseball diamond further up the road.

1926 – the Gatineau Power Company built a dam at Farmer’s Rapids, which would flood the railway, road and properties along the Gatineau River.

Sept 15, 1926 – Deed of Sale between The Gatineau Power Company and Jason Cross whereby the Gatineau Power Company purchased the land of Jason Cross on which the Club house stood. The actual Club house building was moved by the Gatineau Power Company that winter to higher grounds , near today’s Air Cascades site.  The Club house remained there for 50 years as the Gatineau Boom cook house.

The contents of the club house (the piano, the baseball photo of the Cascades Baseball Club , 1922-23 hardball champions that hangs in the Club house today and two baseball trophies were moved to Cowden’s Farm on Cowden Road.

The oldest souvenir of the Club is the large picture of the Cascades Baseball Club, 1922-23 which now hangs on the wall at the Club.  Most of the members of the team had cottages in the area and lived in Ottawa.  The calligraphy and drawings of the bats were done by hand.  The paint in the background has actual gold in it to give the gold colour.  When Cathy Grant was President of the club from 1987-89, during that time she had the basement of the Club cleaned out.  It was then that she discovered the large framed picture of the Cascades Baseball team.  The frame was broken and moldy and the glass was broken.  She spent $250 to fix the frame and add new glass.  It still remains in its original frame.  If you look carefully at the pictures you will see little holes, which is believed to be created by darts.   

The two baseball trophies (Spalding and John Hill trophies) were once in the Club house but went missing in the 70s. 

The old piano was replaced with a newer one, which was eventually removed from the Club in 2015 because it was getting old and expensive to repair.

Oct 27, 1926 – According to an agreement dated Oct 27, 1926, as compensation for the old Clubhouse, the Gatineau Power Company paid Club representatives $600 for the club house and  3.25 acres of land along River Road (Lots 21A and 21C of the 14th Range where the Clubhouse is located today). Official deed of sale did not happen until 1936.

1926 – A small Hot Dog stand and cottage, known eventually as the Tip Top Tea Room, were built by W.S. (Billy) Wilson, father of Preston Wilson, across from the Cascades Club’s land, along the new River Road which replaced the one that was along the river’s edge next to the railway track.  As business thrived, in 1930 he replaced the stand with a larger Tea Room with a fireplace.  Later he added a large open air dance floor.  Saturday night dances were very popular as well as weekly boxing matches.  In 1948 when the new highway 105 was built, this cut into the business of the Tip Top.  In 1954 it closed; this was when the Cascades Club received the red post office sign that now hangs in the main room of the Club.  Billy Wilson started the Gatineau Echo newspaper in 1935.

1927 – the dams on the Gatineau River raised the water levels which obliterated the villages of Cascades and Kirk’s Ferry;

Early 1930s – a new Club house was being planned on 3.25 acres of land that was given to the Club representatives from the Gatineau Power Company.

First Club President:  William McGiffin (1935-36)

April 23, 1935 – received Letters Patent

April 24, 1935 – the Cascades Club became incorporated as the Cascades Club Inc. with the mandate:

To establish, maintain and conduct a social and athletic club for the accommodation of its members and their friends, and to provide a club house and other conveniences, and generally to afford to members and their friends all the usual privileges, advantages, conveniences and accommodation of a club, and to promote friendly and social intercourse among its members”

August 1935 –  the Club house was finished in time for the Cascades Day picnic.  It was built by Harvey Ditchfield for $500.  At the time it was not winterized but used as a summer Club until 1979 when it was winterized.

May 2, 1936 – official Deed of Sale between the Gatineau Power Company and The Cascades Club Incorporated for the 3.25 acres of land that the Club house of today is situated.

1940s – 1950s – Baseball was an important activity at the Club right up to the 1970s.  Preston Wilson, one of our Honorary members, was an active player in the softball league in the 40s and 50s.  Preston also coached young kids’ teams at the Club right through to the 70s.

During this time activities at the Club included hay rides, movies and square dances.

1950s – With the building of highway 105, Tip Top Inn which was located across the road from the Cascades Club, closed down, due to lack of traffic on River Road; they donated their large post office sign to the Club, which can be seen on the wall of the main room in the Club.

1950s – 1960s – Club was having financial problems and in 1967 was in danger of being sold for back taxes.

1960s – teen dances were popular at the Club

1964-72 – Bob Hughes was President of the Club; he went door-to-door selling memberships to keep the Club going.

1970s – beef bar-b-ques occurred regularly at the Club;

1975-79 – Allan Hopkins was President of the Club

  • – Construction of the Squash Courts – under the direction of Alan Hopkins and with financial support from several Club members and many hours of volunteer labour, 2 international sized squash courts, washrooms, and two activity rooms were built; all members who were instrumental in the construction of the Squash Courts were given Life time squash membership (called Chartered Lifers); offspring of these families are called “Lifers” and also have the advantage of life time squash membership.

1979 – the Clubhouse was winterized;  up until then it was a summer social Club.

1980s – the different Club Presidents were:  Keith Saunders (1980-82, Bob Ross (1982-83), Maggi Williams (1983-84), Judy Grant (1984-87), Cathy Grant (1987-89)

1996 – Country dancing, run by Bob Hughes, Wendy Roper, Joey and Judy White, was introduced to the Club in May 1996 and continued at the Club until the mid 2000s; in 1997 the Club was decorated on a western theme by the members of the Chelsea Country Dancers; there used to be large black county dance silouettes on the walls of the front porch.  They were later given away by Bob Hughes to the Wakefield Country Festival.

1997 – Christiane Claude was part time manager of the Club


1997 – under the leadership of Ed Hanrahan who wanted to start a paddling program at the Club, the Cascades Club made an agreement with long time member Witold Weyneroski that he donate his waterfront property in exchange that Club members maintain his gardens.

1997– First summer camp with 5-6 participants run by Ed Hanrahan (paddling coach) and Lucie Duncan; used the new dock built on Witold’s property and attended local paddling regattas.  First participants of the camp were, Chloe Piche, John Russell, Lee Hanrahan, James McLelland, Emily Carter.

1998 – Melanie Graham was manager of the Club

In early 1998 Alan Hopkins, then President, began the process of contacting Hydro Quebec to work out a lease agreement for land along the Gatineau River just south of Air Cascades and Mr. Campbell’s property.

April 27, 1999 – the Cascades Club (through Alan Hopkins) began a lease agreement with Hydro Quebec for the waterfront property beside Mr. Campbell and Air Cascades for $250/month (Lots Pties 20D and 21A, range 14 of the cadastre du canton de Hull).  Some of the terms of the rental agreement were: 1) no construction or permanent or temporary structures were allowed, 2) the site must be kept natural, 3) the site must be cleaned at the end of each season and no storage of equipment can happen outside the summer months.  In front of the newly acquired Hydro land sat the huge docking facilities formerly used by the boom boats from the log drive era.  This docking facilities were later converted into the docks we use today.

May 1999 – The municipality gave up the docking facilities to the Club for $1 (Judy Grant was then mayor of Chelsea).   Note:  in December 1993, Produits forestiers Canadien Pacifique sold to the Municipality of Chelsea for $1, the buildings and the fixed dock on the shore of the Gatineau River on lots 20D and 21A-ptie, rang 14 of the official cadastre of the canton of Hull.

Summer 1999 – The front porch of the Club was built by the Chelsea Country dancers who volunteered their time to do it.

Summer 1999 – With the help of Karen Nesbit, the Club acquired its first voyageur canoe.  Dan Mallett and Karen Nesbitt started the first dragon boat team (the Draveurs) this summer and competed in their first competition at Moonies Bay in June.  They trained in the voyageur canoe.

2000- 2007 – David Ross was President of the Club

2000 – Ben Wightman took over as Summer Camp Director and ran a very profitable summer camp more then 10 years.  During it’s first year, they continued to use the dock on Wit Weyneroski’s property.

September 2000 – 80th birthday of the Cascades Club

Feb 2001 – tore down and burned the old docks and left the foundation

April 2001 – built up the new dock system that we use today

Aug 3, 2002 – With the help of local sponsorships, and under the guidance of Peter Markhauser, Brad Evenson and Dan Mallett, a dragon boat was purchased from Toronto.  It was eventually christened as “The Nicole Bruinsma”.

Oct 29, 2002 – First Indoor Cycling/Spin classes occurred with 10 Spin bikes.  With sponsorship money from different members of the Club, the bikes were purchased for the Club by Lynne Evenson and Fiona Hennessy.  Within a year the loans for the bikes were paid off, and all spin fees were reverted to the Club as well as the ownership of the bikes.  The spin program was run by Lynne Evenson from 2002 through to 2013.

2003 – built the two storage rooms off the main room and the back porch was closed in and winterized and named “The Grant Gallery”.  One of the storage rooms is used for the storage of the spin bikes and summer camp equipment.

2005 – death of Diane Ross, treasurer of the Club and wife of David Ross, then President of the Club; Sue Durfy took over as Treasurer for one year

Sept 2005 – first 6 km race down at our dock; organized by Ed Hanrahan; Olympic medalist, Adam van Koeverden and many of the Canadian National team all participated.  The 6 km race has become a yearly event in the fall.

2005 – the rebirth of the end of year Club bar-b-que, now known as the Cascades Club Pig Roast.  Started by Lynne Evenson;  the pig was 94 lb and approximately 240 people attended. The pig was prepared on the floor of the Clubhouse.  It was stuffed with a apple stuffing by Christoph Weber (the last time a pig was stuffed).   It was the format of a large potluck.  The Club supplied the meat and fixings and the members suppled the salads and desserts.  The Pig Roast, under Lynne’s supervision continued until 2016.  The largest pig was in 2011 at 170 lb.  After the first year, the pig was always prepared the night before in Devin Brennan’s garage, beside the Club.

2006 – 2009 – Cathy Grant was hired as Club manager

2006 – signed a contract with Pat Doyle as Bookkeeper of the Club

2007- 2011 –   Lynne Evenson, President of the Club

June 25, 2008 – Deed of Sale between Milton Cross and The Cascades Club Incorporated.  Ownership of Lots 3 031 642 and 3 031 349 with a right of way to the Cascades Club over the portion of Lot 3 264 933 that connects the above two properties, was transferred from Milton Cross to the Club for $1.  Jenness Road runs along these two lots and used by the Club to access the waterfront property.

July 2008 – Hopkins Wall of Fame was unveiled; it was built as a token of appreciation in recognition of Alan Hopkin’s dedication to the squash game, the Club and the Community. The Wall of Fame is made up of retired squash rackets (and one tennis racket donated by Cathy Grant) donated by current and retired squash players.  In building the wall it  raised over $2000 for the maintenance and upkeep of the courts (each person donated $100 to have their racket installed).

2008 – renovated both bathrooms, tiled the front entrance, put on a new roof, started a water purifying system to remove uranium from the water.

2009 – Bob Hughes became an Honorary Member of the Club

2009 – Gillian Rowlands was hired as Club Manager

February 2009 – Death of Wit Weyneroski, Board Member and very supportive member of the Club.

Summer 2009 – Fixed and painted the outside of the Club (new siding)

November 2009 – Death of Alan Hopkins, past President, builder of the Squash Courts, and an Honorary member

December 2009 – renovated the whole kitchen, insulated the walls in the storage room where the bikes are kept.

Feb 2010 – death of Preston Wilson, active member of the Club, a Board member and Honorary Member (since 2002)

April 2010 – the Septic system failed; the Club was closed down for one week; the tank was replaced.

April 2010 – at the AGM presented Melanie Hopkins with a plaque of Alan Hopkins and announced that both of them will become Honorary Members of the Club

Summer 2010 – three of our young paddlers (Amanda Moore, Connor Fehr and Thomas Markhauser) qualified to be on the Quebec Canoe/Kayak team for 2011.  Eight of our paddlers qualified for Nationals in Regina this year:  Thomas Markhauser, Connor Fehr, Marc Andre Lafontaine, Scott Thompson, Maia Moresoli, Amanda Moore, Michaela Lovett, Madison Mackenzie, Megan Knight.

Nov 20, 2010 – Cascades Club 90th birthday party; a slide show of the Club by the Gatineau Valley Historical Society and square dancing with caller Ananda Kelly and the Wandering Minstrels.

2005-2012Waterfront history – In the fall of 2005 the Cascades Club made a presentation by Alan Hopkins to Hydro-Québec and the Municipality asking for a longer term lease with the possibility of buying the land, more access to land, and the need for a container down at the waterfront.  In 2007-08 the Club tried to work out plans with the Municipality to build a small storage facility on the railway right-of-way owned by the Municipality of Chelsea.  This was eventually determined not to be feasible due to various regulatory and safety concerns.  The Municipality did however approach Hydro-Québec to see if it would be possible for the Cascades Club to buy the 50 feet of land that they had been leasing.  This request was initially refused by Hydro-Québec based on an internal policy which did not allow them to sell waterfront property to a private entity.  In 2009, after much negotiation, Hydro-Québec did agree to sell the property to the Municipality of Chelsea with the intent that they would in turn lease it back to the Cascades Club.  The property offered included the existing 50 feet of leased land plus the land south of that property up to Witold Wyernoski’s property.  The Cascades Club paid the full amount for the property ($52,000 + tax) and in return the Municipality gave the Club a 52 year lease.  The lease agreement between the Municipality and the Cascades Club was signed in December 2012.  Key club members working on this deal were Alan Hopkins, David Ross, Ralph Roberts, Kay Kerman, Peter Markhauser, Lynne Evenson and Antony Southam.

January 25, 2012 – The Cascades Club was a winner in the AVIVA Community Fund contest.  Aviva awarded the Club $90,000 to cover its waterfront lease costs and for the construction of a boat shelter.  Entering the Aviva contest was suggested by paddling member Connor Fehr.

September  2012 – Construction of the new boat shelter down at the waterfront began the middle of September.   The architectural plans were created by Cascades Club member, Peter Markhauser.  The colour and shape of the boat shelter are such because Peter wanted to mimic the old Cascades train station that once stood on the shore of the Gatineau River in the 1920s across from the original Cascades Club house.    Both the Club house and the train station were moved to higher ground just before the river was flooded in 1927 by the new dam.  The flooding obliterated the villages of Cascades and Kirk’s Ferry.  Today the original Cascades train station can be found beside the farm house at the corner of 105 and Cross Loop, across from the IGA store.

December 2012 (?? Or was it April)– signing of the lease agreement between the Cascades Club and the Municipality of Chelsea for a 52 year lease of the waterfront property.  Signed by then President Antony Southam, and Treasurer Franque Grimard.

Along with the lease agreement was the Governance Agreement.  This was a document written by then President, Lynne Evenson in December 2010 during negotiations with the Municipality and the neighbourhood around the Cascades Club.

November 25, 2012 –  the grand opening of the new boat shelter.

Madison Mackenzie –

July, 2015 – updated and rebuilt the main dock down at the waterfront.

Spring 2018 – Brad Evenson and several Club members donated money to buy a 6 man outrigger canoe.  Teams have been formed and members train throughout the summer.

Sophie Jensen –

Past Presidents of the Club

William McGiffin                   1935-36

Clifford Meriweather             1947-48

W.O.Pickthorne                    1948-49

Fred Walton                          1950-51

W.Wanderbossche               1951-52

Eddie Cross                          1953-54

Kay Miller                              1955-56

Don Campbell                       1957-58

Harvey Ditchfield                  1958-62

Sandy Beardmore                1962-63

Brian Larkin                          1963-64

Robert Hughes                     1964-72

Judy Grant                            1972-74

Ian Stewart                           1974-75

Alan Hopkins                        1975-79

Bob Williams                         1979-80

Keith Saunders                     1980-82

Bob Ross                              1982-83

Maggi Williams                     1983-84

Judy Grant                            1984-87

Cathy Grant                          1987-89

Chris Holloway                     1989-90

Bob Ripley                            1990-92

Paul Charlton                       1992-93

Murray McAllindon               1993-95

Chris Holloway                     1995-96

Alan Hopkins                        1996-2000

David Ross                           2000-07

Lynne Evenson                     2007-2011

Antony Southam                    2011-2014

Kay Kerman                           2014 – 2017

Andrea Lower                        2017 – 2018

Monica Dashwood                 2018- present


Honorary Members (free life time social membership)

Bob Crawford

Wayne Rostadt

Preston Wilson  (Died in spring, 2010)

Robert Hughes

Melanie and Allan Hopkins (Allan died Nov 2009)