The Cascapedia River: Domain of the Governors General of Canada

The arrival of the new governor general, the Marquess of Lorne, and his wife, Princess Louise, at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1878. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) The Marquess of Lorne, dressed for a Canadian winter in this photograph, was the governor general of Canada from 1878 to 1883. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) Princess Louise, who was Queen Victoria's daughter, made a fashion statement in the nation's capital. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection)
A sketch by Princess Louise, done during the princess' visit to the Cascapedia with the governor general in 1879. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) An engraving of the 1880 Canadian fishing tour of Princess Louise and her brother Prince Leopold. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) Lorne Cottage. This cottage was built by the Marquess of Lorne for his wife, Princess Louise, on the Cascapedia River. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) The Marquess of Lansdowne, seen here in the garb of the Lansdowne Toboggan Club, was the 5th governor general of Canada from 1883 to 1888. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) Lansdowne built his own private fishing camp, seen here, on the Cascapedia River. He called it New Derreen after his fishing camp in Ireland. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) New Derreen, as it looks today. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) Lady Lansdowne. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) Lord Stanley of Preston was the 6th governor general of Canada from 1888 to 1893. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) Lady Stanley. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) A day of fishing on the Cascapedia. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) Stanley House was built by Lord Stanley in New Richmond because Lady Stanley wanted to avoid the  black flies of the Cascapedia River. The house still stands and is now an inn. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection) Stanley House Inn in New Richmond, as it looks today. (Photo courtesy of Stanley House Inn) Lord and Lady Aberdeen, 1898. Aberdeen, who was governor general from 1893 to 1898, purchased Stanley House from Lord Stanley in 1893. He and Lady Aberdeen spent four summers there. Aberdeen's successor as governor general, the Earl of Minto, who was governor general from 1898 to 1904, also spent one summer at Stanley House. (Cascapedia River Museum Collection)

The Grand Cascapedia River tells a fascinating tale about the lives of the men and women who shared a time on one of the most famous Atlantic salmon fishing rivers in the world.

In the late eighteen hundreds, it became the domain of the governors general of Canada, men chosen by the sovereign to be the queen’s representative in Canada. When the Marquess of Lorne was appointed as the fourth governor general, there was great excitement throughout Canada. For the first time, Rideau Hall would have a royal resident, for he was married to Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, the Princess Louise.

The couple made their first trip to the Cascapedia River in 1879 and enjoyed a week of salmon fishing, while staying at Joshua Woodman’s Inn. The provincial government at the time agreed to give the royal couple the rights to the river. The following year they had a pre-fabricated building, the first of its kind in Canada, shipped by barge up to the Cascapedia River, where it remains to this day as a private fishing camp.

When the Marquess of Lansdowne succeeded Lorne as governor general in 1883, he built his own fishing camp and called it New Derreen, after his estate, Derreen, in Ireland.

larger_lord_stanley.jpgIn four seasons, the marquess and his guests caught 1,245 salmon. Lansdowne's successor, Lord Stanley, founder of the Stanley Cup, built Stanley House, an 18-bedroom mansion in New Richmond, overlooking Chaleur Bay. New Richmond was chosen because Lord Stanley's wife did not want to deal with black flies up river.

After Lord Stanley’s term in office came to an end in 1893, Lord Aberdeen was appointed the 7th governor general of Canada. Unfortunately for him, Quebec decided to lease the crown fishing rights on the Cascapedia to the highest bidder. A group of wealthy American entrepreneurs were interested in acquiring the rights to what they considered to be the best salmon fishing river in the world.

In 1894, the river was turned over to an elite club of American anglers, who paid $6,125 per year for a 10-year term, thus ending the hold of the governors general of Canada on the Cascapedia River.

Mary Robertson