|McQuestin Point, ON|
Description: The Town of Deep River is situated along a stretch of the Ottawa River where its waters reach their greatest depth of 123 metres (402 feet). Nine kilometres downstream from the town, a small peninsula juts out into the river, creating an island-like obstacle for mariners. Known as McQuestion’s Point, this feature is named after a family that lived nearby.
In 1883, six new lights were established on the Ottawa River, including one “on McQuestion’s Point, on the south shore of the Deep River, about 25 miles above Pembroke.” Each of these six lights consisted of a small dioptric lantern hoisted to the top of a mast, which had a shed at its base. Benjamin McQuestion was appointed keeper of the light which shared his name on March 6, 1883 at an annual salary of $100.
Census records indicate that Benjamin McQuestion was likely the son of James and Maria McQuestion and would have been about twenty years old at the time he became keeper. After three years of service, Benjamin McQuestion left the locality, and Maria McQuestion, believed to be Benjamin’s mother, was placed in charge of the light.
During Maria McQuestion’s seven years as keeper, the mast at McQuestion’s Point was replaced in 1892 by a new one that was eighteen feet taller. This new mast cost twenty dollars and allowed the light to be seen above trees that had interfered with the light shown from the shorter mast. With the original mast, the light was displayed at a height of twenty-six feet above the river.
Roderick McLeod became keeper of McQuestion’s Point Lighthouse in 1921, replacing his mother.
Gerald Nadeau, who was born in the 1930s, provided the following information about McQuestion Point and the lighthouse that his family kept there for an article in Tamrack Magazine: Exploration of Valley History:
Living by the Ottawa River is my first memory. We lived on a small farm. It was just a small clearing with a log house and two stables. McQuestion Point, where we lived, was a stopping place by the river. Teams of lumbermen used to come to the old house. I think there’s only three logs left of it now. There were quite a few of these places used for overnight stops, what you would call keepovers. From Sheenborough up to our old house was one day’s trip so people would come that far and stay the first night. Then they’d go as far as the Swisha, which was another day.
During World War II, the collaboration of nuclear researchers in Britain and Canada led to the creation of Chalk River Laboratories on the Ottawa River, just east of McQuestion Point. This facility opened in 1944 and activated the first nuclear reactor outside the United States the following year. The Canadian government formed Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in 1952 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and since then AECL has used the Chalk River operations to produce nuclear material for medical and scientific applications. Chalk River Laboratories supplies about one-third of the world’s medical isotopes.
As Chalk River Laboratories controls land access to McQuestion Point, the lighthouse is best viewed by boat.
Keepers: Benjamin McQuestion (1883 – 1886), Maria McQuestion (1886 – 1903), Elizabeth McLeod (1904 – 1921), Roderick J. McLeod (1921 – at least 1923).
Located on the south bank of the Ottawa River, about 9 km (6 miles) downstream from the town of Deep River. The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright JACLAY, used by permission.