Running The Lachine Rapids.
The course of the St. Lawrence is remarkably diversified. Thus, between Montreal and the great gulf whose name it shares, it sweeps along for several hundred miles in undisturbed tranquillity and majesty. At other points, its character completely changes; and, as if rent by fierce, ungovernable passions, it rages in a mass of rapids. Occasionally, too, as if fatigued by such prolonged or violent exertions, it spreads its waters far and wide into a kind of lake, much as an over-worked, beneficent giant might stretch his limbs, and loiter on the way in a well-earned repose. Just east of Lake Ontario the River God indulges in such relaxation, and the result is the enchanting archipelago, known as the Lake of the Thousand Islands. In descriptions of natural scenery such a "round number" as a thousand is usually an exaggeration; but in this instance fancy is surpassed by fact; for in this insular labyrinth, which is no less than forty miles in length and five in breadth, there are about eighteen hundred islands. Of course they are of every shape and size; some being a mile or two in length, and others but a few yards long. Some are mere barren mounds of lichenbroidered rock; but many are adorned with pretty villas, almost hidden from the public gaze by intervening trees, with flowerbeds and lawns extending to the water's edge; while most of them have bases of gray granite, and are shaded by the foliage of pines and cedars. In many cases slender birches, fringing the islet's curving rim, bend over, and, Narcissus-like, contemplate their fair forms within the clear expanse, finding their smooth white limbs and foliated tresses mirrored to perfection there. The scene is loveliest in autumn, when Nature turns the boscage of these islands into scarlet, purple, russet, red, and gold. At such a time, this sylvan maze suggests a multitude of gorgeous jewels studding a shield of turquoise blue.
In The Long Sault Rapids.
Among The Thousand Islands.
Light And Shade.
Quebec is the military, Montreal the commercial, and Ottawa the political capital of Canada. The latter seems at first a strange selection; for it is situated on a tributary of the great St. Lawrence, rather than beside the mighty stream itself, and has a population of only about sixty thousand. It is, moreover, very much younger than the cities of Champlain and Maisonneuve. The village which preceded it owed its foundation, in 1827, to a certain Colonel By; in consequence of which it bore for several years the modest appellation, "Bytown." Later.
Ottawa, From Nepean Point.
however, the mellow music of the Indian nomenclature wisely caused the title "Ottawa" to be substituted for it; and under that euphonious name the town became, in 1854, incorporated as a city. It would not probably have superseded Montreal, as the seat of government, but for the violent action of political partisans, in 1849, who burned the parliament buildings there, to show their detestation of an obnoxious bill. Thenceforth, for several years, the legislators of the land assembled alternately at Toronto and Quebec; till, finally, in 1858, the Queen chose Ottawa as the definite home of the Canadian parliament. One sees abundant evidence of this fact, when viewing the city either close at hand or from a distance; for its imposing government buildings, with their fine proportions, massive masonry, and stately pinnacles and towers, crown it with eminent dignity and beauty. Indeed, these noble specimens of architecture, many of whose lines suggest the mediaeval Gothic, are structures of which any nation might be proud. Begun in 1859, and having had their first stone laid by the young Prince of Wales, in 1860, they cover now an area of about four acres; and, with the handsome grounds surrounding them, adorned with spacious flower-beds and well-kept lawns, their total cost is said to have exceeded five million dollars. Cream-colored sandstone is the principal substance of their beautiful exterior; and this is gradually receiving from the touch of Time a richer tint, which, with the arches of red sandstone over the doors and windows, makes the effect remarkably pleasing.