On Sunday afternoon I convinced my two friends Peter and Glenn to bike with me to Brébeuf Park in search of the mystery plaque.
Allow me to set the stage. Earlier this summer while hurrying home along the Voyageurs Pathway before it got too dark, I noticed this boulder at the eastern edge of the park with inset bronze paddles.
Engraved in one of the paddles is the following message.
I stumbled down the dirt path that lead to the waters edge, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mystery plaque. I couldn’t find it, and the sun was setting fast.
‘Well’, says I to myself, ‘I must return some day to solve this mystery!’. So, having convinced my intrepid friends, off we went, they on their matching one speeders, and me on my trusty old steed.
Well, we didn’t have any luck finding it this time either, but we DID discover this graffiti covered concrete pad whose detailing suggested it may once have supported a plaque or two.
I also dug up this web page which, under the heading ‘The Indian Portage Trail at the Little Chaudiere Rapids’ describes the list of names that were inscribed on the mystery plaque, ie – ‘…. prehistoric natives through Etienne Brûle (1610), Nicholas de Vigneault (1611), Samuel de Champlain (1616) and so on.’.
Didn’t notice the stone stairs laid by early voyageurs described on the web page, unless these interesting rock formations are what the author is referring to…. but I doubt it.
We continued carrying our bikes along the narrow path until it joined the Voyageurs Pathway down river. So although we didn’t succeed in finding the mystery plaque, we sure had fun trying!
In Brébeuf Park sits this statue of Saint Jean de Brébeuf after whom the park is named. Look closely, you’ll see he’s clutching a cross AND a paddle!
According to this plaque inset into the plinth he passed through this neck of the woods in 1626. Coincidently, his feast day is tomorrow.