Seguin Trail history
The Seguin Trail is situated on a section of the long-abandoned
Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound Railway. It was built by lumber baron
J.R. Booth from 1891 to 1895 with service commencing the following year.
He used it to transport lumber from his vast timber limits and saw mills in
the Ottawa Valley to the town of Depot harbour. Depot harbour was a company
town including elevators, railway yard, schools, houses and full terminal
facilities he built on Parry Island on Georgian Bay.
The Railway prospered until 1933 when the Cache Two-Rivers bridge failed
and was not rebuilt due to the astronomical cost involved. The railway west
of the bridge fell into disuse and the majority of the track in the area that
is now the Seguin Trail was lifted in 1952.
The official Seguin Trail runs from Fern Glen (which is several kilometers
west of highway 11) to Highway 69 (now 400) in the west. With a little effort and keen
eyes, the trail can be followed from Algonquin park in the east, to the ghost
town of Depot harbour in the west. I have made the trip many times by ATV and
there are a lot of interesting things to see along the way. Examining forty
year old topographical maps reveals small side spur lines that do not show
up on more recent editions. When exploring one of these spurs many years ago we
came across the remains of a steam boiler from a stationary donkey engine
that was used as a small mill power source. This would probably be a great
place for a hobbyist with a metal detector. Other points of interest from
a historical point of view are some the extensive cuts, fills, bridges and
back filled trestles that can be seen on route. One particular spot is where the
trail crosses the Seguin River (one of many times) east of the ghost town of Seguin
Falls. Fifty foot concrete pillars are all that remain of the bridge that spanned
the gorge, though you can see the sunken remains of the top wooden trestle
that fell there in the early sixties.
Another great bridge that is still in operation for vehicular traffic is the
Rose Point swing bridge which links the mainland with Parry Island near Depot
harbour. This 120 year old mechanical marvel swings sideways to allow large boats
to pass underneath.
More detail to be added at a later date.