That fine old Scotch couple, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bryson, once of Union street, had an interesting chat about the days long gone by, and learned of an incident which he takes the liberty of telling the readers of this paper. It was away back in 1835 or there about that the first “ timber slide” was built in Almonte, for the purpose of avoiding the great height of falls which the lumbermen had to overcome in some way.
In 1835 Hon. (then plain Mr.) George Bryson and Mr. Simon Dunn established shanties throughout-Ramsay in the neighbourhood of where the Drummonds and the Kennedys and other pioneers lived then, as some of them still do. In those days the logs were hauled to a point opposite Messrs. Timmins & Co’s present store, and were left there until the river opened in the spring, when they were put down the slide into the Bay below.
At that time the slide extended from the Bay up to the lower end of Mill street. When the logs had all been put through the slide in 1835 there was great talk among the shantymen about running the slide in canoes, to avoid portaging, but when it came to the point most of the men thought twice.
However, Mr. Robert Bryson, then a sturdy young fellow of 18, decided to risk the trip, in company with his brother’s partner, Mr. Simon Dunn. They had a splendid large pine log canoe, and ventured on their risky trip, full of courage, both being skilful canoeists. The canoe and its occupants shot down the steep decline at a rapid gait —as rapidly as a toboggan goes down its slide in winter—and all went well until they came to the fourteen feet of a drop from the end of the slide into tho Bay.
As soon as the canoe left the slide it split into two pieces—right down the middle—and the two passengers were immediately submerged in the rapids below. However, they were soon- fished out and given attention, and were none the worse for their involuntary endeavour, and they were many a time afterward congratulated on their nerve and daring expedition and established a record for the first trip by boat down the Almonte slide. They lost a fine canoe, but that was a small matter compared with the fact that they accomplished what none of the other men dared to attempt. Afterwards “ aprons’ were put on the various slides, rendering them navigable for canoes when skilfully handled.