The Grand Cascapedia River tells a fascinating tale about the lives of the men and women who shared a time on one of the most famous Atlantic salmon fishing rivers in the world.
In the late eighteen hundreds, it became the domain of the governors general of Canada, men chosen by the sovereign to be the queen’s representative in Canada. When the Marquess of Lorne was appointed as the fourth governor general, there was great excitement throughout Canada. For the first time, Rideau Hall would have a royal resident, for he was married to Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, the Princess Louise.
The couple made their first trip to the Cascapedia River in 1879 and enjoyed a week of salmon fishing, while staying at Joshua Woodman’s Inn. The provincial government at the time agreed to give the royal couple the rights to the river. The following year they had a pre-fabricated building, the first of its kind in Canada, shipped by barge up to the Cascapedia River, where it remains to this day as a private fishing camp.
When the Marquess of Lansdowne succeeded Lorne as governor general in 1883, he built his own fishing camp and called it New Derreen, after his estate, Derreen, in Ireland.
In four seasons, the marquess and his guests caught 1,245 salmon. Lansdowne's successor, Lord Stanley, founder of the Stanley Cup, built Stanley House, an 18-bedroom mansion in New Richmond, overlooking Chaleur Bay. New Richmond was chosen because Lord Stanley's wife did not want to deal with black flies up river.
After Lord Stanley’s term in office came to an end in 1893, Lord Aberdeen was appointed the 7th governor general of Canada. Unfortunately for him, Quebec decided to lease the crown fishing rights on the Cascapedia to the highest bidder. A group of wealthy American entrepreneurs were interested in acquiring the rights to what they considered to be the best salmon fishing river in the world.
In 1894, the river was turned over to an elite club of American anglers, who paid $6,125 per year for a 10-year term, thus ending the hold of the governors general of Canada on the Cascapedia River.