Val-des-Monts - Lac McGregor
"Kichikinojé Mitikmo (The tree that talks about the northern pike)"
by Denis Charette
Giant western red cedar
McGregor Lake: Colourful History, Natural Splendour
The first settlers on the shores of McGregor Lake may have trekked north from an area known then as The Blanche Settlement. Justus Smith operated a mill there in 1938, so lumberjacks from the French colony lived in the region as well.
By taking Rivière Blanche, they easily accessed the lake to hunt for beavers and to fish. However, at the end of the 19th century, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate discovered Lac Grand (to the north of McGregor Lake), where they opened a vacation retreat for the scholastics (individuals between the novitiate and the priesthood). The order then chose to establish a longer-term colony on the north shore of McGregor Lake.
Surrounded by mountains and speckled with 13 islands, McGregor Lake is also known as a hot spot to fish for northern pike, a wily carnivore and formidable hunter with sharp teeth. Powerful, combative and tenacious, the northern pike holds plenty of appeal for anglers because of how challenging it is to reel in. name Blanche River originates from the whitish hue given to the water by the clay bed beneath its surface. The wooded land along the river was not exploited until about 1845, coinciding with the arrival of John Adams Perkins. This American textile dealer, although not predisposed to becoming a lumber baron, traveled up the Blanche River and settled near some falls that appeared to be ideal for building a mill.
Kichikinojé Mitikmo (The tree that talks about the northern pike), 2021, by Denis Charette
This sculpture, in the style of Algonquin totems, pictures a northern pike in a canoe, both of which have been considered symbols of sustenance for many generations. The canoe certainly stands as the indispensable mode of transportation that allowed many settlers to travel here through a network of lakes and rivers: Magtogoek (St. Laurence), Kichisipi (Ottawa), Wabasipi (Petite- Blanche) and, finally, McGregor Lake, which the artist has translated liberally as Kichikinojé Sagahigan (Northern Pike Lake) in Algonquin.
A sculptor and an engraver of Algonquin descent, Denis Charette specializes in totemic art.