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Westmeath Lookout, Westmeath
From Beachburg, take the Lapasse road north until you come
to the Lookout Road. Turn left towards the village of Westmeath until you see
the entrance to the lookout on your right. Parking is available.
Submitted by: John Wright. Article from The Pembroke
Observer Thursday, October 9, 1958
Vision Of J. C. Wright Becomes His Memorial
By MRS. CARL PRICE, Observer Correspondent
There are dreams that come true. Not often but often enough
to make the world around a brighter place.
With the opening of Wright's Lookout Park on the Sixth Line
of Westmeath Township, the family of the late J. C. Wright have honored his
name, fulfilled the dream of a man who saw the hills of home as beautiful as
any and contributed something of lasting value to this County of Renfrew.
It was when he was Reeve of Westmeath Township that Mr.
Wright invited Council members to visit the site in an endeavor to interest
them in establishing a lookout. But no action was taken. Following his death
last spring, his wife purchased the acre of land.
Then Mrs. Wright and her children, Laurabeth, Basil and
John, set to work.
The simple octagonal lookout building, set on a small
elevation high above the winding road near Prettie's Hill was designed Mr.
Wright's youngest son, John. It is equipped with a suspended telescope and a
registration table. Since it opened last Saturday, the guest book already bears
many names, some from as far away as London, England.
Plan a Park
The steep hill rising to the lookout is neatly fenced off
and to the right and half way up, a spacious graveled area has been provided
for parking. Landscaping has already begun and picnic tables will be placed in
Next spring, a bronze memorial plaque will be recessed in a
rock on the site. One day, Mrs. Wright plans to present the completed project
to the Westmeath Municipal Council which has accepted responsibility for
The site is unique for unlike other familiar lookouts, the
viewer may turn his eyes in any direction; east, west, north or south and feast
upon a magnificent panorama of the forest, fields and streams of Renfrew and
To the north behind Waltham are the rolling Laurentians
hugging the ribbon of blue Ottawa; nearer is the broad expanse of the Lower
Allumette Lake with its battleship islands; clearly visible is the tip of
Morrison's Island where Champlain camped with his men in 1613 to confer with
Chief Tessouat. With binoculars, one can follow the historical journey from
below the Cheneaux Rapids at Portage du Fort and climb onwards to the land
where the explorer's famous astrolabe was lost at Green Lake.
Steeples in the Sun
Shining silver church steeples are sharply outlined from the
high hilltop, with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at LaPasse most striking,
towering as it does 101 feet from the top of the cross to the base of the
church. One can sense too the significance of the name "LaPasse" as a flight of
birds passed overhead. Here in the quaint village, flights of wild geese came
down annually in the cleared lands and marshes to feed, and led the villagers
to choose "LaPasse des Outardes."
Turning, one sees the Spire of St. Peter's Church at
Fort Coulonge, the spires of Vinton and further the mine shafts of Calumet
Breaking the view in the Roche Fendu area is the rapids from
which the town got its name, part French and part Indian ? Roche Fendu ? Split
Rock that banks the Ottawa in the region. The hills of Barry's Bay reach out on
a clear day and Beachburg is nestled in the green fields. Across "The Glen" and
the Mast Road in the distance one can see Grace United Church and the spire of
Greenwood United Church.
Not only does one look out upon the history of a country but
the ground itself is closely linked with days of old. Evidence points to an
Indian cemetery, according to the information handed down by an early pioneer,
Noah Jackson, who farmed the adjoining land. It was for this reason that work
on the lookout site was done very carefully in an endeavour to disturb the
earth as little as possible.
Directly east of the site is "Pleasant Valley",
telling indication of the vision of the late J. C. Wright. For it was here in
the early days that Joseph C. Jackson gazed out across the countryside towards
LaPasse and exclaimed "What a pleasant valley."
Today because one man saw the truth of that vision, Renfrew
County has taken a great stride forward in providing a lookout where visitors
may be directed to see the infinite glories of Renfrew County.
Caption under Newspaper photo:
Mrs. J. C. Wright, (right) who fulfilled her late husband?s
wish to see a lookout established on his favorite spot not far from his farm,
is pictured surveying the glorious view with Mrs. Carl Price, Ottawa Valley
historian. The lookout is a tribute to the memory of Mr. Wright and the
pioneers of Westmeath Township. Photo by Ruth Gordon.
Notes from John Wright, 2007.
JC (my dad) was born in 1900 and died in the spring of 1958.
The original plaque which was mounted on the lookout in 1958
was torn off and stolen in the early 60s. Following my mothers death in 1993
the family had this one made and securely mounted.