“abandoned ruins in the middle of the woods”
The Willson ruins are one of the most photographed places in Gatineau Park. When you visit be prepared to find the occasional nude sunbather. Clearly though the big draw are the mysterious abandoned ruins, framed by a beautiful waterfall in the middle of the woods. Carbide Willson made a name for himself in the 19th century for inventing calcium carbide. He also invented an electric furnace. After making his fortune, he sought to build a fertilizer plant, complete with a lab along Meech Lake. He was a bit of an paranoid guy so he wanted his experimental lab to be built away from prying eyes. While trying to raise venture capital in 1915, he had a sudden heart attack in the streets of New York and his lab was abandoned. Gatineau Park has a long human history. Occupation of the Gatineau Park area by pre-contact Aboriginal populations dates to at least 8,000 years ago. In the nineteenth century, settlers and early industrialists were drawn to the area due to its resources and closeness to Ottawa. Today, the traces of historic land use can be found throughout the Park, notably in its cultural and heritage landscapes. These include the Mackenzie King Estate, the “Carbide” Willson ruins, mines, farmsteads and many other heritage remains.
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