Behind the Scenes by Judy Toupin…

The countdown is on ….

Opening our 2023 season at the Museum. 

So much goes in to planning, wanting to make things fun and interesting for all age groups.

We are still confirming some details and dates, but it looks like another wonderful season at the Museum.

Here are some highlights:

  • Science North – 2 full-day programs, one in July, one in August
  • Tracey-Mae Chambers – Hope & Healing Art installation (weaving)
  • Paddle painting, rock painting
  • “The Gift” will return for a visit
  • Blacksmithing
  • Two brand new exhibits!!! Stay tuned for more details!
  • A New Escape Room experience!
  • New artisans being featured in our Giftshop
  • Returning this season – the donation of 2 quilts for Raffle. Thank you to Diane Gallupe and Gin Dupuis for their generous donation. Watch this website to get your raffle tickets.
  • Exhibit on Vet’s Taxi

Subscribe to our museum email list at to receive updates.

Opening day is Thursday, May 18th – International Museum Day 2023.

Each year a different theme is chosen, and this year is Museums, Sustainability and Wellbeing. The focus is on:

  • Goal 3 Global Health and Wellbeing: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, in particular concerning mental health and social isolation.
  • Goal 13 Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, adopting low-carbon practices in the Global North and mitigation strategies in the Global South.
  • Goal 15 Life on Land: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, amplifying the voices of indigenous leaders and raising awareness on the loss of biodiversity.

There are stories here, where two rivers meet – come discover the stories with us!

2022 – Year in Review

2022 has been a great year for our museum! We had visitors representing almost all of Canada and 27 countries around the world. We loved chatting with you and can’t wait to welcome more visitors in our 2023 season!

Let’s reflect on our year and take a look at some of the things that happened…

2022 In Review

Near the start of the season, we had a new roof and windows installed!

A 20-foot birch-bark canoe, “The Gift” was built on site over the summer by Marcel Labelle and his grandson Alex. We also had an amazing celebration to launch it.

Our wonderful summer team created an escape room (the first of its kind in Mattawa)! We had many groups participate. See our best times in the leaderboard (they had a total of 60 minutes to solve the mystery). Maybe we will make one again next year!

We had a draw for a beautiful quilt handmade by Diane Gallupe. Congratulations to Iwona Mooney for having the lucky ticket!

There were about 400 rocks in our garden of strength and hope last time we counted! Many visitors and members of our community have painted rocks to put in our garden since 2020! We can’t wait to see future creations!

Look at our display from the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Jane Vester and Laurelle Gagnon brought in many beautiful handmade items to showcase their culture and art.

We honored the late Jan Argo at the end of September with the Friendship Force. A cedar tree was planted in front of our museum in memory of her.

Anthony Rota came to visit "The Gift"

Anthony Rota came to visit "The Gift"

Marcel Labelle building "The Gift"

Marcel Labelle building "The Gift"

Museum summer team with Marcel

Museum summer team with Marcel

"The Gift" being launched where the two rivers meet.

"The Gift" being launched where the two rivers meet.

Holiday Greetings

We have been scanning old issues of The Mattawa Recorder and found a Christmas Issue from December 22, 1982. Check out these holiday greetings from many local businesses we found in this 46 page issue! We hope this brings back wonderful memories of past holiday seasons!

Merry Christmas from The Mattawa Recorder

Otto Holden Dam (La Cave)

It’s the Otto Holden Dam’s 70th anniversary this year. Take a look at our online photo exhibit featuring photos from our collection that show the development and building of the dam from 1948-1952.

Aerial View of Otto Holden

The Otto Holden Dam, also known as La Cave, was completed in 1952. Over 2.7 million tons of earth and rock were excavated during construction and it was built with 300,000 cubic meters of poured concrete.

As was the practice at the time, 23 houses were built in the nearby town of Mattawa for operating staff, and a 4.8-km highway was built for travel to the site.

It was originally named La Cave GS (and many still refer to it as this). However, the plant was renamed to honour Dr. Otto Holden, an accomplished engineer with Ontario Hydro who was instrumental in the expansion of hydroelectric power in the province.

Read more about the Otto Holden Dam.

People of Mattawa

Check out our online photo exhibit featuring photos from our collection of various people from Mattawa and surrounding areas. Do you recognize anyone or have any information about the photos? Please leave a comment for us!

Ada (Smith) Montreuil