A History of Timber: Timber Slides
Timber slides were used for the safe traversal of timber past rapids and waterfalls, which would otherwise damage the wood and potentially cause log jams. The first ever timber slide was built in 1829 by Ruggles Wright, the son of Philemon Wright, on the north side of the Ottawa River – this allowed logs to safely bypass the Chaudiere Falls.
Expert raftsmen would steer cribs – rafts made of squared timbers tied together – down the timber slides. Watching these cribs make their journey would become a popular activity with visitors to the Chaudiere Falls, and many, including royalty, were even given rides down the chute – with the Prince of Wales, who would later become King Edward VII, even making the trip in 1860.
A timber slide would be a thin water filled chute made from wood which would run in parallel to the river. Similar devices were also built to carry individual pieces of wood, which were called ‘flumes’.