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The Ballad of Rose McKenna

15 September 1921

In the morning of September 15, 1921, Rose McKenna was crushed by a large stone in an accident that left 4 children without a mother. There are different versions of the story of how she ended up behind the stone when it rolled backwards because nobody witnessed the accident. Except perhaps young Martin, a toddler that Rose was looking for after the older children headed off to school. She was in a bad place at a wrong time. Frontier living... "there is something to be said, about the timing of misfortune, that left poor Rose dead..".

A large stone was to be moved out of the way next to the homestead of the McKenna family, just east of Stonecliff. At that time, before heavy equipment was available, the practice was to dig a large hole next to the stone, then roll the stone into the hole, then bury it. Rose’s husband, William McKenna had started this work with men from his CPR work crew, but the stone was left posed above the excavation to finish the job the next day. Somehow, or for some reason, Rose ended up in the excavation, and the stone rolled onto her. One descendant had heard that she had taken to do some digging in the excavation then, the rumbling of a steam train passing on the nearby CPR line shook the ground enough to cause the stone to roll. What actually happened can never be known. She would found later in the day by a neighbor who stopped by looking for some livestock that had wandered from a nearby farm.

VIDEO RELEASE - The Ballad of Rose McKenna

Forgotten Memories of the Ottawa Valley

Forgotten Memories of the Ottawa Valley

Video Presentation

Forgotten Memories of the Ottawa Valley is a unique folk/folklore show that takes you on a historical musical tour of the Ottawa Valley. After an ode to early travellers of the Ottawa River, the tour takes you to the district of North Renfrew, where the heritage is celebrated with songs about depot farms, flooded villages, taken lands, frontier roads, and a prison break in Algonquin Park. The tour then traverses the Valley to Combermere (the 1912 sinking of the Mayflower), then to Baptist Church Road and Newfoundout along the Opeongo Settlement Road, and then a stop in Westmeath for a song about an antique trunk with a mysterious connection to Mt. Everest mountaineer A.C. Irvine who died in 1924 on an Everest summit quest. All true Canadian stories. Not to be forgotten.

1. Another Chance

Another Chance is an introspective song about somehow going back in time to make life decisions a second time, if that was somehow possible. This romantic folk song is intended to put your mind at ease, and to prepare you for a journey back in time to visit places and times concerning the settlement and development of the Ottawa Valley.

2. la Riviere

la Riviere tells the story of early travelers along the Ottawa River, starting with Indigenous People thousands of years ago, followed by European fur traders (coureurs des bois and Voyageurs), then men of the logging and river drive era. The song was inspired, in part, by gravestone carvings in bedrock at Slate Falls on the Madawaska River, where the names of river drivers that drowned in the river at the treacherous falls are carved into the bedrock (e.g., Joseph Bruelard 1881).

3. Half Way There

Half Way There tells the story of a depot farm and stopping place on a tote road that accessed logging camps in Algonquin Park. Xavier Pilon established his farm “Halfway House” in the late 1800s, growing food for the lumber camps and making repairs to sleighs and wagons that traveled the tote roads for decades. Shown on the oldest Algonquin Park maps, this was a very busy place for decades, but now it a secluded peaceful place with the old fields slowly growing in. Rhubarb plants still thrive on the old farm. This remote depot farm was one of many throughout the region. The story of the logging in Canada starts in the early 1800s with England being in conflict with France.

4. Holden Pond

Holden Pond is the story of hydroelectric power and how the development of this resource affected settlements and communities located along the Ottawa River. Settlement in the Upper Ottawa Valley started in the early 1800s, with the land being cleared hand tools and horses. For decades, the pace of life included trains, steamboats and horse drawn wagons. In the late 1940s, residents watched the reservoir lake Holden Lake slowly engulf the landscape that was home to them.

5. Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten tells the story of land expropriation in the 1900s as industrialization came to the Ottawa Valley, and in this case Garrison Petawawa and the nuclear research laboratory at Chalk River. Folks that settled in the 1800s cleared the land and built their homesteads by hand. Decades later, they were forced to move to make room for industry.

6. Battle Hill

Battle Hill is the story of early over-land transportation, starting with wagon roads. The arrival of automobiles in the early 1900s quickly lead to the need to establish more reliable roadways, and the development of the King’s Highways in Ontario. Battle Hill, a location marked on older topographic maps, is the story of land surveyors in the 1920s faced with routing Highway 17 through the unforgiving landscape of the Canadian Shield.

7. North Star

North Star tells the story of a German pilot from WWII who escaped from a POW (prisoner of war) camp in the remote interior of Algonquin Park (Nipissing River). What is remarkable about this individual is he traveled from the POW camp using only the north star to guide him. He traveled only at night and hid during the daylight hours. After 3 days (nights) he reached the CNR (Canadian National Railway) line, where he hopped onto a slow-moving train that was headed west.

8. Talk to Me

Talk to Me – at many historic sites, all that remains are crumbling ruins with giant pine trees overlooking. The people that settled or lived at these sites are long since passed away, yet those trees remain. This introspective song reflects on this … if only these trees could talk, and reveal all that happened before them.

9. Stone Fences

Stone Fences is the story of immigration and farm land development in the mid-1800s. There was a dire need for more farming to support the booming logging industry. Settlement roads were crudely built and incentives for immigration were established, drawing people from different areas of Europe. The Opeongo Settlement Road stretched across the Ottawa Valley, and from this road were plots of land available for immigrants to develop. Those that met the requirements for the incentive earned the title to the land, but not without unimaginable hardship from turning forested stony hills into farmland.

10. The Ballad of Rose McKenna

The Ballad of Rose McKenna is the story of a tragic accident at a homestead that reflects the perils of frontier living. Settlers had to build homes, clear forests for farming, and cultivate fields by hand (with only horses). Health care was very primitive and access to it was limited. This was a bad combination.

11. Newfoundout

Newfoundout is the story of the plight of the Irish in the 1700s and 1800s, leading to a surge of immigration in the mid-1800s to escape poverty and starvation. As arduous as it would have been to turn the forested, stony hills of the Opeongo Range into farmland, it was far easier to survive (and thrive) with this settlement challenge than to remain in Ireland. 

12. The Mayflower

The Mayflower is the story of the 1912 sinking of the Mayflower in Lake Kamineskeg, between Combermere and Barry's Bay. The sinking occurred during the last run of the year as a November gale beared down on the region. Nine people perished, but 3 survived by clinging to a coffin that was being transported to Combermere. 

13. Trunk of Secrets

Trunk of Secrets is the story of an antique trunk bought in Westmeath that used to belong to the famous Everest mountaineer A.C. Irvine who died in his summit attempt in 1924. The song questions how the trunk made its way from England to the farming village of Westmeath.

14. Hear You Sing

Hear You Sing is a song about love and relationships; the ups and downs, the early times, the lasting times. This upbeat romantic song is included as the last song of the show to bring listeners back down from the historical musical journey through the Ottawa Valley.

Live Videos

Here's a collection of older and newer videos of music of Marc Audet. 

Another Chance is a folksy love song about making decisions in life, and if you were to somehow go back in time would you make the same decisions regarding what to study at school, what type of job to take to put food on the table, where to live and most importantly who to spend the rest of your life with.  This video was shot at the Bernard Childs Auditorium in Deep River, Ontario, before an audience of about 400 (opening for The Outside Track).  Please check out the version of this song recorded with a full band on my album, The River (/music).

This is a video of Hear You Sing performed during a boat concert on Feather Island at Lake Clear, Bonnechere Valley (minus the first few seconds of the song). Over 40 boats attended the 60 minute sunset concert. The cliffs on the adjacent island provided beautiful natural acoustics. Many people absolutely loved being entertained from the comfort of their boat on an evening with perfect weather. Feather Island is a popular picnicking spot on Lake Clear. Please check out the version of this song recorded with a full band on my album, The River (/music).

I Favour You is a romantic song about having an "interest" in another person, whether at the very start of a relationship or perhaps constrained by being in a professional working relationship.  How many television shows and movies have you seen where an interest evolves between work partners but the interest remains only as an interest?. That tension is what inspired this upbeat folk song.  This video was recorded at a folk show at Batstone's Northern Ramble in Renfrew Ontario on 2020 January 31. Please also check out the version of this song that was recorded with backing musicians on my album, The River (/music).

Borrowed Time pays tribute to the life and times of Hector Audet, my father.  He was son of Charles Wilfred Audet, grandson of Joseph Audet and a descendant of Nicolas Audet dit Lapointe. He was a family man, an Engineer, an outdoors enthusiast, an artist, a sportsman, and more. At age 56 he was diagnosed with cancer, but the treatment did not provide a cure. He passed away 2 years later after a difficult battle. He worked many years with a view to enjoying an active retirement, but that wasn't in the cards for him. This song is for you dad!

Festival of Trees is an annual fund raising event to support the Child Poverty Action Network ( With the COVID-19 pandemic still a health threat, the annual galla event was conducted in 2020 as a virtual event. This video is my submission to the event. Another Chance and Holden Pond are the songs that I selected for the video submission. The songs were recorded in my basement studio in Deep River. It was an honor to be asked and to stand beside other musicians in this important charity. 

Stone Fences pays tribute to the hardships that European settlers had to endure when they established farms in the late 1800s along the Opeongo settlement road in Ontario (Canada). They were tasked with turning stony forested hills into farmland and this difficult work was done over decades with only horses and by hand.  As demanding as this work would have been, settling in the rugged lands of Canada was a huge improvement to the lives of these immigrants. Today, a century later, wonderful traditions of these European folks perpetuate, and the stone fences created remain today, marking the tremendous efforts of the settlers. This video was shot at a house concert in Bonnechere Valley (Ontario). Please check out the version of this song with a full band on my album, The River (/music).

Half Way There is a folk song that tells the story of a stopping place and depot farm located in North Renfrew that operated in the late 1800s servicing the booming lumber industry of the time. Established and run by Xavier Pilon, his farm was know as Halfway House. It was located half way between Deux Rivieres and Brent (Cedar Lake) along a tote road (wagon road) that horse-drawn wagons and sleighs would travel to haul men and supplies into the areas where logging operations were happening. The farm was abandoned in around 1930 or 1940, and only ruins remain today in what seems to be a random place in the wilderness. From the hundreds of horseshoes left in waste piles, it must have been a significant place at one time. Halfway House is one of my favorite places to visit. This song will be included in my upcoming album, to be recorded in 2021.

Hear You Sing is a song about relationships and lasting love.  This cool song has to be played and recorded in as many places as possible, like here in side an incinerator at an old derelict sawmill in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada. Take note of the guitar tones; drop-D tuning on my aged Taylor guitar is best served with finger-picking. Those deep tones should warm your spirit.  Please check out the version of this song recorded with a full band on my album, The River (/music).