On this day 100 years ago (1924 June 08)  British mountaineer A.C. (Sandy) Irvine disappeared into the clouds of Mount Everest on his summit attempt with George Mallory. Both climbers perished during their mountaineering expedition, and it is entirely possible that the accident that took their lives happened on their descent after reaching the top of the world's highest mountain. The body of George Mallory was found in the 1990s, but Sandy's body (and his camera) have not been found yet. I am not a climber (I am not comfortable with heights and steep terrain), but this is relevant to me because I came into possession of one of Sandy's travel trunks several years ago. This antique metal trunk is adorned with hand made brass fittings, and an impressive nameplate atop "A.C. IRVINE". When I researched the nameplate, I eventually made contact with a descendant and Everest researcher and she confirmed that the trunk was Sandy's. It is very curious how his trunk made it across the Atlantic Ocean and ended up at a farm in Westmeath ON, and that is where I bought it.
I wrote this song TRUNK OF SECRETS asking the question (of this mysterious trunk) "how did you come to this place so afar?" This is track 10 on my new album Those Days. The recording features Brian Hebert on fiddle, Peter Brown on piano, Jim Beattie on accordion and Pete Beaudoin adding percussion.


HEAR YOU SING, live at Haleys Bay Music Hall

Hear You Sing was recorded live at a house concert at a place we call Haleys Bay Music Hall. Duo Marc Audet and Bradley Audet are the most-streamlined form of the folk group North Renfrew. Hear You Sing is track 1 of The River, 2019.

Watch for another video of the other house concert performer duo Morgan and Colleen Weeks.

CLOSE TO HOME - A Song and Video to Promote a Health Care Facility

Close to Home is a song about a new 96 bed Long Term Care home that is being built in Deep River. This extended video promotes the project and encourages viewers to support it through donations at The song was initiated from a friend asking if I could write a song in support of the project about a year ago. "Close to Home" emerged a month later, then a group of local musicians were brought together to develop and record the song and this companion video. The song speaks to how wonderful small town living is, and how fortunate we will be to have greatly expanded capacity for long term care "just down the road".  Please  consider supporting this important project 

2023 Summer Solstice Beach Video - Talk to Me

June 21 is a special day for me .. it is summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the start of summer, and it is National Indigenous Peoples Day. My song "Talk to Me" is a good fit for this special day because the song speaks to the ages of time and peoples from the perspective of ancient trees that have seen it all. If only they could speak! The song was recorded on Old Woman Bay on the east shore of Lake Superior, a beautiful and special place.

Performing for Museums and Historical Societies - Stone Fences

Stone Fences – The old stones fences throughout the Ottawa Valley inspire me, and there's nothing quite like the fences on the old farms along the Opeongo Colonization Road that runs from Farrell’s Landing on the Ottawa River near Renfrew to Opeongo Lake west of Barry's Bay. What I see in these fences is the decades of determination and hard work that European settlers had to endure in the late 1800s to turn forested stony hills into marginal farmland. With many farms long since abandoned, forests now occupy the fields, with moss-covered stone fences permanently marking this period of development of the Ottawa Valley. This song is part of the folklore show Forgotten Memories of the Ottawa Valley, available as a house concert.

This video was recorded at the Upper Ottawa Valley Heritage Centre (Pembroke, ON) during a showing of the folklore show "Forgotten Memories of the Ottawa Valley" on 27 January 2023.



North Renfrew is a new folk music group from the North Renfrew district of the Ottawa Valley (Canada). The Ottawa Valley is known for its unique culture and traditional music, and this new group is another variant of Canadianna, rootsy folk music.  We share a love for creating great music, and we are available for folk festivals!! 

Battle Hill is a song about the construction of King's Highway 17 in 1925, when land surveyors had to battle a rugged section of the Canadian Shield to upgrade the Pembroke Mattawan wagon road into a road suitable for the earliest automobiles. Older topographic maps show the height of land between Bissett Creek and Deux Rivieres as Battle Hill.

North Renfrew is the newest folk music group from the Ottawa Valley, named after the district of the Valley where the members reside. The group first performed on a festival stage at Deep River Summerfest on July 31, 2022, with a view of the Ottawa River and the Laurentian Mountains off stage right. The song performed in the video, "Talk to Me", characterizes the unique historical features throughout the Ottawa Valley. NORTH RENFREW is available for folk music festivals!!

On 12 May 2022, Marc Audet and Paul Weber shared a show featuring our songwriting interests, including songs about Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley. BORROWED TIME, is the subject of this video, with accompaniment by Bradley Audet (in our prototype folk music group, North Renfrew). For more music, visit Thanks for viewing this video.

HISTORY AND SONG TOGETHER - The Ballad of Rose McKenna

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.

Forgotten Memories of the Ottawa Valley - 2 Hour Video Presentation

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.

Forgotten Memories Radio Interview

Here's a radio interview that talks about the folklore show Forgotten Memories. Radio station CJHR 98.7 FM was kind to broadcast this interview a few days before a house concert at Little Red Wagon Winery, a fantastic presenter that features many musical acts. Thanks for listening!

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.

Other Live Videos (Video Archive)

Here's a collection of other videos of live performances, whether solo, duo or with the full contingent of the folk group North Renfrew. ENJOY!