Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lance Corporal W. Ralph Mathers

W.R. Mathers was born 12/Oct/1922 to Thomas and Isabella Mathers, the eldest of 4 children that included Edward, Mary, and Rita.

He was an electrician by trade and in high school played the clarinet with the Kiwanis Band for 2 years.

Mathers enlisted with the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards R.C.A.C. and fought in the Mediterranean Theatre. He was grievously wounded, lying in the hospital for day before succumbing to his wounds on 16/Dec/1944.

He was interred in the Coriano Ridge British Empire Cemetery now called the Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, 2 miles north of Coriano, Italy.

Coriano Ridge was the last important ridge in the way of the Allied advance in the Adriatic sector in the autumn of 1944. Its capture was the key to Rimini and eventually to the River Po. German parachute and panzer troops, aided by bad weather, resisted all attacks on their positions between 4 and 12 September 1944.

On the night of 12 September the Eighth Army reopened its attack on the Ridge, with the 1st British and 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions. This attack was successful in taking the Ridge, but marked the beginning of a week of the heaviest fighting experienced since Cassino in May, with daily losses for the Eighth Army of some 150 killed.

Corinao War Cem.

The site for the cemetery was selected in April 1945 and was created from graves brought in from the surrounding battlefields.
Coriano Ridge War Cemetery contains 1,939 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

L. Cpl. W, Ralph Mathers was awarded the:

1939-1945 Star

Italy star

Defence Medal

War Medal 1939-1945

CVSM with clasp

There is no headstone photo available at this time.

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 29, 2016

Pte. John Laird Learmonth

John was born in Montreal to Walter and Jane Learmonth on 8/July/1921. He was a fresh water/great lakes sailor, worked for the Canada Steamship Lines and was a member of the Canada’s Seamans Union.

He enlisted at Camp Niagra with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada R.C.I.C.

John’s was first stationed in Kingston, Jamaica as a guard then later went to France as a wireless operator.

Pte. Learmonth was Killed In Action on 9/Aug/1944 in France and is interred at Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery in Calvados, France.


Historical note:

The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944.

For the most part, those buried at Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery died during the later stages of the battle of Normandy, the capture of Caen and the thrust southwards - led initially by the 4th Canadian and 1st Polish Armoured Divisions - to close the Falaise Gap.

Almost every unit of Canadian 2nd Corps is represented in the cemetery.

The cemetery contains 2,958 Second World War burials, the majority Canadian, and 87 of them unidentified
Pte. Learmonth was awarded:

Good Conduct Badge
CVSM with clasp
France-Germany Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-1945

There is no headstone photograph available at this time.

He was survived by his mother Jane and two sisters, his father Walter preceded him in death on 26/Nov/1940.

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gerald Edmund Leo Laurent

The 5th name on the memorial stone in Victoriatown is Gerald Edmund Leo Laurent, born 19/Jan/1926 in Pt. St. Charles to James and Luella Laurent. Gerald lived with his grandfather, Edward Laurent as both of his parents were deceased by the time Edmund was 10 years old.

Before enlistment he worked on the shipyard for 3 years as a riveter.

Edmund enlisted in the Renfrew and Lanark Scottish Regiment and was killed in action on 4/Oct/1944 and is buried at Cesena War Cemetery in the Commune of Cesena in the Province of Forli, Italy.


Historical Information:

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side.

Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Appenine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adratic sector, but with divisions transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in.

Most of those buried in this cemetery died during the advance from Rimini to Forli and beyond in September-November 1944, an advance across one flooded river after another in atrocious autumn weather.
The cemetery site was selected in November 1944 and burials were brought in from the surrounding battlefields.

Cesena War Cemetery contains 775 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

Private Laurent was awarded:

1939-1945 Star
Italy Star
War Medal
CVSM & clasp

Inscription on marker: Rest in peace and all the souls of the faithful departed. – Gramma

No photo of headstone available at this time.

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

William Edmund Gearey

The 5th name on the memorial at Victoriatown is William Edmund Gearey born 24/Apr/1920 in Bristol Bay, England to Edgar and Rose Gearey, arriving at the Port of Quebec in 1920 on the ship Minnedosa, the oldest of 3 children.
William was Roman Catholic and he and his family were members of Siant Gabriels church. He was a truck driver in civilian life.

He enlisted on 29/2/1940 into the 2nd Canadian Field Regiment as a gunner and served in the Mediterranean Theatre. He was killed in an automobile accident on 27/Sep/1944 and is interred in Arezzo War Cemetery in Tuscany, Italy


Historical Information
On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side.

Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but the advance was checked for some months at the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line. The line eventually fell in May 1944 and as the Germans withdrew, Rome was taken by the Allies on 3 June.

The Germans made a stand in front of Arezzo early in July 1944 and there was fierce fighting before the town was taken on 16 July by the 6th Armoured Division with the aid of the 2nd New Zealand Division.

The site for this cemetery was selected in November 1944, and graves were brought into it from the surrounding area. Both the 4th and the 8th Indian Divisions were involved in the fighting in this region, and Plots VII-IX in the cemetery contain Indian graves.

Arezzo War Cemetery contains 1,266 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.


The entire cemetery has not yet been photographed so there is no photo of William’s headstone.

He was awarded posthumously:

1939-1945 Star
Italy Star
Defence Medal
War Medal
C.V.S.M. with clasp

His survivors included his wife Patricia, son Kevin Edmund born 21/10/1943, one brother, Ronald, one sister Lilian Rose and his parents, Wallace Edgar and Rose Gearey.

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Monday, July 25, 2016

Lance Seargeant Joseph Chapatis

The 4th name on the memorial stone in Victoriatown belongs to Lance Sergeant Joseph Chapatis born 27/Oct/1919 in Montreal to John and Madelaine Chapatis, one of 7 children.

Joseph was of English/Lithuanian descent and worked at Montreal Drydock Company as a foundry worker.

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Artillery, 27th Field Artillery as a gunner and fought in the Mediterranean Theatre.

He married Olive Clark of Edinburgh, Scotland on 27/Sep/1941, they had one son, Joseph Chapatis, Jr., who was born only months before his fathers death. Joseph left a handwritten will leaving everything to his wife and son.

Joseph died of his wounds on 27/Dec/1943 and is interred in Moro River Canadian Military Cemetery in Abruzzo, Italy.

He was awarded posthumously:

1939-1945 Star
Italy Star
Defence Medal
War Medal
CVSM & clasp

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trooper John McDowell Carter

The 3rd name on the memorial stone that stands in Victoriatown is Trooper John McDowell Carter. Born to Alexinia Carter Walsh in Pt. St. Charles 20/Aug/1921, the oldest of seven children. Before enlisting in the Army he was employed by Birks Jewelry where he worked in the office. He was to marry Betty Cowans of St. John’s, NB

John enlisted at Sherbrooke, PQ into The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, A.C.A as a gunner. He saw action in the Western European Theater and was Killed In Action in Belgium on 25/10/1944.


He is interred at Bergen Op Zoom Canadian Military Cemetery in the Netherlands.

Most of the soldiers buried at Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery lost their lives in the fighting north of Antwerp during the Battle of the Scheldt, as the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, with support from the 4th Canadian Armoured Division, worked to clear the right (north) bank of the Scheldt estuary of German forces. Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery contains 1,118 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 31 of which are unidentified.

He was awarded posthumously:
CVSM with clasp
1939-1945 Star
Defence Medal
War Medal

©Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Friday, July 22, 2016

Private Harold Joseph Boyle


The second name on the memorial at Victoriatown is Harold Joseph Boyle, born 26/September/1920 to Terrance and Francis Boyle in Pt. St. Charles.

He worked for the Canadian National Railroad as a truck (helper).

He enlisted in the Black Watch, Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (C.A.) Private Boyle was killed in action in Italy on 8/February/1944 and interred in the Moro River Canadian Cemetery in Abruzzo, Italy.




He was awarded postumusly:

1939-1945 Star

Italy Star

Defence Medal

War Medal

CVSM & clasp



The family were members of St. Gabriel’s Church


©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Saint Ann’s Church


Organized about 1848 as a Mission – The church opened in 1854.
This church was the soul and inspiration of the Irish Community. 

100      100(2)

Although, it has been closed and demolished for years, Saint Ann is still referred to in numerous writings about the Irish of South Central Montréal – In 1884, a portion of the congregation of the Parish of Saint Ann were asked to join the ranks of Saint Gabriel. It appears that a fair number of Irish families agreed to the move  In 1982, the parish of St Ann would close its doors.

The demolition of St. Ann's

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lance Seargeant Joseph Piernino Andreoli

Is the first name listed on the memorial stone that sits neglected behind a fence in old Victoriatown, I was intrigued, who were these brave men?

L.Sgt. J. P. Andreoli was born in Montreal, the youngest child of Pasquale and Lucia Andreoli. He worked as a shoemaker at the Montreal Drydocks and was baptized at Ste. Anne Church.

Ste. Anne's Church

Joseph enlisted in the Army and was placed with the Royal Canadian Artillery as a gunner. He shipped to the Mediterranean and saw battle at Ortona, Italy and Moro River, Italy.

He was killed in action at the Battle of Moro River and interred in the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery in Abruzzo, Italy. He was 22 years old.

He was awarded posthumously:

1939-1945 StarItaly Star
Defence Medal
War Medal
C.V.S.M. medal and clasp

The awards never reached his family, they were marked undeliverable, and went back into stock.

.J.P. Andreoli

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


One of the last traces of old Victoriatown is a stone monument dedicated to the men and women who served in World War II. It sits behind a fence, neglected. It reads:

 In grateful tribute to the men and women of this community who served in WWII 1939 – 1945 and dedicated to the glory of those who died in this great cause.

Killed In Action: 

Sgt. J. P. Andreoli

Pte. H. J. Boyle

Pte. J. M. Carter

Sgt. J. Chapatis

Gnc. W. E. Gearey

Pvt. C. E. Laurent

Cpl. G. E. Latour 

Pte. J. L. Learmouth

Cpl. W. R. Mathers

Sgt. R. M. Pitts

Pte. J. Somma

Sgt. C. F. Stankus

Sgt. W. H. Webb

Sgt. E. Wright

Died On Active Service:

Spr. E. L. Hill, Pte. C. Ranalli

“We shall remember them”

erected by The citizens of Victoriatown

Victoriatown was once known as Windmill Point and later became Goose Village.

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Monday, July 18, 2016

Windmill Point

Windmill Point was a quarantine area where between 3,500 and 6,000 Irish immigrants died of typhus or "ship fever" in 1847 and 1848. The immigrants had been transferred from quarantine in Grosse Isle, Quebec.

Due to a lack of suitable preparations, typhus soon reached epidemic proportions in Montreal. Three fever sheds were initially constructed, 150 feet (46 m) long by 40 to 50 feet (15 m) wide. As thousands more sick immigrants landed, more sheds had to be erected.

The number of sheds would grow to 22, with troops cordoning off the area so the sick couldn't escape. Grey Nuns cared for the sick, carrying women and children in their arms from ships to the ambulances.

According to Montreal journalist and historian Edgar Andrew Collard, thirty of 40 nuns who went to help became ill, with seven dying. Other nuns took over, but once the surviving Grey Nuns had convalesced, they returned. Priests also helped, many falling ill after hearing the last confessions of the dying.

When a mob threatened to throw the fever sheds into the river, Montreal mayor John Easton Mills quelled the riot and provided care, giving patients water and changing bedding. He died in November, having served less than a year in office. 

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Montreal urged French Quebecers to help their fellow Catholics. Many travelled to Montreal from the countryside to adopt children, in some cases passing their land on to them.

During the mid-19th century, workers constructing the Victoria Bridge across the St. Lawrence River discovered a mass grave in Windmill Pointwhere victims of typhus epidemic of 1847 had been quarantined in fever sheds. The workers, many of whom were of Irish descent, were unsettled by the discovery and wanted to create a memorial to ensure the grave, which held the coffins of 6,000 Irish immigrants, would not be forgotten.

Erected on December 1, 1859, the stone was the first Canadian monument to represent the famine. The inscription on the stone reads:
"To Preserve from Desecration the Remains of 6000 Immigrants Who died of Ship Fever A.D. 1847-48
This Stone is erected by the Workmen of Messrs. Peto, Brassey and Betts Employed in the Construction of the Victoria Bridge A.D. 1859"

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Friday, July 15, 2016

10 Part Series on the Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 10) April 7, 1992

Fire College Saint-Maurice and the Motherhouse of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary

Text from the Clarion Saint-Hyacinthe , Wednesday, April 8, 1992, page 19. By Michel Lamarche

Losses of 40 to 50 million dollars

For Maskoutains, Tuesday, April 7, 1992 will go down as the one of the saddest dates in the history of their municipality, the City of Saint-Hyacinthe has lost a significant part of its heritage, when a huge fire devastated yesterday morning, the Motherhouse of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and the school of Collège Saint-Maurice, a facility built on Girouard Street since 1876.

This disaster has caused consternation among religious, student and alumni that could see the scene of the blaze.
While many religious and students can not hold back their tears, some former students ressassaient all kinds of memories of their passage within the prestigious academic institution.
Even Maskoutains less concerned with the history of the Collège Saint-Maurice were nostalgic watching the events and many seniors this fire compared to those that hit the Seminary of Saint-Hyacinthe, in 1927 and 1963.

Rapid spread
According to what stated Mrs. Céline Dion Desjardins Director responsible students of the 2nd cycle of the College is to say the grades 3, 4, and 5 side, the fire started at 7 am, a room on the 4th floor of the Mother House, which had over for minor renovations. At the time of writing, no one has confirmed if such works were the direct cause of the fire.

If the disaster first hit for the most part in the center of the venerable building, it spread very quickly throughout the establishment, including the part called the Normal School, and in the afternoon, the gymnasium, a much more recent construction located at the east end of the College could be saved.

We were faced with a horizontal and vertical flame spread very fast and more, so around 8 am, 15 minutes after my arrival, we can already say that the fire was out of control, to tell the head of the fire Department of the City of Saint-Hyacinthe, Jacques Desrosiers, at a conference organized at the scene of the disaster Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Desrosiers has also had to defend himself before a heavy fire of questions that have questioned the work of his team.

There is not a leader of a team of firefighters who may be happy to see a building fall under the flames. However, I do know how our men gave a superhuman effort to save the building, but because of the age and the strong wind that blew eastward, the task was impossible, "Mr. Desrosiers to trump that led a team of 90 firefighters not only from Saint-Hyacinthe, but seven other municipalities either Beloeil, Saint-Bruno, Granby, Saint Thomas Aquinas, St. Rosalie, St. Dominic and St. Helena, the staff last two teams remaining on hold.

The incident had reached such proportions that at 8 am, the Desrosiers chief had decided to evacuate the building in which were some 175 nuns including several bedridden permanently and fifty students residents, who in the late morning were back in their family home.

The phase of evacuation was strong efficiently d`environ over half an hour. It involved many resources including Ambulances BGR, Hôtel-Dieu, the Centre hospitalier Honoré-Mercier, the Seminary of Saint-Hyacinthe, the Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of St. Joseph, who have all contributed to one way or another to the welfare and security of the nuns.

Thanks to the evacuation, no one has been killed or injured as a result of the fire.
The nuns were received byvarious institutions in the region, the Seminar and the Houses of the Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Obviously, at the time of writing, it was unclear where, when and how to reorganize the school year, some 450 students attending the College Saint-Maurice.

(Translation may contain errors)

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Thursday, July 14, 2016

10 Part Series on the Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 9) August 2, 1981



The worst fire in a long time, damage estimated at $7 million

Text from the Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe , Wednesday, August 5, 1981, page 4.

For those who walk in downtown Saint-Hyacinthe the last few days, and there are many, the scene of desolation that reigns in the quadrilateral formed of Des Cascades, Saint-Antoine and Hotel-Dieu, St. Anne and St. Francis seems unreal but nothing can relive the intensity of the fire of August 2, when in a few quick hours, the destructive element, ignited by a criminal hand, would reduce to rubble no less than twenty stores and dwelling houses.

It was around 5 pm that the first alarm was sounded and when the first firefighters arrived on the scene, it was obvious that they would have to fight a major disaster already, flames crackled on both sides of the Sainte-Anne, at the height of the brewery of the old Saint-Antoine.

That is why, from the first moment, the possibility of a criminal hand was not ruled out, rightly elsewhere as it was to be demonstrated later.

This is also why he was called Sorel including firefighters who hurried towards Saint-Hyacinthe with a scale of 100 feet, as well as those of Saint-Hilaire, with a scale of 75 feet.


The flame intensity was such that the windows would burst under the effect of heat on the Rue Sainte-Anne. In addition, high voltage forced firefighters to exercise caution to avoid electrocution. The time required to remove power would have seemed significant to certain risks and were taken by the magnitude of the disaster.

With the arrival of the volunteer firefighters of Saint-Damase Saint-Dominique, La Presentation, St. Rosalie and St. Thomas Aquinas, not less than one hundred firefighters were on hand with a major equipment.

A very large crowd was also on hand and special measures had to be adopted so that everything happend in conditions as safe as possible. One of the first arriving on the scene was to evacuate the house and it is thanks to this intervention no lives were reported. At most, two firefighters were injured by smoke and burn.

Lit from the back of the brewery in Old San Antonio probably in the debris of a house demolition, the fire crossed the Rue Sainte-Anne, in the direction of the market, while continuing its destructive work between rue Sainte -Anne and Hotel-Dieu. 

Many questions remain unanswered at the time of writing, while two individuals appearing in connection with the fire, including the fact that the fire is found on both sides of the Rue Sainte-Anne as quickly. Answers should be obtained during the investigation that will follow.

It only took a few hours for the flames leave behind rubble and millions of gallons of water were dumped. More than forty hours later, firefighters continued to stir debris with a backhoe to water possible homes. The destructive element seems to have been stopped in its course by the arches of the house Laflamme (at least on the side of the Rue Saint-Antoine), while elsewhere the work of firefighters focused on protecting a perimeter to contain flames.


(Translation may contain errors)

©2016 Linda Sullian-Simpson

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

10 Part Series on the Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 8) February 2, 1963

Fire in the seminary of Saint-Hyacinthe

Saturday, February 2, 1963, a massive fire broke out in the central part of the Seminary of Saint-Hyacinthe. It took three warnings before control the flames.
Firefighters, under the command of Director Lionel Left worked in difficult conditions, under the cold and snow, over 32 hours to master the elements and then make sure the fire would not resume in the smoking ruins. Apparently, the flames would have originated in the premises reserved for the edition of the newspaper Le Collégien . After a brief investigation, the authorities are lost in conjectures about the precise cause of the fire.

The central part of the minor seminary built 150 years ago was completely destroyed by fire while the adjacent wings, newer and better protected building, suffered only damage by water and smoke.

Firefighters went immediately to the scene and, upon arrival, firefighters worked to make rescues using the aerial ladder and removing six priests threatened with suffocation.Fortunately, the institution's authorities had already taken steps to evacuate students and much of the teaching staff.

However, the flames quickly spread to the point that a few minutes later, the upper floors were inaccessible and dense smoke prevented firefighters and volunteers to fight the seat of the fire from the inside. It is believed, for a time, they maîtriseraient flames without much difficulty. They seemed to subside, then resumed in various places so it was soon impossible to circumscribe, and efforts soon tended to preserve the two new wings, which date also more than thirty years.

Only the central part of the facade where the great parlor were, prefecture offices and procures and floors, the rooms of twenty professors who are in fact the most affected by the fire, was destroyed . A little before eight, the building was a huge inferno. Around 8:15, the dome collapsed noisily, falling in the courtyard of the seminary.

Before the menacing proportions of the element, the City of Saint-Hyacinthe appealed to municipal services surrounding communities including St. Joseph and Providence Douville. The protection of Casavant Frères service was also mobilized to lend a hand to Maskoutains firefighters.

A crowd of onlookers visited the scene causing traffic jams in many places. The stewards of the Civil Protection Corps was also mobilized to assist municipal officials. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 people massed near the seminar to monitor the progress of the fire and the work of firefighters.

It is not known the extent of damage but there is reason to believe that the material losses will amount to more than a million besides the majority of seminarians and priests have lost their belongings.

Fortunately, thanks to the diligence of the authorities of the seminar and fire Saint-Hyacinthe, there were no injuries. However, we dare not think about the consequences of such a disaster if the fire had started later in the evening or at night. Indeed, some 500 students and priests live permanently in the seminar during the school year.

Painful as the situation in the aftermath of a disaster that affects the whole population of the city, it remains that we saved the chapel, the rich library of the house and pupils, the museum and laboratories, academic hall, the pavilion from 1911 where there are number of classes. Study rooms and recreation suffer considerable damage, as most rooms of the staff in the north wing. They are due mainly to water and smoke, but there is nothing that is beyond repair. In the south wing, the priests who lived there returned to their premises, once restored heating.

A thick layer of snow on the roof of the factory would have saved Casavant & Frères Ltée, during the fire. At least that is what a spokesman for organ builders told the result of the fire. The Casavant & Frères Ltée factory is located a few hundred feet away from the seminar. During the height of the fire, the wind blew sparks on the buildings of the factory. The brigade against fires of the company, consisting of seven men, was constantly on alert.

(Translation may contain errors)

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

10 Part Series on the Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 7) January 21, 1944


They let it burn!

January 21, 1944, a major fire broke out on the rue des Cascades, opposite the fire station of Saint-Hyacinthe.

In the space of a few hours, seven shops and five homes were razed to the ground; the quadrilateral formed Cascade streets, St. Mary, Calixa-Lavallée and Duclos is in ruins.

Yet the Fire response time is almost nil and they are helped in their efforts by the Navy School of the fire.

And that's what makes this particular disaster.In the edition of January 28, 1944 the Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe , Harry Bernard asks in an editorial why firefighters were so helpless. The answer takes the form of a lack of water, a drop in pressure and inadequate machinery at the aqueduct.

The plot thickens the following week when Bernard returned to the charge by saying simply: they let burn! He even adds that the refusal of the city to accept the help of the Southern Canada Power for powering the pumps is largely responsible for the disaster; that do not agree to recognize the municipal authorities, including the mayor, Télesphore-Damien Bouchard in mind.


(Translation may contain errors)


©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Monday, July 11, 2016

10 Part Series on the Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 6) January 18, 1938

Fire At Sacred Heart College
The fire of the Sacred Heart College, which occurred January 18, 1938, in addition to completely destroying the building, resulted in the death of forty students, five teachlng brothers and caused injuries to twenty others.
But, anyway, what was this college? Where was it located? What congregation of religious teachers was in charge? And what do we know of the fire?

First, what was this college? It was a school where students received extensive instruction in mathematics, physics and chemistry, to be able to upgrade their education in higher spheres. In early 1930, the college began to emphasize the teaching of the English language: mathematics and geography, among others, there were taught in that language. Where was it located? The Sacred Heart College was located in Bourg-Joli, on Laframboise street, which was erected in 1946, the church Sacred Heart of Jesus, so in the northeast of the city of Saint-Hyacinthe. Following the fire, the Sacred Heart Brothers decided not to rebuild the college and divided in 1945, their vast property into lots, thus promoting residential development in the neighborhood.
According to the newspapers, that night was particularly cold, we speak of -18 degrees Celsius which would hinder the work of firefighters.

Returning newspaper articles recount the testimony of the night of the college keeper, Marcel Quesnel, before the inquiry we read the morning of the fire, I had done my tour and everything was normal in the building. Suddenly, at 1 am or so I do not know exactly, I heard a great noise and was shaken by a violent explosion that shook the whole building, I looked outside and saw flames coming through the windows. Also, it was established that the first call to the fire station was housed in 2 hours?

This is a tremendous explosion and a mournful whistle that I was awake. I made the light and foreseeing a misfortune, I clothe myself in gear and out of college by the door. The thick smoke that filled the college prevented me to see anything inside. On leaving, I looked around the chapel where everything was normal and went to the alarm box, but firefighters were already on the scene. The whole wing of the side was like burning but the fire seemed to come from the cellar. Such is the tetimony of brother Lucius, college director.

The fire began following a gas explosion produced by the incomplete combustion of coal in one or more of the five furnaces that provided heating the facility. For their part, the testimony of the first firefighters arrived at the scene say they have toured the building to see if they could help some people who would be in the windows or on the roof. The only person who has been seen is a Brother who was in a first floor window at the end of the north-west wing of the building on fire. When the brigade arrived on the scene the flames were coming through all the windows of the right wing and passed over the building, and this is what explains that if he were still children on the roof, they had been pushed back by the flames to the center of the roof where nobody could see them ... Even if the brigade had lifesaving nets at its disposal, it could not be used.Besides, it was impossible to approach the building, as the heat from the fire was intense.

Arriving at the scene, firefighters were quick to help the religious and the students who had escaped the burning building and waited in sleepwear to come to their aid. Taxis and auto citizens who had been awakened by the general alarm, carried the survivors, as ambulances St. Charles Hospital were not enough to collect the injured. The cries of students gathered on the roof and shouted for help, mingled complaints of those who were thrown from the upper floors and already lying in the snow with horrible burns and multiple fractures. That's the horrible spectacle that presented rescuers.

Of course, all kinds of rumors, probabilities or outcomes about this slaughter were conveyed before, during or after the inquest. What you need to remember is the perfect abnegation religious to rescue the students and the great charity Maskoutains to gather and help the survivors, not to mention the attentive care given to victims, either at the hospital Saint-Charles, at the Hôtel-Dieu or by doctors of Saint-Hyacinthe.

In the early days that followed, intensive research to find the bodies of missing or unaccounted for continued to finally establish the exact number of deaths is: 5 and 41 religious students. The remains of forty-six victims, found in the rubble, charred and mutilated could not be identified, except those three students, demanded that parents; others were placed in fifteen coffins.

A solemn service was celebrated at the Cathedral in the presence of an emotional and sympathetic crowd. Then fifteen beers were brought to the grave of the cemetery, waiting for the thaw allowed digging a mass grave in the small cemetery of the monks, near the stricken college.This transfer took place in the following May current. In May 1948, during the sale of land belonging to the Sacred Heart Brothers, the remains of the victims and the magnificent monument to the victims, which serves as the foundation for the statue of the Sacred Heart, the sculptor Emile Brunet, were transferred the Cathedral's cemetery.

(Translation may contain errors)

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Sunday, July 10, 2016

10 Part Series on the Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 5) November 28, 1917

The Hôtel-Dieu in flames!

In one night, the entire central part of the building is razed.

Here is what Mgr Charles-Philippe Choquette in History of the City of Saint-Hyacinthe  : "It has been said that all the people of Saint-Hyacinthe witnessed on site of the calamity of November 28, 1917. During half hour, the bells of the churches and chapels sounded the alarm and called for help college students were allocated the task of saving the furniture;. citizens gathered the old men while the ladies seized the children and gave them asylum and several nuns. compassion was general and expressive. It is claimed that a smoldering match thrown by a smoker would be the cause of the fire.

All parts of the stone building was engulfed in flames within hours, it remains now only rubble.Hundreds of people were in the building at the time of the fire, namely the elderly, infirm children stalked by a terrible death. It is estimated that between five and six hundred people were hospitalized.
In fact, after the fire, the sisters settled temporarily in both wings intact. There remains only the orphanage.

When it was learned that the Hotel-Dieu was in flames, the bells tolled in churches and chapels of the city for half an hour. A special train transported to Saint-Hyacinthe twenty firefighters and steam pumps to contain the fire. According to some historians, the last words of chef Pierre-Agapit Foisy, while fighting the destructive element on the third floor of the Hotel-Dieu, were said in this context: it departed somewhat from the heart of the disaster to go to the kitchen in a state of weakness and extreme fatigue caused by superhuman efforts posed to contain the fire. He asked that he be paid a coffee and even before he could pour a cup, he exclaimed, turning pale: Please, give me a chair, I am dying! These were his last words, for just sitting, he gave up the ghost in a last breath. "

The funeral of the chief Foisy were no less friendly. Mgr Choquette: "The city made ​​fresh with extraordinary pomp Never perhaps one lives scroll the center of the city such a large procession the first songs of the.. office resounded under the vault of the cathedral and hundreds of protesters were still waiting at the door of the funeral home to take rank in the procession this highlighted the following order. led the Philharmonic and fire cars charged floral tributes, the fire chief Adjutor Bourgeois, the hearse escorted by six regular firefighters and six volunteer firefighters acting as porters, the family of the deceased, the city Council in full, municipal employees. school children, the judiciary, professionals, industrialists, labor organizations, crowd the choir, several ecclesiastical dignitaries. in the nave, the staff of teaching communities and their schools reflected the universality of grief ".

In the weeks that followed, a public fundraising campaign was launched to collect more than $ 25 000.00. The City of Saint-Hyacinthe offers for its part: $15 000,00.
The name of the subscribers appear for several weeks in the mail with the amount they give. The reconstruction began in 1922.

(Translation may contain errors)

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Saturday, July 9, 2016

10 Part Series on the Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 4) May 20, 1903

The weather is dry and sunny. A strong western wind raises dust in the unpaved streets. About noon, fire broke out at the factory side, at the corner of Saint-Antoine and Saint-Hyacinthe (Hotel-Dieu). The alarm is given by an employee of the foundry Dussault and Lamoureux.
Immediately, the nine regular firefighters and 15 volunteer firefighters who make up the fire brigade are on the scene. Already, the fire crosses the Hotel Dieu Street and Dussault foundry and Lamoureux is on fire to spread to neighboring houses.

The unique steam pump is not sufficient to the task. At two o'clock the factory Hudon and National laundry, on the rue Saint-Antoine, burn. The St-Jacques mayor seeks help firefighters arriving to Montreal 2 h 45.

Realizing immediately that the situation is totally out of control because of the wind, they post on the rue Saint-Antoine with the intention of saving the sewing room Sainte-Geneviève. At that moment, two hundred houses blaze and others are endangered. The hustle is scary. In addition to the crackling fire, the noise of collapses and cries of people means the neigh and cries of death of many horses, chickens and pigs are the only victims.

About five o'clock the wind decreases. We begin to count the losses, seven factories, the sewing Sainte-Genevieve Girouard academy and 29 square homes on four streets in height and eleven cross streets.


(Translation may contain errors)

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Friday, July 8, 2016

10 Part Series on the Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 3) November 3, 1876

Two months to the day, of the great fire of September 3, 1876, another great fire raged in Saint-Hyacinthe. Let's see what the edition of November 4, the Mail had to say.

"It was not quite the terrible fire of September 3 that devoured in a few hours, most of our city. Two months apart yesterday, November 3, at nine in the morning the tocsin was heard and a thick column of smoke rose into the air, to the horror of everyone. The fire had just taken from the great body of Larivière establishment  the wind was blowing furiously and Saint -Hyacinthe was besieged with a new misfortune.
The fire broke out on Cascades street in the small portion of the city that the fire in September was spared, that is to say in the manufacturing part.On one side there was fear for the great

brick factory known as the shoe factory name "McMartin, Hamel. "In front was the mill shop and forges owned by Olivier Chalifoux. Then  the fire was heading towards the big manufacturing company of shoes in Saint-Hyacinthe and efforts were made to preserve this wonderful establishment and safes factory FX Bertrand.

In an hour's time the square of houses between the streets Cascades, Saint-Joseph, Saint-Dominique street and the river were reduced to ashes, with the exception of two houses near the brick factory. A house belonging to Lady Labatte, on St. Joseph Street, the only one that was spared two months ago in this place, was also reduced to ashes. The fire threatened so the establishment of our newspaper we were forced to move our things. Fortunately this time we have no losses reported.

The loss is estimated at $ 50,000. The areas ravaged by fire were a condom for new homes that are built in two months. Many believe that if the city had not burned at the end of the summer it could not escape this time to the destructive element.

All citizens competed with zeal in efforts to reach the flames and Seminary students rushed to the scene with the teachers have rendered great services. We had to find a lack of organization in the fire department, and the aqueduct, we do not know for what reason, did not respond to the expectation of the public. At the place where we were we found that the water could not reach the top of a wooden house with one floor. "
(Translation may contain errors)
©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Thursday, July 7, 2016

10 Part Series on Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 2) September 3, 1876


"Those who have learned the terrible misfortune that has befallen on Saint-Hyacinthe in which The Courier was one of the many victims of yhis horrific fire. On September 3rd all our equipment burned, as well as our presses, sheets of Agriculture Journal and Farmer's Journal and we could not save our account books, some volumes of mail , a few boxes, and a small part books from our library.

Having to buy presses and other new hardware, is very difficult, it will take a few weeks; before we can resume the regular course of our publication and we are counting on the sympathy of our subscribers.

We have the courtesy of our colleague Union to offer our subscribers the sad story of the terrible conflagration Sunday and he please accept our thanks.

We are overwhelmed by fatigue and pain in the soul that we draw these lines.

Alas, our charming little town of Saint-Hyacinthe has just suffered a terrible misfortune, that Divine Providence spreads over an entire population at the least expected moment. Quebec suffered terrible setbacks, St. John was partially destroyed, but the fire we suffered is the most disastrous ever seen in the history of the country, given the population and extent of Saint -Hyacinthe. The fire has swept in and devoured all before it and we do not exaggerate by saying that nine-tenths of our city is a heap of ashes.

The fire broke out Sunday at two o'clock in the afternoon, in a building leased by Magloire Blanchet , on Des Cascades, back to the printing of the Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe.

The weather was fine and a light breeze helped to spread the flames further. At the time of the fire water from the aqueduct was lacking as in Saint John since the morning, the ducts had been closed, in order to effect certain transactions.  instant was  Like all the surrounding houses were wooden, the water was missing and  the organization of the fire was very incomplete, it became impossible to put out the fire and when the water was finally available the devastation was too expanded to isolate. Then we can say it was a stampede. The wind having risen carried the flames, a great distance.

Archambeault the house, the beautiful block Kéroack, touts our stores around the market, the market itself disappeared in a cloud of smoke.Despite vigorous efforts, the house rented by Bank of Saint-Hyacinthe offices was also devoured by fire, as the Post Office. The further Merchants Bank suffered the plight of others. The magnificent homes of Girouard were not spared the elegant villa that Dr. St. Jacques had just erected in front of the bishop, the lovely home of Mr. Sheriff Taché, as Mr. LG de Lorimier, prothonotary, the offices of Messrs. Bernier, Bachand and Richer RE Fontaine, the notary Guertin, were swept away in a few hours.

About four o'clock a steam pump arrived by special train to Montreal and Montreal brave firefighters were pressed into service. Their efforts were first directed to the great factory of shoes Compagnie de Saint-Hyacinthe and Mr. Mills. Langie and Fréchette. They managed to control the flames that consumed the surrounding houses. Fortunately they preserved this great building, as if it had burned, establishing Larivière & Frère body going there, and maybe the mills and cloth factories and manufacturing company of shoes Saint- Hyacinthe.
We are only three stores and no resources to feed all these people who is in the streets, homeless and without food. Oh how great is our pain and that Providence was severe in punishment that was inflicted. Already blacks were well tested by the financial crisis in the country; our brave working population had, it seems, enough days of trials and tribulations. At the approach of winter here it was reduced to poverty and no shelter.

It is not without tears we see the poor suffering mother with the most cruel anguish, the child ask the food she can not give him the honest and private workers the fruits of his savings. Doubtless God who so distressed we find consolation for our misfortune and we will send the help of generous hearts.

Fortunately, our communities were spared. Also do we see with our recognition Grey Sisters, sisters of the convent of the Presentation be the first to provide assistance to transport objects, and comfort the afflicted. It was beautiful to watch the dedication and efforts of these holy women in the midst of danger, and last night our religious houses received all these people who came to beg for shelter. Many found refuge for the night in churches. Do not forget the priests of our seminary and the diocese and the Dominican fathers who multiplied to assist the population. May God give them a hundredfold what they have done for the needy.

The streets where the fire has passed are the St. Joseph streets, Saint-Hyacinthe, Sainte-Anne, Saint-Denis Mondor, Piety, Holy Mary, Concorde, St. Paschal, Williams, Cascades, Saint-Antoine, Saint Marguerite du Bord-de-water, St. Francis, St. Simon, St. Louis, St. Michael and St. Casimir.
On St. Simon Street stood only four houses near the river; street Bord-de-water the two houses, the Saint-Louis Street, 4 houses, St Mary Street 9 houses. In the beautiful Concorde Street, in the space between the Rue Saint-Antoine, and the bridge from the center, there are only 5 houses. The Saint-Antoine Street only four houses standing. The fire stopped at the Yamaska ​​avenue, near the river, for lack of homes to power it.

Many houses and households were insured, but we can not specify an amount. It is difficult to give the amount of losses. Some believe the one million and a half dollars.

The city map we publish our readers will be aware of fire disasters.
Yesterday morning the post office opened in the registration office and two banks have also started their operations: The Bank of Saint-Hyacinthe, on Girouard Street in the house once occupied by the judge Chagnon, and the Merchants Bank in the part of the remains of Mr RP Duclos facing on Girouard street. All papers and bank values ​​were saved.

A convoy was shipped from Montreal yesterday morning with bread and other provisions for the suffering population. It circulates a rumor going to say that there had been loss of life, but that is not true.
We do not believe the attack on the Herald to belittle our people, by insinuating that innkeepers retailed liquor while their house was on fire.

(Translation may contain errors)

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

10 Part Series on Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 1)

The first big fire was on 14 May 1854

The first great fire which firefighters were faced occurred on May 14, 1854 in the kitchen of a brewery on the corner of Bourdages and Cascades. The results of this fire does not indicate any loss of life, but destroyed part of the city center, a brewery, two hotels, 40 homes and the College of St. Hyacinthe.

The circumstances of the fire are really unfortunate. A servant of the hotel was browning meat in the kitchen becomes distraught when the fire was lit in the stove. She spills all the grease on the wooden floor which immediately catches fire and no one can extinguish that fire, and in no time the fire spreads to the building.

The fire quickly spreads to the other institutions on both sides of the streets of Bourdages and Cascades. In no time, all the houses in the square formed by Cascades, Bourdages, Girouard and St. Dominic are in ashes. And that's not all, the flames, fueled by very strong winds, try to spread to the north side of Girouard, but fortunately the fire only did light damage on Girouard; but again, it was reduced to ashes, before dying, the former College of St. Hyacinthe, at the precise spot where we find today the bishopric.

(Translation may have errors)

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Vermont - Quebec Earthquake, Nov 1893




Considerable Alarm Felt in Montreal, Particularly in the Narrow Streets ---Buildings Tremble and the Inmates Flee in Fright---Residents of Malone Greatly Excited---Reached Over Into New-Hampshire and Massachusetts.

BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 27.--- A severe earthquake shock shook the buildings throughout the city at 11:53 o'clock this forenoon. The duration of the shock was about fifteen seconds. It was accompanied by a low rumbling noise. Telegrams and telephone messages from surrounding towns report the shock as having occurred simultaneously throughout Western Vermont. Eastern New-York, and most of the Providence of Quebec and a part of Ontario.

BARRE, Vt., Nov. 27.---Residents of this city were startled this noon by a rumbling sound, which at first appeared to be the sound of a moving train, but proved to be an earthquake. Buildings shook, dishes rattled, and doors flew open. Reports indicate that the shock was felt in many parts of the Green Mountain State.

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt., Nov. 27.---An earthquake shock of considerable proportion was experienced here about noon to-day. The tremor lasted three or four seconds. Buildings shook perceptibly, as if under the influence of some near-by explosion. It was the heaviest shock felt here for many years.

ST. ALBANS, Vt., Nov. 27.---An earthquake shock was felt in St. Albans a few minutes before noon. The movement of the earth was from south to north. The shock was of three to five second's duration. Buildings were shaken perceptibly, and the inmates rushed into the street in a number of instances.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt., Nov. 27.---Quite a strong earthquake shock was felt here at 11:50 o'clock this forenoon, making dishes rattle and throwing down stovepipes.

MONTREAL, Nov. 27.---A heavy shock of earthquake occurred here at 11:52 o'clock this morning, lasting about fifteen seconds. It was felt in all parts of the city and suburbs, and caused great commotion. Many of the tall buildings on St. James Street and in the central part of the city shook violently, and their occupants fled to the street.

In narrow streets like St. Francois Xavier, persons rushed out, looking up fearfully, as though expecting the stone walls to fall on them. It was the worst walls to fall on them. It was the worst shaking up Montreal has had for many a day. Dispatches received here show that the shock was distinctly felt to greater or less extent at many places in Quebec and Eastern Ontario.

The New York Times, New York, NY 28 Nov 1893

Monday, July 4, 2016

Pate Chinois (French Canadian Shepherd’s Pie)

This literally translates as 'Chinese Pie', although it is by no means a Chinese dish.The oral history behind the dish is that it was prepared by the Chinese railway workers in Quebec, and the recipe was adopted by the locals.
This is a traditional French Canadian dish that is cheap, easy to make and tastes delicious

Pate Chinois (Shepherd's Pie)
about 35 minutes cook time
serves 4
350* oven
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion
1 Tbsp oil plus 1 Tbsp butter or hard margarine
salt and pepper, to taste
1 or 2 (384ml, 14oz) cans of creamed corn (to taste) mashed potatoes : about 5 medium sized potatoes, boiled and mashed with milk and butter (or mashed in your favourite way)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Heat oil and butter/margarine in a large skillet or frying pan. Add onions and cook until clear, stirring frequently. Add the ground beef, cook until browned and no longer pink. Put into a 1.5 or 2 qt casserole dish. Pour the creamed corn over top of the beef. Drop the mash potatoes on top and cover bottom layer completely, sealing to the edge of the casserole dish. The potato topping should be about 1.5 to 2 inches thick. Bake for about 35 minutes, until potatoes are turning golden and the corn is heated.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Hochelaga, QB Tobacco Factory Fire, April 1895


They Are Compelled to Jump from the Windows of MacDonald's Tobacco Factory--Some Reported Killed.

MONTREAL, April 25--Many persons were injured and it is feared a number were killed this evening during a fire which caused a loss of $250,000 at the MacDonald tobacco factory at Hochelaga, a suburb of Montreal.

Eleven persons, injured by jumping from windows, were in the hospitals at 1 o'clock.

The physicians in charge say that several of the number are likely to die before morning.

Following is a list of the injured, so far as can be learned:

BEAUCHAMP, ROSANA, collarbone broken, and internally injured
BLONIN, NAPOLEON, left arm and leg fractured
CHAPUT, DELPHIS, both legs fractured, will die
FONTIN, ADELE, internally injured
GAGNON, JOSEPH, fireman, leg fractured
GELINAS, MAY, badly bruised
GUILLMETTE, ETIENNE, badly bruised
PEIRIER, MARY, badly bruised
SENET, ZERAPHIN, back broken

MacDonald's tobacco factory is the largest of its kind in Canada, covering several acres of ground on Ontario Street, in Hochelaga.

The fire, which started about 6 o'clock in the tower of the main building, made rapid progress, and in a short time the whole upper portion of the building was in flames. The place was crowded with employes[sic], many of them girls, who were finishing their day's work and preparing to leave for their homes.

Exit was cut off and many of the girls were forced to jump from the upper floors to save their lives. Ambulances were called and several girls were removed to the hospital badly injured.

The loss will reach $750,000, and there is no insurance. The factory is the property of W. C. MacDonald. The fire was under control at 1 o'clock.

The New York Times, New York, NY 26 Apr 1895

Saturday, July 2, 2016

ET Corsets Saint Hyacinthe 1892 - 2015

The days are numbered for the building that once housed the Eastern Township Corset, located at the corner of Laframboise and Delorme streets in the Sacred Heart area of Saint-Hyacinthe.

The demolition of the building which was established in 1892 would be a loss to the industrial heritage of Saint-Hyacinthe as it is the oldest industrial relic still standing in the city.

Developers want to demolish this building in order to build a new one, so much for the sense of belonging to our city and its heritage. Instead, why not give it a restoration and claim the charm of yesterday year for generations to come.

Industrialization appeared in Saint-Hyacinthe in the last decades of the nineteenth century, the promoters set up their factories near the Yamaska River to use the driving force of the water. It was the first industrial park in Saint-Hyacinthe.

The second Maskoutan industrial pole was installed near the station and the railway to be able to facilitate the carriage of manufacturing. Thus, at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the city has a policy to encourage the establishment of factories near the railway. The textile industry has long been the trademark of our community with its many factories and school on Laframboise street.


The Guide to Saint-Hyacinthe from 1894 tells us more about the Eastern Township Corset Co. This company was founded in 1880 by O. Gendron in Sherbrooke. In 1892, then moved to Saint-Hyacinthe. The owners then erected "the largest factory Dominion corsets. "Importantly, the City of Saint-Hyacinthe gave a" bonus "to  plants that moved here. At that time, the Corset employs between 175 and 200 employees.

In 1909 the activity of the corset company makes changes to the neighborhood. Indeed, Mr. J N Dubrule, CEO of the company Eastern Townships Mfg.Co. sends a request to the City of Saint-Hyacinthe April 23, 1909 on the public opening of the Delorme Street located on the property of Georges Casimir Dessaulles.

"At his Worship the Mayor and gentlemen Aldermen of the City of Saint-Hyacinthe.


Whereas our employees responsible for "carting" of our own materials to manufacture, have been denied by the employee of the Honourable Mr. Dessaulles, the transition path between the Laframboise and rue Ste Anne, the latter claiming that this path was private and, in addition, as we know that at this place, a street named Delorme was verbalized, so please make your kindly Council open this street immediately in order to avoid us trouble. "

In 1948, nearly 125 people specializing in women's clothing lingerie worked at this plant, which was closed in 1979.

Hundreds of men and women have worked in the sweat of brow to improve their lot. They left their mark in this building.

My three eldest paternal grand-aunts, Adrienna, Evelina, and Amelia worked at ET Corsets while still living at home in Saint-Hyacinthe.

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day!

On July 1, 1867, the nation was officially born when the Constitution Act joined three provinces into one country: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province, which then split into Ontario and Quebec. However, Canada was not completely independent of England until 1982. 

The holiday called Dominion Day was officially established in 1879, but it wasn't observed by many Canadians, who considered themselves to be British citizens. Dominion Day started to catch on when the 50th anniversary of the confederation rolled around in 1917. In 1946, a bill was put forth to rename Dominion Day, but arguments in the House of Commons over what to call the holiday stalled the bill.

The 100th anniversary in 1967 saw the growth of the spirit of Canadian patriotism and Dominion Day celebrations really began to take off. Although quite a few Canadians already called the holiday Canada Day (Fête du Canada), the new name wasn't formally adopted until October of 1982. 

Canada's national anthem, as proclaimed in 1980, is a slightly modified version of the first verse of a poem written by Judge R. Stanley Weir in 1908.

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North, strong and free!
And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, glorious and free!
We stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow.
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow.
How dear to us thy broad domain,
From East to Western Sea,
Thou land of hope for all who toil!
Thou True North, strong and free!

O Canada, glorious and free! etc.

O Canada! Beneth thy shining skies
May stalwart sons and gentle maidens rise,
To keep thee steadfast through the years
From East to Western Sea,
Our own beloved native land!
Our True North, strong and free!

O Canada, glorious and free! etc.

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our dominion within thy loving care;
Help us to find, O God, in thee
A lasting, rich reward,
As waiting for the Better Day,
We ever stand on guard.

O Canada, glorious and free! 

Original Poem by Judge, R. Stanley Weir, 1908

Music by: Calixa Lavallée