On January 28, 1664, Saint-Paul's Island was divided into three equal parts and awarded to three rich and notable French subjects established in Ville-Marie (the former name for Montréal). They were Jacques Le Ber, Lord of Saint-Paul and Senneville, Claude Robutel de Saint-André, Lord of La Noue and Jean de la Vigne.
The latter transferred his share to Marie Le Ber, sister of Jacques Le Ber, in 1668. That same year, Marie Le Ber sold her share to her brother, who thus became owner of two-thirds of the island. In 1676, the island included the fiefdoms of Saint-Paul and Lanoue.
Thirty years later, the Congrégation religieuse de Notre-Dame, founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys, acquired the Lanoue's fief. Following the British conquest, the other fief was put up for auction and purchased by the Congrégation, making the latter sole owner of the island for more than the next 250 years.
In 1956, the island, which has ever since been known as Nuns' Island, was sold to the Québec Home and Mortgage Corporation Ltd. At the same time, Québec enacted an order amending Verdun’s city charter stipulating that Saint-Paul's Island (Nuns' Island) would henceforth be part of the city of Verdun. The nuns left the island for good in 1957.
The island was used for farming throughout the 1960s. It was only accessible by a shuttle boat run by boatman Pierre Lacoursière, among others. This service made it possible to cross between Verdun and the island until the Champlain Bridge was opened in 1962.
Nuns' Island has now become a select residential community. With a high-quality standard of urban living within a unique environment, Nuns' Island is just minutes from downtown Montréal.
©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
The Past Whispers
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