Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Grand Hotel


Located in the heart of Saint-Hyacinthe, in the face of the city, near the Park Dessaulles Hall, Palace of Justice, not far from the train station, and within walking distance of the Cascades Street and market square, the Grand Hotel was, for almost 77 years an institution could not be Chateau. It was the chosen place to celebrate all kinds of social events: intimate dinners, wedding receptions, banquets, dinners of Christmas or the new year, where people are coudoyaient and exchanged vows, in an almost family atmosphere.











We would sometimes go to buy cigarettes or use the public telephone, but when there were always greeted kindly by the owner, the old Mr. Michel Dion, who was the guiding spirit for more than a quarter of a century.


The good reputation of this hospitality extended to Quebec City, and I remember that, when I was an official at the Ministry of Agriculture and an agronomist, a veterinarian, or what other government official left for Saint-Hyacinthe, we were always told: 'if something happens, you can reach me at the Grand Hotel. Leaving not to flatter my vanity Maskoutain.

And for my part, I recall with emotion that it is there, at the Grand Hotel, my friends gave me a farewell dinner, when I left the city to live in Quebec in 1930. It is still there, that people of the school of veterinary medicine met, on September 30, 1955, to celebrate 25 years of service to the use of Ministry of agriculture of the province of Quebec.

Its foundation dates back to more than three quarters of a century, since the first assembled shareholders of the "company of the Grand Hotel" took place on April 4, 1895, while gentlemen Louis Côté, former Mayor, Eusebius Morin, the Vanderbilt Chateau, (cf.), Alfred Thibodeau, Alphonse Denis and B.C. Desautels in were elected directors, and that the following may 4 one charged Mr. Théo Daoust, Montreal architect, to establish the necessary plans for the construction of a building which will be built on the location of housing said Eusebius Morin, Girouard and Mondor angle, facing the hotel Yamaska.

The contract for the execution of the construction of this building was awarded to Mr L.-P. Morin of this city. Put a subcontract was awarded to Mr. h. Morin, tinsmith-roofer for installation of coverage and other works of galvanized sheet metal. Those heating, lighting and plumbing, were entrusted to Messrs. A. Blondin & Cie. Finally, Mr o. Bernard, also of St-Hyacinthe, took charge of the masonry.

All these work actively continued since October 30, is completed to ask the roof and that workers could move inside to work there during the winter. At the end of November, it proceeded to establishing a huge galvanized sheet metal cornice which measured well nearly four feet in height. Inside, the divisions was completed and asking reek with Celerity.

In March 1897, at the annual meeting of the company of the Grand Hotel, where the same directors were re-elected, it announced that the facilities would be completed soon and that everything would be ready for the opening of school, set on May 1.

The Grand Hotel indeed opened its doors to the public on May 1, 1897. Later, in February 1899, the hotel announced the opening of 'his new bar' (sic). CF. The Bugle, February 2, 1899. However, soon after, on 30 March of the same year, Eusebius Morin and Mr. Alphonse Denis surrendered hotel owners, which led to the dissolution of the company had Grand Hotel.

Unoccupied for a few years, this building will be restored in June 1903 and is open even a boarding house, which will be headed by a Mr w.. Lebel. However, on July 30, Mr. Eusebius Morin sold the property to Mr. Ovila Perrault, agent of the CPR to St. Joseph, who acquired him for the sum of $30,000, and in December, Mr J.-D.Gauthier, Manager of the hotel Yamaska, leased the hotel to Mr. Perrault and took over management of the two institutions, until March 1904, while he gave up management board from the Yamaska hotel to focus now on one of the Grand Hotel.

Incidentally, we see in the Bugle of November 7, 1905, that the Philharmonic Society rented the basement of this building that its owner, Mr o. Perrault was converted to a theater.

Around 1910, the Grand Hotel was not yet strictly speaking an Inn: the Knights had their premises and the insurance company mutual trade, founded in 1907 by Sir T.-A. St. Germain was staying at this place as well as the company Union Saint-Joseph, who for some time was its offices.

Daigneault ladies held a restaurant that had enough look. This restaurant where we were going to eat ice cream in my younger years. Was decorated many Palm trees, here and there, arranged in large planters. It was located on the ground floor, Mondor and William corner (Calixa Lavallée now), almost ' at the same place where later, they opened the 'Grill' and, in recent years, the "wine cellar".

Almost all of the rest of the building was made up of small apartments rented to private individuals.

The tenants had access to the large superimposed galleries on each floor there and I remember is sitting often, time that the notary Horace Saint-Germain and his wife remained: were the father and the mother of my childhood friend Jean Saint-Germain.

Today, this building, passed from the hands of Mr. Aurèle Gaudet and his son Gilles, to those of Mr. Osias Lemieux, had been converted into small apartments and goes back, under the name of Grand Castle, to its role in the past. "There is also a restaurant named"The Auvergne"as well as a lounge bar: the Red pig."

The Grand Hotel was closed permanently March 1, 1974 and was literally ransacked by a gang of young thugs. 

A text of Camille Madore published on February 2, 1977 in Le courier de Saint-Hyacinthe .

The Grand Hotel in 1927.
Collection History Center, CH119.

Staff of the Grill of the Grand Hotel, year unknown.
Collection History Center, CH116.

Translation may contain errors.

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