Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Mile End - The coming of the railway

The transcontinental railway gave Mile End its first growth spurt and separate identity. In 1876, the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway – a project vigorously promoted by Antoine Labelle and Louis Beaubien – came slicing through the area on its way from east-end Montreal to Sainte-Thérèse, Lachute, and Ottawa. This railway was bought in 1882 by the Canadian Pacific, and it was by this route that the first trains departed for the Prairies in 1885 and for Port Moody, British Columbia in June 1886 (extending to Vancouver in 1887). 

The first Mile End station building was erected in 1877 on the east side of Saint-Laurent Road, near what is now the intersection of Bernard Street. (A much larger station was built in 1911; it closed in 1931, when service was moved to the new Park Avenue Station (Jean-Talon), and was demolished in 1970 to make way for the Rosemont–Van Horne viaduct.)

In 1878, the village of Saint-Louis-du-Mile-End was incorporated, population 1319. Its territory consisted of the western third of Côte Saint-Louis: bounded on the west by the limit of Outremont (generally along Hutchison Street), on the south by what is now Mont-Royal Avenue, and on the east by a line running mostly just east of the current Henri-Julien Avenue. The northern border was north of present-day De Castelnau Street or just south of Jarry Park.

The second growth spurt of Mile End coincided with the introduction of electric tramway service in 1893; the area can be considered an example of a streetcar suburb. The agricultural and industrial exhibition grounds at the southwest of the village, near Mount Royal, were subdivided in 1899 for housing. The village became a town in 1895 and changed its name to simply Saint-Louis. Apart from a tiny street located just outside the town's northwestern limit, and (for its remaining years) the railway station, the name Mile End passed out of the official toponymy for close to a century, coming back into use as a municipal electoral district only in 1982.

The town of Saint-Louis built in 1905 a magnificent town hall on the northwest corner of Saint-Laurent and what is now Laurier Avenue; the building still serves as a fire hall and firefighters' museum. The town was annexed by the expanding city of Montreal on 29 May 1909,[20] taking effect as of 1 January 1910, and became Laurier Ward (quartier Laurier). Population growth had been explosive: in 1891, the village had 3537 residents; in 1911, after annexation, the ward's population was about 37,000.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mile End

Nineteenth-century maps and other documents show the name Mile End as the crossroads at Saint-Laurent Road (now Boulevard) and what is now Mont-Royal Avenue. Originally, this road was Côte Sainte-Catherine Road (heading west) and Tanneries Road (heading east). It is probable that the name Mile End was inspired by the East London suburb of the same name. 

Contrary to popular belief, the place is not precisely a mile away from any official marker. It is, however, a mile north along Saint-Laurent from Sherbrooke Street, which in the early 19th century marked the boundary between the urban area and open countryside. (Several decades later, the Mile End train station near Bernard Street was situated coincidentally one more mile north along Saint-Laurent from the original crossroads.)

Mile End was also the first important crossroads north of the tollgate set up in 1841 at the city limits of 1792. From the crossroads to the city limits the distance was 0.4 miles (0.64 km). The city limits were located 100 chains (1.25 miles or about 2 km) north of the fortification wall, and intersected Saint-Laurent just south of the current Duluth Avenue.

As early as 1810, there was a Mile End Hotel and tavern, operated by Stanley Bagg, an American-born entrepreneur and father of the wealthy landowner Stanley Clark Bagg. The earliest known published references to Mile End are advertisements placed by Stanley Bagg, in both English and French, in The Gazette during the summer of 1815. He announced in July: "Farm for sale at St. Catherine [i.e., Outremont], near Mile End Tavern, about two miles from town...". On 7 August, he inserted the following:

STRAYED or STOLEN from the Pasture of Stanley Bagg, Mile End Tavern, on or about the end of June last, a Bay HORSE about ten years old, white face, and some white about the feet. Any person who will give information where the Thief or Horse may be found shall receive a reward of TEN DOLLARS and all reasonable charges paid. STANLEY BAGG. Montreal, Mile End, August 4, 1815.

A photograph of 1859 shows members of the Montreal Hunt Club at the Mile End tavern.

The road variously known as Chemin des Tanneries (Tannery Road), Chemin des Carrières (Quarry Road), or Chemin de la Côte-Saint-Louis led to a tannery and to limestone quarries used for the construction of much of Montreal's architecture. 

The village of Côte Saint-Louis (incorporated 1846) sprung up near the quarries, its houses clustered east of the Mile End district around the present-day intersection of Berri Street and Laurier Avenue. 

It was to serve this village that a chapel of the Infant Jesus was established in 1848 near Saint Lawrence Road, on land donated by Pierre Beaubien. In 1857-8, the chapel was replaced by the church of Saint Enfant Jésus du Mile End. 

The church, made even more impressive by a new façade in 1901-3, was the first important building in what would become Mile End.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - W is for Saint Willibrord

In the city of Montreal. 

Address: 335 Avenue Saint-Willibrord, Verdun neighborhood. 

The registers of this parish opened in the year 1913. 

A pastor resides there since this last date. Canonical Erection: July 7th, 1913. 

The territory of this parish is included within the limits of the city of Verdun. This parish was founded for the English-speaking Catholics of the parish of Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs-de-Verdun and part of the parish of Saint-Gabriel. 

This is why she was placed under the patronage of a saint of English origin. Saint Willibrord was born in England around the middle of the seventh century. He has been nicknamed the Apostle of Holland. He died with merit on November 7, 739 at the age of 81 years.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Irish catholic Churches of Quebec - V is for Saint Veronica

St Veronica’s Parish was founded on January 17th, 1958.

Construction of the  church began in the year 1962 at 1300 Carson Avenue, and opened for services in 1963. Before the church was built, mass was celebrated at what is now known as the ’ Gentilly Elementary School'.

The first mass was celebrated on May 4th, 1963 by Rev. Norm Griffin and the church was blessed on Sunday September 8th, 1963 by Cardinal Paul Emile Leger, the official completion date.

The 25th Anniversary Mass was celebrated on May 1st, 1983 by Archbishop Paul Gregoire.

The 50th Anniversary Mass was celebrated on September 14th, 2008 by Cardinal Jean Claude Turcotte. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - T is for St. Thomas Aquinas

In the city of Montreal. 
Address: 124 rue du Couvent. 

This parish was founded for English-speaking Catholics. The parish registers opened in 1908, and a parish priest resides there since this last year. 

Canonical erection: June 18, 1908. The territory of this parish is circumscribed as follows: on the east by Atwater Street, on the west by the limits of the city, on the north by the Canadian Pacific Railway and on the south by the Lachine Canal. Pop. 3,000.

The parish closed in 1990.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - S is for St. Ann's Church

St. Ann’s Church was the heart of Griffintown’s Irish Catholic community. 

Built in 1854, it was Montreal’s second English Catholic church after St. Patrick’s (1847). Whereas the “lace-curtain” Irish around St. Patrick’s consisted of merchants, skilled workers and professionals, St. Ann’s parishioners were known as “shanty Irish” -- unskilled labourers employed in factories, in construction or on the docks.

The population of Griffintown began declining after World War II and, in the early 1960s, the municipality decided that Griffintown no longer had a future as a place for people to live. It was rezoned as industrial commercial in 1963 and, in 1967, approximately a third of the neighbourhood was demolished to make way for the Bonaventure Expressway. 

Having lost most of its parishioners, St. Ann’s Church was torn down in 1970. A few years ago the City of Montreal ‘restored’ the foundations of the church and today the site is a park with benches instead of pews.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Irish Churches of Quebec - R is for Church of the Recollets

Following the authorization of the Récollets to settle outside Quebec , with the appointment of Mgr. Jean-Baptiste de La Croix Chevrieres of Saint-Vallier in 1688, the order moved to Montreal and undertook the construction of a church to be opened in 1693. It would be the work of brother Didace Pelletier who also led the work of the convent of Trois-Rivières . It is located on the quadrilateral of Notre-Dame , Sainte-Hélène , Récollets and Saint-Pierre streets .

A monastery is added to the church in 1705. The master builder of the site is a man named Pierre Couturier. New works were undertaken in 1713 for the façade of the church with the sculptor Jean Jacquié dit Leblond. A fence is built in 1722.

In 1760, after the capitulation of the colony , the church was ceded to the British occupier. It serves as a barracks until 1792, while the goods of the Récollets are sequestrated around 1810.

In 1818, the expansion of Montreal, with the construction of St. Helena Street, led to the demolition of the west wing.

The Sulpicians also settled in the old church in 1831. They enlarged and embellished it by adding a portal taken from the old Notre-Dame church demolished in 1829. The church was then used to worship Catholics Irish who use it until 1847. Become a school, the site is finally destroyed in 1867. 

The interior décor including the church altar was preserved and moved to the church of Notre-Dame des Anges on Lagauchetière Street. 

The latter building later became the church of the Chinese community; it still exists to this day.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - P is for Cote St. Paul

The Verdun, Côte St. Paul district has been
another bastion of the Irish community since the 1870’s. 

Located next to “The Point”,the region catered to the mid-income dwellers, among them the immigrants from

various European nations including the Irish, Scots and the British. 

Montreal. Address: 1558 Avenue of the Church. 

The registers of this parish opened in the year 1874, date of the arrival of the first resident parish priest. 

Canonical Erection: December 10, 1875. Civil Erection: December 24, 1875. 

The territory of this parish has been detached from the parishes of Saint-Henri-des-Tanneries , Saint-Pierre River and Côte Saint-Paul.  

The parish was put under the patronage of St. Paul probably because of its neighborhood with the parish of Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs-de-Verdun , formerly known as "Village of the Saint-Pierre River".

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - L is for Our Lady of Good Council

(1879) – Rev. M. Campion, Rev. P.F. O’Donnell, presiding. 

Located at 724 Craig Street East in south central Montréal, 

This Irish church was somehow associated with Saint Bridget, another parish of the same district of Faubourg Quebec. Our Lady of Good Counsel was located at the corner of Craig (St-Antoine) and Panet Streets.

At the Archives, the church records can be found under Notre Dame du Bon Conseil.

The parish of Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil was first erected under the name of "Sainte-Marie-de-Montréal", for the English-speaking Catholics of the parishes of St. Bridget , St. Vincent de-Paul , Saint-Eusebe , Saint-Pierre and part of Sainte-Catherine. 

The registers of the parish opened in the year 1881. Canonical erection: December 20, 1879. The canonical decree erecting this parish was published in the Official Gazette. On the occasion of the blessing of the church, the parish was put under the patronage of Notre-Dame-du-Bon- Advice. 

Today it includes English-speaking Catholics from the parishes of St. Bridget , St. Eusebius , St. Peter and St. Vincent de Paul. Pop. 2,255.  

The parish closed in 1984, and the church was demolished.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Churches - N is for Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

On 15 April 2019, shortly before 18:50 CEST, a fire broke out in the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, causing significant damage to the building. The fire lasted more than twelve hours, but was fully extinguished the following day. Fire crews remained to identify and extinguish residual fires.

The cathedral's spire and roof collapsed, and considerable damage was sustained to the interior, upper walls, and windows of the church, as well as numerous works of art and the pipe organ.The stone ceiling vault beneath the roof prevented most of the fire from falling into the interior of the cathedral below.

President Emmanuel Macron announced the launch of a national fundraising campaign to restore Notre-Dame...more

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Irish Churches of Quebec - M is for Saint Michael the Archangel

The Church of St. Michael and St. Anthony is a Roman Catholic church located in Mile End, Montreal. It was originally built as the Church of St. Michael and frequented by Irish Catholics. Because of the growth of the Polish community in the area, in 1964 a Polish mission was inaugurated in the church and the church's name was expanded to "St. Michael and St. Anthony".

The church exemplifies cultural hybridity, being a Byzantine-styled church, built for Irish Catholics, in a multicultural neighbourhood, and being home today to mostly Poles and Italians. The church has also been noted for its Byzantine Revival architecture, complete with a dome and minaret-styled tower, making it "one of the more unique examples of church architecture in Montréal.

Construction on the Church of St. Michael the Archangel  began in 1914, for what would grow to become the largest anglophone parish in Montreal. After a brief delay following the commencement of World War I, the church was completed in 1915 at a cost of $232,000, with a capacity of 1,400 people.

Though Mile End was originally a predominately Irish neighbourhood, the Polish community grew such that the two communities "merged into one", and to reflect this change, St. Anthony was appended to the parish name, reflecting the "Conventual Franciscans' devotion to St. Anthony of Padua."

Today, the church is recognised as the focal point for the Polish Catholics of Montreal.

The church was built in the Neo-Byzantine style of architecture, accompanied by a large turquoise dome and minaret-style tower. It was designed by architect Aristide Beaugrand-Champagne [fr] (1876–1950), who was inspired by the Hagia Sophia (originally an Orthodox basilica) in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). The church also features elements of Gothic and Roman architecture, as well as lombard bands and window tracery reminiscent of Middle Ages castles.

The church's dome features one of the first uses of reinforced concrete in Quebec.

The interior roof of the dome features a neo-Renaissance-style fresco of St. Michael watching the fall of the angels, painted by Italian Guido Nincheri, who painted other churches in Montreal.

Bertha Burns  1892 - 1955
My maternal grandmother, Bertha Burns Bernard had her funeral service at Saint Michael the Archangel in September of 1955 and then interred at Cote de Neige Cemetery.

Bertha was born in 1892 in Quebec City to George Burns and Elizabeth Williamson, the youngest of four children, the others being Albert, William, and Ethel. She and her mother, Elizabeth moved to Mile End in Montreal around 1920 after the death of her father George.

Bertha married Ovila Bernard in 1925 and they had four children, Norman, Pauline, George, and Lorne. 

Bertha only had two grandchildren as Norman and George died young and never married. She never knew her only grandson as he was born 9 years after her death.

She was able to enjoy her only grand-daughter for four years, it would have to be enough as fate took the child to the United States and Bertha would die under mysterious circumstances three years later.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - L is for Saint Leon de Westmount

The registers of this parish opened in the year 1901, date of the appointment of the first resident parish priest. The church is built on Western Avenue, between Redfern and Clarke Streets. 

Canonical erection: February 12, 1901. The canonical decree erecting this parish was published in the Official Gazette of 1901,  

Part of Sainte-Cunegonde annexed in 1904. 

The territory of this parish is included in the city of Westmount. It includes part of the parishes of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce , Sainte-Élisabeth , Saint-Henri, Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, Sainte-Cunegonde and Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur . 

The city of Westmount is located west of the mountain of Montreal; hence the name "Westmount". The erection of the parish was decided in the year of the jubilee ordained by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, in 1900. Hence the choice of St. Leo the First as titular. Pop. 4,000.  

The Church of Saint-Léon-de-Westmount was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1997.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - K is for Kateri Tekakwitha

Kateri Tekakwitha is first Catholic saint of North America’s indigenous peoples.

For the first time in history, a member of the indigenous population of North America has been canonized by the Catholic church. Kateri Tekakwitha was a young Mohawk woman who lived over 300 years ago. Her admirers attribute special powers to her.

Hundreds of members of the Mohawk nation and other indigenous peoples file past a tomb in the Catholic church in Kahnawake,  an Indian reservation near Montreal. Silently, they kneel to pray at the grave of a small Mohawk woman who lived over 300 years ago and did not grow older than 24. Her name is on the tomb: Kateri Tekakwitha.

“Everybody is proud of her,” says Audrey Diabo, a resident of Kahnawake who came to the church with her elderly mother. “Ever since growing up as a kid, everything is always Kateri. She was a Mohawk and we’re going to pray to her.”...more

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - J is for Saint Joseph

In the city of Montreal. Address:
1967 rue Saint-Jacques. Saint-Henri district. 

Canonical Erection: July 2, 1867. 
Civil Erection: February 23, 1875    

The territory of this parish has been detached from Notre-Dame-de-Montréal. 

The city of Saint-Henri was incorporated December 28, 1876. 

The parish has long been called "Saint-Henri-des-Tanneries". 

This name of tanneries comes from the fact that at the beginning of this parish, tanneries were opened by Messrs. Lenoir dit Rolland. 

During its canonical erection, the parish included the villages of Délisle, Saint-Augustin, Ferme Saint-Gabriel, Saint-Pierre River and Saint-Henri-de-la-Côte-Saint-Paul, where built the church: hence the name of Saint-Henri, given to the parish. Pop. 10.675.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - I is for Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Borough: Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace

Address: 4455 West Broadway Street, Montreal 

Opening records: June 24, 1917 


In the city of Montreal. Canonically erected on June 16, 1917 for the English-speaking Catholics of the parishes of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens. The parish registers open in the year 1917. 

This parish is served by the RRs. PP. Jesuits at Loyola College, 2001 Sherbrooke Street West. It is for this reason that the parish was placed under the patronage of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Pop. 650. (Source: Magnan, Hormisdas, Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Parishes, Missions and Municipalities of the Province of Quebec, 1925

In 1896, Loyola College was founded by English-speaking Canadian Jesuits. It was the English-speaking section of Collège Sainte-Marie de Montréal and split off to become its own institution.

In 1917, the parish of St. Ignatius was started for the local English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish population in the area. Masses were held on the campus of Loyola College.

In 1964, Loyola High School separated from the college. In 1966, a new church was built as a separate structure apart from the college. In 1968 discussions begun to merge Loyola College with other colleges. This resulted with the creation of Concordia University on 24 August 1974.

In 1982, Loyola High School moved to new building and the Jesuits handed over administration of the church to the Archdiocese of Montreal who continue to serve the parish.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - H is for Holy Cross Parish

The parish of the Holy Cross is located at 1960 Jolicoeur Street in the south-west burrough of Montreal.

The registers were opened May 17, 1925.

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - G is for Church of the Gesu - Saint Mary

Photo - Jean Gagnon own work

When one tends to think of religious institutions, one thinks of tradition and stability. More often we don’t realise that its long tradition is rooted in its history and its involvement in society, and that the simple look of a building can speak a lot about its time period and the people that would have attended its services. The Church of the Gesù is one such religious institution.

The Church of Gesù was built in 1865 by Patrick C. Keeley. The church is named after the same church in which the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, is buried. Following the traditional Baroque style architecture that was propagated by the Jesuits, the church has the vivid ceiling decorations and its general curved structure. It was designated as an historical monument in 1975 by the provincial government and a heritage building in 2012.

Right next door to the Church of Gesù is its Centre of creativity, whose ambition is to combine the spiritual with the artistic. The Centre of creativity was formerly Sainte-Marie College, the first Jesuit educational institution in Montreal that would educate the likes of poet Émile Nelligan, engineer Lucien L’Allier, and novelist Hubert Aquin. Its amphitheatre opened to the public in 1923 and has always been in constant usage since. Later closed because of a merger with UQÀM in 1969, the amphitheatre remains in constant usage. Crowned by La Presse as the place with the optimal acoustics in Montreal, the Centre of creativity welcomes over fifty thousand visitors a year for festivals such as Just for Laughs and Francofolies.

One hundred and fifty years is no small anniversary, and to celebrate, the institution has a series of events coming up this month. First up is an organ concert given by Régis Rousseau performing Yves Daoust’s “A concert for organ and band” on January 31. Then, in February, we have an evening with Ivy and Mykalle Bielinski starting at 7:30 pm on February 19. This particular presentation, 18$, is presented with the help of Montréal en lumière and consists in an original presentation of poetry and music entwined together. 

If you want a more permanent reminder of the celebrations, the institution has two interesting gifts for you: the first, a podcast called The Gesù from 1865 to today that you can take anywhere, thanks to a download onto your Android or iPhone. The podcast has images and music that immerses you into the culture and history in the church. Secondly, the Gesù will be publishing a commemorative book about the church later this month. Published with the help of the Archives of the Jesuits in Canada, Le Gesù: 150 ans d’une église will appear later this month.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - F is for Our Lady of Fatima

At the time of World War II, there were few English-speaking Roman Catholics living in the Saint-Laurent area. The closest center of worship for them was the St. Laurent Parish Church on rue Principale, now known as Ste-Croix Avenue. After his discharge from the services, Rev. David F. McDonald was named curate in St. Malachy’s Parish.

In June 1948, a Mission dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima was formed to serve the English Catholic speaking people of Saint-Laurent. Father McDonald was placed in charge of the new mission and he continued to live at St. Malachy’s Rectory. Arrangements were made with the Commission Scolaire de St. Laurent to rent Beaudet School Hall and Mass was first said in June 1948. With the opening of more streets west of Decarie, both north and south of Cote Vertu and the building of Norgate apartments, the population of the new mission grew rapidly.

A house on Crevier St. was rented in December 1951 as a residence for the new pastor. A chapel was built in the basement by some men of the parish and Mass was celebrated in it beginning with Lent 1952.

On November 5, 1951, the mission became the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima. On Nov. 25 at a meeting of all parishioners, eight Wardens were elected and the late Mr. N. Curran became the first warden and he was succeeded by Mr. J.G. Barry on Jan. 1, 1952. A house on Crevier St. was rented in December 1951 as a residence for the new pastor. A chapel was built in the basement by some men of the parish and Mass was celebrated in it beginning with Lent 1952.

Mr. E.K. Pennefather, Mr. C. Tanner and Mr. W. Mines were elected as Trustees by the proprietors to assist in the arranging for the erection of a church. Land at the corner of Decelles and Laurentien had been purchased by St. Malachy’s Parish in the name of the new parish and it was transferred to Our Lady of Fatima in March 1952. Mr. F. Consiglio drew the plans for the church and F. L. Guay was chosen as the general contractor. The first sod was turned in the summer of 1952 after a bond issue of $ 375,000 had been floated. Mr. J. Fairhurst became warden for year 1953.

In spite of several problems, work on the new building went on well and the corner stone was laid by Bishop L.P. Whelan March 22, 1953. Towards the end of May, the parishioners were invited to tour the rectory and basement of the new church and Sunday Mass was said in the church basement on the last Sunday of May. The whole building was finished, the furniture was installed and the First mass was sung in the Church itself Christmas 1953 at Midnight.

Father Emmett Johns was named curate in June 1953 and the church was blessed by His Eminence Paul-Emile Cardinal Leger, May 16, 1954. Father McDonald died March 13, 1959 and he was succeeded by his life-long friend, the pastor of St. Barbara’s in Ville Lasalle, Father Gordon Carroll. Shortly afterwards, Father Johns became chaplain of Marian Hall and Father Kevin Griffin was named assistant. While he was chaplain of Marymount High School, Father Russell A. Schultz was in residence and administered the parish during the illness of Father Carroll. During the later sixties Fathers Felix Boudreau, Gaza Heyne, and Clark were also stationed in the rectory. With the appointment of Father Griffin to Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Lachine, Father Bob Cornell became assistant in September 1970.

Fr. Carroll took very ill in the fall of 1970 and Father Joseph Cameron administered the parish until the return of the Pastor in February 1971. But, Father Carroll did not regain his health so he resigned at the end of the month and was succeeded by the third Pastor Rev. Russell A. Schultz on March 1, 1971. Father Carroll died shortly after on July 6, 1971.

Fr. Cornell was replaced by Fr. Charles Costigan in 1973. When Father Costigan was moved to St. Willibrord Church in Verdun during the summer of 1974, Fr. Manny Rodrigues came to Our Lady of Fatima in September 1973 as a curate until September 1977. Later we had Father Michael Shaw from October 1981 until September 1982 and Father Robert Jollett came in September 1986 until August 1990 as curates.
After a illness Father Schultz was replaced by Rev. Ron Calhoun the 1st Sep 2004 and a year later by Rev. Father Brian Moon. Fr. Moon died suddenly on 15 February 2011. At the end of May our new Pastor came to us – he is Rev Sunny Padinharidath Abraham.

Fr John Charles joined us in February 2014 within a week after coming from India.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - E is for Saint Eusebe-De-Vercelli

In the city of Montreal. Address: 647 Fullum Street. Sainte-Marie district. 

The records of this parish begin in the year 1897. 

Canonical erection: August 14, 1897. The canonical decree erecting this parish was published in the Official Gazette of 1897.

The parish's territory, detached from the parish of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul-de-Montréal , is bounded by Sherbrooke, Hâvre, Lalonde-Nord and De Lorimier Streets. Vercelli is the name of a strong city of Italy. Pop. 10.017.

(Source: Magnan, Hormisdas, Historical and geographical dictionary of parishes, missions and municipalities of the Province of Quebec, 1925.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - D is for St. Dominic's Rectory

Mile End District - Saint Dominic’s Rectory (1912) - Irish families resided in the district. Parish was located on Parthenais Street in the Mile-End district. 

The original church building was sold after 1941, the congregation is now part of the Parish of Saint Casimir.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - C is for Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi Church is located in Senneville 16 Avenue Pacific and is a member of the Diocese of Montreal.

Senneville is an affluent on-island suburban village on the western tip of the Island of Montreal. It is the wealthiest town in the West Island. Situated close to the city of Montreal, it was historically a popular location for the summer homes of wealthy Montrealers.

Senneville is also home to Fort Senneville

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec - B is for Bonsecours Church Notre Dame de Bon Secours

courtesy Jean Gagnon
A jewel of history and heritage

For over 350 years, the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, a jewel of history and heritage, has made its way into the hearts of generations of visitors and pilgrims. As you step into the church, you will immediately notice the peaceful atmosphere and feel a palpable link to Montreal’s past.

This is the chapel of 1771, built over the ruins of the first stone chapel of pilgrimage whose foundations were recently uncovered. This is the site where officers of the British regime considered setting up barracks to house the military. This is the silent witness to the faith of Montrealers who rebuilt a chapel when it seemed impossible.

Marguerite Bourgeoys’ historic chapel

You turn to two cameo paintings by Ozias Leduc on the back wall. One shows Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, founder of Montreal, who donated the land for the original chapel. The other is of Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first teacher and founder of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. In 1655, she rallied the colonists to build a chapel of pilgrimage outside the settlement, a stone chapel finally erected in 1675. After a second trip back to France in 1672, Marguerite returned with the wooden statuette of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours for the chapel, the one in the reliquary on the left side-altar.

Along with the chapel, the little statue has an interesting history. Possibly the most spectacular moment for both was that fateful day in 1754 when fire ravaged the first chapel, and the statue and its reliquary were found intact among the smoldering embers.

Cradle of the English-speaking Catholic community

After the fall of Montreal six years later, the British garrison included Irish and Scottish families who attended services at Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours. It was from this community that money was raised to begin construction of Saint Patrick’s, Montreal’s first parish for the English-speaking community.

Under the choir loft, you spot an intriguing painting, the gift of Bishop Bourget in 1849. This votive offering was a gift in thanksgiving for the end of the typhus epidemic that struck the city in 1847 with the arrival of immigrants in fever ships. Another of his gifts, the statue by Charles Dauphin called Star of the Sea, was raised to the roof of the chapel overlooking the port.

The Sailors’ Church

As the port grew in importance in the 19th century, the chapel became a favourite place of prayer for sailors. The carved replicas of sailing ships hang from the vault of the chapel as a reminder of their faith in Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours.
View from the harbor

Generations leave their mark

Succeeding generations have contributed to the decoration and renovation of the chapel: Beaulieu’s windows, the statues of Gratton and Laperle and of Guardo, and the 1886 works of Meloche uncovered in the late 1990s on the vault of the chapel.

The tomb of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

In 2003, celebrations marked the 350th anniversary of Marguerite Bourgeoys’ arrival in Montreal. And in 2005, the 350th anniversary of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours was especially joyful when the “mother of the colony” returned to the chapel in Montreal’s historic district where she had lived as a beloved friend and valued counsellor to all. Her remains were placed in the left side-altar below the statue of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours. A few weeks later, the remains of Jeanne Le Ber, the recluse of Montreal, were interred in the east lateral wall of the chapel.

Friday, March 29, 2019

New Hampshire PoutineFest - 2019

New England's original celebration of
Quebec's finest import!

June 22, 2019

Anheuser-Busch Merrimack, NH

Monday, March 25, 2019

A Community's Loss

The Mohawk of Kahnawake were renowned for their skill and agility when it came to high-steel construction. But in 1907, they were the hardest hit when the Quebec Bridge collapsed.

Shontoskwenne is what the Mohawks of Kahnawake call the Quebec City bridge disaster. It’s pronounced “soon-doe -SKWONN-nay,” and means “when the bridge fell.”

When the bridge fell, the Mohawks lost 33 of their men. Gone in an instant were breadwinners for 22 families, most of them in their 20s or 30s.

When the bridge fell, suddenly 25 women were widows, 53 children were fatherless. No other community was hit as hard.

When the bridge fell, the D’Aillaboust family suffered the biggest loss — four brothers, an uncle, a cousin and a brother-in-law all died, leaving 22 children without fathers. Ten of those were in the household of Joseph Orite D’Aillaboust, whose widow was pregnant with their 11th child.

When the bridge fell, it was also a major blow to Kahnawake’s increased economic reliance on high-steel construction, for which its workers had gained widespread acclaim.

“It is the most major event in our history;” says band elder Andrew Delisle Sr. He was chief of Kahnawake from 1963 to 1970 and 1974 to 1981, and in 1969 became the first Indigenous person to receive the Order of Canada. His uncle Mitchell Delisle, at 25, was a victim of shontoskwenne.

Delisle says Kahnawake “never has talked about it,” not because it was too painful to remember, but because “it was accepted right away” as part of Kahnawake’s proud tradition of bravery and independence.

“Young people wanted to emulate their forefathers’ bravery as voyageurs, warriors [helping the English capture Montreal without bloodshed in the Seven Years’ War] and rafters over the Lachine Rapids. Thus, they weren’t hesitant about the dangers of bridge-building. Their training as “rivet punks” began at age 12; they started by fetching equipment.

Riveting gangs enjoyed competing against one another to determine which would finish their riveting job first. Then “reservation Indians,” they never wanted to be dependent on the government, but rather to be self-sufficient. While permission was needed from the government’s Indian Agent to work off the reservation for most jobs, it was not [needed] for bridge-building, because of our skill.”

Kahnawake, its population then just over 2,000, was a close-knit community of extended families.

“Not every family had victims but everyone felt some loss because they knew a name or were neighbours,” says Billy Two Rivers, a council member from 1978 to 1998 and an organizer of a centennial commemoration to be held in 2007.

“It had a long-term impact on the family structure, creating an imbalance between men and women. It was a tremendous number of men to lose.”

Kahnawake, meaning “at the rapids,” is 10 kilometres southwest of Montreal.

Mohawks converted to Catholicism by French Jesuits established it in 1716. Until 1980, when Kahnawake was recognized as the official name, outsiders called it “Caughnawaga,” the way early Dutch settlers in America adjusted it to their language.

The phonetic English pronunciation is Guh-na-WA-geh. The chief sources of income were the fur trade, logging, farming, crafts (moccasins, snowshoes, beadwork) and river piloting, until the men got into bridge construction by chance.

In the 1850s the construction process fascinated river pilots who were delivering stone from Kahnawake’s quarries to the site of Montreal’s Victoria Bridge. Fearlessly, they clambered along the high support beams in their moccasins for a close-up view. Those in charge of the work were impressed. Until then it had been customary to hire sailors comfortable with heights. Easily trained, the Kahnawakehronon were quickly in demand, especially as riveters, the most dangerous high-steel job.

“They were as agile as goats … immune to the noise of riveting which usually makes newcomers to construction sick and dizzy,” a Dominion Bridge Company official was quoted in a 1949 New Yorker story about indigenous skyscraper builders. “Putting riveting tools in their hands was like putting ham with eggs.” By 1907, there were 70 Kahnawake bridge workers, almost half toiling on the Quebec Bridge.

The village learned of the disaster when its only phone rang in the post office at 6:30 p.m., 53 minutes after the bridge collapsed. Postmaster Antoine Glasson ran into the street with the devastating news. Desperate for information, 30 villagers went to the accident site the next morning.

“The poor old mother and two of the wives were there first thing this morning to find out if there was any hope,” the Toronto Star wrote of the D’Aillabousts. “Their quiet intense grief was most touching and brought tears to the eyes of onlookers even more than if it had been voiced. The poor things simply sat quiet in the office hardly uttering a word, but the mere look of their faces was enough to cause strong ones to lower their voices to whispers.”

Only eight Mohawk bodies were recovered. They were taken by train from Quebec City to Montreal, then transported to Kahnawake. Since the community only had two hearses, it borrowed four from neighbouring communities; the remaining two coffins were carried to St. Francis Xavier Church at Kahnawake for a Catholic mass followed by an Indigenous death chant. An overflow crowd of hundreds prayed outside the church.

Only 16 bodies [in total] were pulled out of the rubble with crowbars and tackle. All were badly mutilated, some severed in half.

When the disaster occurred, the daughters of two of the victims were in their second week at a government-sponsored, missionary-run residential English school on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island, in Georgian Bay, 330 kilometres north of Toronto. Their fathers had wanted them to be trilingual.

One of them, Satekenhatie, in 1997 a 102-year-old elder whose English name is Marion Patten Phillips, recalled the time in an interview for Kahnawake’s Elders’ Calendar.

“There were several girls from Kahnawake at the school. Being together made us happy. We were all heartbroken by the tragedy and all wept together. None of the girls returned home because the distance was too far.”

Six indigenous workers survived the disaster. Alexander Beauvais, team leader of a riveting “four gang,” had a particularly amazing escape. Half an hour before the collapse he had reported to C.R. Meredith, the rivet boss, two rivets had broken off near a splice, and ribs were bending. Meredith replied that he did “not think it serious.”

Driving rivets inside a chord (part of the framework) when the bridge began falling, Beauvais could neither see nor hear what was happening. When he felt the break, he wrapped his arms and legs around the chord. Beauvais escaped being crushed because the chord landed erect.

Everything happened so quickly he didn't realize one foot and his nose had broken. Two of his rivet teammates perished; the other was off due to a leg injury. Meredith, 26, died.

Beauvais returned to construction, becoming a Dominion Bridge Company superintendent. The company supplied him with steel to erect a six-metre memorial cross at each end of Kahnawake and donated money for him to build a memorial steel portico in the cemetery where his workmates were interred.

Fifteen days’ due wages were paid to the families of the dead and to injured survivors, with one bizarre complication. “A question arose in one case in which a man seemed to have committed bigamy and uncertainty arose as to who was the proper recipient of the money,” James Macrae, inspector of Indian Agencies and Reserves, reported in a Department of Indian Affairs memorandum.

Macrae advised Kahnawake’s band council to financially help only “widows and orphans in real need,” otherwise claims for damages against the Phoenix Bridge Company “might be affected.” He also advised against sending the victims’ children to government-run industrial schools (usually small, with one teacher for several grades) “because it could be construed by the company as a mitigation of damages.”

In September 1908, Macrae, as guardian, accepted a $100,000 lump sum for the minor children of the victims from the Phoenix Bridge Company.

In poignant December 1910 correspondence to the Indian Affairs department, lawyers for victim Thomas Deer’s young widow pleaded for speedy payment of her 3-year-old son George’s $300 allowance. She had tuberculosis, didn’t expect to live through the winter and wanted assurance her son would get the money.

In 1912, George’s grandparents applied for $300 to build a house for themselves, saying it would be the boy’s property. The department refused, stating the boy “is and will be away for some years attending school.”

The compensation issue came up again in 1947, 30 years later, when some of Joseph Orite D’Aillaboust’s children said they had received no benefits and charged that the government had kept their money “on deposit.” The government responded, “Only younger children were helped.” D’Aillaboust had had no insurance.

From government and other compensation the deeply religious widows donated money for a large crucifix behind the main altar of St. Francis Xavier Church in honour of the victims.

Kahnawake’s women insisted that never again should so many of the men work together on a single high-steel project.

“The policy no longer is followed, but the disaster is always in the back of our minds,” council member Two Rivers says.

Kahnawake skywalkers have worked on such famous projects as Montreal’s Place Ville Marie, New York’s Empire State Building, the United Nations Building in Manhattan and skyscrapers in Detroit and Boston.

They helped remove victims from the entangled steel of the World Trade towers after the 9/11 attacks.

At a centennial commemoration in 2007 the people of Kahnawake unveiled a monument in honour of the victims and their survivors.

-Susan Goldberg