Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Drummondville

Drummondville is a city in the Centre-du-Québec region of Quebec, located east of Montreal on the Saint-François River.

Drummondville was founded in June 1815 by Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick George Heriot. The purpose of the town was to provide a home for British soldiers in the War of 1812, and to guard the Saint-François River against American attacks. The town was named after Sir Gordon Drummond, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada between 1813 and 1816.

1816 - The settlement of Drummondville was commenced in 1816, during the administration of Sir George Drummond.

1826 - Drummondville destroyed by fire June 22, 1826.

1837 - December 11 - Upper Canada Rebellion

Militiaman Thomas Runchey raises a corps of Africans out of the 400 black residents of Niagara; a company of 50 men is in arms by December 15, 1837, under the command of James Sears. A second African company is later raised in Niagara under Hugh Eccles, and the two will be joined to together to form the Coloured Corps with a combined strength of about 130 men. The unit will guard the frontier from Chippewa, Ontario to Drummondville, Québec during that winter. In the summer of 1838, Runchey runs off with the money due to his men and flees to the US.

1856 - Église de Saint-François-d’Assise established at Drummondville.

Butterfly Hosiery Company - c. 1919

The building was built in 1923;
it is used for the dyeing of fabrics. It evokes the 1920s during which manufacturing companies associated with textile are implanted in Drummondville. The main call the Butterfly Hosiery (1919), the Canadian Tire Jenkes Fabrics (1920), the Dominion Silk Dyeing and Finishing (1923), Louis Roessel and Co (1924) and the Canadian Celanese (1926). In 1930, these companies employ some 3,000 people, or 90 percent of the industrial workforce in the city. The factory-Dominion-Silk Dyeing-Printing-and evokes a time when economic activity related to the textile sector is in Drummondville its nickname "City of Silk".

1936 - Église de Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf established at Drummondville.

1945 - February 24, 1945 - World War II - Mob in Drummondville attacks Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Provost Corps.

Drummondville is 53 km (41 min.) from St. Hyacinthe and 154 km (1 hr. 49 min.) from Quebec City.

Monday, April 4, 2016

C is for Cote-des-Neiges

Since I was born on the Island of Montreal very close to Cote-des-Neiges I thought a little history was in order.

Historically, the original settlement, the Village of Côte-des-Neiges, was founded in 1862 and annexed by Montreal in two parts in 1908 and 1910. In 1876, land owner and farmer James Swail began residential subdivisions on the eastern side of Decelles Avenue. In 1906, a large housing development was started in the area, called Northmount Heights, built by developer Northmount Land Company. Much of this area has been expropriated by the Université de Montréal.

Probably one of the most memorable sights you will visit is Saint Joseph's Oratory nestled in the slope of Mount Royal.

courtesy- Paola Costa Baldi

In 1904, Saint André Bessette, C.S.C., began the construction of St. Joseph, a small chapel on the slopes of Mont Royal near Notre Dame College. Soon the growing number of the congregation made it too small. In 1917 a larger church was completed that had a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica of Saint Joseph's Oratory was commenced; it was finally completed in 1967.
Father Paul Bellot, an architect, completed the dome of Saint Joseph's Oratory between 1937-39. The dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world after the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire and Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.
In 1949-1951, architect Gilbert Moreau carried out alterations and improvements to the interior of Saint Joseph's Oratory, as well as to the adjacent monastery, and rearranged the sacristy in the basilica.
The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims (handicapped, blind, ill, etc.) poured into his Basilica, including numerous non-Catholics. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were purportedly healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André in 1982. In October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI canonized the saint.
A reliquary in the church museum contains Brother André's heart, which he requested as a protection for the basilica. More than 2 million visitors and pilgrims visit the Oratory every year. It is located at 3800 Queen Mary Road, at Côte-des-Neiges (near the Côte-des-Neiges metro station).
Composer Émilien Allard notably served as the church's carillonneur from 1955 to 1975. For RCA Victor he released the LP album Carols at the Carillon of Saint Joseph's Oratory for which he wrote the arrangements.

Cote-des-Neiges is 63 km (1hr)  from St. Hyacinthe and 263 km (3hrs.) from Quebec City.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is for Boucherville

I chose Boucherville for the letter B because right before Christmas I met a second cousin on my paternal grandfather's side that resides in the town of Boucherville about 15 minutes from Montreal on the south side of the St. Lawrence River. We now correspond regularly, exchange photographs of our family and have become great friends. Finding him was a gift.

Boucherville is one of the oldest municipalities in Québec. In 1668, Pierre Boucher began farming in the area and 4 years later received his seigneury, consisting of Îles-Percées and the adjacent islands.
Boucher secured the community against Iroquois attack by constructing a palisade. In 1843 a tragic fire destroyed almost the entire village. In 1856, Boucherville divided into 2 distinct municipalities: village and parish. In 1956, the parish lots with frontage on the St Lawrence River rejoined the village and a year later Boucherville was incorporated as a city. In 1963, the remaining territory of the municipality of the parish and the city of Boucherville merged. In 2002, Boucherville lost its municipal status when it was amalgamated into the new city of Longueuil.

courtesy - Bernard Gagnon

Old Boucherville is the original section of the city that contains the former village and Sainte-Famille Church. The neighbourhood is located between Saint-Lawrence River, the boulevards du Fort Saint-Louis, de Montarville et de Montbrun. Many of the buildings there are officially classified as historic monuments.

Iles-de-Boucherville National Park
courtesy - Stephane Batigne

Friday, April 1, 2016

A is for Acton Vale

Since I was born in Montreal, QC my theme for the Blogging A to Z Challenge will be place names and their history within the province of Quebec. I will alternate between St. Hyacinthe and Quebec City as this is where my ancestors lived.

A is for Acton Vale

Acton Vale is a small manufacturing center on the Rivière Le Renne, about 25 km southwest of Drummondville. The first settlers of the township of Acton were either United Empire loyalists or British, especially Scots, who homesteaded the area in the 1830s.
Acton Vale benefited from the building of the St Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad line to Portland in the early 1850s and from the discovery, in 1857, of a rich copper deposit located less than 1 km from the railway station. Even though the various mining operations lasted less than 6 years, they had a tremendous impact on the early development of the community. In 1861 it was incorporated as a village.

1859 - Église de Saint-André established at Acton Vale

1900 - Acton Vale railway station, built by the Grand Trunk Railway, opened in 1900.


The Acton Vale Railway Station (Grand Trunk) expresses the development of the Grand Trunk Company railway in Quebec. The design of this building is based on a standard plan used by the Grand Trunk Railway Company to build several stations between 1895 and 1905 on the line connecting Montréal to Portland Maine. Formed in 1853, the Grand Trunk Railway Company became part of the Canadian National Railway Company after the latter was created in 1919.

It is listed on the National Historic sites of Canada.

Acton Vale is 38.3 km (30 min.) from Saint-Hyacinthe and 190 km (2hrs.) from Quebec City

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Jean Baptiste Bernard

My maternal great-grandfather, Jean Baptiste Bernard was born in St. Hyacinthe in 1863 to Jean Baptiste Bernard and Lucie Royer. He married Delia Gadbois in 1882, they had a son, Joseph who died in 1884 along with his mother, Delia.

Jean Baptiste went on to marry Delia's sister Rosanna, they subsequently had 10 children, Omer, Henri, Amelia, Evelina, Adrienna, Donat, Delia, William, Rita, and Anita. Omer and Henri both died in infancy.

Not long after his second marriage, my grandfather and grandmother were part of the Great Migration from Canada to the United States to find work and a better life. They settled in Nashua, New Hampshire. Jean Baptiste was a day laborer in most probably the textile mills which were abundant in that area.

Sometime between 1900 and 1903 the family moved back to St. Hyacinthe where my grandfather Ovila was born, along with the last two siblings, Rita and Anita.

In 1917, Delia Bernard passed away.

Rosanna passed away in 1922. Jean Baptiste lived to the age of 90 living with and being cared for by his remaining living daughters, Rita and Anita.

I've been told there were fun times of all night monopoly games which took on serious tones as everyone was there to win and long nights of talking politics.

Jean Baptiste Bernard passed away in 1953, peacefully.

Friday, March 18, 2016

St. Hyacinthe (Our Lady Of The Rosary)

 The church where all the Bernard sisters were married.

Paroisse Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire
City: Saint-Hyacinthe
MRC / Territory equivalent: The Maskoutains
Diocese: Saint-Hyacinthe
Opening records: 14 December 1777

County and diocese of Saint-Hyacinthe. It is in the town of that name. The records of this parish open in the year 1777. Its territory includes the area 5, which is the oldest part of the city of Saint-Hyacinthe, and the municipality of the parish of Notre-Dame-de- Saint-Hyacinthe, and the village of Providence. Canonical erection: June 2, 1832. Civil erection: July 11, 1835. In 1852 the parish of Notre-Dame-de-Saint-Hyacinthe was divided in half to form the parish of St. Hyacinthe the Confessor . This is when the oldest part took the name of "Our Lady of the Rosary." The municipality of the parish has retained the old name. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bernard Women

Bernard Sisters

I've been gifted a photograph by a second cousin of 5 women who I think are the Bernard sisters. It had to have been taken between 1913 and 1937. In no particular order they might be Amelia, Evelina, Adrienna, Rita, and Anita. There was a 6th Bernard sister, Delia, who died in 1917. I know the second women from the left is Evelina (Bernard) Mailhot.

The sister seated on the far left is Rita (Bernard) St. Jean, the sister seated on the far right is Anita (Bernard) Blanchette. That means the two sisters in the center, one standing and one seated have to be Amelia and Adrienna.