Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J is for Joliette

A city of nature, work and culture, Joliette’s origins date back to 1823 when Barthélemy Joliette, upon discovering the hydraulic power of the L’Assomption River, founded the village he called Industrie. It wasn’t until its incorporation in 1864 that it became the city of Joliette.

Named a bishopric in 1902, Joliette became the regional capital and was already home to a college and a courthouse. Place Bourget welcomes festival goers during numerous events organized in the city centre.

Today, the cultural legacy of the Clercs de Saint-Viateur , the first officials of the college, lives on at the Musée d’art de Joliette and in events like the Festival de Lanaudière.

Cathédrale Saint-Charles-Borromée, Joliette, Lanaudière, Québec, Canada.

Joliette is 108 km (1 hr. 20 min.) from St. Hyacinthe and 215 km (2 hr. 21 min.) from Quebec City.

Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for Inuit - People of the Canadian Artic

The people of the Canadian Arctic are known as the Inuit. They used to be called Eskimos, which came from a Native American word for 'eater of raw meat'. Now the Arctic people are officially known as the Inuit, which means 'the people', or singularly, Inuk, which means 'the person'.

 The Inuit were the last native people to arrive in North America. All the good land to the south was already occupied by hostile Indians so they settled in the Arctic. Nobody else wanted it because it was one of the most extreme climates in the world. But the Inuit were masters at adapting to sustain their people over thousands of years.

The Inuit lived in an area comprising a large part of northern Earth, including Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia.

 The languages of the Inuit can be divided into many different languages and dialects. However, all of the Inuit languages come from one main language family: the Inuit-Aleut, also known as the Eskimaleut language family.
The languages groups can be grouped into an Eastern branch and a Western branch, which can then be further divided into individual languages and dialects of those languages.

Eastern Branch (Inuktitut languages):
  • The Eastern Branch languages have three different names for the language.
    • Inuktitut (in Canada)
    • Inupiaq (in Alaska)
    • Kalaallisut (in Greenland)
  • There are three different names, but it is considered to be the same language.
  • There are also many dialects from this language branch spoken in the three countries.

Western Branch (Yupik languages):
  • Yupik is divided into three distinct languages.
    • Central Alaskan Yupik
    • Pacific Gulf Yupik (Alaska)
    • Siberian Yupik (Canada and Alaska)
  • Each of these three languages has several dialects as well.
The Inuktitut and Yupik languages are both quite hard to learn and speak, because they are very complex languages.

The Inuit have a distinct culture and appearance from other First Peoples groups in Canada, which really set them apart. Historically, the Canadian Inuit were divided into eight main groups: Labrador Inuit, Ungava or New Quebec Inuit, Baffin Island, Igloolik, Caribou, Netsilik, Copper and Western Arctic Inuit.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Hudson

Hudson, Quebec, Canada, is an off-island suburb of Montreal, with a population of 5,135. It is located on the south-west bank of the lower Ottawa River, in Vaudreuil-Soulanges Regional County Municipality. Situated about 60 km (37 mi) west of downtown Montreal, many residents commute to work on the Island of Montreal.

Hudson is a municipality within the Greater Montreal. Although a rural agglomeration since the early part of the 19th century, the Town of Hudson was founded in June 1969 by merging the villages of Hudson, Hudson Heights and Como.
A relatively wealthy town, Hudson is known for its large, turn-of-the century houses, many of which border the Lake of Two Mountains. A ferry from Hudson takes cars across the lake (a widening of the Ottawa River) to the village of Oka.

Hudson has been dubbed "the leafy Anglo-enclave", as, unlike the surrounding mainly French-speaking municipalities, Hudson has a majority English-speaking population, although many residents speak both languages.

The town of Hudson is celebrating its 150th Anniversary this summer!  

Hudson is 110 km (1 hr. 19 min.) from St. Hyacinthe and 305 km ( 3 hrs. 15 min.) from Quebec City.

Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for Gaspe

Today we travel to Gaspe at the tip of the Gaspe Pennisula, at the far eastern tip of the province of Quebec, a land of heavy snowfall and gusty winds. A little bit of history...

Gaspé claims the title of "Cradle of French America", because on June 24, 1534, Jacques Cartier halted in the bay after losing an anchor during a storm and officially took possession of the area by planting a wooden cross with the king's coat of arms and the sentence Vive le Roi de France (meaning "Long live the King of France"). Cartier met there an indigenous tribe that referred to the territory as Honguedo, probably a Mi'kmaq word meaning "meeting place".

Following the Treaty of Paris in 1763, British officers and soldiers acquired free land in Gaspé. And in 1784, they were joined by many Loyalist settlers. From then on, Gaspé became an important commercial fishing centre, especially of cod. In 1804, its post office opened.

In 1833 in Gaspé County there were only ten farmers, all in the Gaspé Bay area (of whom seven were also involved in the fishery), four whalers in Gaspé Bay, five shipbuilders (one a Jersey firm), one blacksmith, two lumber merchants, five shipowners (all Jerseymen), eighteen fish merchants (of whom all but five were Jerseymen) and thirty-two major fishing establishments (of which sixteen were Jersey owned).

Gaspé was first incorporated as a village municipality in 1855. From 1861 to 1866, the port of Gaspé was a duty-free port, making shipping the primary economic activity. With some 40 to 50 European ships docking annually, many countries opened consulates in Gaspé, including Italy, United States, Brasil, Portugal, and Norway. By 1911, the railroad reached Gaspé. But the town's ambition to become an international shipping and transportation hub ended with the growing importance of the Montreal and Halifax harbours.

During World War II, some 3000 soldiers were stationed at a naval base built at Sandy Beach, in order to patrol the Gulf of Saint Lawrence against German submarines.

Granite Cross at Gaspe

This cross of Gaspé was commissioned by the federal government at a cost of $7,000 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the French explorer Jacques Cartier in the Bay of Gaspé on July 24, 1534. It was unveiled on Aug. 25, 1934.

The granite cross was carved in 1934 from a block of gray granite, extracted from the Auguste Dumas quarry in Rivière-à-Pierre, Quebec. The cross weighs more than 42 tons and was transported to Quebec City on two cars by rail from Rivière-à-Pierre. The cross was then carried on a coaster to the Gaspé dock. From the dock, the cross was drawn on rollers using hoists by one of the first tractors to be used in Gaspé. It was erected in 1934 on its first base using a rail system of pulleys and cables, driven by the strength of many horses and a tractor.

A commemorative plaque located at the foot of the cross of Gaspé was inaugurated on August 23, 2009 (75 years after the erection of the granite cross), in memory of artisans of Rivière-à-Pierre, Quebec who extracted and cut this block of granite which become a monolithic cross.

The cross has been located at three sites in Gaspé. From 1934 to 1979 the Cross of Gaspé was located on Queen Street, facing the current "Place Jacques-Cartier" business center, on the same site of a memorial to the Second World War.

From 1979 to Fall 2012 it was located on the grounds of the Cathedral of Christ-Roi. In October 2012, the cross was moved to a new site "Gaspé, Berceau du Canada" (Gaspé, Cradle of Canada), located on the water near the Gaspé bridge.

Gaspe is 861 km (9 hrs.) from St. Hyacinthe and 693 km (7 hrs. 43 min ) from Quebec City.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

F is for Farnham

In the 1940's my maternal grandparents would take vacations in the summer to the town of Farnham. They rented a little house in the country and enjoyed family time, it was a much needed break from work, school, and the endless bustle of Montreal.

The city of Farnham takes its name from the historic Township of Farnham. The latter is one of the few townships established before 1800, and was named in remembrance of Farnham, UK. The first "Farnhamiens", mostly Loyalists from the United States, arrived in 1800.

1847 - Église de Saint-Romuald established at Farnham

1876 - Farnham incorporated as a town

1916 - Hospital fire fatal to eleven. St. Elizabeth's Hospital at Farnham, Quebec, destroyed. Fire escapes inadequate.

1949 - Canadian Pacific Railway station at Farnham destroyed by fire.

Farham is 45 km (40 min.) from St. Hyacinthe and 238 km 2 hr. 36 min.) from Quebec City.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

E is for Elgin

Elgin Township - One of the smallest municipalities in Québec.
Bounded by the Trout and Chateauguay rivers and the Quebec - United States border, Elgin is a totally rural community of less than 500 people. Its small fields and many stone houses attest to the first Scottish settlers who began arriving in the early 1800s.

In 1855, the Municipality of the Township of Elgin was formed with the present town hall being built in 1869. The councillors and people of Elgin continue to value and protect their 'forgotten corner of Quebec, with its history, quiet roads, forests and rivers.

The first settlers of Elgin were of Scottish origin and this may have accounted for the thrift which has always been exercised in this municipality's affairs. Among the settlers was Joseph Scriver, who provided the first sawmill for the early community.

Later, an American named Buck provided for gristing facilities and saved the people from a long trek to have their grain ground into flour.

Elgin started in 1821 with an American named "Buck", and we've been careful with the "buck" ever since!

Powerscourt Covered Bridge
courtesy -  Percy

The townships of Elgin and Hinchinbrooke are joined by the Powerscourt Covered Bridge as it crosses the Chateauguay River on the First Concession. The Powerscourt Bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in south-western Québec. Of the one hundred and fifteen throughout the province of Québec, the vast majority, some fifty-five, are found within the original Eastern Townships.
The Powercourt Bridge, built in 1861, is the oldest covered bridge in Québec, and the only one in the world built using the McCallum inflexible arched truss.

Elgin is 149 km (2 hrs.) from St. Hyacinthe and 344 km ( 3 hrs. 43 min.) from Quebec City.

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.