July 1977,
by Thomas Roche Lee,
Mayor of Baie-D'Urfé from 1957 to 1961

© Town of Baie-d'Urfé


Uniquely fortunate is the community which has in its midst one with a lively interest in its origins, in its history, and in its present. Doubly fortunate is the community whose historian and chronicler is both imaginative as to opportunity, and has had the experience of being its mayor.

Those of the past, with the research that permitted them to be remembered, those of the present who also helped make this greatly blessed piece of geography, Baie d'Urfé, and those who follow, all owe much to Tommy Lee. Tommy re-identified the Town with its Urfé origins. He duplicated the historical Alcock-Brown flight from Newfoundland to Ireland and England, he hedge-hopped and railway trained his way across this great country, and chronicled his experiences. He served eminently as our mayor. He raised his arm heavenward with me one Saturday morning, tracing in the sky the potential magnificence of a Centennial flagpole one hundred feet high. Of this great stuff is Tommy Lee. I am honoured by this association with Tommy Lee's story of this great place where I have been privileged to live.

A. Clark Graham,


July 12, 1977



   The town of Baie d'Urfé had its beginnings in 1686 when Francois Saturnin Lascaris d'Urfé, Marquis de Baugé, a French missionary of the Sulpician order, established a mission on what is known today as Caron Point.

   D'Urfé, member of a wealthy and influential family, first came to Canada in 1668. He spent three different periods in the country, the last being his assignment in Baie d'Urfé. His earlier service in Canada had earned him a "better", more comfortable appointment in France but he had insisted on returning to Canada, specifically asking for a hazardous and a challenging post.

Baie d'Urfé was it.

   During the first years of New France, the entire territory from Lachine to the west end of the island of Montreal had been part of Lachine parish, its relatively few settlers, soldiers and Indians being served by missionaries residing at Ville Marie (Montreal), Lachine or Gentilly (Dorval). In September, 1685, the area from Pointe Claire, west, was made a separate parish, St. Louis du Haut de l'Ile de Montréal. D'Urfé was named its first curé, his base of operations being what is now Baie d'Urfé, more specifically, Caron Point, or as it was called then, Pointe St. Louis. "One Of the most exposed to danger," the Bishop of Quebec, Msgnr. St. Vallier, reported to France.

   The first grants of land in what is now Baie d'Urfé had been made in 1678 to Jean de La Londe, who was also the first to settle in the area. A portion of this was reserved for d'Urfé's church. As the first church warden, de la Londe among the official party when the Bishop of Quebec visited the area in the fall of 1685 and designated the boundaries of the new parish.

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   According to an aide, d'Urfé himself cleared a spot for the remote outpost, planted the first cross, built a church, parish house and several dwellings, and brought together a large number of Iroquois and other Indians, whom he taught and converted. At the same time he ministered to the spiritual needs of habitant, seigneur and soldier in the area. He also opened Baie d'Urfé's first school, a school for Indian children.

   D'Urfé's church is mentioned in a letter of Nov. 10, 1686, from the Governor, Denonville, to France's first Minister, Colbert:

   "To promote new establishments on the Island of Montreal, the Gentlemen of the Séminaire de Montréal (who owned the entire island) have granted Sieur LeBer, at my request, the privilege of building a stone mill, of which I saw the beginning of construction. This building, which will serve as a stronghold, is located on a hill at the tip of the island of Montreal, facing the river of the Outaouak (Ottawa), the Lake of Two Mountains and the Riviere de Prairies, on the north side of the island. Near the mill, work has started on a church and a vicarage to which M. d'Urfé will be assigned as priest."

   It was from Baie d'Urfé that d'Urfé returned to France in the late 1680's following the devastating Indian raids. Back in France after a total of some 16 years service in Canada, d'Urfé held a variety of important church posts until, in 1698, he retired to the family chateau in which he was born, in Bâgé-le-Châtel. There, on June 30, 1701, he died, having just reached the age of 62. He is buried there under the floor in the chapel of a centuries- old hospital for the aged where he had served as chaplain. A copper wall plaque given by the citizens of Baie d'Urfé, tells of d'Urfé's link with Canada and, with specifically,the town of Baie d'Urfé.

   Looking at the Baie d'Urfé of today, it is difficult to realize that once dense forest covered the area, friendly Indians camped on the lakeshore and unfriendly Indians slaughtered Baie d'Urfé's first residents down where The Coop now stands.

   Records in d'Urfé's own hand indicate the terror, blood-shed and destruction, which wracked the area at the time.

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   Eight entries tell of the burial on Caron Point of eight men, (two soldiers and six habitants), killed by the Iroquois during the period Sept. 21 to Oct. 18, 1687, five of them on Sept. 30.

   The first victim was Jean Vincent, farmhand employed by M. de Blainville, who on Sept. 21, 1687, "was found beaten to death during the battle against the Iroquois". The five slain Sept. 30 included Jean de La Londe dit l' Espérance, Baie d'Urfé's first citizen; Pierre Boynneau dit La Jeunesse; Pierre Pertuys, another of de Blainville's farmhands; Henry Fromageau and Pierre Pettitteau, also employees of de Blainville.

   All were buried "near the site chosen for the building of the Church of St. Louis du Haut de l'Ile de Montréal".

   Then on Oct. 18, two soldiers of M. du. Cruzel were slain by the Iroquois. They were Jean Baptiste le Sueur dit La Hogue, about 21, and Pierre Camus dit la Feuillade, of the same age. Their burial, witnessed by d'Urfé and fellow soldiers of the deceased, was "near the site chosen for the cemetery near the parish church of St. Louis du Haut de l'Ile de Montréal".

   D'Urfé himself had a narrow escape from death while out in the lake in a canoe on route to meet some friendly Indians. "He was driven back by a band of 30 Iroquois armed with rifles, who unloaded their guns in his direction," reads a contemporary account, "but God, who protects those who struggle in His name, did not wish that he should be harmed".

   While no indisputable signs of this historic mission remain today, the sites of the early chapel and cemetery were thought pretty well established in 1865 during excavation for a cellar at the tip of Caron Point, named after a fomer resident on the Point, Antoine Caron, a farmer. This was on land originally owned by de La Londe

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and set aside for construction of a church. A former curé, M. Bourgeault, who studied the matter of sites thoroughly, is quoted with respect to this particular excavation: "... the bones of 23 persons of different physique were discovered one bore a pretty brass crucifix, mounted in ebony ... on another was found a tin spoon, black pearls and a small crucifix, and a brass medal in perfect state of conservation". Other finds included the bones of a child, a finger bone bearing a brass ring, "and a tomahawk almost free from rust and which would still last an Indian for life". These bones were thought to include those of Christian Indians whom d'Urfé taught. The present whereabouts of the various items are not known, but what are thought to be the foundations of the chapel are still faintly visible on the property of the late Group Cap. Roy H. Foss.

   The same d'Urfé register which recorded these violent deaths also records the first marriages, births and baptisms in the area. Some 13 pages of the register, a treasure of the Montreal archives, are signed "F. d'Urfé, Curé", and cover the period November, 1686 - November, 1687, the first event recorded being a wedding, the last, the burial of a miller who apparently died a natural death. The fact that there are no further entries with respect to dtUrfé's parish is considered as indicating that increasing Iroquois activity in the area forced d'Urfé and members of his flock to withdraw to more protected quarters. War had been declared against the Iroquois In 1687, and it was only two years later that the infamous massacre at Lachine took Place, possibly involving some of the Baie d'Urfé habitants who had fled there earlier, for safety.

   The first entry in d'Urfé's register is the marriage on Nov. 29, 1686, of Jean Baptiste Celoron, Esquire, Sieur de Blainvllle, lieutenant of a detachment of the navy, Helene Picotte de Belestre, widow of M. de Brucy, lieutenant in the Infantry, and

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one of the first landholders in the area. This was undoubtedly the first marriage performed in what is now Baie d'Urfé, and d'Urfé records that the vicar-general, M. Dollier de Casson, had ruled out the necessity of the three banns being read. D'Urfé conducted the service.

   He then records the death on Feb. 22, 1687, of Claude de la Mothe dit le Marquis de Sourdy, and his burial the next day on Pointe St. Louis (Caron Point). Next comes the baptism on March 1, of the first child born in the area - Marie Madeleine, daughter of Jean Thillard and Marie Madeleine Barbon. D'Urfé says the child was previously baptized at home, but was then baptized by him in church. He notes that the child's godmother was Marie Madeleine la Londe, daughter of Jean de la Londe, first settler in Baie d'Urfé and also first church warden. D'Urfé records that the godmother, wife of M. Guillaume Daoust, was unable to sign her name when so requested. The same woman was godmother to Marguerite le Moyne (one of the great names in the story of New France), daughter of Nicolas le Moyne and Marguerite Jasseiin, whom d'Urfé baptized on April 23. D'Urfé notes that the child's father couldn't sign his own name. D'Urfé, incidentally, refers to himself as "priest of the parish of St Louis". There are witnesses' signatures on most of the entries, many of the names being familiar ones on the west end of the island today, borne by descendants of those early settlers.

   The last entry records the death and burial, Nov. 17-18, 1687, of Louis Jets, miller, age about 24, who 'was employed by M. le Ber, the man given permission to build a fort and mill at the end of the island. (Both of these still stand, at least in part, in Senneville), Jean le Ber, merchant, and Paul le Moyne, Esquire, vere witnesses, together with d'Urfé.

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   In an oration delivered at d'Urfé's tomb in Bâgé-le-Châtel, department of Ain, France, in 1702, a year after his death, the speaker referred to the bloody events in distant Baie d'Urfé, and in so doing indicated the probable reason there were no further d'Urfé entries in the Montreal register.

   "The pagans and the Indians having conquered the parish of Pointe St. Louis by force of arms", he said, "our minister (d'Urfé) had to withdraw his flock to the French Colony (Lachine? Ville Marie?) : in this he followed the example of some of the most revered shepherds of the Holy Church".

   Abbé Armand Yon, in his "A Victim of Frontenac", says that d'Urfé obviously barely escaped with his own life during the massacre of Baie d'Urfé but nevertheless returned to bury the dead. He quotes in part, a letter from the Superior of the Sulpician order, Tronson, in Parish, France, to Dollier de Casson, in Ville Marie: "d'Urfé, by taking such risks as you have explained, has shown that he has a brave heart: it must indeed have been God's will that he should be sent to serve this isolated post, for he is not so strong by nature".

   The West Island Parish remained deserted until peace was signed with the Iroquois in 1698.

   With the last war whoop of the Iroquois, "the Scourge of God", peace and quiet returned to the area, essentially a handful of farms. Although the forest gradually

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disappeared (Morgan Arboretum is the only remnant of any size left) as more land was put under cultivation, there was little change in the area over the next 150 years. From the shores of Lake St. Louis, in Baie d'Urfé, one could see passing by, the canoes, bateaux and other craft of the explorers, voyageurs, fur traders and timber merchants now part of the legend of Canada. But it was In nearby Ste.Anne's that all the action was; Ste. Anne's, with the rapids, was where the voyageur had to come ashore and portage; it was where he said farewell to civilization as he headed west and north, and it was where he got his first sight of civilization on his return. Then, as now, Baie d'Urfé was on the fringe of the hustle and bustle of trade and commerce.

   It was in 1853, with the coming of the railroad (Grand Trunk, or now, CN) that change began to come to Baie d'Urfé. With the area now more readily accessible to Montreal, the wealthy saw it as an ideal summer or holiday retreat, with its tranquil country atmosphere, and especially the sparkling lake offering wonderful fishing, boating, swimming and other activities. Montrealers bought the water frontage of held by the same families for decades, even centuries, and erected summer cottages. Eventually these were modified for all-year use so owners could come out winter, spring, summer or fall. The next step was to build a permanent home and commute. Gradually the dozen or more farms which comprised the original Baie d'Urfé disappeared, luxurious homes fringed the lakeshore and the French-speaking farmer was largely replaced by the English-speaking professional or businessman, who preferred to live in the country instead of the city.

   It was these "newcomers" who brought about the creation and incorporation of the Town of Baie d'Urfé in 1911, some 230 years after the area had been first settled. The little bay lying east of Caron Point to Town Hall park had been on the map as Baie d'Urfé for countless years and the railroad stop had been called Baie d'Urfé

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since 1902, when it had been changed from Bayview as a result of petitions from some of the residents. Thus when the new town was carved from the Parish of Ste. Anne du Bout de l' Ile, as had Ste. Anne de Bellevue and Senneville, it was given the name Baie d'Urfé. (Actually, the original charter said Urfee, and so the town's name was spelt for years, until corrected by an amendment to its charter).

   The petitioners for incorporation were: James Morgan, merchant; G. Edward Gudewill, manufacturer; Hon. J. Alderic Ouimet, fomer Judge; Alfred Brunet, ex-banker; James Birchenough, real estate agent; St. George Dillon, merchant; David A. Poe, engineer; "all of the city and district of Montreal" ; Edward Maxwell, architect; William E. Davis, railway manager; Pascal Deglaurierg, real estate agent; Olibrius Constantineau, manufacturer; Vivian de V. Dowker, manufacturer; the latter five of the Parish of Ste. Anne du bout de l'Ile, "comprising the majority of the ratepayers and inhabitants" of the territory described in the petition. Baie d;Urfé must have been one of the smallest incorporated towns in Canada.

   The new town's charter provided that the council would comprise a mayor and six aldermen, who would be elected for a term of two years. The first general election was set for July 1 (!), 1911, or some three months after incorporation. First council meeting was to be held the second Monday of July.

   Baie d'Urfé's first mayor was Mr. Dowker, who was acclaimed, as were members of the first council. Dowker went on to serve six consecutive years as mayor.

   The first entry in the town's Minute Book reads:

   "I, the undersigned, Louis Joseph Boileau, returning officer for the first election to be held In the Town of Baie d'Urfée, have the honour to report that at the nomination day held on June 20th, 1911, according to law, Vivian de V. Dovker has been put in nomination as Mayor and Edward Maxwell, Fred J. Shav,

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Charles E. Gudewill, Alfred Brunet, Moise C. Bezner and Norwood M. Lash as Aldemen.

"And it being 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I have named the said V. de V. Dowker Mayor, and the other six, councillors of the Town of Baie d'Urfée.

Ste. Anne de Bellevue

June 21st, 1911

(sgd.) L. J. Boileau

Returning Officer

   The first meeting of Council was held in the school house at 8 p.m., 10th July 1911, but was immediately adjourned to 18th July.

   At the July 18th Meeting, Mr. Boileau, a Ste. Anne de Bellevue notary, was appointed the Town's first secretary-treasurer. The mayor was authorized to make arrangements with the Roman Catholic School Board to enable the Council to use the school house for its meetings. It was decided that all notices would be posted at the school house and at, or near, the Grand Trunk Railway Station. A By-law was passed that the Council meet at 8 o'clock on the first Tuesday of every month to conduct the business of the town.

   The picturesque little green school house in which these first meetings were held - the first Baie d'Urfé school after d'Urfé's-stood just to the west of the Town on the lake side, almost directly in front of J. D. Carrière's greenhouses. Uninhabited for several years, and deemed both a hazard and eyesore, the building was razed during the early 1960's.

   After those first meetings in the school house, council moved into the distinctive white frame building which is the Town Hall we know today. The home given to the town for use as the Town Hall in October, 1912, by James Morgan,

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one of the petitioners for incorporation of Baie d'Urfé. It had been his summer home and, exterior-vise, remains pretty much the same as it was at the time of the gift.

   Mr. Morgan, a member of the well-known Morgan family, has been unquestionably the town's greatest benefactor. The year before, in September 1911, at one of the new town's first council meetings, he had donated to the town the park area on which the Town Hall stands, on the condition that the community build a town hall there, as well as a boat house with landing, "and keep said lot of land in good and clear condition as a public park for the free use of the residents of the Town". At the same meeting, another resident, William Lyall also donated a nearly piece of waterfront property for use by the public.

   Mr. Morgan also donated a strip of land 100 feet wide to provide a suitable roadway linking the Lakeshore Road and the railroad station. Once called Station Road, it's known today as Morgan Road, main entrance to the town. His gift also included enough land near the station "to allow the rigs and carriages to turn easily". That little turning circle remains to this day.

   Arthur Cairncross has lived in Baie d'Urfé since July, 1910. His father, J. B. Cairncross, managed the J. A. Stevenson farm, a very small segment of which is popularly known today as the Fritz Farm. The Stevenson farm stretched from the Lakeshore Road to Ste. Marie Road and was known as Bayview Farm. Houses were so few in those days they were un-numbered. Mr. Cairncross thus has seen better than anyone else the vast changes which have taken place in Baie d'Urfé in the last nearly 70 years.

   Mr. Cairncross recalls that it was the custom in the day for every property owner to maintain his own road so Mr. Stevenson had Mr. James Morgan build a new

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road in front of the farm from the road to Caron Point to Carriere's Greenhouses, as Mr. Morgan was building Morgan Road at the time. Mr. Morgan had his own steam engine and stone crusher, the stone being taken from the quarry on the Judge Ouimet farm on the east side of Lakeview Road, and farm stone fences.

   "The Lake road has changed somewhat from 1910, the cutting at the east end of town and the one at the Bay as I call it, being then at right angles to what it is today," he recalls.

   The roadway gift was made, incidentally, subject to the conditions that the town plant four rows of trees - two on each side - the full length of the road, with cinder sidewalks between each two rows, and that the roads, paths and trees be properly maintained.

   In the original deed from Mr. Morgan to the Town, it was stipulated that his house must be used for all council meetings, although not necessarily all the town's affairs. However, since this was essentially the only public building in the town, it became the hub of the town's activities, housing everything, including the post office, social gatherings, bazaars, agricultural or horticultural displays, Saturday-morning

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movies for the kids, Saturday-night dances for the adults, and what have-you.

   Bill Nash, son of Charlie Nash, town caretaker from 1919 - 1929, recalls some of those days:

   "My earliest memories of Baie d'Urfé, take me back to the Town Hall, of course, which seemed to be the focal point of all of the activities of the town. (The Nashes lived in the apartment above the council chambers)."

   "The Town Hall grounds, on the west side, had a very fine grass tennis court. Just to this side of the court was a bowling green. Tennis was enjoyed in those days just as golf is today."

   "Sail boating was very popular. Alex. Poe's Dad, David A. Poe, a fine gentleman, indeed, was well-known in the boating world, as was his fine boat, the Gudrun. The yearly Baie d'Urfé-Beaurepaire Regatta was one of the year's outstanding attractions. (The Poes' connection with Baie d'Urfé goes back to the beginning of the 1900's, maybe earlier. David A. Poe was one of the petitioners for the Town's incorporation. Alex. Poe, a resident for half a century, is also widely known in sailing circles. Other distinguished sailors having a Baie d'Urfé link include Reg. Stevenson, whose family had a big summer home -now gone- at what is now Sunny Acres and the Lakeshore)."

   "The Koto-Maru, a cabin cruiser owned by E. J. L'Esperance, was a familiar sight in Lake St. Louis. The Hon. Narcisse Perodeau, fomer lieut.-Govemor of Quebec, owned a fine speed boat. Mr. Timberlake also had a similar type of craft, and this had a Hisnano-Suiza motor: - apparently a rarity in those early days. Emile Pilon's boat on his conducted fishing trips was a regular sight going around the tip of Ile Perrot. And 'Old' Mr. Dowker's one-lunger could be heard for many miles going across to Dowker's Island, from a right-of-way next to Henault's, (in the east end of town)."

   "Oh, yes, the name Henault recalls the quaint little electric automobile that Mr Henault possessed. This was about the year 1920-21. It was a veritable horseless- buggy type."

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   "Talking about snow-plowing in those early days, it seems, on looking back, that there was more snow then than there is now. The first few flakes of snow that struck the window pane on a dark wintry day meant a phone call to Tom Harland, Mr. Cairncross and Albert Dorion (all local farmers). These hardy souls would be ready, something like the old horse-drawn fire engines of old, to drop on the britchens, put on the bridles and away at any hour of the day or night. Usually they would start sometime in the night. Tom Harland (who lived on what is known today as the Fritz farm), would come out with two of his heavy sturdy teams of Clydesdales and Bruce and Arthur Cairncross would bring theirs out. Well, these would be hitched up, four abreast to the plow, which was always ready on the Town Hall grounds. Along would come Albert Dorion with a team and a set of 'bobs' and hitch on the front. When the whole congregation got around the bay and the going was rough, another team with a set of 'bobs' would be hitched in front of the Dorion team and there would be 12 horses in all. Dad would stand on the platform at the back."

   "Once when the plow encountered some solid hidden ice he was thrown off like a V-2 bomb with the result that ever afterward he wore one of the fore-runners of the present-day safety belts. Perhaps this is where they had their beginning: Who knows?"

   "And during the winter months, the familiar jingling of the sleigh bells, almost on a time schedule, of Godin the baker and Pilon, the other baker, were daily events. Godin was a great lover of horses and always had his favourite and fastest horse in his light bread sleigh. Of course Pilon, the other baker, also was a horseman."

   "And all-year round was the daily trek to the 7:50 a.m. CPR train. Usually Mr. Walkinshav would be the first to be seen coming around the bay from the west, followed by Mr. Winters, Mr. DeGruchy and the tall friendly Dr. Pirie (a former Mayor who rented the main house on the Fritz Place), of the Royal Vic. Dr. Pirie did not

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start until all of the others had gone by, chiefly because all of the others nagged his house on the way to the station. In addition, he had the longest and fastest legs of the group. Louis Coron took the earlier train. He lived with his sisters, Anna and Marie, opposite the eastern end of the Town Hall grounds, but had also lived in the little green school house."

   "A familiar figure was Ovila Vallée His farm was next to the Cairncross farm, which later burned down, (August 8th, 1928). Old Ovila had the handicap of stuttering, which he did in both English and French. He was also noted for his quick temper. Once when his two boys fell through the ice in the spring, (I was a witness to this), we thought he would take them in the house and get them warmed up. Well, he warmed them up all right - with a horse whip outside the barn!" (Mr. Vallée, now deceased, lived in a remnant of the family farm, just east of the Town Hall, until it too was destroyed by fire, in 1957)."

   It will come as a surprise to many Baie d'Urfé residents, only relatively recently connected up to town water after years of individual wells, that the town had piped water as far back as 1912. It came from springs up toward St. Lazare, carried in wooden, wire-wrapped under the lake of Two Mountains to Senneville, then to Baie d'Urfé. The system was gravity fed.

   A 25-year franchise granted to the Vaudreuil Springs Syndicate or Suburban Water Company for this supply expired in 1937 and because delivery had not been entirely satisfactory it was decided not to renew the contract. On a number of occasions, the water pressure had sagged, either because of the springs themselves or because of breaks. Twice the supply failed entirely for several days and had to be delivered by hand from house to house. Residents gradually put in their own wells with automatic pumping systems, and by 1939 the pipeline was shut off completely. This system of individual wells, unique in a modern community, particularly one of the richest in Canada, continued until 1967-1968, when the town's new system was installed.

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   The town's first building by-law was passed in 1913, to ensure that the best building and housing standards were maintained, an objective rigidly sought to this day. Among the requirements then was that no house costing less than $5,000 could be erected anywhere inside the town limits.

   Electricity came to the town in 1915, being purchased from neighbouring Beaconsfield. The first power was for lights on the town's only two roads - Lakeshore and Morgan. A short time later it became available to residents. By 1922 Beaconsfield could not meet Baie d'Urfé's requirements and a contract was signed with Ste. Anne de Bellevue. In 1930, the Montreal Light, Heat & Power Company purchased Baie d'Urfé's electric light plant, except for the street lighting system, with its transformer and lights. The sale price $5,000.

   The town had its first law enforcement officer long before formal establishment of the Baie d'Urfé police department in 1959. He was Constable O'Hara. In 1916, after detectives had investigated a series of thefts in the community, council decided to notify the employer of the guilty person that if that gentleman had not left by a certain date, a warrant would be issued for his arrest. At the same time, Constable O'Hara was to deliver a similar message to the suspect personally. Constable O'Hara journeyed via bicycle.

   The second raid in the town's history (the first was that of the Iroquois) took Place in 1929 when MacDonald College agricultural students dragged a world war I gun which stood in front of the Town Hall all the way down to the college. As punishment, they had to bring it all the way back. The gun subsequently went into the scrap pot when world war II broke out.

   The first election in the town's history was held in 1931 when a number of candidates were nominated for the mayor's chair as well as for certain aldermanic seats. E. W. Wilson became mayor, serving one 2-year term, then remarkably, three subsequent terms as an alderman.

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   The mayors since the town's incorporation have been: besides Dowker and Wilson, Fred J. Shav (1917-1924); John Watterson (1925-1930); Walter Maughan (1933-1934, 1937-1940, 1943-1944); C. J. Smith (1935-1936); A. H. Pirie (1941-1942); W. Fred McBride (1945-1946); Fred W. case (1947-1950); Jean Gelinas (1951-1954); W. H. Cruickshank (1955-1956); Thomas R. Lee (1957-1961); Lars Firing (1962-1965); and Clark Graham (1966 - ). In the late 50's the town began naming local streets in honour of the various mayors.

   With the old, original No. 2 Highway (in Baie d'Urfé, today's Lakeshore Road) getting busier and busier, being the principal highway linking Montreal and Toronto, word was received in May 1935, that the Provincial Government had decided to build a new highway just south of the railroad tracks, from Ville St. Pierre to the bridge at Ste. Anne de Bellevue. It was to be known as the Metropolitan Boulevard. The north lane was completed in 1910, the south lane, in 1947.

   That same year, A. H. Burton, who had replaced Mr. Boileau shortly after the town's incorporation, resigned as Secretary-Treasurer, to be succeeded by John W. Long, Q.C., Who served the town for more than a quarter of a century; as Secretary- Treasurer until 1954, then legal advisor until the end of 1960.

   On May 14th, 1937, two maple trees were planted in front of the Town Hall to commemorate the coronation of King George VI. The trees were the gift of the mayor, Smith. Ten years before, the man George VI had succeeded, Edvard VIII, had as Prince of Wales, presented the town with some prize peonies.

   At a special Council meeting, June 7, 1941, Bonds numbered 16 to 24 inclusive, for $1000 each, with coupons attached, were checked and in the presence of council, the press and interested citizens, declared redeemed, cancelled and void and then burned. The Town of Baie d'Urfé - at that moment - was free of debt.

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   Right after World War II, in 1947, things began to stir in Baie d'Urfé. Until that time the community had been confined pretty well to the Lakeshore Road, a few houses on Morgan and several in the College green area. With completion of the Metropolitan Boulevard, the top of the town (that section south of the tracks), was opened up and Veterans' Road (now Lakeview) was put in. This was the first new road in the town in a quarter of a century. It was built by the Federal Department of Veteran's Affairs for veterans housing. Some of the original homeowners are still there. During the next 10 years, the town boomed, with strict control, however, still being maintained on lot sizes (minimum 100 ft. frontage, 150 ft. depth, area of 15,OOO square feet), zoning and housing quality. Population soared from some 200 families to 800. Apart from the Carrière and Smith greenhouses, in existence for years, Baie d'Urfé was essentially a single-family-dwelling, residential community, although provision had been made for possible commercial development.

   It was at that time that the very pleasant, simple, informal everybody-knows- everybody-else aspect of Baie d'Urfé began to disappear: swimming off Town Hall park; hockey either on a cleared spot of Lake St. Louis or on Morgan park rink flooded by a few of the neighbours; dancing under lights on the Town Hall grounds on Baie d'Urfé Day when everybody turned out; the winter carnival on the ponds west of Morgan, near where Bedford Road is today; Picking up the mail at the Town Hall, with the pleasant chatting accompanying it; attending meetings of the Citizen's Association when the entire membership could pretty well gather in the Town Hall, hiking or picnicking in the wooded Oakridge area or on the wide sweep of fields west of Morgan Road.

   The mainspring of community activities was the Baie d'Urfè Citizens' Association, formed In 1947 by a handful of civic-minded residents to promote and maintain in residents an interest in their town's affairs, render Town Council all

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assistance possible by reporting any problems or projects of interest to the citizens, and provide a forum where residents could meet, whether for social, recreational or civic affairs. One of the Association's most important responsibilities was to ensure that a slate of suitable candidates was available when civic election time came along. Its job in this matter was so thorough that elections were - and continue to be - rare. Recreation, welfare, public service and many other projects and programs were organized or promoted by the Association, as well as other worthwhile policies or developments for the improvement of the town. The Association, its first president, Phil Halliday, also launched a local monthly newspaper, News and Views - again a purely voluntary effort.

   As the Town grew, the Town Hall became too small to act as the center of community activity, and so in 1953 Council acquired (for $25,000) the Coop area on the Lakeshore Road, just east of Churchill, which has become, as planned, the heart of the action. The various former farm buildings have served the town well. The Coop itself was, as its name suggests, a chicken coop, and voluntary hands removed tons of manure, covered rat holes and rebuilt it to serve as meeting place, dance hall, exhibition center, etc. The fire department occupies former horse stables, which, over the years, have also served as police offices, town post office and dressing rooms for various hockey leagues. The cow barn stood just south of the curling club swimming pool and was razed as being unsuitable for any use the town might have in mind. Another smaller outbuilding housed the Town's first library and is now part of the town's works yards.

   The first skating rink in the area was flooded in 1954 and in the same decade the recreational nature of the area was confirmed when a group of curling enthusiasts organized and built the curling club, and the Citizens' Association, with a small group of men personally endorsing a note to get sufficient funds, brought the

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citizens' swimming pool into being. The tennis courts and modem baseball diamond came a few years later. In the late 50's, the interest and dedication of a handful of enthusiasts brought into being the Baie d'Urfé Yacht Club, in Bertold Park, now with a basin second to none. About the only recreational activities not concentrated in The Coop area are the boat club, just west of the town hall, and the ski slopes at the eastern entrance of the town on Allan's Hill, originally available free of charge through the kindness of the hill's owner, the late Douglas Allan, and subsequently acquired by the town.

   The "law" returned to Baie d'Urfé in 1959 in the person of Chief Tom Gray and the town got its first police vehicle since Constable O'Hara's bicycle. Under Chief Gray, a volunteer fire brigade was organized to man the town's first fire truck, later joined by a tank truck since hydrants were non-existent. Up until this time, Baie d'Urfé had relied on the provincial force for policing and on Macdonald College's fire truck for fire protection.

   The town became one of the smallest communities in the country to adopt the "town manager" principle when in Sept. 1960 R. J. McKenna was appointed "Town Superintendent" In the fall of 1962 he was given the formal title, "Town Manager" the town's first.

   The first violent deaths in Baie d'Urfé possibly since the time of the Iroquois took place during the late 50's when a huge truck - for reasons unknown - plowed into a tree on Morgan Road, killing two men.

   Until the town started to boom, Baie d'Urfé's Protestant children went to school at Macdonald, where they could go from Grade 1 to University degree. Roman Catholic Children went to St. Joseph's, in Beaurepaire. The town's growing population meant new schools and in 1956 and 1957, Dorset, then Oakridge elementary schools were built.

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In 1964-65, Corpus Christi, a Roman Catholic elementary school, was built. The first church in Baie d'Urfé since d'Urfé's chapel was St. Giles, a Presbyterian church built in 1956.

   William (Will) Spriggs of 32 Oxford Road, has been living in Baie d'Urfé since 1921, with the exception of time at college, etc. His knowledge of the town is extensive.

   "I came to Baie d'Urfé when my parents moved from Nova Scotia to 20790 Lakeshore Road," he recalls, and I stayed with them until 1923 when I graduated from McGill. (20790 is part of College Green)."

   "In those days there was no road bridge at Ste. Anne's and the only exit from the western end of Montreal Island (apart from the two railway bridges) was by ferry or by sleigh over the ice in the winter time, the ice road being marked by little fir saplings. Electricity was supplied from Ste. Anne de Bellevue. Meters were not used and the rate varied with each house depending on the number of fixtures and outlets the house contained. Electric refrigerators were almost unknown and every one had an ice box serviced by regular deliveries of ice. Skiing, a comparatively modern sport, was almost unheard of and we spent quite a bit of time snow shoeing in the winter time. The house at 20790 was originally a farm house, burnt down about 150 years ago and rebuilt on the original foundations."

   "I married in 1926 and my wife and I in 1929 bought a house at 63 St. Andrew's Road in College Green, (built in 1912), where we lived until 1938. College Green was originally two farms which were bought and subdivided by my Uncle, J. W. Hayward, some time about 1910 or 11. My uncle was ahead of his time and the outbreak of war in 1914 pretty well put a stop to further purchase of lots and building of houses. He died in 1932, and my Aunt being unable to carry the tax load, all remaining properties were sold by the Town."

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   "Only a few houses were built on College Green in the 20's; it must have seemed, to most people, a long way to commute into town. The big depression of the 30's and then the 2nd World War discouraged builders and it was not until the late 40's and the 50's that College Green really started to grow and develop to its present extent."

   "During the nine years that I lived on St. Andrew's Road there were no extensions made to the paved roads. Oxford went up as far as the cemetery, St. Andrew's only as far as my house (No. 63) and Cambridge Road existed only on paper. There was only one other house on St. Andrew's - No. 47."

   "At that time we had "Rigaud Water", supplied, by gravity flow, from the "Grease River" in Rigaud. The water was of very good quality but the supply had two very serious drawbacks. One of these was occasioned by the frequent breaks in the water mains due to the pipes being made of wood staves (like a barrel) held together by iron binding wire which rusted through. The other problem was the poor pressure due to the route taken. When the installation was first made to Baie d'Urfé, Macdonald College would not allow passage across their property from Senneville and consequently the water main had to go up the St. Marie Road and then down to Baie d'Urfé past the station and along Morgan Road to the Lakeshore. The result was that in summer time with heavy use of water in Senneville there was insufficient pressure to get the water over the higher land at certain times of the day and we went without. I built and installed a large, copper lined, storage tank, in the basement, which filled up during the night and with an automatic pump I was able to overcome the problem."

   "There were very few cars about in those days. We did not have one. Delivery by the various stores (grocery, milk, bread, drugstore, ice, etc.) was by horse drawn vehicle in summer and by sleigh in winter. St. Andrew's Road was not ploughed in winter, it was rolled with a great big horse drawn roller. Taxi's used cars in summer, sleighs in winter."

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   "There was no mail delivery, of course, and one had to pick up one's mail at one's P.O.Box in the Post Office in Ste. Anne de Bellevue."

   "Oil heating was unheard of in the country districts and every one used coal. J. B. D'Aoust did big business in coal then. One laid in a whole winters supply the fall - welsh anthracite - plenty of heat but a lot of work, stoking up twice a day and carrying out ashes and clinkers, not to mention the coal burning hot water heater. Perhaps we shall be getting back to this again some day when oil gets scarcer and scarcer - as it will!"

   "One little spring time problem we had on College Green, in the early days, was grass fires. With so few houses and so much grass, it was a real danger and I have seen a fire sweep right across from what is now Cambridge Road, jumping over St. Andrew's, and only stopped by a back fire started on Oxford Road."

   "Commuting into the city was always by train with excellent service on both the Grand Trunk (later C.N.) and the C.P. In the 1930's the C.N. 5:15 from Bonaventure Station was scheduled to get to Ste. Anne's in 28 minutes with two stops and it did it too, regularly, travelling over 70 mph between stations. All steam needless to say. One walked to the station and back of course."

   "During the big depression of the 30's, there were very few outboard engines around and we used to go on river picnics by rowing boat to Dowkers Island and some- times round to Rocky Ledge on Isle Perrot. Difficult, sometimes, getting back if the wind had picked up!"

   "In 1938 I moved to where I am now at 32 Oxford Road, a house built in 1912. The house was originally heated by two "Quebec" stoves, one downstairs and one upstairs but a furnace and hot water heating subsequently installed, I believe in the 20's."

   "It was very shortly after we moved that the Rigaud Water Co., unable to improve the service, gave up supply Baie d'Urfé, and like every one else, I had to have a well I remember mine cost me $2.00/100 a foot and was 50 feet deep. One of the very

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few deep wells was at the Town Hall - 200 feet".

   Mr. Spriggs treasures a copy of the folder issued by his Uncle, J. W. Hayward, more than 65 years ago, "selling" the proposed College Green development - a private residential park", with well-timbered water frontage, adjoining the beautiful grounds of Macdonald College and within 30 minutes ride of Montreal" :


   "College Green is situated in the Parish of Ste. Anne de Bellevue, at the western or residential end of the island of Montreal. It is bounded upon the north by the Grand Trunk & Canadian Pacific Railways, on the west by Macdonald College, and on the south by Lake St. Louis.
   From its highest level, near the railways, the ground slopes towards the south and east so that extensive views of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers and of the wooded shores of Ile Perrot are obtained from almost every point.
   In the spring the estate is girdled with blossom; in the fall it is crowned with gold.


   A homesite costs less in College Green than anywhere else along the shores of take St. Louis south of the railroads.
   Prices range upwards from $340 but only a few remain at that low figure, why not secure one before they are all sold?


   Subdivision of College Green has been carefully planned to maintain the privacy and parklike appearance of the estate and, with the same object, reasonable building restrictions are inserted in all deeds of sale. The standard frontage of a lot is 50 ft. and most purchasers are buying two lots, so as to provide for a spacious garden.

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All residents will have ample rights of access to the lake and wharf will be provided for use.


Ten minutes walk through the grounds of Macdonald College leads from the estate to the G.T.R. & C.P.R. stations of Ste. Anne, between which and Montreal there is a service, winter and summer, of 50 trains per day, some of these cover the distance in twenty eight minutes. The commutation fare is 12 cents (scholars 6 cents). Since the Toronto & Ottawa expresses stop at Ste. Anne, residents there avoid the inconvenience and delay of going into Montreal when starting or returning from a journey.


The Vaudreuil Springs Syndicate are prepared to supply water to houses in College Green this summer. Arrangements are also being made for the supply of electricity.


Children from the kindergarten age upwards receive free education under the direction of the best teacher in Canada at the model school in connection with Madonald College, which they can reach from College Green without crossing a public road."

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   While generally a quiet, unexcitable town, Baie d'Urfé has had its controversies.

   Some of these are recalled by Peter Smith whose association with Baie d'Urfé dates back to World War I days when as a child he lived on Scott's Fam (Poplar place); as a teenager drove a horse and wagon delivering groceries in the area for a Ste. Anne de Bellevue grocer and then had his own home on Oxford Road for more than 30 years. He is a former member of Town council, was active on the citizens' Association and a stalwart of the Horticultural Society, once very big in the town.

   "When we moved into our house in 1946," he recalled, "there were only three streets in town - Oxford, St. Andrew's and Morgan. The rest was all farm land. It did not take long to develop - Lakeview, Sunny Acres and Caron Point opened up."

   "The first upheaval in town came shortly after World War II when veterans such as Hudson, Parker, Halliday, Vidler, etc., felt the method of operation of the local government should be changed. They felt there should be regular and open meetings in the town hall for the conduct of the town's business, rather than the occasional meeting in the Montreal office of the secretary-treasurer, John Long, often with only the mayor and secretary-treasurer present, with the town's residents uninformed of the results."

   "There were a number of meetings, both public and in private homes, the feeling being that with the war's end and the town's undoubted growth and increasing populace, its affairs had to be run on a more business-like and public basis, with the town's records being kept in the town hall where they would be easily accessible to the public, rather than in Mr. Long's office. As a result of this agitation,

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Mayor Fred Case In 1947 conducted regular and public meetings and they were well attended"

   In 1949, Smith recalls, when Prof. Hanson, of MacDonald College was elected to council and town planning became a part of his responsibilities, he enlisted the assistance of Prof. John Bland, McGill'g dean of architecture, and a neighbor, in the drafting of new building by-laws for the town. These covered size of lots, distance between buildings, materials, use and occupancy of land, etc. All done just in time for "the boom" .

   Shortly after, Mr. Smith recalls, came-the next "upheaval" - "the Miller episode".

   "Miller Construction had bought McBride's Farm (north of today's Gay Cedars)," he recalled. "The property extended from approximately 500 feet north of the Lakeshore Road to the highway. When council was informed that Mr. Miller hoped to build a series of low-cost, relatively similar bungalows from the edge of College Green to Morgan Road, a great battle took place involving Miller Construction, council, the citizens'association and individual citizens. It was quite an uproar. Law suits were threatened, building by-laws revised, etc. A majority of council under Mayor Jean Gelinas felt that Miller's proposed low-cost construction program limited materials, design, detail, etc., and that such a type of housing was simply not in the best interests of the town.

   "The town was on very thin ice in seeking to block Miller as the by-laws involved were not entirely clear. However a majority of council felt the Miller scheme should be fought. Mr. Miller, rather than wanting a fight with the town, withdrew his plans, sold the land and moved on. Not all of council, incidentally, was opposed to Mr. Miller's scheme, and in fact one alderman resigned in protest over the town's attitude. Personally, I feel that Mr. Gelinas deserves credit for his stand. As a result of the

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controversy, our building by-laws were improved and strengthened to prevent lost cost row housing in the town".

   One of the most celebrated controversies was in 1956 when the first mayoralty election in more than 20 years was a result. The mayor, Jean Gelinas, the only French-speaking mayor in the town's history, had been criticized in connection with issuance of a building permit to him for a garage. Allegations in the community newspaper, News and Views, resulted in a lawsuit and nomination of Dr. Harvey Cruickshank for the post of mayor, in opposition to Mr. Gelinas. Mr. Gelinas, seeking his second term, was the Citizens Association's candidate. He lost to Dr. Cruickshank.

   A second controversy concerned the route for the new metropolitan boulevard, or Trans-Canada Highway. Ile Perrot development interests pressed strongly for a route which would have had the west bound highway dip south at the Beaurepaire-Baie d'Urfé boundary, run through - or over - Baie d'Urfé's eastern residential section, leap across Lake St. louis to Dowker's Island, to Ile Perrot, and on to the mainland at Les Cascades. The fight raged for months, with nearly every other municipality - and all the daily newspapers - favouring this route to the one that Baie d'Urfé argued was the most logical one, directly off the west end of the island. The latter route was adopted.

   The controversy which probably involved the most people personally and emotionally the famous by-law calling for keeping all dogs in town either on a leash or tied up. It was a battle of dog lovers versus flower lovers, (or vice versa) with those on both spilling out Council Chamber windows whenever the proposed by-Law came up for consideration. The dogs lost.

   While two areas east and west of Morgan Road, just south of the Metropolitan had been available for commercial development for years, it wasn't until

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1964 that "commerce" established there - Cooper's garage, (now Beacon Ford) formerly located at Ste. Anne's, moving into the eastern commercial area. In 1966-67, Baie d'Urfé residents, after many decades of having to go to Ste. Anne's Beaconsfield, or further, got their own shopping centre in the western commercial area, and the era of Baie d'Urfé as a unique, purely residential community had come to an end.

   The next big step in the town's development, after the shopping center, was installation of the new water system, which, as mentioned earlier, came in 1967-68. The industrial age reached the town in 1965 when a large part of Baie d'Urfé north - that section lying north of the Metropolitan Boulevard and the railroad tracks - was established as an industrial park. Basic services in the area, such as roads and water, were approved by council in September 1969 and a building permit for the town's first industrial plant was issued in December, 1969. This was to General Steel Wares Limited, which opened the following year.

   The biggest celebration in Baie d'Urfé's history came in 1961 when the town marked the 275th anniversary of its founding and the 50th anniversary of its incorporation. Francois Collaveri, the prefect of the department of Loire, in France, whence the d'Urfé family came, made a special visit to Baie d'Urfé to officially unveil a cairn in the Coop area commemorating d'Urfé's early chapel on Caron Point. At the personal request of President de Gaulle, who had been written by Mayor T. R. Lee, M. Collaveri had also arranged for shipment to Canada of stone from d'Urfé chateaux in France, for incorporation in the cairn. The site of the d'Urfé mission was officially designated a provincial historic site.

   The town's outstanding landmark today was its Centennial Project. Is the flagpole in Bertold Park which stands exactly 100 feet high and is one of the tallest flagpoles in eastern Canada. The pole, its transportation from British

-- 28 --

Columbia and its treatment against weather were a joint gift of MacMillan Bloedel and Domtar Ltd. - a gift arranged largely through the efforts of a former resident alderman of the town, Pat Doyle, now an executive of MacMillan Bloedel. Tied in with this project was improvement and re-dedication of a vastly enlarged water- front park and the planned planting of 100 trees, all native to Canada.

   The name Bertold in Bertold Park comes from the late Bertold Weinsberg, head of a company, Lakeview Gardens Corporation, which had large land holdings in Baie d'Urfé including a major segment of what is now Bertold Park. Quebec Hydro had planned to establish an important power station in Baie d'Urfé, south of where the shopping center stands.

   This would have ruined the big Lakeview Gardens residential subdivision Weinsberg and his associates had planned for the area, indeed would have ruined the residential nature of that large section of the town. The mayor, Jean Gelinas, persuaded Hydro Québec to put its installation north of the tracks and in gratitude, Weinsberg turned their waterfront holdings in what is now Bertold Park over to the town. At the time, of course, it was a wild, untouched waterfront swamp area but Celinas saw its possibilities. The town, in turn, named the area Bertold Park and over the years has continued to enlarge and improve it.

   The fact the town is so rich in park area stems from a requirement laid down by town council in the early 50's as developers were discovering the town that 10 percent (later 5%) of the area of an approved subdivision would be given to the town for parks and playgrounds purposes. If the section of the town concerned were considered to have adequate park area already, then a cash grant would be acceptable, this again to be towards parks and playground development. Many of the towns parks were acquired in this way and the procedure it pioneered years ago is now part of Quebec Municipal law.

   As a result, the town probably enjoys more parkland than any of comparable size or even larger anywhere in the province.

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   The story of the town's "founder", François d'Urfé, is sketched in Abbé Armand Yon's "A Victim of Frontenac" He in turn drew upon a number of works including "Lake St. Louis, Old and New," by Girouard: "Histoire de Ia colonie Française en Canada" (Faillon); History of Montreal (Dollier de Caggon); "Estat Present de l'Eglise et de la colonie Française dans Nouvelle France," by Abbé de St. Vallier, Bishop of Quebec, published in Paris, June, 1688, and other documents and corresp- ondence.

   The story is that of a man of old and titled family, close to the throne of France, forsaking all that his rank and connections might have offered for the opportunity to work among the Indians in far-off, wild, primitive Canada. He traded the family chateaux for a simple hut, the richest of fare for the poorest, was deathly ill on his ocean voyages, narrowly missed death by drowning on one of the many hazardous trips he made by canoe, once got lost in the forest near what is now Port Hope, braved scurvy to assist stricken soldiers and habitants at Fort Chambly and tangled orally with that giant of New France and of Canadian history, Frontenac, helping to bring about that great but arrogant governor's recall to France.

   While the Town perpetuates his name, it is for his confrontation with Frontenac that d'Urfé is best known to history.

   Known to Louis XIV and related to Colbert, first minister of France, d'Urfé, in letters from Canada, complained to M. Colbert about Frontenac's treatment of the clergy in New France. As a result, Frontenac was ticked off by the King and Colbert, and then, when neither his temper nor behaviour seemed to improve, was recalled.

   "As d'Urfé's cousin Fénelon (another Sulpician) is famous in our history for having stood up to Frontenac," says Abbé Yon, "so should d'Urfé be for having largely contributed to the fall of this powerful ruler". Even more important, adds Yon, when Frontenac returned to Canada for a second term, he was a different, improved,

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greater man, "and for having contributed, even indirectly, to such a miracle, for having, as the saying goes, 'belled the cat' Abbé d'Urfé deserves our gratitude and an honorable place in our national history".

   There is little tangible evidence of d'Urfé's presence in Canada.

   There is one personal link - a pewter chalice about four inches high and three and a quarter inches in diameter, and bearing on its bottom the arms of the Abbé d'Urfé. It is one of the treasures in the Notre Dame Church Museum, Place d'Ames, Montreal. The coat of arms is centered by the arms of Urfé - a family now extinct; the coronet signifies the bearer as a marquis and the wreath of thorns reflects d'Urfé's choice of religion as his life's work. The hallmarks indicate that the cup was made by Denis Patu, in Paris, in 1684 - the year before d'Urfé made his third and final trip to Canada.

   D'Urfé's arms have been officially adopted by the town as its own, and can be seen on the town's letterhead, its fire and works trucks, as well as in the insignia of a number of the town's recreational clubs and associations and vehicles and organizations unknown in d'Urfé's day.





JUNE 20, 1977