BAIE D'URFE MEMORIES, by Daphne Allan Lindsay, N&V June 1977
Individual, personal memories of Baie d'urfé continue to come in to NEWS & VIEWS, and we are happy to share these with our readers. This month we hear from Mrs. Daphne Lindsay.
As a long-time resident of Baie d'Urfé, I can truly say that the experience has given me a deeper awareness and appreciation of the wonders of nature than could ever have been realized in an urban setting.
The fun and foibles of winter blizzards (and way back then, we had REAL blizzards!), the annual predictions as to when the ice in the lake would break up, the advent of flocks of Canada geese "honking" their way north in early spring, and the magic recreation of growing things as winter waned, all were important parts of the cycle.
School Closings Rare!
On one of the rare occasions that our "school bus" (actually a farm truck) could not make it through the nine-foot drifts, dumped by the previous day's storm, my brother and I set out on skiis and eventually did make it to classes at Macdonald High School. This much smaller version of the present building, then serviced students from Hudson, Vaudreuil, Senneville, Ste. Anne's, Ste. Marie, Baie d'Urfé and Beaurepaire.
I don't remember a school day ever being cancelled because of bad weather.
Of interest to local yachtsmen, a record kept over twentyfive years of ice departure from the lake shows that March 25, 1953, was the earliest date, and April 23, 1971, was the latest. The middle of April appears to be the average, so prospects for sailing by the first of May are always good.
East End of Town Mainly Farms
The West end of town was, naturally, the most inhabited area, being the residential location of families connected with the college. The east end, however, consisted mainly of farms, owned by M. David Pilon, who raised children and pigs. (I still find it difficult to serve baked ham for dinner, as I had more than a passing interest in his livestock!); the Scott family farm (now Poplar Place) which had milk cows, and kept a bee colony up on Oak Ridge; Maxwelton Farm, owned by Monty Yates, who had a beautiful herd of Jerseys; and the Pooles, who were also dairy farmers.
The homes on the lake side of the road were then mostly summer residences of city folk. All of Oak Ridge was a beautifully treed, sandduned area - a playgronnd for foxes and verdant cattlegrazing fields. How it has changed!
As youngsters, the high light of our day was + bicycle or boat down the town hall for the six o'clock mail. Mr. Robe son was the Town postmaster and caretaker.
Town Hall Building not changed
It was also a chance to catch up on the "local dirt" from the neighbors which we may have missed on the party-line telephone!
Those were the days ... and I'm happy to report that the appearance of the Town Hall has basically not changed.
I happened to meet and marry a city boy, who had surprisingly found himself in Agricultural School at Macdonald
Good Qualities Preserved
College, and the charming rural qualities of Baie d'Urfe captured his heart, too.
In spite of citification processes, dutch elm diseas shopping malls, rising taxe lake pollution and M.U.C., it has been a source of pleasure for us to have raised our family in the home where I grew up and the community which has preserved the good qualities of life through competent town planning and sensible bylaws. I hope that nothing can take away this heritage.
Images of the original N&V article: