H A M P L A I N
E V I S I T E D
P O M P
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P A T R I O T I S M
VOL 4, NO. 11
Cold Welcome Stereotypes and xenophobia in early press portrayals of Chinese immigrants
A Current Affair Sigismund Mohr pioneered Quebec City’s hydroelectric power
Odysseus in Canada A Greek journey in the history of la Vieille Capitale
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
President’s Message 3 The Fine Print Kevin O’Donnell
EDITOR DWANE WILKIN PRODUCTION DAN PINESE PUBLISHER THE QUEBEC ANGLOPHONE HERITAGE NETWORK 400-257 QUEEN STREET SHERBROOKE (LENNOXVILLE) QUEBEC J1M 1K7 PHONE 1-877-964-0409 (819) 564-9595 FAX (819) 564-6872 CORRESPONDENCE [email protected]
WEBSITE WWW.QAHN.ORG PRESIDENT KEVIN O’DONNELL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DWANE WILKIN COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR BARBARA LAVOIE OFFICE MANAGER KATHY TEASDALE
Letters 4 Herd leader Daniel Parkinson Our pleasure Carol Green TimeLines 5 Voices from Quebec Barbara Lavoie What’s in a name? Barbara Lavoie Cold Welcome Early press portrayals of Chinese Quebecers A Current Affair Sigismund Mohr, hydro-electric pioneer The Humbler Celts The obscure legacy of Quebec’s Welsh Odysseus in Canada A Greek journey in the history of Quebec Champlain Revisited Pomp and patriotism in the confection of history The Forgotten Patriote E.B. O’Callaghan and early democratic reform Group Behaviour English schools and the shaping of identity
6 Scott French 8 Antonin Zaruba 10 Patrick Donovan 12 Louisa Blair 14 Richard Virr 18 Marjorie A. Fitzpatrick 21 Annie Pilote
Reviews 23 Remember All the Way Gloria Er-Chua HindSight 25 Harmony Nick Fonda
Quebec Heritage Magazine is produced six times yearly by the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) with the support of The Department of Canadian Heritage and Quebec’s Ministere de la Culture et des Communications. QAHN is a non-profit and non-partisan umbrella organization whose mission is to help advance knowledge of the history and culture of English-speaking society in Quebec. Canada Post Publication Mail Agreement Number 405610004. ISSN 17707-2670
Event Listings 27
Cover: Chinese official, Mgr. Tchiou Tchu Koi, photographed outside the Ligue nationaliste headquarters on rue Côte d'Abraham, Quebec City, undated. Photo reproduced in The Anglos: The Hidden Face of Quebec City, Volume II, by Louisa Blair. (Commission de la Capitale nationale et Éditions Sylvain Harvey, 2005).
The Fine Print by Kevin O’Donnell egular readers of Quebec Heritage News may have noticed a change in recent issues of this magazine: Rod Macleod’s always-insightful column no longer graces these opening pages. After five years at the helm, Rod told his fellow directors on the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) board that he would be stepping down as president at the end of the 2007-08 term. Over the entreaties of the directors (especially me) he relinquished the post during our annual general meeting last June 14. I was elected to take over. It’s a cliché to talk about “big shoes to fill,” but this is certainly a time when the cliché rings true. Rod—and before him, QAHN’s founding President Dick Evans— had created and nurtured an organization universally recognized as the voice of Quebec’s English-speaking heritage and local-history communities. This magazine is just one of the projects carried out by QAHN in recent years. Others that immediately spring to mind include the heritage conferences that QAHN has sponsored in Montreal, the historywriting contests in schools, the delightfully named Heritage Awareness and Stewardship Training Initiative (HASTI) and Cemetery Heritage Inventory and Restoration Initiative (CHIRI) projects, our Heritage Trails pamphlet series, the annual Marion Phelps Award recognizing outstanding contributors to the protection and promotion of heritage and history, our website and the suite of regional heritage webmagazines. Both Rod and Dick would want me to point out that much of the heavy lifting on these projects was carried out by Dwane Wilkin, our executive director, Kathy Teasdale our office manager, and a number of keen contract pro-
fessionals, all of the above ably supported by QAHN’s volunteer board of directors. I was president of the Hudson Historical Society two years ago when Michael Cooper asked me to complete his term as director representing the Outaouais region. I agreed, but didn’t read the fine print—it turned out that Michael was also vice-president of QAHN, and the vice-president was expected to step up to the plate upon the president’s retirement. So, apart from naïveté, what other qualities do I bring to the job? Well, history, both local and global, has always fascinated me. I put this curiosity to work on a number of history projects in my days at Quebec’s Ministry of Education and at the province’s public television network, Télé-Québec. Many groups throughout the province have seen “Quebec Mosaic,” a series of video narratives based on local history themes. This series included titles such as The Eighth Wonder of the World—Building the Victoria Bridge;
QAHN president Kevin O’Donnell greets the crowd during Townshippers’ Day celebrations in Sutton, Sept. 20, 2008. Photo by Barbara Lavoie.
Fighting the Flames; The Squire of the Great Kettle (about Philemon Wright and the founding of the settlement that would become Hull); The Gaspé Schooners, and A Home in the Wilderness (recalling the reallife adventures of a pioneer family in the Eastern Townships). I have lived in Quebec all my life, have travelled to just about every region in the province, including the North and the Lower North Shore, and always seek out local histories to round out my appreciation of the places I visit. s someone long involved in educational technology, I am also keen to contribute to our Internet presence, to help make the most out of this very powerful communications tool. Supporting this magazine must also be on any QAHN president’s priority list. Dwane Wilkin is the editor and publisher of Quebec Heritage News, as well as carrying out his duties as executive director, a full-time job in itself. I hope to help the magazine
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
reach its full potential by working with Dwane to increase the readership base and its potential pan-Canadian reach. i t h Voices from Quebec [see Timelines, current issue] we are venturing into new territory this year. QAHN will be assisting the Blue Metropolis Foundation, sponsor of Montreal’s major international literary festival in carrying out a school-based oral history project that we expect will involve nearly a dozen schools in as many regions. Students will work with writers and media experts to turn the life stories of seniors into online audio podcasts. Reenie Marx, whose students at Laurentian Regional High School in Lachute put together truly remarkable video programmes in their Building Bridges projects, has agreed to lend her expertise to this collaborative project. Connecting with youth, helping them appreciate the richness of their communities, is one of QAHN’s primordial goals. We have great hopes that Voices from Quebec will lay the foundation for an expanded outreach into the schools in the years ahead. The big story in Quebec history this year, of course, is the series of celebrations surrounding the 400th anniversary of the founding of la Vieille
capitale. While English-speakers did not scramble up the escarpment with Samuel de Champlain in 1608—the Kirke Brothers would not show up, uninvited, until 1629—anglophones of different classes and ethnic groups have made Quebec City their home for the last two-and-half-centuries. This Thanksgiving weekend QAHN is very proud to host Roots Quebec, an event which will highlight the rich diversity and contributions of these English-speaking groups. We are partnering with the Morrin Centre and Shalom Québec in what promises to be a special and engaging event. Space is limited, so if you haven’t already, please consider joining us for all or part of this event. The following pages offer sketches in the history of a few of these Quebec City communities, narratives not always heard elsewhere. My thanks goes out to all of those who contributed to this issue of Quebec Heritage News and to those Roots Quebec conference participants who are helping us to shed more light on the evolving character of contemporary English Quebec. he heritage network now counts over one hundred historical societies and heritage organizations among its core and affiliate members. An indication of the role QAHN can play took place recently in Quebec City. Dwane
Wilkin and I were invited to participate in a workshop entitled “Cultural Heritage: Obstacles and Opportunities for Municipal Development” during the annual convention of the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités. About fifty English-speaking mayors, councillors and municipal administrators attended the workshop; I believe that they came away with a better understanding of new heritage legislation that the Quebec government will likely bring into law early next year. This is a bread-and butter issue for municipalities, offering them the promise of new powers (and access to subsidies) but also saddling them with new responsibilities (perhaps without the grants.) Along with fellow panellists David Belgue, president of the États généraux du paysage québécois and Joan Westland-Eby, mayor of East Bolton, I think we were able to help the audience understand some of the potential benefits as well as the pitfalls of the proposed legislation. We emphasized that we represented QAHN’s membership and included a list of the member groups in the resource folders we handed out. Very positive audience reactions, including requests to do workshops at next year’s convention, convinced us that we had represented our constituency well before these municipal authorities. It was, we felt, a harbinger of significant accomplishments in the year ahead.
Letters Herd leader I enjoyed reading the short article, “Miner in History” (May-June Timelines, 2008). Pinetree Farm, as it was known, was home to one of the leading Jersey herds of its day with imported breeding, probably from the famous Brampton herd of B.H. Bull. The herd was dispersed about 1961 but had a major influence on the development of Jerseys in Canada with breeding stock sold to leading herds from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and bulls placed in the earliest Artificial Insemination units. The herd was noted for its high butterfat production. The manager for many
years was a man named Walter Wright. There is something of interest in every issue. It is a fine magazine. Daniel Parkinson Toronto, Ont.
Our pleasure My son, Paul, who is in Grade 5, has chosen as his topic for a year-long school project, the history of Englishspeaking settlements in the Pontiac region of western Quebec. We have a personal connection to a heritage home in the village of Quyon, and that has, in part, inspired his choice of topic. My 4
mother, Betty Mohr Green, grew up in there and her sister Grace and her husband still own the Mohr family house. We visit them each summer. I learned of Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network on the Internet and read Katharine Fletcher’s article about the Pontiac on your Outaouais Heritage Webmagazine. I just wanted to thank you for getting back to me so soon and for helping me locate other historical publications. It is good to know your organization, along with your other contacts, exist. Sincerely, Carol Green Thornhill, Ont.
Voices from Quebec Oral history project in English schools is one of a kind by Barbara Lavoie itage. Each finished documentary will be converted to an electronic sound file, then posted on the QAHN and Blue Metropolis websites for sharing with other Quebec students—and the world. “We are very pleased to be part of this exciting project,” said Kevin O’Donnell, QAHN president. “The students will gain valuable skills in conducting local historical research, and how to conceptualize, plan, write and produce for radio and for podcasts.” O’Donnell added that he expects the material students gather during the oral-history interviews could form the basis of a variety of future research projects, including written articles or even video-documentaries. Participating students will be invited to present their documentaries during the 11th annual Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival in April 2009, a five-day celebration that attracts hundreds of writers, literary translators, actors, journalists and publishers, from around the world. “I’m certain the process will be an eye-opener from beginning to end for everyone involved,” O’Donnell said.
eachers and students from a dozen high schools across Quebec will get the chance this winter to make radio documentaries featuring stories and voices from their local communities, as part of a unique oral-history project developed by the Blue Metropolis Foundation in partnership with the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN). Voices from Quebec is an education project that will show teams of English-language students how to conduct historical research and interview seniors about their life stories. Students will combine writing with digital voice recordings and modern communications technology to document accounts of local historical events or topics, which will be then be made available for download from the Internet as audio files, known as “podcasts.” “The project was inspired by the successful Sounds Like Quebec project we offered in 2006,” said Florence Allegrini, educational program coordinator at Blue Metropolis. This year teams of participating students will work closely with a published author, a sound engineer and an oral-history expert to produce a radio documentary of approximately five minutes in length exploring some aspect of local or regional her-
For more inf call Blue Met at (514) 932-1112.
What’s in a name? Laurentians toponomy expert releases French version of best-seller mobilize efforts to save an historic railroad station from demolition a few years ago. Eskenazi heads up the English-language communications committee at the Ste-Agathe Hospital, while Graham servies on the hospital board. But it was selling real estate that first got Graham interested in penning local history. Since 1985 he and Eskenazi have owned and operated Doncaster Realties, a brokerage firm specializing in lakefront and recreational properties. “I found as I was taking people around to look at properties I was telling them the local history,” recalls Graham, who grew up in the region. “Then I started sending my clients newsletters with historical information. Before long I had a progressive history of the area, and people were asking for various issues of the newsletter. The book was an obvious end-result of this process.” Conferences and presentations at libraries and historical societies are planned over the next several months in the Laurentians and Montreal.
ove of history and a keen eye for the housing market helped put Joe Graham’s first book on Quebec’s English-language best-seller list three years ago. Now the 59-year-old author is betting his Naming the Laurentians: A history of place names up North will appeal to francophones too. “The idea is to get people interested in their own history,” said Graham prior to launching of Nommer les Laurentides: La petite histoire des cantons du nord. “By going back in time, we get the answer to why things are the way they are today, and these answers are often in place names.” In 2005 the popular original English version of the book became a surprise hit, enjoying a 12-week run on The Gazette’s best-seller list. Fully-illustrated with maps as well as antique postcards, the book traces the region’s development from pre-historic times through the colonial period of French and English settlement, to the modern era. The French edition has been translated by Michelle Tisseyre and features a foreword by Quebec historian Pierre Anctil. Graham and his wife Sheila Eskenazi have for many years now managed to integrate their own business with community conservation issues. Co-founders of the Ste-Agathe Historical Society, the couple helped
Find these book at www.ballyhoo.ca/history or call (819) 326-4963. Barbara Lavoie 5
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
COLD WELCOME Stereotypes and xenophobia in early press portrayals of Chinese Quebecers by Scott French
hristian Samson was right: I’d never have found what I was looking for if he hadn’t taken me there in person. A neat, glass case stood in the corner of the front entrance of what is now a new-looking cultural complex in the old Quebec City neighbourhood of St. Roch. Salvaged during the demolition of Le Canton building in 1968, the hunk of grey stone mortar inside the display case isn’t even that old; chiselled in red Chinese characters, the words read: “Made in Hong Kong, Zhu Xin inc., 1965.” But in a neighbourhood that has undergone significant development in the last 40 years, the artefact tells a much deeper story. The mortar recalls a time when Chinese restaurants and the families who owned them formed a genuine Chinatown on rue St. Valli-
er. Immigrants from China first began to establish themselves here in 1891, when the British presence in Hong Kong was not yet 50 years old. In some ways, this modest display illustrates Quebec City’s newfound, if wavering, commitment to formally acknowledge the historical presence of cultural groups other than those of French or British origin. By comparison, Samson’s interest in the study of Quebec’s historic Chinese community is steadfast. When the Université Laval doctoral student completes his dissertation on popular newspaper portrayals of immigrants in Quebec City’s press, the work will stand as one of the first comprehensive works on the history of the city’s Chinese population. But it’s already apparent that past media coverage of immigrants in Le Soleil, the Quebec 6
Chronicle-Telegraph and L’Action Catholique reveals more about the newspapers’ editorial bias and their readers’ perceptions than its does about the community itself. “There was little in-depth coverage on the Chinese,” says Samson, who has analysed roughly 500 articles between 1885 and 1949. “The Chinese were reserved for slow news days.” Historical newspaper accounts tell a sad tale of the hostile climate that Chinese immigrants faced, both in Quebec City and elsewhere in Canada. Following the completion of the Transcontinental Railway in the late 19th century, Chinese immigrants to Canada were pushed eastward, in part, by growing nationalist sentiment in western provinces. Racist fears that western Canada would be overrun with Chinese gained widespread ex-
pression as the “Yellow Peril,” with devastating social consequences. Noah Shakespeare, elected mayor of Victoria in 1878, formed the Anti-Chinese Association in 1879. Shakespeare’s politics proved so popular he was elected as a Conservative MP in 1882. By that time the names of Chinese Canadians had been stripped from the province’s electoral lists by British Columbia’s provincial legislature. In 1885 Canada’s parliament imposed the first head tax on Chinese male immigrants. Chinese hoping to find a safe haven in Quebec found little comfort in la Vieille Capitale, and incidents of violent attacks against Chinese business owners were regularly reported in the local press:
guard themselves against opium and prostitution. “They were considered dirty people, propagators of disease and scabs who pushed wages down,” Samson says. Trade unions clung to these stereotypes to keep Chinese labourers from entering their ranks. Protectionist rants against the Chinese laundries were familiar in the first years of the last century, like this one which appeared in Le Soleil on October 26, 1910:
Deux Chinois qui tiennent une buanderie sur la rue St. Joeseph ont été attaqués dans le noir…Les passants voyant la chose, entrènt et (se mirent) à battre les Chinois. Le Soleil, August 28, 1903
Amidst growing nationalist sentiment in the early 20th century Quebec, the Catholic church’s daily organ, L’Action Catholique, took a paradoxical editorial position, according to Samson. In his words, the newspaper was “anti-immigration, anti-Jewish, and right wing” on the one hand, but on the other, believed the immigrants’ souls must be saved by conversion to Christianity. “They had to conceal these points of view,” Samson notes. “They wanted to convert so they didn’t raise the question very often.” Napoleon Woo’s father was taken in by a French-Catholic order of nuns when he came to Quebec City in the 1920s. Woo considered his father lucky. “They helped him, told him what services were available, gave him clothing and food. At that time this place was so Catholic, it was a duty.” Despite the Catholic Church’s efforts and its camouflaged editorial positions, the Mission Chinoise had very limited success in converting the Chinese. By Samson’s calculations the missionaries only managed to convert 10 per cent of the local population. Another scholar, Louis-Jacques Dorais, said this number never exceeded 20 cent. Jiding Wong, on the other hand, said that in his father’s experience “the Catholic Church didn’t want to have anything to do with him.” Instead, Fred Wong sought the charity of the anglo-Protestant Chalmers-Wesley
iding Wong’s father, Fred Wong, paid a $500 head tax to come to Quebec City in 1922. In a recent interview, Wong said his father’s immigration stories testified to the city’s cold and inhospitable climate. “I asked him quite often when I was younger, when he was alive, what it was like, and he said: ‘We’d walk along and they’d just elbow us, shove us off the sidewalk, make fun of us. We were all in such heavy debt. Even if I were to win a fight, and that person took me to court, I’d stand a very good chance of being deported and I’d never be able to pay my debt then.” Wong said Chinese immigrants learned to quietly tolerate such attacks, surmising that fighting with the locals would not contribute to their dream of building a better life in Canada. But press accounts rarely, if ever, sought comment from victims. “It’s almost as if their opinion is external to the news story itself,” says Samson “so we have little idea of what the Chinese community thought at the time.” Negative press stereotypes about the Chinese abounded. Newspapers spread the notion that the Chinese had many vices and that Quebecers had to
Un moment de réfléxion ouvriers québecois, et bien vous comprendrez que c’est faire fausse route que de prendre le chemin des buanderies chinoises, au detriment des autres québecois.
United Church. Samson noted that he believed there was possibly a greater affinity between the English and Chinese communities, as opposed to the FrenchCanadian population, simply because they shared a common language. The Laval scholar could not account, however, why so many Chinese had gravitated toward speaking English as opposed to French. A significant influx of French-speaking Chinese wouldn’t be seen until the late 1960s and 70s when ethnic Chinese families emigrated from Vietnam. Regardless, better communication between the communities may explain why the city’s English-language press was “the most sympathetic to the cause of the Chinese” according to Samson. An article appearing in the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph in 1909 demonstrates these amicable relations between the communities at a Sunday school banquet at St. Matthew’s Church: The [Chinese] scholars had endeavoured to show in some way the great appreciation which the Chinese residents of the Ancient capital felt for the deep interest which had been taken in them by Quebecers. To his surprise, Samson has found that the Chronicle-Telegraph even went so far as to take editorial positions defending the Chinese in Canada. In an article entitled, “The Chinese Question” the author denounces the stereotypes and calls for the recognition of Chinese as citizens: They are Canadians, speaking our language fairly well, and they dress something like ourselves…they appear to like our country and be Canadian in sentiment. July 22, 1905 Another article published two years later dismissed the Yellow Peril sentiment and used a number of practical arguments to show the need for a more liberal immigration policy to meet the demand for labour.
Scott French is a reporter with the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph.
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
A CURRENT AFFAIR Sigismund Mohr pioneered Quebec City’s hydro-electric power by Antonin Zaruba
City District Telegraph Company with two other associates. Municipal authorities allowed him to install telegraph lines “provided they in no way intervene with the fire alarm telegraph.” The company was dissolved soon after and Mohr joined the larger Dominion Telegraph Company. The telephone was invented that same year, in 1876, and it caught on quickly. Mohr became interested in this new technological development at a time when different distributors were fighting for market dominance. Canadians used telephone systems developed by Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and local pioneers like Quebec City jeweler Cyrille Duquet, inventor of the double-ended telephone handset. Alexander Graham Bell’s company eventually won out in 1880, buying up all the major telegraph companies in the country. The government then granted Bell a monopoly on all long-distance telephone services. As a result of this, Mohr became Bell’s authorized agent in Quebec City, fulfilling his task remarkably well. Within the first six months of his mandate, the number of subscribers grew from 79 to 240. He financed new lines by recruiting local businesses, such as the ten companies who agreed to pay $100 per year for a new line linking Quebec City to the south shore town of Lévis.
or all his accomplishments, Sigismund Mohr remains a little-known figure in Quebec’s history. Born in Prussia, this Jewish immigrant was a major player in the industrial development of late 19th century Quebec City. Mohr brought electricity to the city and oversaw the development of a complete telephone and telegraph network. He was a technological pioneer responsible for many firsts in the province, namely the establishment of the first commercial hydroelectric plant. Sigismund Mohr was born on October 21, 1827 in Breslau, Poland, a major Jewish intellectual centre where, at age 22, he obtained a diploma in electrical engineering. Mohr spent a few years in London before immigrating to Canada, where he married a woman named Blume Levi, orignally from New York. They had five girls and two boys. The family settled in Quebec in the 1870s. Their early years in the city were marred a string of legal and financial problems. Mohr received numerous court orders for unpaid bills and rent. The authorities even confiscated furniture from his home on rue Saint-Jean. Mohr’s search for a way out of his financial woes eventually led him to the new technologies of the age. The earliest mentions of Mohr’s entrepreneurship in Quebec date from 1876, when he incorporated the
Montmorency Falls hydroelectric station, 1885, photograph by L. P. Vallée, Archives Nationales du Québec, No. P600-6/N79-12-12 and 13.
When he wasn’t busy seeking new clients, Mohr fiddled with electronics. In 1875 he patented a gravity battery with L.P. Brunelle. Two years later, he filed another patent for improvements to telegraph alarm boxes.
cured his name as an ambitious electrical entrepreneur, earning him numerous contracts. One of his first contracts was lighting the newly inaugurated Parliament of Quebec in 1886. Soon after, Mohr impressed the government roads committee and obtained a lucrative fiveyear contract with the City of Quebec. Despite all this activity, Mohr still found time to be inventive and kept up with the latest technological developments. He patented a “commutator for electromagnetic motors” with two colleagues in 1886. His company also introduced the production of alternating current (AC) just one year after Tesla patented an alternating current generator. This switch from direct to alternating current led to more efficient production and distribution of electricity. When the growing presence of Mohr’s company in the local electric light industry prompted a public inquiry into the rates charged by the Q&LEL Co. in 1891, it turned out that the city’s hydroelectric power was in fact, less costly than available alternatives. The inquiry, initiated by Charles Baillairgé, looked at the 87 largest North American municipalities and concluded that electricity in Quebec City was the cheapest on the continent. Mohr was charging the city an annual fee of $80 per lamp, whereas the continental average was $139.16 because most cities relied on thermal energy. The city instantly renewed its five year contract with Mohr. This renewed contract improved the financial health of the company, leading to expansions in 1892. A new power station was built using the latest technology. Sources from the time claim that Mohr’s three 600kw AC generators were the first of their kind on the continent. Mohr’s tireless commitment to Quebec’s electrification led to his untimely death in December of 1893. The problems began when a violent winter storm damaged the distribution line between Quebec and Montmorency Falls. Despite his 66 years of age, his role as general director and the terrible weather conditions, Mohr was determined to repair it. He caught a severe flu that took his life several weeks later. The new power station was inaugurated the following year, replacing the station at the base of Montmorency Falls. Unfortunately Mohr could not be present for the event. After his death, Mohr’s wife and children joined the rest of their family in New York, where Sigismund Mohr was buried. His legacy nevertheless lived on through his son Eugene Philip, who managed a telephone and electricity company in Brooklyn.
ohr eventually tired of working as an agent for Bell and chose to strike off on his own. First, he opened an electrician’s office on Côte de la Fabrique in 1883. The following year, he became director of the Quebec & Lévis Electric Light Company (Q&LEL Co.) and set up a small thermal power station in the military warehouses near Porte Saint Jean. His contacts at the Royal Electric of Montreal provided him with the necessary equipment to generate electricity, distribute it, and produce light. Two Thomson-Houston dynamos fed arc lamps that could be set up in “businesses, skating rinks and other areas.” These bright electric lamps were a revolution compared to the dim gaslights of the time. Mohr spent most of his years in Quebec at 103, rue Saint Jean, living near this thermal plant. While Mohr took care of his dynamos, his daughters Amelia and Fanny managed a feminine lingerie clothing store in the neighbouring house at 105, rue Saint Jean. Having a power station in the heart of the old city did not please everyone. In 1884, 119 residents within the city walls signed a petition complaining that the station “perturbed the calm of a neighborhood that had once been blessed with an enviable tranquility.” Mohr felt compelled to seek a new location more suitable for generating electricity. He found the ideal spot at the base of Montmorency Falls, the province’s tallest waterfall, situated thirteen kilometers east of Old Quebec. The Patterson-Hall factory complex located at the base had once produced broomsticks and mop buckets, but it was up for sale. Mohr snapped it up, adapting the small turbine, penstock, and existing infrastructure to his own needs. The power station opened on 21 September 1885. Other commercial power stations at the time tended to be thermal, fed by coal-powered steam engines. Mohr developed the first commercial hydroelectric station in the province. Furthermore, the thirteen kilometers separating the falls from downtown Quebec marked the longest distance between an energy source and its destination at the time. Mohr managed to generate a considerable amount of electricity at very little cost, which gave him a competitive advantage over his main rival in the lighting business at the time, the Quebec Gas Company. He also had a knack for promotion. On September 29 1885, he put up 34 lampposts along Dufferin Terrace and for eight nights in a row, he wowed residents and city officials alike, drawing the applause of 20,000 people on the first night alone. This, along with other initiatives, se-
Sigismund Mohr, date unknown. Photograph from Bell Canada Archives.
Antonin Zaruba works as an engineer with Hydro-Quebec. Translated from the original French and adapted by Patrick Donovan. 9
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
THE HUMBLER CELTS In praise of the Welsh, whose impressive Quebec legacy belies their obscurity by Patrick Donovan ince there’s nobody around to represent Quebec City’s Welsh heritage, I’ve decided to step up and declare myself an honorary Welshman. Having lived and worked in Cardiff longer than the Prince of Wales himself, I consider myself fit for the title. Ireland may be the land of my ancestors but I only spent two rainy weeks there. Besides, the Irish and the Scots get enough airplay. So let’s switch channels, look at Wales, and its little-known impact on Quebec. By the end of the article, you’ll all want to be Welsh like me. Let’s start off with a quick geography and history lesson for those who are already lost. Wales is a small mountainous country to the west of England. Nearly three million people live there today. It was absorbed under the English crown in 1282, a relationship that had its ups and downs. Around the time of the Durham report in Canada, which adopted a patronizing view of francophones and recommended anglicization as a solution, a similar report in Wales noted that the lazy, immoral, and ignorant Welsh-speakers could only be freed from their depravity by the introduction of English. This spurred the rise of Welsh nationalism, which also had ups and downs over the years. Although the country is traditionally associated with coal mining and slate quarrying, these industries have largely died out. Wales is now as prosperous as the rest of the UK. As in Scotland, devolution in recent years led to a Welsh National Assembly and considerable autonomy within Great Britain. So why do we so rarely hear about the Welsh in Quebec, two states with a shared history of struggle for self-preservation under
British rule? First of all, Wales was never as populous as Ireland or Scotland, leading to a smaller pool of potential immigrants. Secondly, Wales did not suffer events like the Irish famine or the Scottish highland clearances that spurred mass emigration. In the 2001 census, only one-tenth of per cent of the population of Quebec province claimed Welsh ethnic origins, whereas 4.1 per cent claimed Irish origins, 3.1 per cent claimed English origins, and 2.2 per cent claimed Scottish origins. Many people are unaware of their origins, so real percentages are probably higher, especially when you consider the prevalence of Welsh surnames like Jones, Davies, Griffith, Evans, and Meredith. Nevertheless, other sources also indicate a lower proportion of Welsh immigrants. The Dictionary of Canadian Biography includes 727 immigrants born in England, 542 born in Scotland, 328 born in Ireland, and only 17 born in Wales. espite this, the Welsh still had an impact on Quebec City. In fact, the tallest building in the old city, the Price Building, has a Welsh name. The name Price comes from “ap Rhys,” meaning “son of Rhys” in Welsh. The Price dynasty in Canada was founded by Welshman William Price, who came to Quebec and flourished as a lumber merchant, later owning much of the Saguenay. The company expanded into newsprint, building the largest pulp and paper mill in the world. The family’s descendants still live in Quebec City today-the Auberge Saint-Antoine, considered by some to be Canada’s finest hotel, was developed by Martha, Evan, Llewellyn and Lucy Price. Earlier Welsh immigrants to Quebec City include Jenkin Williams, who fled
Wales in 1767 to avoid a lawsuit for forgery. Despite this, he rose to the highest positions in Quebec’s colonial government. He was known as a progressive who criticized the seigneurial system and deplored the attitude of imperialists who demanded a return to English law after the Quebec Act. Moving beyond Quebec City, Wales’ impact during the age of discoveries is greater than many assume. Folklore tells of a Welsh prince Madoc who came to America in the 1170. The continent of America itself, long thought to be named after Amerigo Vespucci, may be named after Welsh explorer Richard Amerike—a case that has neither been proved nor refuted. The first known Welshman to have definitely set foot in the province was Thomas Button in 1612. Button was seeking the Northwest Passage and explored Hudson Bay, giving his name to a few islands in Quebec’s extreme north. David Thompson was a better known Welsh explorer, mapping 3.9 million square kilometers of North America in the 1700s. Thompson is still regarded as the greatest mapmaker that ever lived. The story of Welsh immigration is also that of thousands of workingclass people who carried their traditions across the Atlantic. Alongside the Irish, Welsh immigrants worked on Montreal’s Victoria Bridge in the 1850s and organized a traditional Welsh Male Choir called Côr Meibion Cymraeg, performing at the opening ceremonies. This group later fostered the Saint David’s Society of Montreal, named after the patron saint of Wales. Both the Society and the choir continue to be active. Such strong Welsh community organizations did not exist in Quebec City. The Scots, English, Irish
Catholics, and Irish Protestants all had their own benevolent groups, but not the Welsh. However, they fit in obliquely under the Saint George’s Society and its mission to help settlers from “England, Wales, and the Channel Islands.” Needless to say, a Society named after Saint George, the patron saint of England, suggests that Wales was not their primary focus (let’s not forget that Saint George is best known for slaying a dragon, national symbol of Wales). he Welsh aren’t bombastic, but perhaps that’s part of their appeal. Recent years have seen books entitled How the Scots Invented the Modern World and How the Irish Saved Civilization. The Welsh don’t claim to have saved or invented much, but they’re too humble for their own good. Let’s take language, for instance. Few people in Scotland and Ireland speak the country’s traditional Celtic language, and its cultural use rarely extends beyond folklore. Welsh, however, is still a dynam-
ic language spoken by over a fifth of the population. And we’re not just talking about elderly folk in distant hamlets who sing in male choirs. Young people from Wales are bringing their culture into the 21st century. Take the Super Furry Animals, an electro-rock band whose excellent Welsh-language album Mwng was described by critics as “a vital antidote to the preservative-pumped junk that curdles music’s bloodflow.” My time in Cardiff fed an appreciation for a nation of underdogs that has lots to show for its small size. And they don’t make a vulgar show of it, or of themselves, which I appreciate even more. So I’ll just sit here and remain quietly happy as the self-proclaimed honorary Welshman that I am. At least until I visit the Isle of Man-I hear they’re even more wonderfully obscure.
Patrick Donovan is an historian with the Morrin Centre in Quebec City and vice-president of the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network.
Detail from a pencil drawing entitled, David Thompson Taking an Observationby Charles William Jefferys. Library and Archives Canada, C-073573
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
ODYSSEUS IN CANADA
Castaway, refugee, anguished traditionalist: A Greek journey in la Vieille Capitale by Louisa Blair n 1950 there were at least 13 Greek restaurants in Quebec, but today, other than the Diana on Rue SaintJean and the Greek Orthodox church on René Levesque Boulevard, visible signs of Quebec’s Greek population are few and far between. Unless, of course, you go for a wander in Mount Hermon Cemetery, where so many untold migration stories cry out from the grave. There are still stories of the Greek migration to Quebec waiting to be heard, however, from the living. “Sometimes Greeks would have the door slammed in their faces,” recalls Koula Aaron, owner of the Diana. “Or they were asked to change their names when they worked for French or English bosses: a French boss would ask someone called Christopoulos to change his name because it sounded like swearing, and an English boss might ask a Mr. Fakkas to change his name, for the same reason. It was hard to get a job in any other business except the restaurant business.” Once in Quebec, however, Greek immigrants were not necessarily trusted in Greece anymore either. Greeks from Quebec were known as grikas, Aaron explains, whereas Greeks from Greece were called hellenas. “My husband met me in Greece, and when he asked me to marry him my mother was worried, because he was a grikas and not a hellenas.” While there were about 300 people of Greek origin in Quebec in the 1980s, the 2001 census counted 30 people in the downtown area (la Cité) who spoke Greek as their mother tongue. One longtime member of the Greek community claims there are only ten families left. The first recorded Greek in Quebec is mentioned in Champlain’s writings in 1628, when New France was in danger of being captured by the English. Champlain dressed up someone he refers to as “the Greek” as a Huron and sent him as a spy to see how far the English had made it up the river. To his alarm, the Greek reported they had reached Cap Tourmente.
All we know about this man is that he had ended up in Quebec due to a shipwreck. The Kirke brothers, English privateers working for the king, returned to take Quebec definitively the following year. Champlain and the few dozen people then living in Quebec did not have enough supplies left for another winter, and when Thomas Kirke offered Champlain £1,000 if he surrendered, he agreed without a fight. hamplain’s soldiers, however, didn’t think it was such a great deal. They had just procured valuable pelts from the Huron, with which they were hoping to make their fortunes. But the deal with the English stipulated that they could only take one beaver pelt each back to France. Using “the Greek” as their emissary, the soldiers sent a message to Champlain that while he might be satisfied with his £1,000, they themselves would rather fight than go home without their beaverfur fortunes, for the sake of which they had probably been frozen, starved, sunburned and mosquito-bitten half to death. They even hinted that Champlain
was not being a truly loyal French citizen by giving in to Kirke so easily. Champlain was furious at the insinuation and told them, through his trusty Greek, to shut up and come home to France. They would starve otherwise, he said, and he was only looking out for their best interests. The soldiers submitted, and went home with nothing to show for their suffering in the Land of Cain. What happened to the adaptable, dependable and multilingual Greek? We don’t know—perhaps he made it back home, like Odysseus, courtesy of the Kirkes. Over the 19th century various other Greek sailors abandoned life on the sea and stayed in Quebec, but in the 1880s a wave of Greek farmers began to head for North America from the southern part of Greece, the Peloponnees. The first community of Greeks to settle in Quebec City was a group of families from a single village, Anavriti, in the Laconia region of southern Greece, once known as Sparta. Legend has it that it was Jews fleeing Turkish and Venetian invasions who founded the village of Anavriti and later converted to the Greek Orthodox faith. (The Orthodox Church split from Roman Church in 1054 over
The Greek Orthodox Church on René Levesque Boulevard in Quebec City
doctrinal differences, and its practice of Christianity is culturally as well as liturgically distinct from other branches of Christianity such as the Protestant and Roman churches.) By the 1900s the village of Anavriti numbered several thousand inhabitants. They had large families but no access to modern farming technology or transportation (the first road only reached the Anavriti in the 1980s). Early victims of globalization, the Anavritans could not compete on the world market, and after a series of bad harvests were failing to feed their families. They began to leave for the New World.
By 1915 there were 25 Greek families in Quebec City. Not generally accepted in the French Catholic schools, they sent their children to the Protestant schools (St. George’s and Victoria primary schools; Quebec High School) and thus became anglophones. Unable to bury their dead in the Catholic cemeteries, in the 1920s they bought a section lot of Mount Hermon Cemetery for $2,500. The first Greeks to be buried there were two babies, children of the first Greek settler, Thanassi Adamakis, who had a fruit and vegetable store at 74 Rue SaintJean named Olympia. The Greeks of Quebec brought many traditions over from Greece, such as arranged marriages, as well as bringing over their grandparents, who provided childcare while they worked. Others sent children back to Greece for the summer. “But this led to a lot of heartbreak,” says Mary Kormazos, retired restaurant owner herself and Quebec daughter of Greek immigrant parents. “The girls would fall in love with local boys, get married and
never come home.” Not speaking English or French, and with a limited education, her parents’ generation took any jobs they could find, but were determined to educate their children well, pass on their own language, keep their Greek Orthodox faith, and make sure their children married Greeks. None of this was easy to achieve, but necessity being the mother of adaptability, their children ended up with an education that was multilingual and multiconfessional. Mary Kormazos recalls the daily 45minute Bible study at Victoria Primary School. The theology may not have been in line with Greek Orthodoxy, “but I learned everything I know about the Bible from those classes,” she says. Later she was taught by English-speaking sisters at Notre Dame de Bellevue School on SteFoy Road, run by les Dames de la Congrégation, where learning the Roman Catholic catechism was obligatory. In addition to her Protestant and Catholic education, twice a week after school she went to Greek classes taught by Mrs. Domnas. Then on Sundays it was the Greek church, with its beautiful Orthodox liturgy and Byzantine music, and Sunday School at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church! In addition to working in the restaurant business she had learned from her parents, Kormazos later founded a women’s group, the Philoptokos Club, to help Greek immigrant families still arriving in the port of Quebec. The Second World War (1939-45), the Civil War (1946-49) and then the “Regime of the Colonels” (1967-74) ensured a steady stream of Greek refugees into Quebec well into the 1970s. “We met them at Immigration and helped them get settled. Philoptokos,” she explains, “means ‘friend of the poor.’” She married a Greek man, chosen for her by her parents, in an Orthodox ceremony performed at Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral. One of the most celebrated Greek institutions in Quebec was George and Theodora Trakas’ Old Homestead restaurant and hotel on Place d’Armes
The Auberge du Tresor Restaurant on Place des Armes was known as the Old Homestead, when it was owned by the Trakas family.
(it’s now called the Auberge du Trésor, and is owned by another Greek family, the Xudous). Students and professors from Laval University, before it was relegated to the suburbs, judges and lawyers from the nearby courthouse and politicians staying at the Château Frontenac were all wined and dined by the Trakas family as they debated the great questions, trials and policies of the day. Grandson George Trakas emigrated to New York and became a successful sculptor who now works in Italy, Denmark and the US as well as Canada, where he is currently working on a sculpture on Cap Trinité, Baie d’Éternité, in the Saguenay. In 1996, Trakas established a student bursary at Université Laval in memory of his grandparents to promote relations between Athens and Quebec. Greek souche shows through in several areas of Quebec literature. The play Le Cerfvolant by Pan Bouyoucas, for example, conveys the dilemmas and anguishes of the Greek diaspora in Montreal. Two brothers talk about how they feel invisible to the Québécois, while acknowledging that they have preferred to stay in their close-knit Greek community rather than integrate with the francophone majority. When one admits he feels guilty about forcing his daughter to marry a Greek who abused her, his sister-inlaw replies that at least he doesn’t need an interpreter to talk to his grandchildren. The quickest cultural integration, of course, takes place through marriage, or sur l’oreiller (“pillow talk”), and thirdgeneration Greeks have married into the majority community. “You know, though,” says Karmazos ruefully, “it’s amazing how many of those arranged marriages worked out well.” Mixed families have integrated, but have drifted away from the Greek language, faith and traditions. There’s no more Greek school. The community used to congregate every Sunday at the church, but now an Orthodox priest only comes every other week, and he’s not Greek. And even though the congregation now includes Orthodox Christians from Russia, Romania and the former Yugoslavia as well as Greece, you’ll be lucky to find more than 25 people in attendance.
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
CHAMPLAIN REVISITED Pomp and patriotism in the confection of a national history by Richard Virr
Lawrence, the exploration and description of the interior regions towards the Great Lakes, the upper part of the state of New York and the shores of Lake Champlain. Champlain’s voyages are recounted through his own published works containing some of the most valuable iconography and cartography of early New France. There was much to be gained by a settlement at Quebec. Dedicated to sustained colonisation in New France, Champlain returned one last time as Governor in 1633. There he died in 1635, after thirty-two years of strenuous effort. Quebec City was still little more than an outpost, numbering a few hundred souls. From such humble beginnings, Quebec City became an important capital and vibrant city. Its
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University Library arranged an exhibition that featured early and later editions of Champlain’s accounts of his voyages as well as materials from Quebec City’s 300th anniversary celebrations and the 1909 Lake Champlain celebrations. The following is adapted from this exhibition. uebec City, the first enduring settlement in Canada, was founded on 3 July 1608, by Samuel de Champlain. An intrepid navigator and explorer of the New World, Champlain was also responsible for the exploration and early settlement in the Maritime Provinces, the navigation of the Gulf of the Saint
British military review at Quebec’s tercentenary, July 24, 1908. Lithograph by J.D. Kelly and A.H Hide.
Pictured: The Duke of York, future King George V, taking the salute, while Sir Wilfind Laurier stands in the rear.
importance was proclaimed through the Tercentenary celebrations, a splendid series of events which took place from July 19th to July 30th, 1908. Recognising the significance of the foundation of Quebec in 1608, the Canadian and Quebec governments planned a schedule of events including a Procession of Champlain through the City of Quebec, a Military Review on the Plains of Abraham, a Regatta in the harbour and a spectacular Pageant, performed in the open illustrating the key historical events that shaped the future of the nation from the time of Champlain to the British Conquest. The celebrations were presided over by the Prince of Wales and attended by dignitaries from the British, French, United Sates and Canadian governments. The Tercentenary was a magnificent testimony of Canada’s gratitude to those heroic figures who had contributed to its history. It promoted a notion of common heritage among the population and stimulated patriotic interest in the country. All the events were meant to be both an educational and an inspirational experience. A lasting reminder of these celebrations is to be found in the documents and colourful special supplements, souvenir booklets, albums and post cards that were produced for the occasion.
part in this volume and includes a most interesting description the First Nations and many observations on the vicinity of Quebec: “De Ile d’Orleans ils furent moüiller l’ancre à Quebec qui est vn destroit de la riuiere de Canadas, qui a quelques 300 pas de large: ce pays est vny & beau, ou ils veirent de bonnes terres plaines d’arbres, cóme chesnes, cypres, boulles, sapins, & trébles, & autres arbres fruictiers, sauvages, & vignes: le long de la coste dudict Quebec il se trouve des Diamans dans des rochers d’ordoise, qui sont meilleurs que ceux d’Alençon…” (p.419). Another source for the early voyages is the Le Mercure français. This journal contained news of political events involving France, its victories and European politics. Book Four of the first volume (1611) includes one of the earliest references to Champlain’s arrival at the site of “Kebec” on 3 July 1608. The name which he gave to the site had been used by the native Indians long before. It is derived from the Algonquin word, meaning “a narrowing”, and is descriptive of the form which the St. Lawrence River begins to take there. Champlain also published his voyages in four different accounts, some of which have additional issues or editions. Champlain provides first-hand descriptions of the natives, their fortifications, war tactics, and local customs, as well as an account of the wildlife that he observed during his travels: deer, caribous and an abundance of lake fish. Champlain was moved by the beauty of the country, which drew him back to explore further each time. In all, Champlain made nine voyages to the New World. The collective edition of the voyages, entitled, Les Voyages de la Nouvelle France Occidentale, dicte Canada, faits par le Sr. de Champlain et toutes les Descouuertes, was published in Paris in 1632. It contains all of Champlain’s voyages to New France from 1603-1629 and includes a detailed map of New France. In addition, this edition contains a brief review of all the proceeding French expeditions to the New World, and Book Two contains notes on the history of Canada, a treatise on navigation and an Oraison dominicale in French and Montagnais. The book was dedicated to Cardinal Richelieu.
escriptions of Champlain’s early voyages to New France were first available in chronologies and journals. For instance, Palma-Cayet’s Chronologie septenaire de l’histoire de la paix entre les roys de France et d’Espagne describes events relating to France dating from 1598 to 1604. Book Four published in Paris, 1605, includes the earliest account of Champlain’s first observations on Canada made during the expedition led by Le Sieur du Pont (known as Pontgravé) in 1603. Champlain was responsible for providing the French king Henri IV with a faithful report of the expedition including the navigation of and discoveries up the St. Lawrence River. The report was published in
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
Ten years prior to the three hundred year anniversary of Quebec’s founding, the Champlain monument was dedicated in an inaugural ceremony held 21 September, 1898. The story of the monument’s commissioning and celebratory installation on Dufferin Terrace near fort St-Louis may have played a leading role in generating interest and giving focus to what became a great festival celebration. A call for submissions announced in July of 1895 by the Comité du monument Champlain solicited design ideas from artists, sculptors and architects. The honour was awarded to the French sculptor Paul Chevré (1867-1914). Funds were raised across Canada by la Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Québec. An audience of 25,000 people witnessed the monument’s dedication ceremony in what was considered an historic commemoration of international importance. Representatives of France, Great Britain, and the United States took part in the tremendous “Fête de Champlain”. The event was conceived as an apotheosis of Samuel de Champlain and had many motivations. The following desciption of a Catholic youth celebration honouring Champlain appeared in the Quebec Tercentenary Commemorative History (Quebec: Daily Telegraph, 1908, p.18-19): “With the honouring of the memory of Champlain at the foot of his monument on Dufferin Terrace by l’Association catholique de la jeunesse Canadienne-Francaise, the celebrations which marked Quebec’s Tercentenary were commenced.
plain monument, orations were delivered, eulogistic of Quebec’s founder, and at the same time an urgent appeal for the unity of French Canadians in matters of nationality and religion. “Arriving at the Terrace towards three o’clock in the afternoon where a large number of people had already gathered, the monument was at once bedecked with a shower of flowers delicately interwoven and neatly superimposed. These were presented by the Catholic Association of French-Canadian youth, the Loyola Circle, the Chevalier du Levis circle, the Champlain guard and by the youth of St. Sauveur. “The monument now overlaid with pacific garlands was then encircled with Zouaves and other military guards. Several thousand voices sang Canada’s national anthem; bands played; ensigns fluttered; military commands were given, and the Quebec Tercentenary was on!” he Champlain celebrations were graced by the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales representing his father, His Majesty King Edward VII. Again, from the Quebec Centenary Commemorative History (pp. 41, 43-45) we get this account: “Wednesday [22 July] was the first grand day of the Tercentenary celebrations. The promised arrival of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales had made the day a long desired one. All had been looking forward to the coming of the Prince who was the central figure of the celebrations. Old Quebec doubled its population on Wednesday. His Royal Highness arrived at the King’s Wharf aboard H.M.S. Indomitable. “The brilliant spectacle was emphasized by the booming of cannon from the citadel and the ships in port.... Amid the shower of this thunder the Indomitable, her decks manned and her yards dressed.... The vessels were now anchored. Around them came launches and boats of every description bearing messengers of two republics [France and the United States] and their admirals together with representatives of Britain and Canada. As soon as the gangway was lowered, the Admirals and Captains of the Atlantic fleet accompanied by Rear-Admiral Kingsmill of the Canadian Marine Department went on board to pay their respects to the Prince of Wales. Following the naval contingent, His Excellency the GovernorGeneral [Earl Grey] and Field-Marshal the Earl Roberts… [followed by] Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Mr. Joseph Pope, Under Secretary of State, … VicePresident Fairbanks [U.S.A.] and Rear-Admiral
“It was Sunday, the nineteenth of July. The day was an ideal one. Quebec had assumed a festive air, emphasized by the profuse decorations which covered every part of the city.… The youth of French Canada … [f]ormed into a procession consisting of about five thousand persons, these youths marched toward the Terrace and after depositing floral tributes on the Cham16
Map of the French settlement at Quebec by Samuel de Champlain, reproduced from his published Travels
Cowles of New Hampshire. Following these came the French naval commanders, who were in turn succeeded by the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec province, Sir Lomer Gouin, the chairman and members of the battlefield commission, Major-General Lake, and Brigadier-General Otter. …After the official visits ceased,… the Prince descended the gangway and entered a little green launch, the swiftest in the navy.… Several minuets later the Prince stepped on Canadian soil. The Royal Standard floated over the King’s Wharf; the band of the forty-third Regiment of Rifles, forming the guard of honour, played the national anthem; the guard presented arms and led by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the gathering on the wharf cheered enthusiastically.”
assembled troops, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales said: “It affords me the greatest pleasure to hand over to Your Excellency, the representative of the Crown in Canada, the sum of $450,000, which through the patriotism of British citizens in all parts of Canada and of the Empire and the generosity of French and American sympathizers, has been entrusted to me in order that the historic battlefields of Quebec, on which the two contending races won equal and imperishable glory, may be acquired for the Dominion and preserved under the special supervision of our Sovereign, as a permanent shrine of union and peace. I place in your hands, as representative of the Sovereign, the charge of the sacred ground, which it is my pleasure to present to you on the 300th birthday of Quebec as a gift to the people of Canada and the Crown.” (Quebec Tercentenary Commemorative History, pp 77-78.)
n the sixth day of Quebec’s 300th anniversary celebrations, a grand military review was staged on the famous battle site where Britain had defeated France for control of the city 149 years earlier. “It was the grand day for the soldiers and sailors who gathered at Quebec,” enthused the authors of the Quebec Tercentenary Commerative History (p. 77). “The militia of Canada, numbering about twelve thousand men, and the naval defenders of three nations numbering about five thousand, passed in review before His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. “From early morning troops had been marching through the streets until at ten o’clock the vast concourse of men, steeds and guns had assembled on the Plains of Abraham… A special stand had been erected on the grounds where sat three thousand spectators among whom were the official guests.… On the ground below were thousands of people watching the event.” As part of the military review on Friday 24 July, the Plains of Abraham were dedicated as a national battlefield. “The review was a memorable one, for not military grandeur alone was displayed. The very interesting and simple ceremony of handing over the deeds of the battle-fields to the Canadian people was also enacted.” After inspecting the
A Native deer hunt, as depicted in Champlain’s published Travels.
he Champlain celebrations did not end in 1908. The following year Champlain’s discovery of the lake that bears his name was the focus of celebration. Organized primarily by the states of New York and Vermont, the 1909 celebrations involved all levels of American government and like those of a year earlier included representatives of Canada, France and Great Britain. Beginning on Monday, July 4th at Crown Point Forts, New York, the celebrations went on to Ticonderoga, New York the following day and then to Plattsburgh, New York, Burlington, Vermont, Isle Le Motte, Vermont, finishing on Friday, July 9th at Rouse’s Point, New York. On Saturday there was a water carnival at Rouses’ Point and a tablet was unveiled on the main building of the University of Vermont in Burlington. In addition to the usual speeches and dinners, there was an “Indian Pageant” on each day, military and navel reviews and fireworks. These celebrations were officially concluded in July 1912 with the dedication of the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse at Crown Point Forts and the unveiling of the Champlain Memorial Statue at Plattsburgh.
QUEBEC HERITAGE NEWS
THE FORGOTTEN PATRIOTE E.B. O’Callaghan and the struggle against British autocracy in Quebec by Marjorie A. Fitzpatrick years studying sciences in France, he followed thousands of fellow Irish emigrants to the promising British territory of Lower Canada in 1823.1 Once there, he headed straight for Montreal and enrolled in a fledgling program for would-be physicians at the Montreal Medical Institution, forerunner of the McGill University Faculty of Medicine. In McGill’s archives, he was listed as an apothecary in the Institution’s employ—his means of supporting himself and paying for his studies. O’Callaghan was awarded his physician’s and surgeon’s license in October 1827 and a few months later opened a medical practice in Quebec, where the already well-established Irish population, with more arriving all the time, provided a likely clientele. By late 1828 he had become surgeon-in-residence at he Quebec Emigrant Hospital, and he and two other physicians opened a clinic in the port quarter of Pres-deVille to serve immigrants. He also took the lead over the next few years in numerous other activities aimed at improving the economic, educational and spiritual lost of the city’s Irish community. He co-founded a Mechanics’ Institution and Library for workingmen of the Saint Jean district, which opened its doors in January 1831. The next year he joined other public-spirited citizens to form a Temperance Society to combat widespread alcoholism. By far his most controversial activity was serving as secretary of a Committee of Management formed by Quebec’s Irish Catholics, who were trying to raise enough funds to buy a site and build a parish church of their own following years of vain appeals to the bishop. When someone using the pseudonym “L’Impartial” published a bigoted letter in La Minerve newspaper characterizing Irish as foreigners determined to overthrow the established customs of Quebec, O’Callaghan, denounced the charges as “a gross and unwarranted calumny on our character both as Catholics and as citizens.” Quebec’s Irishmen eventually won their battle with the bishop, and O’Callaghan got to see the new St. Patrick’s Church rise on the beautiful site he had
This is the first in a four-part series of articles chronicling the life and times of Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan, a complex but little-known historical figure who came to Quebec from Ireland at a crucial period in Canada’s history and who was among several prominent anglophones who sided actively with the Patriote fight for political reform in the early 19th century. The articles are adapted from a paper given by the author at the May 2008 conference of the Fédération des sociétes d’histoire du Québec, and will appear sequentially in forthcoming editions of Quebec Heritage News magazine. ny history of nationalism in postConquest Quebec rightly gives great prominence to the Patriote rebellion of 1837 and its leader, Louis-Joseph Papineau-seigneur, member of a distinguished French-Canadian family, ardent reformer, and Speaker of Lower Canada’s Assembly until the suspension of the Constitution. What many casual students of the era fail to realize, however, is that political principle rather than ethnic nationalism was at the heart of Papineau’s reformist philosophy. Indeed, some of the most zealous Patriotes (Wolfred Nelson and his brother Robert come to Mind) were not French-Canadian at all. It is in that context that we cite the name of Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan, without a doubt Papineau’s closest friend and ally all throughout the 1830s, right up to the cold, miserable night of December 4, 1837, when the two men—by then both wanted fugitives charged with high treason—escaped together over the border into American exile. The exploration of how O’Callaghan came to be the outstanding English-language voice of the Patriote cause in the Lower-Canadian press and eventually Papineau’s most trusted lieutenant in the province’s Assembly reminds us once again of the critical role that anglophones have played in Quebec’s history. O’Callaghan was born to a middle-class family in Mallow, Ireland, in 1797. After spending a few teenage
helped select only a few months before he moved back 2 to Montreal in late 1833. I, too, had the great good fortune to see the remains of that imposing edifice before its final destruction by fire a few decades ago. But it was O’Callaghan’s role as Secretary of the Quebec Friends of Ireland Society that ultimately had the greatest influence on his future. The Friends of Ireland Societies were Created by Daniel O’Connell, known famously in Irish history as “the Great Liberator” to generate international financial and moral support for his efforts to claim the seat in the British Parliament that he had won in County Clare in 1828. No Catholic had ever sat in the Commons under Elizabethan law, since Catholics could not in conscience take the required religious oath. The Friends of Ireland were formed to help O’Connell test that oath’s enforceability. The first to answer O’Connell’s call in Canada were the Irish of Montreal, who formed a Friends of Ireland Society in September 1828. By O’Connell’s directive, there were no religious or national qualifications for membership. In October the Irish of Quebec followed suit, selecting Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan as their branch’s corresponding secretary. In his first speech to the Society O’Callaghan praised John Neilson’ the Scottish-born Protestant publisher of the Quebec Gazette, for defending the Irish against anti-Irish slurs in two competing newspapers. He also offered a motion to pledge the Society’s support for a new newspaper about to begin publication in Montreal, the Irish Vindicator, whose founder and editor-another Irish-born doctor named Daniel Tracey-was O’Callaghan’s counterpart as Secretary of the Montreal Friends of Ireland. The first issue of the Vindicator appeared on December 12, 1828, and thereafter O’Callaghan regularly used its columns to publicize his own branch’s activities. When the French-Canadian vice-president of the Quebec Friends authored a petition to Parliament urging justice for Ireland’s Catholics, O’Callaghan emphasized the constitutionality of the group’s goals and praised its ethnic and religious diversity. As reported in the Vindicator of December 23, he accused Britain of denying the Lower Canadians’ rights as British subjects, as it had those of Ireland’s Catholics. A nexus was thus forming that would soon lead O’Callaghan into the orbit of Louis-Joseph Papineau and his Patriotes. While Daniel Tracey gave extensive coverage in the Vindicator to all the province’s Friends of Ireland Societies (now including one in ThreeRivers), he also hammered constantly in its columns on the resemblance between the Irish and the Canadian political situations, and specifically between Daniel O’Connell, the Great Liberator, and Lower Canada’s Papineau. Tracey was already at heart a full-fledged Patriote, O’Callaghan would soon become one. Just at this point events took a dramatic turn. In March 1829 O’Connell’s long battle to claim his seat in Parliament suddenly appeared to be won, when Britain’s Interior Minister, Sir Robert Peel simultane-
ously introduced two bills in the House of Commons: one, a Relief Bill removing the last civil impediments from Ireland’s Catholics-just the reform O’Connell had been seeking-and the other, a bill to dissolve the Liberator’s Catholic Association in Ireland. Both these bills passed, and after a brief delay O’Connell took his seat without incident as the first Catholic member of the British House of Commons on February 4, 1830. The raison d’être of the Friends of Ireland Societies now being moot, they too disbanded. For Daniel Tracey that meant freedom to shift virtually all his young newspaper’s attention to Papineau’s reform movement, based, as O’Connell’s was in Ireland, on his compatriots’ claim to their rights as British citizens. Papineau argued that these were threatened in Lower Canada by the Constitutional Act, (1791), which gave the province’s appointed Executive and Legislative Councils the power to veto any bill passed by the popularly-elected Assembly. While this governance structure applied to Upper Canada as well, it was particularly iniquitous in Lower Canada, with its overwhelmingly French population and thus distinctive character and needs. Tracey, in light of the Vindicator’s new focus, now dropped the word Irish from the paper’s title, and declared in his New Year’s Day editorial in 1830: “The cause of the people of Canada is now to us what that of Ireland was.” The Vindicator, barely a year old, was already Lower Canada’s most influential pro-reform English-language newspaper. Papineau himself, having grasped the importance of cultivation the support of Irish, wooed the paper’s young editor to run in the 1832 election as the reform candidate from Montreal’s notoriously volatile West Ward. Tracey’s political credentials were already impeccable. He and Ludger Duvernay, editor of la Min3 erve, had recently served time in the Quebec jail for criticizing the Legislative Council’s neglect of the Assembly’s demands. Their incarceration had turned them into instant heroes, not only to reformers but also to advocates of freedom of the press. At a rally for the jailed editors held in Quebec on January 19, the three featured speakers were Elzéar Bédard, M.P.P., Étienne Parent, editor of Le Canadien, and E. B. O’Callaghan. The election in spring 1832 saw an unusual level of violence in Montreal’s West Ward, even by its own brawling standards. On May 21, a day before Tracey was declared the winner, soldiers sent to the polls by the city’s magistrates ostensibly to “keep the peace” shot and killed three French-Canadians, giving the Patriote movement is first genuine martyrs. Tracey’s victory did much to solidify the Tracey-Papineau alliance and to popularize le grand chef, as the latter was known, among the Irish of Montreal. But fate still had another card to play that spring. Cholera, which had devastated Europe the preceding winter, had penetrated Quebec via the immigrant ships despite frantic quaran4 tine measures imposed by the Quebec Board of Health, and quickly spread to Montreal as well. While the epidemic there appeared to be subsiding by mid-June, one of that city’s last victims was the 39-year-old Vindica19
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When the governor, by then Lord Aylmer, convened the Assembly on January 7, 1834, his throne speech showed no hint of compromise, nor did the dispatches he revealed to them from the British Colonial Secretary, Lord Stanley. O’Callaghan characterized the dispatches as paternalistic, even insulting. Papineau’s party now showed its muscle by referring the funding issue to a Special Committee for debate by the whole House “to discuss the state of the province”—a euphemism for drafting a negative reply to the throne speech. In preparation for this debate, the Assembly members compiled a list of all the grievances they had been accumulation all the way back to 1821—a list that eventually numbered over a hundred items. On the eve of the debate, O’Callaghan commented in the Vindicator: “I look upon these resolutions as forming a new era in our political history, and am persuaded they will form the basis of a new Constitution.” In a few years that prediction would be proved accurate, but not in a way he nor anyone else could then have foreseen.
tor editor and Assemblyman-elect, Daniel Tracey, who died July 18. As Papineau began coping with the fall-out from this tragic event, his close friend, Edmond-Raymond Fabre—well-known Montreal bookstore owner and warm supporter of reform—bought the Vindicator, and with Ludger Duvernay’s help began the search for a new editor. After months of indecision and one ill-suited temporary appointment, Fabre offered the job to E.B.O’Callaghan, whose name first appeared on the paper’s masthead on May 7, 1833. The physician-turned-journalist left no doubt from the start where his ideological sympathies lay. In his first editorial he noted that many European peoples had recently wrested control from their counties’ corrupt oligarchies and claimed that a similar erosion of public confidence was growing in Lower Canada. O’Callaghan especially condemned the ploys by the executive to circumvent the Assembly’s public-spending power. British control over patronage in the bureaucracy militia and judiciary favored anglophones. Lower-Canadian reformers were familiar with the 1830 uprisings in Europe, but O’Callaghan instead stressed the American revolutionary experience, arguing that the government’s abuses in Lower Canada threatened the colonial bond itself. To the Vindicator’s masthead motto—“Justice to all classes - Monopolies and Privileges to none”—he added a new heading to his own editorial column: “United We Stand - Divided We Fall.” In one issue he featured the text of the American Declaration of Independence, in another a portion of the Continental Congress’s resolutions in 1774 to boycott British goods. Nor did O’Callaghan avoid risky subjects within the colony itself. On the anniversary of the shooting of the three French-Canadians during the 1832 election he reminded his readers how the soldiers had killed citizens they had been sent out to protect. In another editorial he took to task the once-favoured John Neilson of the Quebec Gazette for being too ready to compromise with the oligarchy. In yet another issue, he accused the government of anti-French and anti-Catholic discrimination for expediting the approval of McGill University’s Act of Incorporation, while holding up the Collège de Saint-Hyacinthe’s similar request for letters patent. No question, the situation in the province was tense. The government’s ignoring of the reformers’ grievances had propelled the Patriotes into their first Assembly majority in 1832, and in their continuing frustration, the new assembly refused to fund the governor’s civil list. In 1833 the reformers were heartened, as was O’Callaghan, by news that Daniel O’Connell himself had undertaken the Patriote cause in British House of Commons and had recommended making the province’s Legislative Council elective. But still nothing happened, except that some thirty Montreal “life Legislators”—bureaucrats and leading businessmen— sought to protect their own interests by forming a proTory Association.
NOTES 1 Although I was never able to confirm from primary sources the details of O’Callaghan’s studies in France or the date of his immigration to Canada, these and much other biographical information on his pre-Canadian years are given in his first serious biography by the Rev. Francis Shaw Guy, “Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan: A Study in American Histiograpy (1797-1880)”, (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America, 1934, published as Vol. XVIII of the Catholic University of America Studies in American Church History). Guy in turn probably relied heavily on information contained in the obituary of O’Callaghan published by John Gilmary Shea in the Magazine of American History, V, 1 (July 1880), 77-80. O’Callaghan may well have confided details of his early life directly to Shea, his very close friend for several decades during the later years of O’Callaghan’s life and a pall-bearer at his funeral. 2 All newspaper quotations were copied directly from the newspapers themselves during my years of research on O’Callaghan in various Quebec and Ottawa archives. I owe much of what I learned about the Committee of Management and the struggle of the Irish of Quebec City for a church of their own to my good friend Marianna O’Gallagher, who generously shared with me copies in her possession of the Committee’s Minutes as well as a wealth of information from her extensive knowledge of the early history of the Irish in Quebec. She also published a book on the subject called Saint-Patrick’s Quebec, 1824-1834 Sainte-Foy, Carraig Books). She is a very active member and past president of Irish Heritage Quebec. 3 Later home to Morrin College, and still later to the Quebec Literary and Historical Society, where I conducted some of my own research. 4 Among these measures was the designation of Grosse Ile in the Saint-Lawrence River as a quarantine station in the (ultimately vain) hope of staving off cholera’s penetration into Quebec. Marianna O’Gallagher introduced Canada to the significance of this melancholy place in her ground-breaking work, Grosse Ile: Gateway to Canada 1832-1937 (SainteFoy: Carraig Books, 1984).
GROUP BEHAVIOUR Exploring the role of schools in shaping English Quebecers’ identity by Annie Pilote chools have the constitutional responsibility to ensure the cultural and linguistic reproduction of official-language minority communities by virtue of educational rights written into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Research undertaken in francophone areas, namely the work of Rodrigue Landry and his colleagues at the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities in Moncton have demonstrated that French-language schools play a major role in ensuring the preservation and development of a community’s ethno-linguistic vitality. It is hardly surprising that Canada’s francophone communities consider education of utmost importance in ensuring the survival and development of the French language and culture in minority settings. But what about English-language schools in Quebec? How do those involved in education view the role of schools in this respect? How do young people in these schools construct their identity with regards to the English-speaking community? A closer look at the situation in Quebec City may provide some answers. According to the 2006 Canadian Census, just 1.45 per cent of the population in the Quebec City metropolitan area considers English to be their mother tongue, with an additional 0.30 per cent claiming both English and French. Even fewer people speak English at home: 1.05 per cent claim to speak mainly English at home, while 0.28 per cent use both English and French. Consequently, the community has a particularly low demographic weight characterized by a strong level of integration into a largely Frenchspeaking milieu. Within this context, English-language schools are a basic institutional need, much like Frenchlanguage schools outside of Quebec. These schools are more than mere places of learning. The Quebec Eng1 lish School Boards Association, for
instance, considers them centres for social and community activities “where the local population can share and express their heritage, cultural values and regional attachment.” But the capacity for schools to help reproduce the local Englishspeaking community is hindered by a phenomenon that is changing the makeup of school population itself.2 With every passing year, more and more students who speak French as a primary language are attending English schools. This is due to the large number of students who have one francophone parent and one anglophone parent.3 Since anglophones in the Quebec City region find themselves in a social environment that is overwhelmingly French-speaking, the challenge of ensuring the linguistic and cultural continuity of anglophones is obvious. How do schools respond? n order to better understand this challenge stakeholders from the city’s English education system met in December 2007 to discuss what English schools’ role should be in the transmission of language and culture in the context of the francoph4 one majority. The first observation was that the Central Quebec School Board covers such a vast geographic territory that it is difficult to create a sense of community at all. Moreover, according to participants, the anglophone population is so small that it is difficult to maintain an identity as a group. Recruiting anglophone teachers, or even bilingual teachers, is now a major challenge. And, as mentioned above, an increasing number of students considered “non-anglophone” are attending English schools. Even when one parent is anglophone, the children do not necessarily speak English at home. This situation also applies to teachers and other school staff members.
One administrator who has been working in the English school system for many years concludes that English is making way for French: “I have seen this school change from being an English school to what I call now effectively a fausse école anglaise [a phony English school].” This influx of students, for whom English is not the language most commonly spoken, will have an impact on the evolution of the English-language education system. Funding to integrate these students and facilitate their acquisition of English language skills is a critical issue. The changing character of English schools poses an additional challenge to the perpetuation and transmission of the culture of Quebec’s anglophone community—a culture that already appears difficult to define and to understand. When asked if there is a specific anglophone culture in Quebec, the participants were unable to reach a consensus aside from the fact that the community is composed of diverse cultural backgrounds as shown in the following comments from round-table participants: “When you talk about English culture, there isn’t an English culture. There is an Irish culture, there is a Scottish culture and there is an English culture. Those cultures are not the same. So when you talk about Quebec City area, you have to take a look at [the] historical. Quebec High School is Protestant Scottish; St.Pat’s would be more Irish Catholic—more integrative of the francophone population. So our cultural basis is not the same.” hus, although they share a language, anglophones have different cultural backgrounds. After a lengthy discussion, the participants concluded that the role of the English-language school was not to transmit cultural heritage, but to develop
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a sense of belonging among the students, so that they would either stay in the region or come back after completing their education. Although they did not agree on a definition of culture, the participants were emphatic that there was not one common anglophone culture but rather a melting pot, with an attitude of openness and respect for “the Other.” In addition to the development of a sense of belonging, another theme that emerged during the discussions concerned youth migration. All the participants shared a strong desire to see young people in their community return to Quebec City after completing their post-secondary education. Someone suggested winning them back by creating opportunities for training and work placements. In the same vein, the participants acknowledged that, in most instances, it was necessary to work in French in Quebec City and this constraint was seen as a factor inhibiting the return of young people who had attended an English-language school. On the other hand, participants shared a perception that the Quebec City region lacked skilled bilingual workers. Even though some felt that these young people should not have difficulty finding employment after graduation, it was pointed out that sometimes anglophones have a hard time meeting employer expectations. “In the province of Quebec,” noted one round-table participant, “regarding the workforce, you have an advantage if you are bilingual. But in reality, you have an extreme advantage when your French skills are better than your English skills.” These positions are partly consistent with the conclusions of the Task Force on English Education presided by Gretta Chambers in the early 1990s. This report recommended that the role of English-language schools was to educate students who would be bilingual and capable of participating both socially and professionally within Quebec society, all the while ensuring the preservation of the English-speaking minority’s cultural heritage. This conclusion builds on a central idea within the report, namely that the education of a community’s youth serves as a foundation to the edification of its future, and that confiding the education of youth to others leads to a shift
in the cultural values and social priorities of a community. 5 Most participants in the roundtable discussion agreed that it was necessary for young anglophones to master French in order to get jobs and achieve professional success in Quebec, but there was little enthusiasm about the role of schools in the transmission of a minority’s cultural heritage. Still, doesn’t the future of Quebec’s English-speaking minority rest in part on its ability to meet this challenges posed by this issue? In the current situation, do schools encourage the development of an anglophone identity and a sense of belonging to a cultural community that is distinct (at least in some way) from the francophone majority? s the culture of groups evolve constantly, it is important to remember that schools are also places where young students with a variety of personal identities meet, and sometimes clash with, the collective identity promoted by school staff.6 It is this relationship between “Me” and “Us” that motivated my research among young people in Quebec City’s English-language school network. The results of this research reveal that youth have a wide diversity of linguistic identities that range from the most francophone to the most anglophone, while also including bilingual identities. This mix of identities testifies to the dissolution of traditional linguistic boundaries and brings forth numerous senses of belonging of different natures. The following excerpt from an interview with a young girl attending an English school in Quebec City illustrates this point well: “I think I am… hmm… a bilingual Canadian who is from… hmm… well, I am a bilingual ‘Québécoise’ who is also Canadian and who is proud to be ‘Québécoise’ and Canadian.” Much like francophone minorities in other Canadian provinces, many young people educated in English in Quebec build complex identities with different facets that can be mobilized according to the situations at hand or the objectives pursued. In such a setting, one wonders how English schools can expect to promote a single unifying collective identity that ap-
plies to all members of the Englishspeaking minority. Rising levels of bilingualism among young Quebec anglophones, moreover, show that they can dialogue with French-speaking Quebecers and participate in a common public life. Although the English language is not threatened due to its dominant status in a globalized world, the preservation of the cultural heritage of this minority in Quebec is far from assured. Many young people identify English-language schools as a major factor in their feeling of belonging to the anglophone community, thus confirming the importance of the institution in the construction of a sense of identity. Shouldn’t schools foster in youth the confidence to engage as anglophones in Quebec society, thereby shaping an inclusive society that is proud of its cultural diversity? Annie Pilote teaches at Université Laval’s Observatoire Jeunes et Société in Quebec City. This article was translated from the French by Patrick Donovan.
NOTES 1 Quebec English School Boards Association (2002), Brief on the fluctuating demographics in the education sector, [Online] http://www.qesba.qc.ca/documents/briefs_do cs/fluctuations_demographics.PDF (February 2008). 2 Jedwab, Jack (2004), Vers l’avant: l’évolution de la communauté d’expression anglaise du Québec (étude spéciale), Commissariat aux langues officielles, Ottawa. 3. Jedwab, Jack (2002), La révolution “tranquille” des anglo-québécois, in Denise Lemieux (dir.), Traité de la culture, Les éditions de l’IQRC, Sainte-Foy, p. 181-199. 4 For the full report, see Pilote, A. and S. Bolduc (with the participation of D. GérinLajoie) (2008), L’école de langue anglaise au Québec: bilan des connaissances et nouveaux enjeux (phase 2). Round-table procedings from Quebec and Montréal regions; Institut canadien de recherche sur les minorités linguistiques, Moncton, N.B. 5 Chambers, G. (1992). Task Force on English Education, Report to the Quebec minister of Education, p.1. 6 Research funded by the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (2004-2007).
Remember All the Way: History of the Chalmers-Wesley United Church, Quebec City Price-Patterson, Limited $30 276 pages Alexander Spark’s congregation broke away in 1800 and petitioned the London Missionary Society, sponsored by the Congregationalist church, to send them a minister. Reverend Clark Bentom arrived and served uneventfully from 1801-02. However, in 1803, he was denied the court’s signature on the registers of baptisms, marriages and funerals, a necessary condition for them to be legal. Bentom continued performing the ceremonies until he was criminally charged on March 23, 1803. He eventually served six months in prison and, upon release in 1805, returned to England. The Palace Street Congregational Church was built in 1840 and continued to grow as the city experienced a shipbuilding boom. In the same way, membership and donations fell after 1866 as shipbuilding and square-timber industries declined. By the late 1870s Palace Street found it impossible to pay the minister’s salary and maintain the building, and the church closed in 1881. Most of the congregation moved to Presbyterian churches. There had been two branches of Presbyterianism since 1843, when Thomas Chalmers led a group out of the traditional Church of Scotland. In Quebec City the two main Presbyterian congregations, Chalmers and St. Andrew’s, followed the Free Church movement and traditional Presbyterianism, respectively. The distinction had little effect, as the two congregations occasionally held events together.
t first glance, Remember All the Way simply traces the Chalmers-Wesley United Church’s long history, but a deeper inspection uncovers a far wider scope. Author George Crawford profiles each Congregationalist, Presbyterian and Methodist minister from 1759 on, in roles as shipbuilders, businessmen and doctors, to create a history of Quebec City’s development through these prominent men. The successes and shortcomings of each minister are described, making them appear more human and accessible to those seeking a proper way to remember them. Indeed, one’s respect for the men increases, as they prove to have overcome personal and political struggles to devote their lives to their faith. Methodist preacher Nathan Bangs arrived in Quebec City in 1806, to a church of less than a dozen members. Working on a salary of a dollar a week, his diary records his initial mortification over borrowing money, regret for putting his wife through hardship but, ultimately, his restorative faith. “When [God] had sufficiently humbled me to depend entirely on himself, he sent me help in a way I little expected,” he wrote. “A servant would arrive with the kind respects of unknown persons, with valuable presents of food, sugar, or tea.” At times, descriptions of Methodist revival meetings in the 1830s-40s might seem foreign, even threatening, to non-religious readers. But Crawford balances these with gentle self-reflection, refusing to smooth over the uglier parts of church history. Instead, he traces the responses to challenges and how the three denominations eventually amalgamated into the United Church of Canada in 1925. It’s his knack of avoiding flowery prose that saves this history—at 276 pages rich—from becoming too dry. The Congregationalist church was established in Quebec City with more than a little controversy. Some of Presbyterian minister
hen Italian preacher Alessandro Gavazzi arrived in 1853 to give a lecture at Chalmers Church, Reverend John Cook of St. Andrew’s attended. It proved important later on, as Cook was called on for an account of the night’s events. Gavazzi, a former Catholic monk, had converted to Protestantism and was in Quebec on an anti-papal campaign. An hour into his defamatory lecture, protestors stormed the stage as the
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and John Henderson Holt, the owners of Holt Renfrew, an upscale fashion boutique with stores across Canada. Reverend Salem Bland, who served from 1889-1892, went on to help form the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, which became the New Democratic Party in 1961. Towards the turn of the century, Crawford loses a bit of steam and the profiles begin to read like a curriculum vitae of each minister. They do, however, offer a glimpse into changing social trends. During the Temperance movement, which gained strength in the late 19th century, temperance songs such as “Where is my wandering boy tonight?” were included in the church repertoire. After the Second World War, women’s societies such as the Young Mothers’ Club became more active. Remember All the Way takes on an added significance in a year when the province is celebrating the past and looking ahead. With the continuing decline in church attendance, one might wonder if the institution will occupy an important place in the future. Crawford offers over 200 years worth of social action to show why it should.
police force apparently refused to interfere. “I said to the police, ‘Why are you standing here while there is a man being murdered in the church?’” Cook testified later. Gavazzi’s secretary was stabbed and beaten. When Gavazzi lectured in Montreal three nights later, another riot ensued and 10 people were killed. The United Church was formed in 1925 but some Presbyterian churches, including St. Andrew’s, remained independent, perhaps for fear they would lose their voices among the bigger Methodist churches. Chalmers joined with the Wesleyan Methodist Church to form Chalmers-Wesley United Church in 1931. The Wesleyan Methodists had benefitted over the years from a number of prominent trustees. One such man, Dr. James Douglas, left New York for Quebec City in 1826 to escape a criminal offense. Douglas had been digging up corpses for medical study when he was discovered by a stage-driver one day. Body snatching was a crime and, not trusting the stage-driver ’s promise of silence, Douglas quickly fled the country. He settled in the city and eventually opened both a private hospital and a hospital for mentally ill patients, who had prior to this time been mistakenly placed in prisons. Other trustees included George Renfrew
Reviewed by Gloria Er-Chua
by Nick Fonda
he same weekend that Sir Paul played the Plains, I made the trek to Quebec City to take in Et si Québec m’était chantée, a much different sort of spectacle being performed at the Colisée de Québec. I didn’t make the McCartney show although I heard a lot about it, including from a brother-in-law who drove almost 2,000 kilometres to see the former Beatle. As it turned out, the choir recital mounted by Carole Bellavance and the Alliance des chorales du Québec, like the McCartney concert, was not without political counterpoints. I left the show feeling buoyed by an ethereal euphoria and full of snippets of rhythm and melody and lyric. I’d heard about the recital for quite some time but the decisive factor was my old friend Jerry Cavanagh. If he hadn’t been singing, I probably wouldn’t have gone. For one thing, the forecast was for rain, (a daily occurrence in July). For another, hockey rinks no longer interest me as musical venues; if I’m going to listen to music I want more comfort and much friendlier acoustics. Besides, choral singing isn’t high on my list of favourite musical gen-
res. Then there was the choir itself which, with 1,400 voices, seemed a little too big to have any chance of being beautiful. I first met Jerry several years ago when my two daughters were close friends in high school (and formed a prize-winning piano duo). At the time, he was on leave of absence from his teaching job at Campus St. Jean, the francophone arm of the University of Alberta, and he was living in Sherbrooke where his wife, Martine, was finishing up her doctoral dissertation. Although he was born in northern Saskatchewan and grew up in English, he studied French and now lives and works in French in Edmonton. Among other things, Jerry and I share the experience of belonging to an invisible, linguistic minority. And it was he who introduced me to Laurier Fagnan, director of Edmonton’s Chorale Saint Jean, the only nonQuebec member of L’Alliance des chorales and one of 64 choirs who traveled to the Colisée this summer help mark Quebec City’s 400th anniversary. “Being accepted to participate in this historic event was a great privilege for us,” Fagnan later told me. Like Jerry, Fagnan teaches at Campus St.
Alliance des chorales du Québec perform at the Colisee, 18 July 2008. Photo by Michel Simard, Petits chanteurs de Charlesbourg,
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Jean. But while Jerry is a volunteer member of the choir, for Laurier, making music is the most enjoyable and most demanding part of his professorial workload. It’s also a long-standing passion. Though he took time off to earn a Master’s degree from Université Laval and to research his PhD in France (his doctoral dissertation was on choral acoustics), Fagnan’s involvement with the Chorale has been otherwise uninterrupted since he first joined as an 18-year-old undergraduate. “This has been a very busy year for us,” he recalled. “Our participation at the Quebec City concert was the last of seven concerts we gave in Quebec, and prior to going east we had already had a very full schedule here in Alberta, including a free concert of all-Quebec music we gave with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in honour of Quebec City’s 400th.”
choir members and flashing images to reflect the songs or narration, complemented rather than distracted. The actors and dancers who occasionally appeared swept with grace across the stage. When the show ended I clapped as loud and hard as anyone and I would have gladly sat down to listen to it all one more time.
People would tell me things like, ‘I never realized there were French communities in the West.’ One gentleman told me, ‘Your government could have done nothing better than to send you to Quebec to sing.'
booked into one of the few hotels which seemed not to have doubled its prices since I last stayed in Quebec a few years ago, and then navigated my way to the arena to pick up my tickets. The seats on the length of the arena to our right were empty, reserved for the choir. About half of what would normally be the ice surface was spectator seating. Much of the other half of the rink was given over to a very large, low stage which seemed to absorb people like a sponge absorbs water. It ended up accommodating the five-man band, an even larger team of technicians with soundboards and lighting panels and amplifiers, the entire children’s choir, the costumed members of the adult choir, the choir directors and as many as two dozen actors and dancers. Above the seats reserved for the choir were two large screens and probably as many as two dozen microphones. After the first few minutes I felt less anxious for the show to start than for it to be over. The concert was to be narrated by an overly sonorous, invisible narrator who wanted us to believe he was a tree reminiscing on the 400 winters, springs, summers and falls he had lived with the residents of Quebec. I heard echoes of elementary-school concerts. Spare me! And then, somewhere before the end of the second piece, the mood suddenly shifted 180 degrees. The music became an aural and visual feast: a small band that was very tight and very clean, voices that rose as if to lift you to the rafters, choir directors (six of them, and sometimes directing in tandem) who, even 100 feet away, seemed to vibrate. It was a musical buffet, from Mozart to Gilles Vigneault and culminating with Claude Gauthier’s “Le plus beau voyage”, with new lyrics penned for the 400th. Martin Gravel’s “Totem”, with its powerful, driving percussion was my particular favourite. The sound was cathedralesque. The screens alternately panning the faces of the
While 2008 represents a 400th birthday for Quebec City, it also marks the centenary of the University of Alberta and Campus St. Jean, an institution vital to French-speaking Albertans. For Chorale Saint-Jean’s members, who come from both the university and the community at large, singing across Quebec this past summer meant serious personal commitments of time and money. Though the choir organized fundraising activities and were successful at getting some grant money, the Quebec tour—featuring sell-out performances in Trois-Rivières and Victoriaville—represented a $1,000 outlay for each of the 47 singers who came. Fagnan said what most touched him on this year’s tour were comments he received after the shows. “People would tell me things like, ‘I never realized there were French communities in the West.’ One gentleman told me, ‘Your government could have done nothing better than to send you to Quebec to sing.’”
s an anglophone living in Quebec it was impossible not to notice that Et si Québec m’était chantée was presented almost entirely in French; no songs by Kashtin or Leonard Cohen figured on the repertoire. As a history buff, it was ironic to note that Quebec’s 400th this year has been mostly a celebration of the survival of francophone culture, whereas its 300th had been first and foremost a tribute to the glory of the British Empire. As an optimist I believe that music might still save us, though I’ll put my money on choral recitals rather than rock concerts. The most poignant words spoken to Laurier Fagnan this summer came from a woman who shook his hand after a concert and said, simply: “Grâce à vous, je vais à nouveau pouvoir chanter O Canada avec fierté.”
EVENT LISTINGS Eastern Townships Société d’histoire de Sherbrooke, 275 Dufferin, Sherbrooke Info : 819-821-5406 [email protected]
www.shs.ville.sherbrooke.qc.ca Permanent exhibition, Sherbrooke 1802-2002, Two centuries of history Uplands Cultural & Heritage Center (Lennoxville) Tel: 819-564-0409 Till October 26, 2008, Wen-Sunday, 14:30 p.m. Exhibition Sara Peck Colby, Artist Recent Works of the Eastern Townships Admission is free
November 8, 2008, 10:30 a.m. Speaker: Gordon Morley Topic: Mount Hermon Cemetery in Sillery (Quebec City) December 13, 2008, 10:30 a.m. Speaker: Malcolm Cogswell Topic: Editing a Family Newsletter, large and small Westmount Historical Association Westmount Public Library Fall Lecture Series 2008 Cost: Members: Free Non-members: 5$ Info: 514-925-1404 or 514-932-6688 Email: [email protected]
November 20, 2008, 7-9 p.m. Dawson College: Looking back 40 years Speaker: Sally Nelson, English teacher at Dawson for 39 years.
Lennoxville-Ascot Historical & Museum Society 9 Speid St.,second floor of Uplands 819-564-0409
December 18, 2008, 7-9 p.m. Centenary of Roslyn School, 1908 Presentation by members of Dramatis Personae, Westmount’s Community Theatre
Till December 2008, Wens-Sun., 1-4:30 p.m. Exhibition Mary Catharine (Minnie) Gill, Artist Over 30 works of the Eastern Townships Admission is free
Société d’histoire de Pointe-Saint-Charles Information : Luc Latraverse, Secrétaire 514-938-1660 Email: [email protected]
Stanstead Historical Sociey Colby-Curtis Museum, Info: 819-876-7322 [email protected]
November 8, Gérard Leduc Ph.D. (in French) Lake Memphremagog: its history, legends and archaeology
Montreal The Quebec Family History Society Info: 514-695-1502 Email: [email protected]
www.qfhs.ca Free Lecture Series , St. Andrew’s United Church, Lachine
Pont Victoria Tour October 5 and 19,2008, 1:00 p.m. Given in English Guided tours on the history of the Grand Trunk Railway Company and the construction of the Victoria Bridge. Leaving from Tansey Park at the corner of Centre and Wellington streets St. Patrick’s Society 514-848-8711 Email: [email protected]
Website: www.cdnirish.concordia.ca The Third Annual Lecture in Canadian Irish Studies Free Admission Location: Room: H-1220, Pavilion Hall Building, Concordia University 27
1455, boul de Maisonneuve Ouest October 29, 2008, 7:30 p.m. Topic: Yeatsian Paradigms: Irish Theatre and Society, 1926-1967 October 30, 2008, 8:30 p.m. Topic: Major Redefinitions in Irish Theatre, 1968-2008 November 6, 2008, 8:30 p.m. Room H-1220, Pavilion Hall building, Concordia University 1455, boul. De Maisonneuve Ouest Speaker: Louis de Paor, Ph.D Topic: Irish-Language Poetry Reading November 13, 2008, 8:30 p.m. Room H-1220, Pavilion Hall Building, Concordia University, 1455, boul. De Maisonneuve Ouest Speaker: Nessa Cronin, Ph.D Topic: An Irish Poetics of Place? Poetry, Topography and the Irish Literary Tradition
Quebec City Morrin Centre - (418) 694-9147 Guided Tours Theatrical guided tours newly-restored discover old cells, 19th century classrooms and a unique Victorian library
Outaouais Pontiac Gatineau Valley Historical Society 819-827-6224 Email: [email protected]
Current Exhibit Images of Farm Point Chelsea Municipal Offices Exhibit at the Wakefield Library Covered Bridges of the Gatineau Valley November 11, 2008 Remembrance Day-Chelsea Cenotaph Pioneer Cemetery at the grave of Richard Rowland Thomson