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When I began my research, the information that I acquired led me much further than I originally intended. I discovered with fascination, how the territory along the shores along the lac Mercier was developed, and how active our region was at the beginning of last century.
I am offering you this fruit of my research, and invite you to travel through this very fascinating sector of our local history.
The lac Mercier at its Beginnings
According to the first settlers, at the end of the 19th century, lac Mercier was called, le lac Sem (the name of a senior employee of a forestry company, at that time). Curé Samuel Ouimet, the first parish priest in St. Jovite, renamed the lake “lac Mercier”, in honour of the Hon. Honoré Mercier (1840-1894), Prime Minister of Quebec from 1887-1891, and recognized as one of the great Prime Ministers in the history of Quebec. It was only in 1968 that the name “lac Mercier” was officialized by the “Provincial Toponymy Committee”.
This period in our history presented difficult choices to the local rural Quebec inhabitants. It was becoming increasingly difficult to support a family reasonably. The people faced the choices of emigrating to the United States, moving to the cities to work in factories, or becoming the colonisers of new territories. This situation greatly favored the influential Catholic church, which developed the rules and regulations related to colonisation.
Since his arrival in 1868 as parish priest in Saint Jérôme, father Antoine Labelle (1833-1891) dedicated himself to opening the northern territories to colonization, convinced as he was that the future of French-Canadians lay in agricultural work.
The determination expended by Father Antoine Labelle, and the energy with which he encouraged his peers made him a legend.
Honoré Mercier and curé Antoine Labelle
By his renown as Prime Minister, and his involvement in the development of our region, the Honourable Honoré Mercier also made his mark on history via his descendants :
-His eldest daughter, Eliza Mercier, would marry Sir Lomer Gouin
-His daughter Heva Mercier married Homère Fauteux and became the mother of the Honorable Gaspard Fauteux,
-his son Honoré Mercier ll, became a politician who was a fierce defender of nature, who was able to merge his love for this region with his ministerial duties. He was at the forefront of several institutions charged with protecting nature and natural resources, at a time when such initiatives were in their infancy in North America.
Supported by father Antoine Labelle called the “King of the North”, the Hon. Honoré Mercier worked hard for the development rural Quebec territories, and promoted the interests of colonization and agriculture.
Several particularly difficult winters (1871-1872) and the requirement to transport firewood to Montreal, overcame the resistance of certain politicians who had refused to develop a railroad in the Laurentians. At that time, the train ran to Saint-Jerome, but curé Labelle envisioned further, and wished to colonize new lands more to the north.
He also dreamt of bringing tourists, who wished to escape the city, and who wanted to profit from the beautiful landscapes and numerous resources in the area known as “Cantons du Nord”. The extension of the railway further north, was essential to the realization of that dream.
The vision of curé Labelle, known as the “King of the North”, to extend the railway beyond “La Repousse” mountain (Saint-Faustin) is essential to the realization of this dream and he spent a lot energy in trying to realize his colonization plan.
Colonization plan of the “Northern townships”
The curé Labelle wanted to slow down the exodus of French-Canadians towards the United States, but he also had the firm intention to slow the influx of Anglo-saxons and their protestants ministers going to the north of the Saint-Laurent river. The latter had already began to occupy the Outaouais region, in the cantons of Montcalm, Arundel and Salaberry on the Diable river.
The curé felt that the protestants had the intention of acquiring all the good land in the valley of the Rouge and the Diable rivers, and he expended considerable effort to derail their projects. He absolutely wanted to avoid, in the « cantons of the North”, what the Anglophones had created in the Eastern townships, where the distribution of acreages favored them, to the detriment of the poorer French Canadians.
In the Fall of 1870, the curé Labelle left Saint-Jérome, and traversed the ridge referred to “La Repousse” (Saint-Faustin) to reach the plain of the “Grand Brûlé” (Great burn). The forests had been partly cleared at the junction of the Diable and Rouge rivers by forestry entrepreneurs from Hawesbury, so that they could store their food and equipment which were necessary for their work sites during the winter. He saw this nice valley location as an ideal site for the implantation of a colony.
Antoine Labelle requested aid from the government so that a large number of lots could be distributed to the settlers. He also requested a improved legislate of protection to counter the abusive practices of the forestry entrepreneurs.
After completing the survey of the canton De Salaberry in 1871, settlers began clearing the valley of the Grand Brûlé on the south shore of the Diable. In order to help the families settle on these lands, the cure Labelle was successful in collecting funds necessary for the improvement of the chemin Morin (route 117) that join the Grand Brûlé to Ste-Agathe , as well as the construction of a covered bridge over the Diable, which permitted these settlers to clear the land on both sides of the river.
The land clearers gradually settled in the cantons de Wolfe, Arundel and Clyde.
After the opening of the chemin Morin up to the Diable river in 1871, the settlers established themselves in the Canton of Clyde (La Conception), in the middle of the forestry empire owned by the Hamilton brothers from Hawesbury.
La mission du “Grand Brûlé”
The St-Jean, Pilon, Champagne, Labelle and Clément families settled in the canton of Clyde, where is located the lac Mercier.
In 1878, there were numerous families on both sides of the Diable river, Joseph Sarazin, well established on the south shore of the Diable, offered a portion of land to the curé Labelle, and a chapel-presbytery were soon constructed.
The curé Labelle encouraged the transfer of priest Joseph-Samuel Ouimet from the diocese of Montréal, so that he could devote his time to the settlers and their families in the mission of the Grand Brûlé. In 1878, the new colony is transfered to the pastor Joseph-Samuel Ouimet.
The Grand Brûlé henceforth will be named St-Jovite.
Curé Ouimet spent considerable energy in recruiting new settlers. The village of St-Jovite now had a School board, and a school was built. The small chapel became too small and was soon transformed in a larger church. The village had a saw mill, a brickmaking plant (François Léonard), as well as a flour mill (Célestin Bisson), a wollen mill (Jude Meilleur), a bakery, transporters, a blacksmith shop, general stores, a physician and a notary. Because of the streams, electric power was installed, which accelerated the expansion of the territory.
The road, 21 miles long, joining St. Jovite to la Chute Aux Iroquois (Labelle) passed through lac Duhamel and La Conception. In 1883 a new road, crossing ranges 1 and 2 of Grandison and then range D of Clyde, along the west side of lac Mercier, is built. The road, which is called “Chemin Bisson” shortened the distance between the two villages to 16 miles. The lands along this road and the east side of the Rouge River, were very fertile and productive.
Twice, in1885 and 1890, the curé Labelle, who became deputy minister of Colonization in the government of Honoré Mercier, went to Europe to recruit francophone families willing to settle in the new territories in the cantons of the North.
The vision of the “King of the North” to extend the railway beyond “La Repousse” mountain (Saint-Faustin) became a reality.
A railway station has been established in Saint-Jovite in October 1893.
In 1894, the railway was completed in the lac Mercier sector, and the first train past and continue in the direction of La Conception and the Chute aux Iroquois station (Labelle). The train would now bring workers and tourists into the Valley of the Diable and Rouge rivers just to its end of the Chute aux Iroquois.
After the death of curé Antoine Labelle in 1891, his colonization project was continued by his loyal friend Samuel Ouimet. Colonization continued and spread to the cantons of Grandisson and Clyde. In addition to caring for the families in the valley of the Diable, the curé Ouimet must now service the parishes in the missions of La Conception and Chute-aux-Iroquois (Labelle).
In the small village at lac Mercier, the arrival of several families occurred when the industry was established, and the arrival of the train and the building of the station in 1904.
The « mission de Mont-Tremblant » was established, and curé Ouimet made regular weekly visits until his death in 1918. The mission was then transfered to curé Joseph-Eugène Limoges, who retained numerous good memories of his visits to lac Mercier, which he later published when he became the bishop of Mont-Laurier in 1922.
The mission of Mont-Tremblant was then taken over by father Charles-Hector Deslauriers in 1929.
Charles-Hector Deslauriers, was born in Pointe-Claire in 1898, completed his classical studies in Montréal and finished his program in theology at the seminary of Mont-Laurier. He was ordained to the priesthood by Mgr Limoges in 1925 and became director of the studies at the seminary of Mont-Laurier during 3 years before being appointed as parish priest of lac Mercier. In the Summer of 1929, he undertook to build a church, to replace the small chapel. The new church was completed at the end of 1929.
Curé Deslauriers was very involved in encouraging his parishioners in the practice of sport, and the improvement of their environment. Worried about the lost of the forest cover, because of the intense clear cutting by the forestry companies, he initiated a program of replanting in the region. He had a great interest in horticulture, and was well aware of the importance of preserving nature.
A true visionary, curé Labelle had predicted that the beautiful vistas in the cantons of the North would become a paradise for the maintenance of good health, and the admiration of nature. He wanted to make the North a « Canadian Switzerland ».
Birth of a village.
At the beginning of last century, most of the lots were acquired around lac Mercier by « certificates of location » or by the acquisition of « Letters Patent» from the government of Québec. For the committed woodsmen, the Statutes and Regulations demanded that once the wood was cut and collected from those lands, these would be transferred to the settlers. The settlers would then gradually begin to establish their families on the lots that had been ceded to them.
Honoré Mercier obtained the letters patent to allow the installation of the railway. After his death in 1894, it is his widow, Virginie St-Denis, who held the letters patent from the government for lots 34 and 35 of range ll in the county of Grandison,(village of Mont-Tremblant) as well as for lot 46, in which the railway was installed.
In April 1898, Virginie St-Denis sold the two lots, 34 et 35 of range ll in the canton of some 200 acres, to François Sigouin the father, farmer from St-Jovite, along with the promise to help them as required.
On November 22 1901, farmer François Sigouin father, sold a water source (spring) to fellow farmer Célestin Bisson. The spring was situated on lot 35 of range ll, was coming from the mountain side on the north side of « chemin du lac Tremblant » (now chemin du Village), along with the right to build a basin and an aqueduct. Pipes 1000 feet long are installed to bring the water to Joseph Dufour’s location on lot 36 of range ll. Joseph Dufour now had a reliable source of water for the hotel that he was to build. The building would become the Hotel Mont-Tremblant.
In 1902, François Sigouin father and Alphonse Gauthier sold to the forestry company Great Northern Lumber and the wood merchant Salomon Cole, a large portion of this territory on the plateau between “lac Brochet” (later named lac Moore) and lac Mercier, as well as along the stream which ran along the plateau to the foot of the small mountain (Mont-Plaisant).
In 1905, this large piece of land would be sold to the A.D. Gall Petroleum & Chemical Co.
The forestry company and Salomon Cole also held lots 5 to 12 of range E of canton of Clyde at the north-east of the lake, and also held the cutting rights on lots 8 et 9 of range D of canton Clyde, on the north-west portion of the lake, and around “Lac du Sommet”, which belonged to Marie Giroux, widow of Alphonse D. Dury
In 1904 at lac Mercier, the opening of the train station now allowed the “Train of the North” to stop in the small village, which provided a new boost to the development of the region.
In 1904-1905, François Sigouin père, owner of the lots along the stream and “chemin du lac Tremblant”(chemin du Village), between lac Mercier and « lac Brochet » (lac Moore), was able to resell parts of the lots acquired by letters patent, on condition that the new owners construct a livable house. These new individuals became the pioneers of the village of Mont-Tremblant. They came from the regions of Saint-Jérôme, Sainte-Thérèse et Sainte-Agathe and began to acquire small pieces of land, on which they settle in this new region full of promise.
These pioneers were: Joseph Cyr, Alphonse Gauthier, Jules Lachapelle, Joseph Dufour, who will build the Hotel Mont-Tremblant, then Wilfrid Guay (and Donalda Renaud) who will become the owners of the hotel, the carpenter Octave Émond, the lumberjack Calixte Ladouceur, the foreman Zéphirin Meilleur (and Victorine Hamel), the laborers Olivier Ladouceur and Ovide Barnes, the farmer Célestin Bisson and the carpenter Zéphirin Bisson, Joseph Meilleur, the inn keeper, Jean-Romain Lavigne, who will soon open a general store, Jules Boivin , Eugène Dicaire, Charles Whittey, the station master Adélard Matte, Azarius Lauzon, Arthur Robert, Damien Poissant (et Irène Bréard) who are established just behind the hotel owned by Joseph Dufour, Zéphirin Vanchesteing (Virginie Sénécal) who will provide electric power in the village, and many more after.
Nearly all of the parts of lot 35 were sold to settlers, who established themselves along the “chemin du lac Tremblant”. The parts of lots on the north side of this road were more suitable for building, so that is where several houses and commercial structures were built, several of which still exist to this day.
Between the plateau where the forestry company had it’s installations, and the “chemin du lac Tremblant”, ran the outflow stream from “lac Brochet”. In the middle of it’s trajectory, it widened into a swampy pond. This muddy pond disappeared with the development of the village and the improvement of the main street, pushing the stream towards the edge of the industrial plateau.
In the 1980s, the stream was buried underground, over the current location of “ parc du Curé Deslauriers” , in front of the current restaurants.
On December 31 1914, Virginie St-Denis sold lot 46 in the canton of Grandison to the Canadian Pacific Railway, where is established the railway installations twenty years previously.
On November 17 1896, Virginie St-Denis, the widow of Hon. Honoré Mercier, was granted from the government of Québec, several lots in range ll in canton of Grandison. Grant by means of letters patent is subject to laws and rules specified in public land attributions.
On December 17 1897, Virginie sold lots 36 (77 acres) and 37 (31 acres), and a part of lot 35 of range ll to Edouard-Henri Mercier, a customs officer from Montreal, and brother of Honoré Mercier.
Edouard-Henri Mercier then became owner of lots adjacent to lac Mercier. This large territory covers the south and the south-eastern portion of the lake.
A part of these lots was rented in 1901 to the forestry company. On parts of lots 35 and 36, situated along the chemin du Lac Tremblant (currently chemin du Village) where the forestry company had several installations, and there are also located other structures such as a general store, a sawmill, a wood transformation plant, as well as a immense wood lot.
Later, a hotel will be built for the employees of the forestry company, the « Chalet du lac ». .
After the death of Edouard-Henri Mercier in June of 1905, his two daughters Cécilia et Évelina became his heirs. Cécilia transferred her part of the heritage to Evelina « Eva » Mercier, who became the owner of almost all of the area adjacent to the south-east portion of the lake.
She has bound by a contract with Salomon Cole, the wood merchant and owner of the sawmill in the village, to continue the lease for the wood cutting on the listed lots.
Several parts of lot 36 along the lakeshore and railway track were sold by Evelina “Eva ” Mercier to early settlers. They built homes and stores, one of which is Hotel Mont Tremblant. Several of these commercial establishments still exist up to this day.
When Évelina« Eva » Mercier died in September 1920, her properties were ceded to her husband, Alfred Beaudoin, as well as to her 6 children. The Beaudoin children continued to visit lac Mercier. In 1928, her daughter Jeanne Beaudoin and her son-in-law, Lucien Roy, occupied a dwelling on the west side of the lake, which later became the Hotel Pointe du Rocher.
The estate of Évelina Mercier continued to maintain, for several years, the properties on the east and south-east of the lake. Alfred Beaudoin died in July 1934. Several properties remained in the estate of Mercier-Beaudoin until the death of Fleur-Ange Beaudoin in 1959, and later descendants up until the 1980’s.
The Vanchesteings operated a small electric generating station beginning in 1912, and gradually implanted electricity into the village. In 1931, Virginie Sénécal, widow of Joseph Vanchesteing, sold the installations to the Gatineau Power Co., which maintained a reliable electrical service to the village.
Since the beginning of the century, running water for this part of the village, as well as to the small school located in the center of the village, came from a spring on the north flank of the mountain, behind the hotel Mont-Tremblant. The spring and the water pipes had belonged to Célestin Bisson since 1901, was sold to Donalda Renaud in 1923Eight families living in this area, as well as the hotel Mont-Tremblant and the small school, used the system: the Syracuse for 2 houses, and Labelle, Sigouin, Letendre, Richer, Lavigne and Poissant. Families paid annual fee, varying between 6 and 30 dollars in 1941, for this running water service.
Victorine Hamel, widow of Zéphirin Meilleur and owner of the Hotel Mont-Tremblant, sold the structure to Ovila Robitaille, along with the water source and the associated piping, at the same time as she sold the hotel and other properties, in May 1941.
Within the mission of Mont-Tremblant, the parish of Sacré-Cœur de Jésus is created in 1919. In July 1920, curé J-Eugène Limoges purchased from Zéphirin Bisson a portion of land along the road and the railway facing the lake in order to build a small chapel which would be serviced by the parish priest of Saint-Jovite. The “mission of Mont-Tremblant” serviced all of range ll of the canton of Grandison (in County of Terrebonne), i.e. the village, but also the parishioners who established themselves in the range D of the canton of Clyde, (mission of La Conception) which means all the west side of lac Mercier.
Carpenters and other skilled workmen, including Euclide Dubois, who had built the Villa Bellevue hotel on lac Ouimet, participated in the construction of the new church on the hillside facing the lake, beside the small chapel in 1929.
Euclide Dubois, whose parents came from Ste-Thérèse area, acquired number of lots in the region between lac Ouimet and lac Mercier and had built the Villa Bellevue hotel on lac Ouimet. He also owned a sawmill on one of these lots near the road leading to the village. Carpenter and businessman, he participated in the construction of the church.
The lac Mercier church was completed in December 1929.
The lumber industry in the village
At the end of the 19th century, the demand for softwood lumber in the U.S. was very strong. The construction of the railway gave a major boost to the newly expanding forestry industry, which include the secondary transformation of wood products.
During this time, the rights to harvest and sell wood on nearly all the territory had been acquired by the forestry companies.
On the 20th of November 1903, the Great Northern Lumber Company Ltd. was exploiting a large forested territory all along the eastof lac Mercier, the village sector along the “chemin du lac Tremblant” (chemin du Village), as well as several other lots on the north end of the lake. For these forestry companies,the site is ideal because the hard and soft wood is available in large quantities.
This new industry provided a major boost to the efforts to colonize. The settlers who had established themselves in this region during the colonization period, and since the development of the railway between St-Jovite et La Conception in 1893-1894, were grateful to have found employment close to their families. Having realized that the agricultural potential of their new lands was poor, the settler sought a good income by offering their services as lumberjacks and factory workers in the forestry industry.
For the forestry company, the lac Mercier railway station built in 1904, made the forestry industry more attractive. In April 3, 1906, business men from Montreal and a merchant from Westmount, Andrew D. Gall (A.D.Gall Petroleum & Chemical Company Ltd) bought all the installations and the wood cutting rights from Salomon Cole, the provincial wood merchant and owner of the sawmill located between lac Moore and lac Mercier.
The beginning of the century was marked by several major events that influenced the development of our region, and changed in many ways, the way people lived.
-the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918,
-a period of economic and cultural transformation, and the evolution of personal behaviours during the years 1920-1930 characterized as the “Roaring 20’s “,
-the Great Depression, this economic crisis of the 1930s, marked with unemployment and misery
— and the creation of the “Adirondack chair” at the beginning of the century!.
The beginning of the tourist era
At that time, the tourist industry began to boom, in the “Pays d’en Haut”, and most of the clientele originated from the bourgeois Anglophone and francophone society in Montreal and beyond .
At the time of the beginning of the Second War 1939-1945...
The Hotel « Chalet du lac » was sold to Charles-H. Deslauriers in 1939. The building, built to accommodate workers and more recently tourists, also functioned for activities organized by father Deslauriers.
The deteriorated sawmill and other buildings owned by the Standard Chemical Co. were abandoned. Several small portions of land owned by the company were gradually sold up until 1942. The railway siding was dismantled, and became the “rue Du Couvent“.
The village expanded, and new owners established themselves on the plateau between the lac Moore stream and the small mountain (Mont Plaisant), and the lakes Moore and Mercier, a sector now known as “rue Du Couvent”.
A school was built in this area, and was managed by the Sisters of Sainte-Croix, beginning in 1948. We should be recalled, that it was not until 1943 that the government of Québec voted a law making school attendance mandatory up until the age of 14 years.
Before us, they walked on these lands and admired the mountains and the lake…
Since the surveying in 1871-1883 divided the territory into cantons, in the counties of Labelle (canton of Clyde) and Terrebonne (canton of Grandison), the small village of Mont-Tremblant and the south-est sector of lac Mercier became part of canton of Grandison in the county of Terrebonne. As for lac Mercier and lac Desmarais, they were located in the « Municipality of Clyde » (La Conception) in the canton of Clyde in the county of Labelle.
In 1940, its geographic location and the development of the tourist industry created by the Mont-Tremblant mountain, resulted in the Municipalité de Mont-Tremblant integrating lac Mercier and lac Desmarais within it’s territory. The lots of range D (to the west) and E (to the east and north of the lake) in the Canton of Clyde were henceforth made part of the Municipality of Mont-Tremblant.
The Municipality of Clyde officially changes its name in 1946 for « Municipality of La Conception ».
published in: « Politique familiale », Municipalité La Conception
First owners around the lake.
Lots on the south and south-east sides
Lots 36 and 37 of range ll in canton of Grandison
On November 17 1896, Virginie St-Denis, widow of Hon. Honoré Mercier, was granted from the government of Québec several lots in range ll in canton of Grandison. Grant of lands by letters patent is subject to laws and rules specified in public land attribution.
On December 17 1897, She sold lots 36 (77 acres) and 37 (31 acres), and a part of lot 35 of range ll to Edouard-Henri Mercier, customs officer from Montreal, and brother of Hon. Honoré Mercier.
Edouard-Henri Mercier became owner of lots adjacent to lac Mercier. This large territory covers the south and the south-eastern portion of the lake.
An interesting fact : the Merciers owned a rocky island in lac Mercier, situated along the line dividing the lots 36 and 37. This small island was possibly more important at that time, because it appears simply as a portion of the territory, when property tittles were transferred up until the 1930’s.
After the death of Edouard-Henri Mercier in June 1905, his two daughters Cécilia et Évelina became his heirs. Cécilia transferred her part of the estate to Evelina « Eva » Mercier.
Many parts of lot 36 along the lakeshore and railway track were sold by Evelina “Eva ” Mercier to early settlers. They built homes and stores, one of which is Hotel Mont Tremblant. Several of these commercial establishments and houses still exist up to this day.
When Évelina Mercier died in September 1920, her properties were ceded to her husband, Alfred Beaudoin, as well as to her 6 children. The Beaudoin children continued to visit lac Mercier.
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Lots 1, 2 and 3 of range D in canton of Clyde:
-At the end of the 19th century, Bénoni St-Jean, a carpenter, and farmer in the canton of Clyde, obtains letters patent from the government of Québec, lots 1, 2 et 3 of range D canton Clyde, along the south portion of lac Mercier on east and west shores. This large area, included almost half of the lake surface. Buildings are built on some of these lots.
On the 18 of July 1902, he sold his 3 lots to Jérémie Bonnier dit Laplante, a farmer from the canton of Clyde.
Four months later, on the 18 of November 1902, Jérémie Bonnier sold all of the east portion of lots 1, 2 et 3 of range D to Joseph Cyr, a businessman from St-Jovite.
Lots on the north and north-east sides of the lake
Lots 5 to 12 of range E in the canton of Clyde:
In the industry chapter, we were able to determine who were the owners of lots 5 to 12 of range E in the canton of Clyde. In 1902, the owner was the wood merchant Salomon Cole, in 1906 : A.D.Gall Petroleum & Chemical, in 1910 : the Laurentian Chemical Co., and in 1932 : the Standard Chemical Co.
-On January 13 1943, a portion of this large territory on the north-east of the lake (Lots 5 and 6 of range E) is purchased by father Charles-Hector Deslauriers.
-On June 17 1940, the youngest brother of father Deslauriers, René Deslauriers, who was at that time a salesman from Montreal, obtained lots 7, 8 and 9A of range E in canton of Clyde, which comprised all of the northern side of the lake, adjacent to the C.P.R. railway.
The chalets built between the the railway and the lake, on the eastern and the northern shore of the lake.
-In November 12 1896, March 25 1897, October 30 1906 and December 31 1914, by vertu of letters patent obtained from the government of Québec, Virginie St-Denis, widow od Hon. Honoré Mercier, transfered her property rights to the Montreal & Western Railway Co., that is all of the land occupied by the railway. This strip of land, 40 feet wide each side of the rails, was delineated for usage by the railway. Small exceeding portions between the lake and the tracks, not utilized by the company, but still belonging to it, became eligible for sale.
Along lac Mercier, the long strip of land in the canton of Clyde became lot 52 in ranges D and E.
Starting in 1922, the Montreal & Western Railway Company, owner of lot 52 of rang D and E , gradually sold some of the small portions of lands between the rails and the lake, that could not be used by the railway. It was after this that small chalets were built on the north and east shores of the lake.
These small houses were built along portions of land that jetted out from the railway towards the lake. These houses, occupied by tourists, were only used during the summer. Since there was no road, transport of materials required for larger buildings was difficult.
Several of these chalets, witnesses of the past, have maintained their cachet until current times.
Lots on the west side of the lake
lots 36 and 37 of range ll in canton of Grandison (West)
At the end of 19th century, Edouard-Henri Mercier acquired by means of letters patent from the government of Québec, lots 36 and 37 of range ll in canton of Grandison. After the death of Edouard-Henri Mercier in June 1905, his two daughters Cécilia et Évelina became his heirs. Cécilia transfered her part of the estate to Evelina « Eva » Mercier.
-On August 26 1905 and May 8 1923, Evelina Mercier and Alfred Beaudoin sold to Katherine Melanie Weekes and John J. Creelman portions of lots 36 and 37 of range ll located at the south west end of the lake, which is all the territory between the lake and the chemin Bisson (actual ch.du lac Mercier).
-The southern extremity of the lots remained in the possession of the heirs of until 1988, while another portion was kept within the family until just recently.
The territory of the south of the lake is located in the canton of Grandison ( lots 35, 36 and 37 of range ll ) whereas the rest of the west side was located in the canton of Clyde. These were lots 1 to 8 of range D.
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Lots 1, 2 and 3 of range D in canton of Clyde: (West)
–Bénoni St-Jean, a carpenter and farmer from the canton of Clyde, acquired via letters patent from the government of Québec, lots 1, 2 and 3 in range D of canton of Clyde, that is all of the south portion of lac Mercier, on the east and west shores.
-On July 18 1902, he sold his three lots to Jérémie Bonnier dit Laplante, a farmer from canton of Clyde.
-On August 4 1903, Jérémie Bonnier was aging, and wanted to be assured of a small annual income. Therefore, one of the conditions of sale to Joseph Robert, a farmer from St-Jovite, was that he provides a small annual rent. Joseph became the owner of lots 1, 2 and 3 of rang D on the west side of the lake. On these lots, houses were built. Jérémie died on March 4, 1910.
The bay at the south-west (chemin Harrison)
-Beginning with Bénoni St-Jean, carpenter and farmer in canton of Clyde, up until Jérémie Bonnier dit Laplante, a farmer from canton of Clyde, along with Joseph Robert, all the west portion of lots 1, 2 and 3 were cleared, cultivated, and then subdivided. Hotels will be built later.
The road that led towards Labelle (currently ch. du lac Mercier) was known as “chemin Bisson“ probably because Zéphirin Bisson and his family had settled nearby.
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The middle of the lake
Lots 4 and 5 of range D in canton of Clyde:
-Alphonse-Denis Dury and Marie Giroux left their native France in 1883 to immigrate to Canada. Alphonse is a tailor, and the couple open a clothing store in St-Jovite. On May 19 1897, A-D. Dury obtains via letters patent, lots 4 and lots 8 and 9 of range D on the west of lac Mercier, along chemin Bisson (currently ch. du lac Mercier) that led towards Labelle.
-Arthur O’Meara acquired lots 4, 5 of range D in the canton of Clyde, from Alphonse Dury. On a rocky plateau rising from the lake, he built a two-story house.
On February 8 1905, he sold his property to the architect, Louis E. Roy (Laurence Robert). The family was then living in New-York. They came back to Montreal in 1908 and spent their holidays at lac Mercier. Their son Lucien Roy and his wife Jeanne Beaudoin, daughter of Évelina Mercier and Alfred Beaudoin, spent much time in the house until 1928, the family of Jeanne were the owners of properties on the other side of the lake.
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Towards the west north-west
Lots 6 and 7 of range D in canton of Clyde:
–Delphine St-Jean, wife of Bénoni St-Jean, obtained lots 6A and 6B of range D via letters patent from the government of Québec, on February 5, 1924. These lots were allocated for the harvesting of wood and cultivation.
On May 8 1934, Antoinette St-Jean (Roméo Pilon), farmer in canton of Clyde, inherited lot 6B of range D after the death of her mother Delphine.
The small lake at the west extremity of lot 6, is named “lac Saint-Jean” because of the St-Jean family. The descendants of the St-Jean (Pilon) still own a large portion of the original territory on the west side of chemin du lac Mercier, whereas the portions of lots that have been subdivided between the chemin du lac Mercier and the lake changed hands on several occasions.
Virginie St-Denis, wife of Honoré Mercier, was the owner of several lots in the Mont-Tremblant region, especially along the route of the railway to join the northern parts of Quebec with Montreal.
The long-held dream of Curé Labelle was soon to be realized.
In 1897, Virginie sold several lots to the Montreal and Western Railway Company along the shore of lac Sem (lac Mercier), where the railroad follows its route through La Conception and on to Labelle.
The designation “le Train du Nord” was the name given by curé Labelle to “my railway», between Montréal and Mont-Laurier.
This appellation remained in use all during the time that this route stayed in operation, especially by those who worked to transport merchandise and passengers. To all, it remained “Le train du nord“.
Station Lac Mercier-Mont-Tremblant
In 1894, a new sound is heard along lac Mercier coming from the locomotive running along the shore, which sent a shiver over the water. It was only until the Fall of 1904 that Canadien Pacifique built the train station.
To effectively deal with increased volumes of travellers, mostly hunters and fishermen, an extension is added a few years later, which replaced the small extisting station.
In 1928, a lateral extension is added to the structure.
A siding long enough to accommodate 16 cars was added to the main railway. Telegraph service was available during daytime.
Lac Mercier began to attract holidayers, enchanted by the beauty of the surroundings, the pure air, the hunting, fishing and other numerous activities. Many tourists came to the region simply to enjoy the clean air, or to operate small craft on the lake, or to profit from the activities that occurred in the hotels. Outdoor activities and open air sports were becoming more and more popular.
Having become a tourist destination for the well-off, it was the attraction of downhill skiing that brought more tourists during the 30s and 40s.
For a few hours train ride from Montreal, all of these activities were now accessible. The improvement in the road system, as well as the affordability of the automobile, brought large numbers of tourists to the region.
It is not until 1940 that the small village of lac Mercier became the “Municipalité of Mont-Tremblant”. It is also in 1940 that the lac Mercier became part of the municipalité of Mont-Tremblant territory.
Lac Mercier and lac Desmarais were previously parts of the municipalité of Clyde ( La Conception).
The northern part of lac Mercier remained undeveloped until the 1970s, except for the small chalets built along the railway in the 1930s. These chalets were only occupied during the Summer, as there was no access road.
The “Chemin des Boisés” was developed in 1975. Nicole Morin and Joël Yanow were the pioners in the development of that part of the lake.
During the past thirty years, several real estate developments appeared on the mountains surrounding lac Mercier: “The “Domaine du Lac Mercier” on the north shore, the “Cap Tremblant” on the south shore, on the mountain overlooking the village, “L’ Orée des Lacs” on the east side, and finally the “Domaine Privilège” on the west side.
Married women property owners
Up until the 1960s, the names of married women property owners do not appear on documents unless their husbands were present at the transaction, or had died. Married women were not authorized to sign contracts, and, therefore, could not become owners of a lot or building. They had to obtain the written consent of their husbands, in order to be allowed to sign a contract.
Before us, they walked on these lands and admired the mountains and the lake…
It is by establishing themselves on the land around lac Mercier, that the pioneers were able to accomplish the dream of the colonizers, and have now left us this beautiful territory which we have the duty to preserve.
The influence of the Merciers on our local history :
Each chapter allowed us to evaluate the influence that the Merciers had on our local history.
From Honoré Mercier, the owner of several large lots around lac Mercier, to his widow, Virginie Saint-Denis, who sold those lots via letters parent for the construction of the railway, through the development of the region by forestry workers and settlers, throught Honoré’s brother Edourd-Henri Mercier and his daughter Évelina Mercier (Alfred Beaudoin) and their numerous descendants, each, in his own way contributed in spreading the influence of this family on the history of our region.
Other descendants of the pioneer families left their mark on local history:
François Archambault, owner of the hotel built by Joseph Dufour, whose daughter Anna Archambault married Dr. Eugène Gervais, a physician in Mont Tremblant , Henry Birks, owner of lots in range III in Grandison, between lakes Mercier and Tremblant , and probably others still to be discovered, were some of these.
I hope that you have enjoyed this voyage through time and through the history of this small portion of our country.
… Return to visit us…
Thérèse Borduas. and translator: Brien Benoit