Ste-Agathe   The Heart of the Laurentians



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The heritage tour in Ste-Agathe
See the list of houses at the bottom of the map




 
  1. Lac des Sables
  2. J.A.-Prendergast house
  3. Évariste-Chénier house
  4. The Laurentian store
  5. Herméline-Cloutier house
  6. The Catholic Church of Sainte-Agathe
  7. The Dugal grain store
  8. The Fournelle-Boivin Bakery
  9. Louis-Sauvé house
  10. Joseph-Villeneuve house
  11. The Cyrille-Guindon store
  12. Holy Trinity Anglican Parish
  13. Edmond-Grignon's pharmacy
  14. The Donat-Godon store
  15. The Old Post Office
  16. The Crystal villa
  17. The Bellevue Hotel
  18. The Joseph Doré's store


Image du lac des Sables 1. Lac des Sables

"The lake is in the form of a St. George's cross, peculiarly broken up by two peninsulas jutting out from either end, cutting the lake into four bays, in the centre an open space clear to the other side. A lovely lake with clear sparkling water." -Elizabeth Wand's words from her first impressions in 1895. The lake is what it is all about, what has brought people here and what keeps them. In summer it is used for swimming, sailing and boating and in winter for skating, cross-country skiing and snow mobiling. Long ago, it was noted for its trout fishing and when the first colonists arrived, there were reports of a monster in its depths "with the head of a horse and feet like a stove".

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Maison Prendregast 2. J.A.-Prendergast house
6 Sainte-Lucie street.

An example of the villas that were built on the shores of Lac des Sables this house was built in 1900 for J.A. Prendergast, the director general of the Hochelaga Bank. Its architecture covered with stucco with its gables and decorative elements are in the "Stick" style. Few villas are found in the centre of town, though you will see another at 2 Tour du Lac. This kind of property is more commonly found elsewhere around the lake and suggests that even parts of the village were quite rural at the turn of the century.
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Maison Chénier 3. Évariste-Chénier house
18 Principale street west

A wooden house was built in 1895 to serve as the town residence for the farmer Évariste Chénier. Having given his land to his son Alexis, Évariste Chénier and his wife moved closer to the village and the church. Its architecture recalls elements of the everyday homes of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts at the end of the 19th century.
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Magasin Laurentien 4. The Laurentiean store
1-3 Principale Street East

This imposing two-storey brick building belonged to the Forget family and was built in 1897. Vincent and Euclide Forget, father and son, were household names among the residents of the Golden Square Mile, and knowing who they were carried with it a certain prestige in those circles. They were masterful promoters as one can judge from their store.

Magasin Laurentien The architecture is inspired by the Queen Anne style which one would expect to see in the villas around the lake and therefore it evoked the recreational spirit of the large and wealthy vacationing community. Miraculously, the building escaped the great fire of 1907. It has undergone many renovations and restorations since that time.

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Maison Cloutier 5. Herméline-Cloutier house
33 Principale Street East

The widow of the merchant Louis Alcide Filiatrault, Herméline Cloutier undertook the construction of her new home close to the church's land in 1894.

The wood house, with its gable end facing the street and its large verandah on three sides, evokes the spirit of the villa rather than the town house that it was intended to be. The turned posts on the covered verandah, the frames of the openings as well as the wood interior finish upstairs add to its picturesque character.
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Eglise de Ste-Agathe 6. 6. The Catholic Church of Sainte-Agathe
37-41 Principale Street East

In 1865 the land on which the church stands was donated to the parish by Dr. Euseble Larocque, brother of the Monsignor. Dr. Larocque had amassed a fortune in the California Gold Rush and had decided to live the life of a seigneur. He bought several farms around Trout Lake and Ste. Agathe but was too kind-hearted to insist on the rents. His wife refused to leave their home in St. Jerome despite enticing poems that he sent to her. Instead she interpreted his poems on canvas. The road that runs behind the church still carries his name.

After having been served by a mission, the Parish of Sainte-Agathe was created in 1861. The original chapel-presbytery was replaced by a larger wooden church around 1865. In 1896, Louis Aurèle Corbeil became Ste-Agathe's eighth curé. He inherited a parish seriously in debt and within 4 years he had reversed its fortunes. Within another four years the parish boasted a reserve of $11,300 and was ready, in 1904, to undertake the construction of the magnificent stone church that exists today. Designed by the architects Gauthier and Daoust of Montreal and apparently inspired by the architecture of the archdiocese of Paris, it is reminiscent of the Romanesque style with its arched windows and its crenellated towers. Due to structural problems, the towers were shortened significantly in the following years.

Presbytère de Ste-Agathe The brick presbytery to the west was built in 1928 to replace the two previous buildings, both of which had been destroyed by fire. Its architecture is remarkable and presents great integrity. Note the gargoyles that spout rainwater from the roof. The cemetery, located behind the church across Rue Larocque, encloses many old headstones bearing witness to Ste. Agathe's early occupants.

Gargouille

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Le magasin de grains Dugal 7. The Dugal grain store
3 Sainte-Agathe Street

In 1873, Amable Godon, having lost his auberge license, decided to sacrifice his farm and move on, but fate brought Curé Labelle to his door. The good Curé stayed the night and in the morning admonished Amable Godon to stick it out, telling him that his farm would soon become a part of the centre of a growing town. Godon followed his advice, and some years later, St. Amable Street (now called Ste.Agathe Street) on the edge of his farm became the main street leading up to the church. This building traces back to the original subdivision in 1894 and had a commercial destination from the outset.
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La boulangerie Fournelle-Boivin 8. The boulangerie Fournelle-Boivin Bakery
32-34 Sainte-Agathe Street

Around 1897, on lots 19 and 20 of Amable Godon's farm, Félix Giroux built a wood house with a verandah on three sides. It was sold to J. Adonaïe Fournelle in 1902, and he installed a bakery adjacent to it.

The buildings and equipment were transferred to Joseph Boivin in 1921 and 5 generations of Boivin bakers have plied their trade on this site ever since. In 2002 it will have been a bakery for 100 years. The Boivin's story is written on the exterior wall beside the door.
Le magasin Cyrille Guindon
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La maison Louis-Sauvé 9. Louis-Sauvé house
38 Sainte-Agathe Street

Amable Godon's son-in-law Louis Sauvé, a hotel keeper, had a brick house built at the beginning of the century that featured a verandah on three sides and a balcony on the upper floor. As this house is located at an intersection, it has entrances on both streets, but the front door is on Sainte-Agathe Street. The house was acquired in 1918 by the Canadian Pacific stationmaster, Alvin Kempffer. It has maintained its integrity ever since, notably its embossed tin roof and the decorative elements of its verandah.
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La maison Joseph-Villeneuve 10. Joseph-Villeneuve house
10-12 Préfontaine Street East

Joseph Amyot dit Villeneuve, a merchant, and his wife Donalda Giroux, purchased lot 104 from Amable Godon in 1901. Soon after, they had a large house built of wood including a verandah and covered with a cruciform roof.

The architecture is that of bourgeois homes at the beginning of the century. The glass-enclosed verandah and balcony and are an excellent example of the cure porch (solarium) pioneered by Dr. Trudeau in Saranac Lake and evident in many locations around Ste-Agathe. They were not designed to be warm, but to allow convalescing TB patients to rest in the cool, dry air of Ste. Agathe. Many home-owners offered rooms and rest to TB patients.
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Le magasin Cyrille Guindon 11. The Cyrille-Guindon store
112 Saint-Vincent Street

Built soon after 1900 for Cyrille Guindon, this building originally sported a parapet decorated with a pediment, and was remarkable for its many decorative Italianate elements. This architecture was very popular in commercial buildings. This was the location of the post office in the early 1910s. Despite the disappearance of the pedimented parapet and the wood balcony, it still resembles the original structure.

Le magasin Cyrille Guindon
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La paroisse Holy Trinity 12. Holy Trinity Anglican Parish
12 Préfontaine Street West

Our English Protestant community grew exponentially from the time the train first arrived in 1892. At first religious services were held in private homes or in the Castel des Monts hotel, but in 1897, through a concerted effort the land was acquired to build a church. The largest single donations of $50 came from Miss Elizabeth Wand and Mr. Alfred Baumgarten, but R.Wilson Smith, mayor of Montreal and holiday resident of Ste-Agathe donated a building that was dismantled and erected on the site. In the subscription list it was deemed to have a value of $75. This building served the community between 1899 and 1925 being moved across the street onto a foundation at the current site in 1910. In 1926 the Lord Bishop of the Anglican Church of Montreal presided over the dedication of the current building. The original church stood behind the new one and served as a community hall until it was replaced in 1965.

The current parsonage was designed in the same style by Featherstonehaugh and was built in 1930.
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La pharmacie Edmond-Grignon 13. Edmond-Grignon's pharmacy
9-11 Tour du Lac

Built in the early 1900's as the pharmacy of Dr. Edmund Grignon, this building was the busy centre of the great man's life. Dr. Grignon was President of the Bureau de Santé, Secretary-Treasurer of the Municipal Council of the Parish, Deputy-Chief Ranger of the Order of Catholic Foresters, President of les Fêtes Jubilaires, father of 13 healthy children and author of the Album Historique published on the 50th anniversary of Ste-Agathe in1912. His most enduring achievement may well have been the last one without which much of our history would have been lost.

The wooden building was modern in every respect. The abundance of Italianate decorative elements, often used in commercial architecture, bears witness to this trend which made its appearance early in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts.
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Le magasin Donat-Godon 14. The Donat-Godon store
78 Saint-Vincent Street

This vast two-storey structure was started in the 1890's and was used as Donat Godon's shoe store. Many of the streets in this area were named for the children of Amable Godon. Note St. Donat Street directly across and in front. Donat Godon made the upper floor his home, which explains the treatment given to that level.

Despite its commercial vocation, the building displays its bourgeois residence's Queen Anne influence with its verandahs, its roof with multiple slopes and its turret. Commercial buildings such as this reflect the great pride of their owners in Ste. Agathe society.
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L'ancien bureau de poste 15. The Old Post Office
83 Saint-Vincent Street

The decision to grace Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts with such an imposing post office as early as 1916 shows just how important a town Ste. Agathe had become. The Greek and Roman architecture with its large stone cornice and especially its parapet supported by four columns, evoked the new trend of millenary solidity that was also evident in banks of the same era. Aside from an expansion to the rear, the building has undergone relatively few changes and is now the municipal library.
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La maison Villa-Crystal 16. TheCrystal Villa
2 Tour du Lac

In 1899 H. Avila Belisle built a grand home for himself. Its proximity to the shores of Lac des Sables possibly encouraged him to design it in the Queen Anne style associated with recreational and upper-middle-class homes at the turn of the century. It was left to the heirs of Wilfrid Prévost, a member of the legislature, in 1901, but H. Avila Belisle continued to occupy it. Jerome Hirschberg acquired the property in 1916 and it was probably during this period that it earned its title. If you look carefully, you will see that the exterior finish is an aggregate of a concrete bonding agent holding fragments of glass and mirror giving it the crystal appearance. Note the name "Crystal Villa" written in mirrors during the same period and set over the front door.
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L'hôtel Bellevue 17. The Bellevue Hotel
52-56 Saint-Vincent Street

A little after 1895, an innkeeper named Isaac Guindon undertook the construction of the Bellevue Hotel; a three-storey wooden structure, it was decorated in the Italianate style which was very popular for commercial buildings at the time. Joseph Forget bought the Bellevue Hotel in 1905 but it suffered extensive damages during the fire that devastated many buildings on Saint-Vincent Street in 1907.

Rebuilt respecting its original architecture, the hotel was sold to William Morin in 1920 and he kept the Morin Hotel for more than twenty years. The building, known subsequently as the Lac des Sables Hotel and then transferred to the Belson family, the Laurentian Restaurant was the most popular meeting spot of the English and Jewish communities for 30 years beginning in the 1950's. The renovation work undertaken by the current owner gave back its long-ago appearance.

L'hôtel Bellevue
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Le magasin Joseph-Doré 18. The Joseph-Doré's store
37-39 Saint-Vincent Street

Joseph Doré, a cabinet maker, bought a part of the site of the former Belmont Hotel in 1913 and built a three-storey brick commercial building. The upper floors were used for living quarters. The building displays Italianate architectural forms; examples abounded at the time on Saint-Vincent and Principale Streets. From that time, brick was used for building, probably as a result of the great fire of 1907. The covered gallery attached to the upper storey allowed the owner to benefit from a protected exterior space. The arched cornice that crowns the façade is a regional characteristic. Restaurateur Charles Bitsos had his Ice Cream Parlor here in the 1920s. The renovation of the building housing a natural foods store allowed the highlighting of many of its architectural details.
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