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History

Rockland

The Rockland area has flourished with the development of the L’Orignal-Bytown road in 1840. Previously, farmers relentlessly cleared wooded areas to cultivate the land, their only means of subsistence. In 1868, a young entrepreneur from the timber industry, William Cameron Edwards, decided to build a saw mill at the Pointe McCaul. Then came the railroad in 1888 to haul wood and merchandise.

In 1889, the mission who was served by the priest Caron from Clarence Creek, is elevated to parish. The first pastor of the new parish was Father Siméon Hudon, a native of Quebec City. The first school opened in 1875 and the first high school opened in 1905. The construction of a second railroad in 1908, linking Ottawa and Hawkesbury, had a great impact on the population. Indeed, for 75 cents (round trip) people could go to Ottawa to do their shopping and come back the same day. The W. C Edwards sawmill closed its doors in 1926, the result of economic stagnation that prevailed after the First World War. A large part of the population then left for the province of Québec to find employment in the Hull and Gatineau sawmills. Economic recovery finally begins after 1939 with the beginning of World War II. Returning soldiers after the war led to an increase in the population who could now enjoy the new Trans-Canadian Highway. Home building experienced a boom resulting in the expansion of services like water and electricity and the establishment of a first sewer system in 1964

Clarence Creek

In 1853, the first settlers arrive from Saint-Augustin in Québec. They buy land to practice agriculture. A first chapel is built in 1859. In 1865, the village has two hundred families. In 1881, the Clarence Creek parish included all of the Clarence Township. The post office was established on March 1st 1867 under the Clarence Creek name. The name of the post office was changed to Lafontaine on September 1st 1935 and to Clarence Creek on June 16th 1936. A small community francophone newspaper “Le Ralliement” was created on April 11th by Mr.Télésphore Rochon. Important agricultural center, a large segment of its population, mostly francophone, works in Ottawa. A train service was established on September 4th 1895 with the Grand Tronc Company, which greatly helped the hay exportation towards the United States.

The railroad line linking Limoges (South Indian) to Rockland greatly promoted the economic development, allowing the transportation of hay, which production was abundant. From a humble blacksmith shop, the Bélisle family developed and important car dealership, Bélisle Automobiles, well known in Ontario and Québec. Mr. Télésphore Rochon and Mr.Onésime Guibord participated in the funding of the Association Canadienne Française d’Éducation (ACFE) and also to the foundation of the newspaper LeDroit. Successful businessperson, Mr. Onésime Guibord became Member of Provincial Parliament for Russell Township in 1898.

Bourget

« The Brook » was the first name of Bourget, changed in 1910. Between the years 1855 to 1863, the settlers had to travel approximately twelve miles to get to Church. In 1885, the residents of The Brook started to build a chapel. The Sacré-Coeur Parish in Bourget celebrated its one hundred and twenty-five anniversary in 2010.

In 1860, the residents had built a small school that could teach between 25 and 30 village children. In 1885, the school became a public school that needed to be enlarged later on. After some years, the school became a public hall, then a carpenter’s shop. Today, the building is occupied by a restaurant.

The Sœurs Grises de la Croix of Ottawa arrived in Bourget on August 15th 1903. In 1918, they took charge of the new school and kept it until 1930. On September 16 1930, the Soeurs Grises took possession of the actual convent. The development in Bourget was constant with the establishment of a good number of different businesses and professions. Its population is majorly francophone. The most important industry of Bourget was agriculture. The village had some small industries and prosperous businesses. Before having its cheese factory, Bourget had a butter factory but it was destroyed by a fire shortly after its construction.

The local post office opened under the name “The Brook” on May 1st 1880 and on July 1st 1910, its name was changed to Bourget Post Office. When weather permitted, the mail, coming from Clarence Creek, was delivered twice a week. In 1880, business owners needed to go get their merchandise in Thurso and after in South Indian, at approximately twelve miles from the village. In 1888, a telephone line linked Bourget and Rockland. In 1897, the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived. In 1898, trains circulated on a daily basis between Ottawa and Montreal. In 1937, electricity was available in the parish. The village of Bourget has the second highest population in the City of Clarence-Rockland. Parts of Larose Forest, jewel of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell and the province of Ontario, is on its territory.

St-Pascal-Baylon

Its origins are traced back to 1886 when this hamlet was called « The Lake » and also « Cobb Lake » because of a small lake that was there. On June 1st 1909, the village changed names for St-Pascal Baylon. The name St-Pascal Baylon comes from saint patron of Pascal Parent, one of the first settlers.

The church and presbytery were built between October 11th 1908 and December 2nd 1909. Unfortunately, the church burnt on June 20th 1943. The population erected a new church, bigger and more modern, that is the pride of the residents. The village of Saint-Pascal Baylon is a prosperous agricultural center. Practically all of its population is francophone. The post office opened its doors on July 1st 1886 under the name « The Lake » and adopted the village’s name on June 1st 1909.

Hammond

Located along the Canadian Pacific railway, the village is founded at the end of the XIX century. It was called “North Indian” at the time where Loyalists descendants started to live there during the years 1880-1890. It’s territory was divided in three: Bourget, Clarence and Sarsfield. The area counted many wood cutting sites and at one point, the forest was gradually replaced with rich agricultural land. The agricultural and commercial development grew with the arrival of the Atlantic Canada railway, which became Grand Tronc, and the Canadian Pacific towards 1896.

The post office opened its doors on December 1st 1895. While waiting for the church to be built in 1912, the religious celebrations were held in a modest chapel that became a school and finally, a community hall.

The fire of June 13 1914 is a historic event that destroyed a large part of the village. The flames were pushed by a strong wind and spread rapidly to neighborhood houses. The drought of the past weeks prior, fed the fire. It then reached a black earth field where it burnt for a month. Built again, the village was threatened by fire a second time in September 1941. The flames were circling the village. All the men from the village were volunteer firefighters and it is because of their hard work that the village was saved.

Four primary schools, two separate and two public, serve the parish children. Many francophone families settled in Hammond and today, it’s a thriving francophone community.

Cheney

This small hamlet was founded in 1895 and is located approximately west of Bourget, on Russell Road between Drouin and Indian Creek Roads. In 1896, a Canadian Pacific train station was build; the railway connected Montreal to Ottawa and passed through Cheney. On October 5 1897, a terrible fire destroyed the sawmill, the carding factory, businesses and practically every residences. Over the years, the quiet hamlet raised from its ashes to become a prosperous agricultural economy.

Forest Hill

It is the last community to be part of the City of Clarence-Rockland. This hamlet is located between Canaan and Joanisse Roads. It is entirely residential with many young families choosing to live there; they make extensive use of the Cathy Cain Park.

 

The information above is taken for the following documents:

V. Laporte, S. Béland, La petite histoire de Rockland, 1982
L. Brault, Histoire des Comtés Unis de Prescott et de Russell, 1965
As well as with the information that Mr. Gilles Chartrand found in the Clarence-Rockland’s Museum archives.

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