- The Seigneury of Longueuil
- The Parish of Longueuil in the 19th century
- The Town of Greenfield Park
- List of Mayors
- Armorial of the Town of Greenfield Park
- To learn more
The Town of Greenfield Park was merged with 7 other municipalities into a new “Ville de Longueuil” by government decree taking into effect in January 2002. New elections were held before the end of the last mandate, i.e. November 2001 for the new borough. Although there was a demerger for part of the city in January 2006, Greenfield Park is still a borough of Longueuil.
The seigneury of Longueuil: the Beginnings
We know that the present territory of the Municipality of Greenfield Park was, in former times, part of the Seigneury of Longueuil. The history of Greenfield Park, therefore, begins with that of the Seigneury: and because of this fact, it goes back to the beginnings of the colony, to the time when New France was still a land to be cleared and to be colonized.
One of the first Armistice
Day Parades on Churchill
Historians have little information on the character of the region of Longueuil when the French arrived, but it appears that this region served as a kind of stop-over area often used by the Indians. It is even possible, according to accounts by Jacques Cartier, that there were cultivated fields at the precise place which was later to become the Seigneury of Longueuil.
In any case, the first historical date is that of 1657. In fact in that year, Charles Le Moyne, a native of Dieppe, France, received a grant of land in his right as a simple settler. It is this allotment which marks the beginnings of the future Seigneury, the official founding of which took place eleven years later, in March 1668.
The Le Moyne Family
Everyone realizes the importance of the Le Moyne family, not only in the history of Longueuil, but also in persons, the most illustrious being Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. It is easy to see how much of its worth the Le Moyne family owes to the founder of the line, Charles Le Moyne. It is enough to read the official act founding this Seigneury of Longueuil, signed by Louis XIV in 1668. “The Kings, our predecessors, having always maintained that honour is the most powerful motive to turn their subjects towards acts of generosity, have taken care to recognize by bestowing honours on those who, by their extraordinary deeds, deserve them: and as we are informed of the good deeds which the people of Canada do every day, either by subduing or punishing the Indians, or by defending themselves against their frequent insults as well as against those of the Iroquois, also we have considered that it was our duty to single out by awards of honour those who have distinguished themselves most and thus prompted others to imitate them; for these reasons, and wishing to reward favourably our dear and well beloved Charles Le Moyne, Sieur de Longueuil, for the good and commendable report which has been given us of the good deeds which he has done in the country of Canada…”
It is understood how, five years later, referring to the first Lord of Longueuil, Frontenac spoke of the devotion he has always shown in the service of the King and of the promptness with which he has always carried out the orders which were given him by the governors, either in the wars where he distinguished himself on several occasions, or in various negotiations and peace treaties he helped them put into effect. The appreciation of Charles Le Moyne was to be confirmed in 1683, when the Governor-General, Mr. De la Barre, recommended him for the position of Governor of Montreal in these terms:
Waiting for the trollie
(street car), corner of
Springfield and Churchill.
Note the wooden sidewalks.
“Mr. Le Moyne has rendered many services to the country, but the one he has rendered, last July, in negotiating peace with the Iroquois, is so great that it is in order to encourage him further, and where he will be able to service us still better, that you grant him this reward. To carry my dispatches I send you his son d'Iberville, a young man who understands the sea, knows this river admirably, has already brought out and returned several boats to France, begging of you to appoint him an Ensign.” This last sentence enlightens us precisely on the beginnings of the career of Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, who was born in 1661, and who was certainly one of the most noble figures in all the History of Canada. The exploits of the illustrious mariner are too well known to necessitate repeating here. In any case, in order to write the history of all the celebrated members of the Le Moyne family, it would be necessary to go beyond the framework of this historical summary. Let it suffice to mention Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, brother to Pierre d'Iberville, founder of New Orleans, and who was the most glorious personage of the History of Louisiane: Joseph Le Moyne de Sérigny who became Governor of Rochefort, in France, after a magnificent career, and finally the barons of Longueuil, of which the first two were Governors of Montreal.
The Development of the Seigneury
It was as of the official establishment, in 1668, that the colonists began to locate in the territory of Longueuil. The village of Longueuil, properly so-called, developed very slowly: in 1769, there were still only 7 proprietors and the rest of the village was formed by the church, the presbytery, the castle and two mills. However, the whole of the Seigneury progressed much more rapidly:
- 100 inhabitants in 1681
- 223 inhabitants in 1698
- 400 inhabitants in 1739
- 714 inhabitants in 1765
In 1770, the Seigneury was raised to the rank of a barony by Louis XIV. The new baron had had a castle built, which was completed in 1690. It must have been an imposing building, since the letters of nobility by Louis XIV describe the Seigneury of Longueuil as the best fortified in the Colony. These fortifications were not superfluous: The English colonies were a constant threat. In 1711 an English army had left New York while the English fleet sailed toward Quebec. The Baron of Longueuil received the order to repel the army while defending the Fort of Longueuil and the newly constructed fort at Chambly.
The Parish and the Church
The Seigneury of Longueuil had become a canonical parish as early as the final years of the XVIIth century. The civic establishment took place in 1722. At the start, there was no resident priest and the inhabitants of the Seigneury had to go to Boucherville, even Montreal, in order to fulfil their religious duties.
It is only as of 1720 that the parish of Longueuil assumed, from the point of religion, the importance that it otherwise deserved. This progress is due in large part, to the long stay of the Reverend Joseph Isambart, appointed curate in 1720, who remained in Longueuil until his death in 1763.
In 1724, the castle chapel having become too small, the curate approached the civic authorities to obtain permission to have a parish church built. The church was completed in 1727 but the parishioners waited until 1730 before deciding to build a steeple.
Description of the Seigneury
The Chambly County Street
Car, better known under the
nickname “Tooter Ville
There exists an extremely interesting document on the Barony of Longueuil in the XVIIth century. It consists of letters exchanged between Hugh Finlay of Montreal and Lord Despencer of London, who had entrusted Finlay to buy him a Seigneury in Canada.
Finlay wrote in May 1773: “The Barony includes 14 or 15 leagues, that is one hundred thousand arpents in area. It is bounded in front by the St. Lawrence, at the rear by the Richelieu River, and starting from this river, near Fort Chambly, it extends toward Lake Champlain for about 12 miles. The lands are generally very good and food for the growing of flax, hemp and wheat: the last one represents at present its main production. This region is flat, neither low nor too swampy, but well irrigated. It already consists of 500 farms of 90 arpents, which bring annually a penny per arpent and half a bushel of wheat for each 20 arpents… each inhabitant, whatever the nature if his tenure, is obliged to have his grain ground at the seigneurial mill or at the public mills; no inhabitant has the right to build a mill for himself. The lord receives 4/10 of the grain as a charge for grinding… ⅓ of this Barony is still without grantees. The village of Longueuil consists of about 15 houses, a parish church, a windmill, a watermill, etc., the whole very nicely located. The castle or manor, located in the center of the village, is of good enough construction, with stables and other out-buildings, as gardens, yard, etc. The coquettish island of Ste-Hélène, two cable lengths from Montreal, belongs to the Barony. It has a good country house, an orchard and is well timbered. The landing place at St. John and the fort at the same place, at the entrance of Lake Champlain, and also part of the lands of Longueuil”.
It is well to note here that the manorial administration did not operate without certain difficulties. The inhabitants often delayed paying their manorial rent. The second baron of Longueuil even had to complain of these delays: he obtained an order from the intendant Hovquart that the grantees present their titles within a delay of three months.
Later, on the other hand, several actions were taken by the city-holders against the baroness of Longueuil and her husband, Baron David-Alexandre Grant, for having endeavoured to increase the debts and to sell the wooded lands instead of granting them. These proceedings were finally settled out of court in 1826.
The County of Chambly
The charter which England had granted to Canada in 1791 divided the colony into two provinces: Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Lower Canada was, in turn, divided into twenty-one counties. By royal proclamation of 1792, the parish of Longueuil was made part of the county of Kent.
Following these constitutional and administrative transformations, general elections took place and the county of Kent sent to the Quebec Parliament two deputies: René Boileau and Pierre Legras-Pierreville.
In 1829, changes were made in the country and it then took on the name of the County of Chambly. In 1853, a new change was made which caused the county to lose part of its territory, especially the town and parish of St. John. The act fixed the limits of the county as “comprising the parishes of Boucherville, Longueuil, Saint-Bruno and Chambly.”
The county was often represented in the House by eminent political men who have left their mark in the history of the era. Among them we may name Louis Joseph Papineau, L.Viger, Denis-B. Viger, F.A. Quesnel, Louis Lacoste and L.M. Viger.
During all these changes, the parish of Longueuil progressed. The population which was 1,613 souls at the 1770 census increased at the 1825 census to 2,856 or almost double, but the village of Longueuil itself was, at that time, still very small.
Wars and Rebellions
The Barony of Longueuil played an important role during the American invasion in 1775. As we know, it was in 1775 that colonies of New England rebelled against the metropolis. The Americans tried to have Canada on their side, and sent 1,800 men under the command of General Montgomery to take over the colony.
The Americans took over the Fort of Longueuil. General Carleton, commanding the English troops in Canada, attempted a landing on the south shore. But he could not make up his mind to throw all his troops into the attack. The battles of Longueuil had the effect of discouraging him and he even abandoned Montreal to the Americans.
Sixty years later, Longueuil was to find itself in the middle of another rebellion, that of 1837. Relations had then become very strained between the British government and French Canada, when Governor Gosford received the order to arrange administrative subsidies in spite of a refusal by the House.
This incident provided lively agitation among the French Canadians and the government had to have the principal leader of the popular front arrested.
Among the latter were Notary Desmarais and Doctor Davignon, both of St. Jean d'Iberville. The news of their arrest by a cavalry detachment spread immediately across the County of Chambly and some patriots decided to attack the detachment on its way back to Montreal.
The group set up an ambush two miles from the village of Longueuil, on Chambly Road. The attack, which took place on the 17th of November 1837 was the first of the insurrection. It was successful and the prisoners were liberated.
Two other more important battles took place near Longueuil. They were the victory of the patriots at St. Denis and their defeat at St. Charles which dealt a mortal blow to the rebellious forces. Once the insurrection was defeated, several arrests were made at Longueuil, which had been one of the hotbeds of the rebellion. The following were sent to prison: Augustin Dubuc, Casimir and Alexis Bouthillier, Toussaint Fournier, Godfroid Lagu, Louis Trudeau, François Collin and Dr Alexis Rollin. However, things rapidly rapidly calmed down and several inhabitants of Longueuil received indemnities for damages they had suffered curing the course of the rebellion.
Progress of Religious Activity
In 1789, Mr. Denault was named curate of Longueuil. This event was the starting point of the religious activity in the parish. In effect, while still remaining curate of Longueuil, Mr. Denault became, in 1797, the tenth bishop of Quebec.
The curate of Longueuil was the bishop of Canada. It is of no surprise that among the vicars who held office at Longueuil, several bore named which became famous in the religious history of Canada. We may cite J.J. Lartigue, future first bishop of Montreal, Joseph Signai, future archbishop of Quebec.
The development of the parish from a religious point of view did not falter. Mr. Denault's successor had even to see to the construction of a new church. This church was built on the site of the old Fort of Longueuil and was completed in January 1814.
The End of the Baronial Regime
Students playing at Royal
Marie-Charles-Joseph Le Moyne, born in 1756, had become the fourth heiress of the Barony of Longueuil. She was the posthumous daughter of the third Baron, but she assumed the title of Baroness only at the death of her mother in 1818. When she died in 1841, she was the last offspring of the family of LeMoyne de Longueuil.
The Baroness had married David-Alexander Grant in 1781 and it was their son, Charles William Grant, who inherited the Seigneury and became the fifth Baron. From then on, the title remained in the Grant family, and still recently, the eight Baron Reginald d'Iberville Charles Grant, lived in England.
It is not superfluous to give here a few genealogical notes, for, in 1879, an event happened which made of the Barony of Longueuil a seigneury which was unique in all the history of Canada. In fact, in that year, Charles Colmore Grant, while becoming the seventh Baron of Longueuil, made application to obtain, from the Court of England, official recognition of his title of Baron which, as we know, went back to 1700, and had been granted by the French Crown.
To the surprise of everyone, Baron Grant won his case. The Barony of Longueuil became also the only one in Canada, which has been recognized by England. But it is important to note that, in 1855, an act of the Canadian Parliament had abolished baronial tenure in the whole of Canada. The event of 1879, in spite of its importance, concerned more the title than the seigneurial regime. For all intents and purposes, it is better, as of 1855, to refer to the parish of Longueuil rather than to the Barony of Longueuil.
Before ending this part of our historical review, we must underline the importance of documents in the rebuilding of the past. As regards the seigneury of Longueuil, a great number of documents unfortunately have been lost. If we refer to an article published in La Minerve, on the 24th of November 1887, one does not have to go far to find the causes of this loss.
In this article, Mr. de Léry McDonald wrote: The wholesale destruction of the documents of the Longueuil family, so closely tied to the history of our Town, must be mentioned. It was during the Trent affair: Billets were required for the troops sent to Montreal. Stores belonging to the Grant family were requisitioned. In the attic of one of these stores, there was a great quantity of papers. Without even asking what they consist of, they were transported to the Logan farm and there were reduced to ashes. As the load passed, someone grabbed a few pages of this pile of papers. One was a patent of nobility concerning the illustrious Charles Le Moyne… another one were the letters patent establishing the Seigneury of Longueuil as a Barony.
The Parish of Longueuil in the XIXth Century
A congregation was founded at Longueuil in 1842, which eventually took on great importance: that of the Sœurs des Saints Noms de Jésus et de Marie. In 1843, the new community devoted itself to teaching, in the church building. Then, on the 9th of August 1844, it moved to the new convent of Longueuil.
The success of the congregation was complete: not only at Longueuil, but in the rest of Canada, and even in the United States as far as California and Florida. In Longueuil itself, in 1858, 15 years after its beginnings, the number of students was 454. In 1885, the community owned 37 houses in Canada and the United States.
During this time, Longueuil did not have any schools apart from the convent and a few private establishments. But in 1845, the government passed a new law on schools which had great influence. This law established elementary schools in all the parishes and obliged the taxpayers to pay the cost of this new system.
In spite of strong opposition at the start, the system of 1845 finally asserted itself. In Longueuil, commissioners were elected who hastened to obtain the services of a teacher. Soon came the question of founding a college. The new college was completed only in 1856 and its operation was entrusted to the Clercs Saint-Viateur.
After a promising beginning, difficulties occurred in teaching and in the administration of the college, and the Clercs Saint-Viateur quit the college. In 1867, the commissioners called upon the Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes to take over the Longueuil College.
On the other hand, the protestant population of the parish of Longueuil was endeavouring to establish protestant schools. Unfortunately these efforts were short-lived. The main reason for these difficulties was the character of the English speaking population of Longueuil. In fact, this population generally only stayed temporarily in the parish; several families visited Longueuil only during the summer. Under these conditions, it was almost impossible to maintain a protestant school.
The fifth Baron of Longueuil, Charles-William Grant, when taking over the Barony at the death of his mother, wished to commemorate the event by establishing a church in her memory.
In 1842, he had a protestant church built at his own expense. This new church was dedicated to the Anglican religion, under the name of Saint-Marc de Longueuil.
As regards the catholic religion, the increase in population during the XIXth century rendered necessary the construction of a new church. The church of 1814 was demolished after a final solemn mass celebrated on the 31st of August 1884. Afterwards, a new church was built on the same site and was blessed on the 27th of January 1887, by the archbishop of Montreal.
Commercial Activities and Progress
Kipps General Store on
Springfield Avenue (1922)
With Longueuil being located opposite Montreal, the problem of communication presented itself during the first days of the colony. There was a ferry before 1740. It belonged to Mère d'Youville who used its advantages to further her works of charity.
It would appear that a steamboat was used before 1838 to make the crossing. Commercial groups were formed to develop a system of ferries. We may name la Société Jodoin-Lespérance, la Compagnie de Navigation de Longueuil who brought great advantages, and la Compagnie de Navigation du Richelieu which had a veritable monopoly on the navigation in this part of the Saint-Lawrence and which finally bought out the Compagnie de Navigation de Longueuil.
As we have seen at the start of this historical review, the region of Longueuil had been a much use through way ever since the era of the Indians and the first settlers of New France. It remained this way continuously during the course of its history; and also it was soon endowed with a railroad. We know that the first Canadian railroad was built in 1836 between St. Jean d'Iberville and Laprairie. In 1848, one was built from Longueuil to Saint-Hyacinthe. The actual territory of Greenfield Park was, therefore, at that time between two railroad terminals.
Since we are now dealing with railroads, we cannot fail to mention one of the most curious facts of the history of railroads throughout the world. We refer to the famous railroad on ice which joined Longueuil to Montreal during the winter, from 1880 to 1883. This phenomenon was even an international curiosity and was spoken of in France and in England.
Among the activities of the era, we may mention also the construction of an aqueduct in Longueuil, in 1876, at a cost of $71,000 which was found excessively high. From its formation in 1874, the Town Council also concerned itself with improving the system of sewage canals.
Changes in Administration
The parish of Longueuil created its Municipal Council in 1845. In 1848, the population of the village of Longueuil having greatly increased, the taxpayers decided to make of the village a distinct municipality. The first election of aldermen took place on the 17th of July of the same year, with Isidore Hurteau becoming the first mayor. Twenty five years later, in 1873, Longueuil obtained the status of a town.
In the same era, there were numerous changes as regards the county seat. Longueuil had been the first seat; then Saint-Jean had been chosen, then Chambly (from 1844 to 1857). Finally in 1857, Longueuil again became the county seat.
From 1800 to 1850, Longueuil had grown up. Its population increased still more, at least temporarily, when the Grand Trunk Railway came in 1853. However, the rest of the parish had developed rapidly enough, and new built up areas, more or less distant from the village of Longueuil, made their appearance; it was then necessary to create new parishes within the parish of Longueuil.
It is in this manner that Saint-Hubert on the one side and Saint-Lambert, on the other, became distinct parishes. Saint-Lambert became a municipality in 1857 and Saint-Hubert in 1860. Because of these changes, the parish of Longueuil, in addition to losing more than half of its territory, lost a good part of its population, a loss which became greater when the Grand Trunk abandoned Longueuil on the completion of Victoria Bridge, in 1860. The censuses of the era give the scale of this reduction, which stooped only in 1874 at the time when Longueuil became a town.
Here are the various census numbers between 1851 and 1881:
The Town of Greenfield Park
For a long time, Saint-Lambert did not have a catholic church. The population of English and protestant origin prevailed in the new municipality. That is why the first church which was built there was a protestant church, opened in 1866. It would appear that this development of the English speaking population in the region of Saint-Lambert was related to the activities of the Grand Trunk railway and to the new means of communication with Montreal via Victoria Bridge.
The Beginnings of Greenfield Park
It was not a waste of time to have recalled here the history of the initial development of the municipality of Saint-Lambert and of the progress realized in this south shore region thanks to the construction of Victoria Bridge and to the activities of the Grand Trunk Railway. In fact, Greenfield Park is situated in a territory which is directly in relation to that of Saint-Lambert. On the whole, the key to the future development of Greenfield Park was the progress of Saint-Lambert during approximately fifty years, that is from 1857 to 1907
Saint-Lambert and Victoria Bridge
We have seen that, in 1857, the territory of Saint-Lambert, situated in the western section of the parish of Longueuil, had become a distinct municipality after having developed quite rapidly, thanks to the Montreal and Champlain railroad which established itself there in 1852.
In 1854, the Grand Trunk railroad began the construction of the famous Victoria Bridge, which was completed in December 1859. This bridge, of a total length of more than 9,000 feet and which cost then $6,300,000, was officially opened by the Prince of Wales on the 25th of August 1860. At that time, it was considered by many as the eight wonder of the world.
At the start, the construction of the Victoria Bridge was rather a hindrance to the progress of Saint-Lambert (as well as that of Longueuil) especially because all the offices of the Montreal and Champlain Company were removed from Saint-Lambert. Nevertheless, this decline was only temporary. In fact, Victoria Bridge, by joining the south shore and Montreal and by easing the communications throughout a vast region, could only have a beneficial effect on the development of the municipalities who benefited from it. In effect, Saint-Lambert became, thanks to Victoria Bridge, part of the suburbs of Montreal.
At the beginning of this century, the development of Saint-Lambert wound up by overflowing in the direction of the Chambly region; it was already then inevitable that the actual territory of Greenfield Park eventually attracted the attention of those who wished to locate in the region. This is what happened in 1907.
In fact in 1907, Mr. W.J. Murray built a house on the corner of Murray Avenue and Saint-Charles Road. Then he sold lots situated between Saint-Charles Road and Regent. It is then that Mr. Patenaude decided to sell the farm he owned at the place which is now known as Empire Avenue. Already the territory was opening to future development, and we may consider 1907 as being the first year of importance in the history of the municipality of Greenfield Park.
Four Decisive Years: 1907-1911
Apart from Saint-Charles Road and Lapinière Road (or de la Pinière), there existed in 1907 only two streets: Murray Avenue and Patenaude Boulevard (which has today become Empire Avenue). Evidently, at that time, these two roads resembled foot paths more than they did streets or avenues: in fact, the two roads were marked only with a furrow cut by a plough on either side.
However, it was really beginnings of a future town, and it must be admitted that these beginnings were rather rapid, since the territory of Greenfield Park waited only four years before obtaining the status of a town. Besides, these four years were full of activities: they constituted, for Greenfield Park, that which may justly called the era of the pioneers.
The oldest inhabitants of the territory were evidently the proprietors of the five farms which occupied the actual territory of Greenfield Park. These five farms were those of Marcille, Lamarre, Perras, Patenaude and Minogue.
However, the true pioneers of the future town of Greenfield Park were the British immigrants who, starting in 1907, located on the lots sold by Mr. Murray and Mr. Patenaude. The first were W.A. Parker and Miller. Then, in 1908, came Tom and Jim Beck, originally from Lancashire in England, as well as W. Stone settled in what is now Ville LeMoyne. Shortly after, other persons came to Greenfield Park. We may list the following names: Shrimpton, Hins, Bridgeman, H. Walker, Vine, Murdoch, Miles, Belair, Eva, Kipps, Sharpe, Chalmers, Campbell, Mortimer, Brenie and Templeton.
In 1909, Louis Marcille, a farmer, decided to open his farm to the new development of the territory, and new arrivals established themselves on these lots. Among the latter, we may name: Reeves, Boyd, Wilson, Howard, Kletting, Jupp, Mercer, Marsh, Boothman, Joly and Manktelow.
As we see, the number of those who located in Greenfield Park during the first years of development surpasses by far what we could expect of a territory which, until then, had remained apart from progress. Also, there was no delay in planning a form of administration which would suit an agglomeration which was so progressive in spite of only two years of existence.
The question was debated for some time. Then, in 1910, a meeting was held at the residence of James H. Howard, on Lapinière Road. It was first proposed to extend the future municipality up to the limits of Saint-Lambert, but Louis Marcille and Elie Charron objected, and the limits were fixed at King Edward. After the discussions of 1910, events marched rapidly towards the obtaining of a Town charter.
The Charter of 1911
The first paragraph of the charter of the Town of Greenfield Park (Statutes of Quebec, I George V, Chapter 68) granted on the 24th of March 1911, gave an exact and complete idea of the meaning and importance of this event. “Whereas the ratepayers of the territory comprised in cadastral lots Nos 225 to 244 of the parish of Longueuil have by a large majority in number and value represented that, in consequence of the rapid increase of population within the said territory being a suburb of the City of Montreal and, in consequences of the necessity for local improvements similar to those of other suburbs of Montreal, it is necessary that the said territory be erected into a separate municipality and they have prayed that the general principles of the Cities and Towns' Act be applied to the said municipality and also that they be granted several powers similar to those of other suburbs of Montreal which are not contained in said Act…” With this chart began the official history of Greenfield Park.
The first meeting of the Council of the Town took place on the 26th of April 1911 and Mr. W.J. Murray was elected mayor of Greenfield Park for a period of two years. The first aldermen of the new municipality were C. Ball, G.A. Harding, W. MacPherson, W.A. Parker, Howard Walker and B.B. Lamarre. The management of current affairs was entrusted to F.W. Hornsby.
Corner of St-Charles and
Devonshire during the
flood during the spring of
Lapinière Road was renamed Devonshire Road. But whether we call it Devonshire Road or Lapinière Road, it was an extremely ancient transportation route. It is even probable that this road served as a foot path to Indians before the age of the first European colonists it served then as an access road for the Iroquois, who frequented the surrounding area during the course of their hunting excursions or raids.
What is certain is that the old Lapinière Road, the name of which referred to a small cluster of pines which it crossed, joined the regions of Chambly and of Richelieu by way of Côte Noire. It lead thus directly to the shores of the Saint-Lawrence, opposite Montreal, to a place from which it was easy to cross the river. The Devonshire Road, the Victoria Avenue of today, has, therefore, remained a symbol like a trail that history would have left to the territory of Greenfield Park.
Two years after a Public Service Committee first began looking into acquiring street car service for the community, the first Montreal & Southern Counties Streetcar reached Greenfield Park on its inaugural run, June 1st, 1931.
The Town and its Beginnings
In spite of the few streets which were opened right at the beginning of the development of the area, the territory of Greenfield Park had kept, for the greater part, its primitive aspect. The verdure of the fields and the woods was the main characteristics. That is why the founders had chosen the name of Greenfield Park, which was certainly appropriate and which corresponded with the geography of the area.
The years which followed the incorporation of the town were really an era of pioneers. The Grand Trunk Railway (C.N.R.) was then the only means of communication with Montreal via Victoria Bridge. At Greenfield Park, there was no means of public transportation. During the winter, snow removal was unknown: each one had personally to undertake the task, and often many were content to trample down the snow as it fell on the streets.
Until 1912, there was no grocery in Greenfield Park, the first inhabitants of the town were obliged to go to Saint-Lambert or to Montreal. From there, they had to bring back themselves all which they brought, because there were no deliveries, nor any public transportation service joining the neighbouring south shore municipalities.
In 1913, the Council of the Town of Greenfield Park decided to join with the other south shore municipalities in order to build a collector sewer capable of handling the sewers of the four towns concerned: (Longueuil, Saint-Lambert, Montreal South and Greenfield Park). The project was carried out during the years following: A system of sewers was built along the river towards Boucherville and a primitive purification plant was installed. Greenfield Park built its own electrical network and the town first received electricity on December 29th, 1917.
In 1914, the population of Greenfield Park reached the figure of 300 inhabitants. When war was declared, a very large number of men belonged to the imperial reserves. Most of them returned to the flag, so much so that the male population of the Town was considerably reduced. The Council of the Town was even forced to suspend its sittings, four of the six aldermen having gone to war.
Religion and Teaching
As regards religious activity, we have seen that the English protestant population of Saint-Lambert had provided itself with a church since 1866. The citizens of Greenfield Park were no slower than their neighbours of Saint-Lambert: Saint Paul's Church was built on Lapinière Road in 1910, the Baptist Church on Springfield Avenue, and the Methodist Church on Murray Avenue.
It is in 1914 that Royal George School, situated on Springfield Avenue, was built at a cost of slightly more than $24,500 (if the expenses incurred in 1915 for the construction of an annex are taken into consideration). As we know, three other additions were built, the first in 1952, the second in 1955, and the third in 1957. The total cost of these additions was about $435,000.
All these additions give an idea of the particularly rapid progress of Royal George School. In fact, the number of students grew constantly. Royal George School was recognized as one of the most progressive schools on the south shore.
From One War to the Others
As we have already mentioned, in 1914, the population of Greenfield Park was 300 inhabitants. In 1939, in spite of the difficult years, this population figure surpassed 1,700. The twenty years between wars had, therefore, been an era of progress for the town, even if the economic conditions were particularly unfavourable.
When the war started in 1939, the citizens of Greenfield Park again enhanced their reputation. Taking the population figure in account, of course, the number of persons enlisted surpassed that of any other town in Canada. The municipal archives contain highly appreciative testimonies from the Right Honourable W.L. Mackenzie King and the Honourable J.L. Ralston, the then Minister of National Defence. Once more, the citizens of Greenfield Park, for the most of British origin, gave proof of their attachment to their native land. Taking the circumstances into account, the Council of the Town of Greenfield Park established a system for the sale of lots, with all the financial assistance necessary, to the veterans who returned to establish themselves in the municipality.
In the 1960's Greenfield Park annexed land from St. Hubert which added 40% more territory to the municipality. This area, to the east of Taschereau Boulevard, has now been fully developed.
The Progress Continues
Since its incorporation in 1911, Greenfield Park has grown from three privately-owned farms to a thriving town intent on maintaining a high standard of educational, economic and social life for its 18,000 inhabitants.
Our public facilities include a civic library, a clinic, a provincial hospital of some 400 beds and seven churches. We have a very active summer and winter sports programme: three large pools and three wading pools, an arena with artificial ice and four outside skating rinks. The entire sports programme is under the direction of the Council and strongly supported by the voluntary services of many of our citizens.
In the educational field, we have seven schools giving primary and secondary courses and a regional high school which provides facilities for 3,000 students. The Council encourages the citizens to take an active part in town affairs by the establishment of advisory committees on such subjects as recreation, sports, police, etc.
In the commercial field, we have three large shopping centres comprising approximately seventy-five stores. Though Greenfield Park is mainly a residential town, our industrial concerns are rapidly increasing in size and number.
Mayors of Greenfield Park
- William Murray
- Robert Smith Chalmers
- Robert J. Walker
- 1919-1923 and 1927-1929
- Colin Duncan Campbell
- Herbert William Clark
- Ernest A. Nightingale
- Stanley Isaac Coote
- E. F. Backhoven
- Alfred George Cobb
- Aban Perras
- Joseph. C. Plante
- Lawrence J. Galetti
- Maurice J. King
- Stephen Olynyk
- Marc Duclos
Armorial Bearings of the Town of Greenfield Park
Of gold, with a reversed chevron in sable, supporting a tree sinople in colour, embanked in the same, shaded with the second, flanked with two roses drawn in red and black.
The shield stamped with a golden crown in the shape of a wall with five indented turrets. The whole supported by two maple branches, green-leafed, crossed in the form of St. Andrew's cross and tied with a ribbon of red and black, holding a scroll of golden parchment bearing the motto in Roman letters: “Fortis Fortunam Superat” “Fortune favours the Brave”.
Explanation of the Heraldic Terminology
…of gold: the principal metal used in heraldry. It is represented by a stippled engraving in quincunx. Gold is a symbol of generosity, of loyalty and of glory. Glory is also seen in a golden spray in the center of which, in former times, artists portrayed saints and heroes.
…reversed: the chevron may be placed in different ways on the shield: it depends on the arrangement of the figures which surround it.
…chevron: the chevron is a symbol of honour of the highest degree in heraldry. In the Armorial Bearings of Greenfield Park, it symbolizes victory in all the undertakings of the pioneers who founded the Town and is also to the memory of those who have bled and died on the battle fields for home and country, during the World War.
…sable: in heraldry, sable is black. Sable is the symbol of humility. It is the colour of those who would rather “be” than “seem”, rather be of service than seek honours. Sable is seen in vertical and horizontal chequered hachures.
…supporting: that is to say that a figuration contained in the description of the Armorial Bearings is superimposed on a figuration previously described.
…tree: a descriptive term in our Armorial Bearings since the word Park denotes a quantity or a mess of trees.
…sinople: in heraldry, green in colour. This colour was chosen especially to match the figurations.
…embanked: means that a growing tree is planted in the ground.
…the same: the same colour as previously mentioned.
…shaded with the 2nd: shaded with the second colour mentioned in the description of the shield.
…flanked: an expression is heraldry meaning that on each side of the point of the chevron there are still other figurations.
…two roses: the roses in the Armorial Bearings of Greenfield Park represent the English-speaking population. The roses isi the symbol of English while it also recalls the nobleman LeMoyne of Longueuil, whose Armorial Bearings included roses. In this regard, since the Town of Greenfield Park has a firm foothold on the lands which once belonged to this lord, we cannot ignore this fact of great importance from a historical point of view.
…exterior designs: all which is found around the shield such as motto, the maple branches, etc.
…crown in the shape of a wall: dignity of a town.
…The Motto: concise sentence, particular to a family, a province, a town or city, a country, a nation, etc., inscribed on a ribbon below the shield and placed on the Armorial Bearings. The motto “Fortis Fortunam Superat” (Villars) means: “The Brave have the mastery of destiny” “Fortune favours the Brave”. This motto applies very well to the population of Greenfield Park, to their courage in the past, to their deeds during the war; and at the same time, it inspires all to continue with vigour, without ever flinching, their future undertakings with the same tenacity and the same courage that all our valiant predecessors shows…