History

Population: 19 957 - Area: 10.640 km2
 

Benjamin_Disraeli_by_Cornelius_Jabez_Hughes,_1878_300pxBenjamin DisraeliNamed after Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield, the City has historical roots that go back as far as 1698. Incorporated in 1910, it was known for over forty years as a semi-rural community of summer cottages. From the outset of its development into a residential community in the late 1950's, Beaconsfield's growth has been orderly and well planned.

The City's terrain extends over an area of 1050 hectares ( 2600 acres). Careful design has produced a tranquil setting of single-family homes, parks and tree-lined streets that encourage strolling and cycling. Easily accessible ground and air transportation systems link this suburban haven to business and vacation centres around the globe.

There are many topnotch facilities that meet the needs of all age groups including the Recreation Centre with its full-sized rink, semi-olympic pool, gymnasium and youth centre. The library is heavily frequented by young and old alike, who appreciate its extensive collections and excellent reference services.

Nestled on the shores of Lake Saint Louis, Beaconsfield is graced with prime waterfront green space. Saint James Park and the grounds of historic Centennial Hall, the City's picturesque cultural centre, are ideal for family outings. Outdoor enthusiasts also have access to three boat ramps, two yacht clubs and a host of neighbourhood parks, playgrounds and playing fields.

The exceptionally high standard of living that you find in this community has been achieved through a long-standing tradition of responsible government and citizen involvement. Many of Beaconsfield's social, cultural and athletic programs are run by local volunteer organisations to which the municipality provides administrative and technical support.

Committed to safeguarding its resident's quality of life, Beaconsfield is a member of the Healthy Communities Network, an international movement sponsored by the World Health Organization that promotes collaboration among all sectors of the community. In recent years, the City has worked hand-in-hand with environment-conscious residents to curb pesticide use and encourage such proactive as recycling, composting and safe disposal of hazardous waste.

Often at the forefront, Beaconsfield has gained recognition lately for its role in emergency preparedness planning and was instrumental in generating an inter-municipal assistance agreement among public works departments in the region.

Beaconsfield's administration looks to the future with a history of responsible government. The City's sound financial position, the efforts made to restrain the taxpayers' burden and the rising real estate value make a home in Beaconsfield a blue-chip investment. However, the distinguishing feature is the people who live here. All aspects of life reflect the voluntary participation of the residents: a united effort to maintain Beaconsfield's singular charm.
13_thomson_point bookmobile new_radar_1975 lady_on_path_to_water_centennial 1940s
valois_belles 1912 mayor_perron 1925

Mayor Perron 1925
  • The first minutes of the City of Beaconsfield dates from July 1, 1910.
  • Meetings are held at the hall of the schoolhouse Beaurepaire. This room is rented by the City Council and is located in the Upper River Range.
  • The first employee of the City of Beaconsfield is JLVital Mallette, secretary-treasurer's salary is $ 15.00 per month.
  • On June 12, 1911, Mr. Mallette resigned. He is replaced by Jean Marie Valois, who earns $ 15.00 per month. In July 1911, Mr. Mallette is rehired at $ 300.00 per year. In 1912, his salary is $ 420.00 per year.
  • We hire also a constable, Mr. Beaton.
  • The first permanent committees set up are the Path Committee, the Water and Light Committee, and for the Finance Committee, a lawyer is a part of it.
  • The Path Committee hires an inspector of buildings, named Harold E. Shorey at a salary of $ 50.00 per year.
  • A building permit, or other, costs $ 2.00.
  • An engineer, Mr. B. Boulay, of the City and District of Montreal (the term used in the minutes) is a consultant for the City of Beaconsfield.
  • The major concern of the Council is the construction of roads.
  • We hire a man to cut the grass along different paths.
  • In 1912, Mr. Napoleon Legault was named rural inspector of the City of Beaconsfield, at a salary of $ 25.00 per year. His work is under the jurisdiction of the Path Committee, and will end on 1 October 1913.
  • In 1914, the Commissioner of the school, which takes place at City Council meetings, requires $ 60.00 per year to wash the room in question. The City offers $ 50.00.
  • A citizen of Beaconsfield made an offer to the city: a free site to build a city hall or other municipal building on Woodland Street. The Council offers their thanks.
  • An officer specially appointed by the City shall have the duty to monitor the observance of law no. 46. For non-compliance, there are 40.00 fine and costs, or a possibility of two months' imprisonment.
  • During the years of economic crisis, from 1929 to 1939, there are programs to help the unemployed. These programs are organized by the Quebec government. The work covered by the City are sidewalks, ditches, grading and repair of roads.
  • These unemployed are paid 0.20 an hour to work six days a week, six hours a day.
  • At that time, we mention the cleaning of street lamps.
  • In 1934, the City requested bids for the work of the winter road, harrow horses. For example, one man and four horses costs $ 1.25 per hour, and two men and two horses cost 0.75. These prices are the lowest bidder.
  • Another bidder asked for twice the amount.
  • These teams are at the request of City Superintendent who will have the direct supervision of the maintenance of winter roads.
  • In 1941, to clean the ice, the price was $ 3.50.
  • In 1941, it says: no City employee, paid by the hour, is considered permanent and therefore they come within the ambit of the law of unemployment insurance.
  • In 1941, Lafrance Zéphirin made application for the position of assistant superintendent, and the City responded that the position does not exist. At this time, the city decided to buy rubber gloves and safety belts for municipal employees.

**Text written by Camilla Gagnon, archivist for the City of Beaconsfield

beaconsfield-crest_300BEAUREPAIRE
The first concession in Beaconsfield obtained from the Sulpicians was that concession granted to Jean Guenet on May 18th, 1678.  It was described as being on Lake St. Louis at Pointe Beaurepaire, bordered on both sides by ungranted land.  November 28, 1694 Jean Guenet acquired additional land to the west of Beaurepaire.  An old title-deed dated September 30, 1700 calls this district "Pointe Anaouy".  This was an Indian name for the whole point.  Guenet, however, called his first concession "Beaurepaire".  Jean Guenet was from 1677 one of the principal merchants of Ville-Marie.  As an importer he occasionally travelled to France.  Guenet was also controller of the "King’s Realm" and the tax collector for the Seigneurs of the Island of Montreal.

On May 1, 1760 Anne-Etiennette Milot, granddaughter of Jean Guenet, sold her portion of the farm at Beaurepaire to Louis Normandin Lamothe and Charlotte Guenet, her uncle and aunt.  In 1765 Amable Curot, merchant of Montreal, had already bought the portions of the other heirs and in 1769 became owner of the whole domain.  He constructed there a large stone house.  This house is located at 13 Thompson Point.  In 1780 all of this property was sold at "Public Auction" to Pierre Vallée and Étienne Navard de Saint-Dizier.  In 1790 they sold it to Rosseter Hoyle.  The latter died the same year and Léon St. Germain acquired the domain that latter passed to a Mr. LeBlanc by his marriage to St. Germain’s widow.  A person by the name of Peter Lynch married Mr. Leblanc’s daughter.  It was finally Oliver Berthelet who sold it in 1864 to James Thom(p)son, a successful Montreal merchant.

Within a few months the English residents along the Lakeshore and in Montreal had forgotten the old name and it had become known as Thompson’s Point.  In due course Thom(p)son made up his mind.  His estate must not be called "Thompson’s Point" but "Beaurepaire".  So historical continuity remained unbroken to the present day.  Beaurepaire and Pointe Anaouy formed part of the Parish of Pointe Claire.

THE GROVE
It is interesting to discover how Beaconsfield got its name.  The Grove building located at 26 Lakeshore Road was built by Paul Urgèle Gabriel Valois in July 1810 of stone from the local quarries and had walls 38" thick.  Mr. Valois, who was a member of the landed gentry, used the house as his county seat.  He was a descendant of Jean Baptiste Valois (1728-1806), who took up lands on the shore of Lake St. Louis and founded the Village of Valois.

The grove property in 1879 was known as "Beaconsfield Vineyards".  A Mr. Menzies who occupied the stone mansion during the 1870’s named the place after England’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, whom Queen Victoria created the Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876.

During Mr. Menzies years of residence, he really made Beaconsfield by building a number of cottages on his estate.  He established a vineyard in 1877 but the venture ended in 1881, the property being auctioned out.  In 1881 part of the lot was sold by W.E Shaw to the Lord Bishop of Montreal for the sum of $248.22 cash and as a result of this transaction, the church of St. Mary’s In the Field (Anglican) was the first Protestant Church built in Beaconsfield.  It was located on Old Church Road.  This Church was torn down in 1944.

In 1891 the Grove property with its old stone chateau passed into the hands of Frank Upton who transformed it into a summer resort, building an annex and a terrace of cottages.  From 1810 the eastern part of the waterfront property was used as a private boating club and in 1891 Mr. Upton named the boating facilities "The Beaconsfield Boating Club".

In 1939 the Grove property was sold to Claude Hoskin and in 1965 the City of Beaconsfield acquired the property and then rented the boating facilities to "The Beaconsfield Yacht Club".

DRUMMOND FAMILY
About a quarter of a mile west of St. Charles Road on the Lakeshore a large house was owned by Mr. Mainwaring c1893, and sold to Huntly Drummond in 1894; an adjoining home located on Manresa was owned by his brother Arthur Drummond. They were sons of Sir George Drummond.  Sir George Drummond had bought two or three farms extending west from St. Charles Road and from the Lakeshore across the railway tracks to the boundary of the first farm running east to west from St-Charles Road, now the northern limit of Beaconsfield.  The large farm buildings were situated north of the railway and about two hundred yards west of the Canadian Pacific Station.  The name of the property was then "Huntlywood".  In 1912 this property was bought by Sir Montague Allan and named "Allancroft".

1879 MAP by HENRY OPKINS
A map of the Island of Montreal, dated 1879, showed that Beaconsfield had approximately 46 houses all located along the old Lakeshore Road.  The only other road shown on the map was St. Charles Road. 

This map shows that the farms in Beaconsfield were owned by the following families:

  • Lots Nos.1 and 2: N. Valois
  • Lots Nos.3 and 5: John Angell
  • Lot No.4: L.B. Daoust
  • Lot No.6: Joseph Allard
  • Lot No.7: James Thompson
  • Lot No.8: David Valois
  • Lot No.9: Rémi Legault
  • Lot No.10: T. Rabeau
  • Lot No.12: Pierre Neveu
  • Lot No.13: E. Brunet
  • Lot No.14: I. Pilon
  • Lot No.16: J. Daoust
  • Lots No.17 and 18: G. Duclos
  • Lot 17 north of the tracks: Chas. Barbeau
  • Lots 19 and 20: Mrs. A. Charlebois
  • Lot No.21: P. Pilon
  • Lot No.22: Mrs. J.B. Neveu
  • Lot No.24 : M. Lefebvre
  • Lot No.25: E. Brunet
  • Lot No.27: L. Dagenais
  • Lot No.29: F.X. Goyer
  • Lot No.29A: P.F. Cavalier
  • Lot No.30: Jos. Daoust
  • Lot No.31: J.H. Menzies
  • Lot No.32: U. Valois
  • Lot No.33: E. Duchesneau

FIRST SCHOOLS
In the 1890s, the English children were taught school in the house occupied by Mr. John Milton Angell, 515 Lakeshore Road, which was destroyed by a fire in 2002.  When the Cedar Park School in Pointe Claire was built in 1895, approximately 15 protestant children were transported to this school.  In 1923, the children were taught by Miss Hock in a one-room school, located at the corner of Fieldfare Avenue and Pine Street.  This building is now a private residence.  In 1924 a modern brick school was built at the corner of Fieldfare and Church Street and this building, which was expanded in 1950, was later used as the Administrative building for the West Island School Commission.  In 2006, the 1950 extension was demolished and the original school building was included in a new apartment building for seniors called “Les Jardins Beaurepaire”.

According to recollection of citizens, the first teacher in Beaconsfield was Mrs. Emilie Pilon in the 1880s, in a house now demolished, at 390 Lakeshore Road.  In 1870 Pierre Neveu bought Farm 12 and in 1892 sold a piece of land for the erection of a catholic schoolhouse.  The school was built in 1893 and this school thought French and English children up to grade 7.  The boys after that grade had to walk to Pointe Claire College while the girls would board and attend school at the Pointe Claire Convent. In 1947 a new school was built on Neveu Avenue, later being extended.  In 1957, the English side was named St. Joseph while the French side was named St. Rémi.

TRAINS
In 1853 the single track Grand Trunk Railway line was put through Beaconsfield, later the Canadian Pacific Railway put through their lines.  The present Beaconsfield C.P.R. Station was built in 1905 and the shelter at Beaurepaire Station was built in 1904.

THE BEGINNINGS OF THE TOWN OF BEACONSFIELD
The Town of Beaconsfield was incorporated on June 4, 1910 by Act I, George V, Chapter 62.  The first meeting of Council was held on July 2, 1910 at the schoolhouse of Beaurepaire.  Mayor Joseph Léonide Perron chaired the meeting.  The following Aldermen were present: Wilfred Dagenais, James Dougall, A.H. Hutchins, T.W. Lamb, Albert Pilon and Charles L. Shorey.  The Secretary-Treasurer was J.V. Mallette.

The census of 1911 established the population of Beaconsfield at 375 persons, 60 families living in 60 houses.  The population in 1921 had increased by 70% to 578.  By 1951 it was 990; in 1953 it was 3,070; in 1957 it had risen to 6,600; in 1960 to 9,500 and in 1967 to 16,800.  Around the turn of the 21st century, it was stable at just under 20,000.

At the time of incorporation the Town had the following streets:

St. Charles Road
Lakeshore Road – known as "King’s Road"
Woodland Avenue – known as "Station Road"
Beaurepaire Place – in Thompson Point
Kirkwood Avenue
(Old) Church Road

In 1911 Beaconsfield Boulevard was opened from Pointe Claire to Woodland Avenue and was completed to Baie D’Urfé in 1913.  The Lakeshore Road from Farm 12 to St. Charles Road was finally closed in 1928.

In 1914 Beaconsfield passed a by-law to supply electric services to the citizens and from 1915 to 1922 sold power to the Town of Baie d’Urfé.  In 1930 Beaconsfield sold the municipal lighting plant to Montreal Light Heat & Power for $20,000.00.

Up until the time Beaconsfield passed a by-law in 1957 for the installation of water and sewer mains, the Town was supplied water through wells.  There was a cistern on stilts with a windmill on top to pump water installed at the bottom of Kirkwood Avenue prior to 1899.  This water was not for drinking.  Drinking water for the area was carried in bottles from the hand pump at Beaconsfield Station.  J.A. Legault in 1952 installed a water system, taking water directly from the lake.  He supplied Jasper Road, Pilon Avenue and part of Lakeshore Road.  Later developers installed deep water wells in the following

Locations:

  • Brentwood Road between 67 and 75
  • 393 Church Street
  • 167 Beaconsfield Boulevard
  • 190 Beaconsfield Boulevard
  • 64 Sweet Briar Drive
  • 123 Evergreen Drive
  • 116 Lincoln Drive
  • And there were two wells on Larch Street where the present apartments are.

BEACONSFIELD VILLAGE
It is interesting to note that there was a lumber yard, six houses, a hotel consisting of 15 rooms and a reception hall, stables, a tavern and post office located near the Beaconsfield Station, which burnt down about 1931.  In this fire the C.N.R. Station was also burnt.  Only one house was rebuilt and it was expropriated in 1942 when the present Highway 20 went through.

MID-20th CENTURY GROWTH
In 1950 a by-law was passed concerning the development of the property in Gables Court known as the Drummond property by Mount Royal Building Company Ltd.  The Town started to develop more quickly and permits for houses were taken out on the following streets in the following years:

  • Upper Lakeview - 1930
  • Westcroft Road - 1933
  • Pilon Avenue  - 1948
  • Devon Road and York area known as Kensington Gardens - 1951
  • Jasper (Legault) Road - 1951
  • Angell & Madsen - 1953
  • Forest Garden area - 1954
  • (Though there were a few houses on Sherbrooke Street in 1950)
  • Drummond Park area - 1955
  • Sweet Briar and area known as Elizabeth Gardens - 1953
  • Edgewood Village area- 1960
  • Beacon Hill area - 1962
  • Sherwood area - 1963

CHURCHES in Beaconsfield were built as follows:

  • Christ Church (Anglican) – Fieldfare Avenue – 1962
  • Beaurepaire United Church – Fieldfare Avenue – 1955
  • St. Mary’s Church (Anglican) since sold– St. Charles Road – 1958
  • St. Edmund’s (Catholic) – Beaconsfield Boulevard – 1961
  • Beaconsfield United – Woodside Road – 1960
  • Briarwood Presbyterian – Beaconsfield Boulevard – 1963

SCHOOLS were built as follows:
École primaire St-Rémi  - 1947
Beaconsfield Elementary School (Place Cartier) - 1953
Beaconsfield High School  - 1958
Allancroft Elementary School - 1960 (not used as school since 2006)
St. Paul’s School   - 1962
Christmas Park School  - 1963
John F. Kennedy School  - 1964
Beacon Hill School   - 1966
Windermere Elementary School (Sherwood Forest) – 1969
Briarwood (École primaire Beaconsfield) –1950s
St. Edmund Elementary School - 1967

The BEAUREPAIRE GOLF COURSE opened in 1926, at the north end of Woodland.  Golfers played until the end of the 1990s when the lots were subdivided.

PARKS:

  • In 1937 Alex Edwin Christmas donated Christmas Park to the Town to be used for recreational purposes, the first park in Beaconsfield.
  • Memorial Park was purchased from the J.L. Perron Estate in 1945 for the sum of $5,000.
  • Beaconsfield Heights Park was purchased from Frank Kovack in 1950 for $2,860.
  • Rockhill Crescent Park was purchased from Paquette Builders in 1959 for the price of $9,600.
  • All the other parks and green areas were taken over as the areas were developed and the developers had to give 5% of the area for park land.

CITY HALLS AND MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS
In 1924, the heirs of James Armstrong deeded to the Town the property located at 450 Lakeshore Road, now James-Armstrong Park.  From 1930 to December 31, 1964 the building was used as a Town Hall.  It was then occupied by the Police & Fire Department until it was demolished in 1982 when the new Fire Hall was built on Beaurepaire Drive just west of the Public Works.  Council meetings and Court were held in the building located at 140 Beaconsfield Boulevard from 1959 to 1964 when the building was turned over to the Beaconsfield Library.

In 1960 the Town passed a new Zoning By-Law creating a Town Center and plans were started in 1964 to purchase this area.  The land transactions were completed in 1966.  The Recreation Centre was opened in 1975.
The beautiful site located on Lake St. Louis just West of Memorial Park was originally owned by the first Mayor of Beaconsfield, J.L. Perron.  In 1940 it was sold by the Perron Estate to Léo Dandurand, well-known sportsman from Montreal, who built his home on the property.  In 1956 Mr. Dandurand sold the property to Marian Hall Incorporated and from 1956 to its sale to the Town in 1964 it was used as a home for girls.  The city moved its staff and Engineering Department to this property in January 1965.  In 1967 City Council decided to have the building used as a community center named Centennial Hall and the plans were completed for the building of a new combined City Hall and Library at 303 Beaconsfield Boulevard, inaugurated in 1968.

The following is a LIST OF MAYORS from the time of incorporation to the present:

  • 1910-1916 -J.L. Perron
  • 1916-1918 -George V. Crowdy
  • 1918-1928 -James S. Brierley
  • 1928-1936 -James W. Shaw
  • 1936-1940 -Hugh Charles Hillrich
  • 1940-1942 -Stanislaus L. Paquin
  • 1942-1947 -James Émile Côté
  • 1947-1950 -John E.H. Stethem
  • 1950-1952 -Llewellyn Parry
  • 1952-1956 -John E.H. Stethem
  • 1956-1959 -R.S. Turnham
  • 1959-1960 -R.M. Gibb
  • 1960-1982 -Edwin M. Briggs
  • 1982-1990 -Patricia Rustad
  • 1990-2003 -Roy Kemp
  • 2003  -Anne-Marie Parent
  • 2003-2005 -Ann Myles
  • 2005-2009 -Bob Benedetti
  • 2009-2013 -David Pollock
  • 2013-present - Georges Bourelle

The Lieutenant Governor in Council by virtue of Paragraph 3, Article 15, Chapter 193 of the Quebec Statute 1964 granted Letters Patent creating the CITY OF BEACONSFIELD effective February 23, 1966

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July 1, 1967 Sources: Information on the history of Beaconsfield was obtained from older residents of the city, as well as from clippings that have appeared in the newspapers and from the book entitled "Lake St. Louis Old and New" by Désiré Girouard, printed in 1893
Text reviewed and updated in August 2011 by Pauline Faguy-Girard, using the “Beaconsfield and Beaurepaire” book by Robert L. Baird and Gisèle Hall published in 1998 and personal notes, as well as the archives of the City of Beaconsfield.

First lease agreements:

Minutes of 1910

armoirie

Coat of arms:

  • Rationale for the Armorial Bearings for the City of Beaconsfield, Québec, Canada
  • Arms : The design is a canting allusion to the name Beaconsfield
  • Crest : The Castle is retained from the original insignia previously used.  It is an adaptation of the crest of The Right Honourable Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, for whm the city was named.  The Canadian civic crown is incorporated to simbolize a canadian municipality.

Motto : the motto FORTI NIHIL DIFFICILE, meaning NOTHING IS DIFFICULT TO THE BRAVE, has also been retained from the previously-used insignia.  This was the motto of the Earl of Beaconsfield.

  • The Green : Fertility
  • Royal crown : Supported on the pinnacle
  • Emblazon : Enlighten

Text based on Beaconsfield and Beaurepaire by Robert L. Baird and Gisèle Hall, 1998

Former mayors and councillors

Council Archive List details...

597_lakeshore_view1Beaconsfield is rich in history and is fortunate that several old buildings remain as faithful witnesses of that past. Aware of the priceless value of this architectural heritage, the City has inventoried the buildings of historical significance on its territory.

The City can count on the valuable support of the Beaconsfield-Beaurepaire Historical Society and the West Island heritage tour. In short, our heritage is in good hands!

References to consult:

In Quebec, twining interests as much small towns than large towns and the size of the municipality is not in itself a factor in the success of a twinning.

Twinning of municipalities consists therefore a form more or less regulated, according to the will of the participants and the social, cultural, economic, historical and sports exchanges, between the two communities.

Twinning project with the City of Verneuil-sur-Seine in France

Visit Verneuil-sur-Seine website www.ville-verneuil-sur-seine.fr