How well do you know the Laurentians?

For the past few generations, my family and I have had a special bond with the Laurentians.  Probably like a lot of you, we have spent many blissful summers escaping the city heat and bustle “up North.”  That’s why I was very intrigued by the book Naming the Laurentians : a history of place names “up north” by Joseph Graham, 971.424 G739.

Filled with everything you’d want to know about the Laurentians, the author has done a great job of researching the geology, prehistory and history of the area, putting it all together into a very enjoyable and readable book. 

In my mind the Laurentians have always conjured up an image of nature’s all-season playground for urban dwellers, but Joseph Graham reminds us that they are so much more.  The history of the Laurentians is very rich and complex.  I was really interested to read about the interactions of the First Nations tribes with newly-arrived Europeans, as well as those between the French and English colonial regimes.  The richness of this diverse heritage is reflected in the place names in use today and the author has also included numerous old photos and maps which are great fun to look at.

A few interesting facts from the book… 

The Weskarini Algonquin, the people who lived in the Laurentians before the Europeans but later perished in the French and Indian Wars, called present-day Mont Tremblant  “TremblingMountain.”  They believed that, if angered, The Great Spirit would cause the mountain to shake and tremble.

Mortimer Barnet Davis (later Sir Mortimer) bought property overlooking Las des Sables, Ste-Agathe, and the house he built on that site, Château Belvoir, was completed around 1909.  By 1912,Davis, together with Mark Workman, Moses Vineberg, Jacob Jacobs and others, built a sanitorium for tuberculosis patients which they calledMount SinaiHospital.  It was the “first Jewish-community funded public hospital in theMontrealsphere of influence.”  Ste-Agathe would become one of the foremost tuberculosis treatment centres inCanada.

Whether you read this book cover-to-cover or just skim through it, you will definitely be intrigued by the history of this very beautiful area of our province.  I highly recommend it.

Posted by Audrey, Reference Librarian

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