Design and research : Claire Leblanc
Photos : Paul Simon and Plaisance Heritage and Falls, unless otherwise indicated.
This page offers you a virtual tour of the town of Plaisance heritage, cradle of the
Petite-Nation seigneury. Other elements of this heritage will be added from time to time.
It is thought that the bell was used to inform passengers of the ferry next departure. One of the Berlinguette sons.
One of the Berlinguette sons.
197 Principale St. (the ferryboat house)
This picturesque stone house is among Plaisance’s oldest buildings.
It is an example of a double slopped mansard roof building, showing an American influence. The upper part of the roof or “deck” overhangs the delicate curves of the roof break adorned with the building’s dormers. Built around 1850 by Louis Thomas Berlinguette on land acquired from Bazile Sabourin, the residence replaces two old wooden houses (since disappeared)).
Of particular interest in the Petite-Nation area is that Louis Thomas chose stone rather than wood for his house. Yet, at the time of construction, there was a sawmill nearby and the great majority of houses were built of lumber. Was Berlinguette a skilled mason? Who knows. In any event, the residence is home to Louis Thomas’ second wife, Marcelline Lahaie, from the township of Lochaber, and their family. There being no bridge at the time, Berlinguette operates a ferryboat between the shores of the Petite-Nation river at the point known as Baie Noire, of which his house offers a captivating view. One of the sons, Louis, played for the Montreal Canadiens who won the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history in 1915–1916. The ferryboat house, sold to Eusèbe Charbonneau, then sold again to Félix Lalande in 1872, has been part of the Lalande family’s estate for the past four generations
The present railway bridge in Plaisance, rebuilt in 1923, follows Route 148, West of the village, spanning the Petite-Nation River.
In 1877, the Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway train is brought into service. The opening of the station at North Nation Mills allows for rapid development of the hamlet.
Located on the north side of the railroad track, the first station is destroyed by fire in 1900. The station is named North Nation Mills and Pierre Auclair is the first stationmaster.
At that time, the hamlet is part of the parish of Sainte-Angélique. The year 1900 marks the constitution of the Municipality of the Parish of Cœur-Très-Pur-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie-de-Plaisance when it is separated from the Sainte-Angélique parish.
Plaisance bridge, west end of Plaisance village
Chutes-du-Moulin Bridge, on the Petite-Nation River at Plaisance
By virtue of a notarized donation contract signed on December 28, 1865, Joseph-Benjamin-Nicolas Papineau agrees to transfer to the federal government a lot for the construction of a bridge crossing the Petite-Nation River in the Parish of Ste-Angélique. A strip of land, west of the river, being part of lot 12 of the Baie Noire, is intended to accommodate the end of the bridge that the government intends to build during the winter of 1865–1866. This bridge will replace the Berlinguette ferry, named for its owner Louis Thomas Berlinguette and designated “Berlinguette Ferry” in the official documents of this period.
Approaches to the bridge were undertaken in the Fall of 1952, but construction as such did not start until June 1953, to be completed in the Fall. The new bridge replaced an older one (North Nation Mills Bridge) that had collapsed a few years earlier. Work was done on contract and the bridgework in September.
The bridge is 150 feet long with two 60 foot spans comprised of steel beams supporting a reinforced concrete slab resting on a reinforced concrete substructure. The roadway is 20 feet wide.
Source : General report of the Minister of Public Works of the Province of Quebec for the year ending March 31st 1954.
Cœur-Très-Pur-de-Marie de Plaisance Rectory
As a heritage building, the old rectory’s interest lies in its historical and architectural value. The building was built in 1901. Its first occupant was Father Jean-Baptiste Bazinet, the first parish priest. The rectory housed subsequent pastors of Cœur-Très-Pur-de-Marie de Plaisance Parish during most of the 20th century. In the early 1990s, the rectory endorsed a new function. It was taken over by the Corporation North Nation Mills Inc. and repurposed as a heritage interpretation centre. The building underwent important restoration and expansion work between 1992 and 1994. The work was done professionally, while successfully respecting the architectural integrity of the building. The old rectory is one of the rare buildings on Principale Street who’s architectural integrity has been preserved. Fashioned in the second Empire style, very fashionable in Québec between the 1880s and the 1920s, it boasts a hipped mansard roof and a canopied porch. The symmetry of the openings provide balance to the structure’s façade. The main building’s exterior walls are faced in the original red brick. The addition built in the 1990s is perfectly integrated to the original building. Restoration of the metal roofing in the « tôle à la canadienne » style on the main building and with the batten seam technique on the porch awning is flawless. Finally, the porch’s wooden decorative features, including turned posts, curved angle braces and bobbin motif lambrequins, contribute greatly to the old rectory’s architectural interest. In 2015, the building is officially recognized as a heritage property. This legal status ensures better protection and enhanced visibility for the rectory.
Cœur-Très-Pur-de-Marie Church (218 Principale Street)
The church was built in 1901 from plans by the architect J.-H Rouleau. However, its story begins in 1900 when William Thompson, Esq. and merchant from Thurso, assigns the land to the Œuvre et Fabrique de la paroisse du Cœur-Très-Pur-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie (parish corporation) for $226, of which $100 is a gift from Thompson himself.
At the time of its canonical establishment, the parish priest is Father Jean-Baptiste Bazinet. The parish is named Cœur-Très-Pur-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie de Plaisance, but this designation is changed in 1987 when the official name becomes Cœur-Très-Pur-de-Marie.
The church is rectangular in area and has a projected choir and canted apses. The exterior walls are lined with red brick and the roof clad in tin. Originally, the face of the church had no porch but this practical element was added in the 1950s. Well harmonized with the church’s main body and clad with the same red brick, the porch projects from the main building.
A crafted cross and a rooster top the bell tower’s spire while the lateral pinnacles are crowned with tin plate finials. The bell tower’s profile, an important identifying symbol, appears on the town’s coat of arms.
For more than a hundred years, the citizens of Plaisance have been attending this church for weekly masses, and to celebrate christenings, weddings and funerals—significant and memorable events for the whole community.
The Roman Catholic Cemetery at Cœur-Très-Pur-de-Marie de Plaisance Parish
The cemetery: part of the religious heritage and a legacy worth preserving and enhancing.
The land on which the cemetery is located was donated by the W.C. Edwards Company Limited, located in Rockland, but with an office in North Nation Mills. The donation was executed on October 26, 1901.
The heritage interest of the Plaisance cemetery relates to its historical and ethnological value. It is a memorial garden, typical of older Catholic cemeteries in Quebec. Developed in 1901, this cemetery features a central alley leading to a calvary installed in the middle of the site in 1935 or thereabouts. The graves and headstones are aligned symmetrically on both sides of this central alley. A chapel, built in 2009, is located at the far end. A wrought-iron fence, built between 1952 and 1959 by the honourable Roméo Lorrain, surrounds the cemetery.
Calvary on Montée Chartrand
Cross at Côte Saint-François
Wayside cross at Chemin des Cascades
Wayside crosses symbolize allegiance to the Christian faith. At the beginning of the last century, wayside crosses were found next to many range roads.
A religious monument in the Catholic tradition, this calvary is composed of a metal staff and crossbar holding a sculpture of a crucified Christ (Corpus) made of stone dust. The cross is supported on a concrete base. It is located at the corner of Montée Chartrand and Chemin de la Grande Presqu’Île, in a rural area of the municipality of Plaisance. This item is recognized as heritage property since 1992.
Cross located at 365 Principale Street, at the intersection of Montée Saint-François. Dating back to 1940, this cross is made of wrought iron, a particularity of wayside crosses on the territory of the municipality of Plaisance. The wooden axis, painted white, is attached at the junction of the staff and crossbar. This item is recognized as heritage property since 2015.
A very simple wayside cross composed of a wooden staff and crossbar, painted white, with a smaller cross, painted blue, affixed at the junction of the staff and crossbar and bearing the inscription INRI. A wooden fence and simple landscaping enhance the surroundings. The cross is illuminated. Located near Montée Papineau close to 366 Chemin des Cascades. Recognized as heritage property since 2015.