News Releases and Backgrounders
National Historic Designations of Persons, Places and Events in Quebec
Frederick Cleveland Morgan (1881-1962)
Frederick Cleveland Morgan, MA, DCL, LLD, was born in Montréal on 1 December 1881 to James Morgan, Jr. (1846-1932), of the merchant firm Henry Morgan & Co., and Anna Elizabeth Lyman (1848-1929), aunt of the artist John Lyman. From an early age, Morgan demonstrated a passion for natural history and the arts. These interests laid the groundwork for undergraduate work in natural sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge (1903) and a Masters degree in zoology at McGill (1904) with a thesis on cell lineage. Morgan could not, however, pursue a career in natural history because of persistent eyestrain caused by use of a microscope. Upon graduation, he entered the family firm while continuing his interests in botany and the arts.
Morgan is recognised as a person of national historic significance for his enduring contribution to the cultural life of Montréal as a museum builder and for his creation of the important decorative arts collection that defines the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 1907, Morgan joined the Art Association of Montreal and in 1916 convinced the Association to dedicate a room to the decorative arts on the grounds that fine examples of crafts and industrial arts would benefit the city’s growing number of technical teaching programs. He began with a donation of his own collection of ceramics, wood and metal work, glass, silver, and early textiles. Over the next 46 years he tirelessly expanded this collection until it filled the entire first floor of the Sherbrooke Street building and represented the history of the decorative arts from around the world, including important Canadian and Quebec collections. His work shifted the mandate of the Association, leading, in 1948, to the newly named Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, since 1977 also known as the Musée des beaux arts de Montréal. Morgan worked with quiet energy, without remuneration, and with a clear vision of a museum’s public and educational role. He engaged in all aspects of the institution’s development and administration, from acquisitions to designing display cases and exhibits, and in the constant solicitation of donations and funds. In the process, he transformed the former Art Association of Montreal into one of Canada’s great museums.
Morgan came to be acknowledged in Canada and abroad as a collector of stature. He was personally responsible for the acquisition of over 7,000 objects of remarkable quality for the Museum, of which he donated at least 1,000. His collection reflects tremendous technical and aesthetic knowledge of the world’s decorative arts, meriting Morgan’s recognition as one of the most perceptive connoisseurs of his day.
In addition to his contribution to the cultural life of one of Montréal, Morgan left a legacy in natural history. He was internationally known in the areas of alpine rock garden design and iris hybridization. He was a founding member of the American Iris Society who honoured Morgan in 1951 with the creation of the prestigious Morgan Award (known today as the Morgan-Wood Medal). He continues to be recognised among Iris breeders for the now-classic Siberian iris hybrids “Caesar’s Brother,” and “Tropic Night,” among others. He was also responsible for shaping the negotiations that led to the creation of McGill University's 245-hectare Morgan Arboretum in 1945, the largest arboretum and preserved urban forest in Canada. Morgan died at his home, Le Sabot, in Senneville, QC, on 3 October 1962, at the age of 81.
Former Lamaque Mine and Bourlamaque Mining Village
The former Lamaque mine and Bourlamaque mining village contain numerous in situ industrial and residential resources comprising a mining landscape evocative of the gold rush in northwestern Quebec, an important region in Canada’s mining history. The site is a rare and well-preserved example of a closed mining town, a widespread phenomenon expressed through the growth of numerous towns serving the country’s primary resource sector. Bourlamaque exemplifies the planned single-industry town of the interwar period, with its orthogonal layout and the segregation of residential areas according to social class, which can be seen in a residential architecture in which the managers’ homes contrast with the workers’ log cabins. The town caught the attention of its community and of heritage authorities in the 1960s, and evokes a particular phase in the conservation movement in Canada.
The site has two related and physically adjacent sections: the former Lamaque mine and the Bourlamaque mining village. The existence of the two zones, the former mine now abandoned, evokes the era of historical Bourlamaque, a town built from scratch by Teck-Hughes to serve the interests of the gold mine that began production in the mid-1930s.
In the fall of 1923, American prospector Robert C. Clark and Algonquin guide Gabriel Commandant discovered a promising gold vein in Bourlamaque Township. A primitive operation was set up at the site of the future Lamaque mine, but little progress was made until the project was taken over around 1933 by Teck-Hughes Gold Mines Limited, an American-controlled company running a large gold mine at Kirkland Lake, Ontario. The company was extremely pleased with prospecting results, and acquired adjacent lands in order to build up its reserves and maintain a high level of production. Under the name of Lamaque Gold Mines Limited, it entered into its ore extraction phase in 1934, and began production in April 1935. The arrival of a growing number of miners sparked a small-scale urbanization movement that resulted in, among other things, the creation of the Bourlamaque mining village. The village was located entirely on mine property, within a portion of the holdings incorporated as a municipality in April 1934. From 1935 to 1941, the company spent $650,000 on the construction of Bourlamaque and community facilities.
The site of the former Lamaque mine has seven structures built between 1934 and 1938 (drying shed, assay office, headframes Nos. 6 and 7, winch room, ore shed, general office) as well as a contemporary garage, the remains of the processing plant, headframe No. 5 and the water tower, and assorted machinery and artifacts. Together, these resources provide eloquent testimony to the local gold rush, leaving the imprint of industrialization on the landscape. Covering 22 ha, the Bourlamaque mining village still carries traces of its past as a company town. The village has 82 residential buildings. There are two residential areas in which residents were segregated by social class: one for workers and one for management. The workers’ quarter comprises 59 single-family log houses (1934-1935) built of spruce and aligned in an orderly pattern. These houses form a harmonious ensemble owing to the uniformity of construction methods, materials and massing. Five boarding houses were added to this quarter in 1938 for bachelors. The management quarter is laid out on a hill in a picturesque manner and reflects the social status of its inhabitants. It has three half-timbered houses built between 1936 and 1938 for visitors and managers. The mine’s dispensary, built in 1941, is set lower down the hill. Altogether, the former mine and village constitute an outstanding example of a 20th century mining landscape in Canada.
Sainte-Croix-de-Tadoussac Mission Church, Tadoussac, Quebec
The Sainte-Croix-de-Tadoussac Mission Church has been designated a national historic site for historical and architectural reasons. It is the only remaining original place of worship that tells the stories of the missionary activities of the Jesuit fathers in the remote regions of New France and of the conversion of the Innu First Nation people (the Montagnais) to Christianity. Its architectural features and construction techniques make it an outstanding example of mission churches erected in New France. It is also the oldest wooden church in Quebec and Canada. Built during the period when Tadoussac was an active fur trading centre, it is a testimonial to the relationship that existed between fur traders, Jesuit missionaries, and Aboriginal peoples. It is also a fine example of a mission station where the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate established themselves in the 19th century to continue providing for the religious needs of the Aboriginal community.
The Sainte-Croix-de-Tadoussac Mission Church is located on an impressive site overlooking the confluence of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers, about 200 kilometres northeast of Québec City. This small chapel, constructed entirely of wood, was built between 1747 and 1750 by carpenter Michel Lavoie, primarily with funds and materials provided by Intendants Hocquart and Bigot, high ranking administrative officials in the French colony. The church is rectangular in shape and has a front-gable roof and a small bell tower. A sacristy was added to the rear of the church in 1853. The mouldings around the doors and windows are painted red, creating a pleasant contrast with the white coloured walls. The original wood siding, consisting of vertical planks, was replaced in 1866-1867 with horizontal clapboard siding, which even today is still one of the Church’s distinctive external features. The Church has a simply decorated interior that includes a rectangular nave with a central aisle and a choir enclosed by a railing. A small tribune, or rood screen, sits at the end of the nave. The principal decoration in the choir is a tomb-shaped altar (dating from 1790-1840) surmounted by a tabernacle painted white with gold leaf highlights (1790). The church has undergone various changes over time, but retains a high level of formal integrity.
For the Jesuits, Tadoussac was a home base from which they could expand their missionary efforts to all of the other missions in the King’s Domain (extending from Les Éboulements to Cap des Cormorans, east of Sept-Îles, and including the Moisie River, and from the St. Lawrence River to the boundary between the St. Lawrence River and James Bay watersheds). The Sainte-Croix mission was first established in 1642, and the small church was added to it between 1747 and 1750, at the behest of Father Coquart, bringing a sense of permanence to the missionary effort. The church became a gathering place for the Innu First Nation people as well as a base from which the missionaries would depart on other missions. Father Coquart’s successor, Father La Brosse, not only preached the Christian gospel to the Innu people from 1766 to 1782, but also taught them secular subjects. Two commemorative plaques erected on the wall of the mission church choir pay tribute to these two men associated with the chapel’s early history.
Marc-Aurèle Fortin (1888-1970)
This talented artist produced remarkable landscapes in a distinctive and unique style. His paintings bear witness in a lively and colourful way to the artist’s love of nature and profound attachment to Quebec’s heritage and a way of life that was disappearing. With their vivid colours, expressive forms and pictorial experiments, his works produced from the 1920s to the 1940s stand apart from traditional landscapes of the same decades. These paintings connect Fortin with the modernity of the interwar period in Quebec and place him alongside a select number of Canadian landscape painters of this period whose works exhibit a highly personal, distinctive style. Fortin also produced scenes of the port and working-class neighbourhoods of Montréal that depict a city undergoing industrialization, but where nature is still present.
Marc-Aurèle Fortin was born on 14 March 1888 in Sainte-Rose, a small village north of Montréal. While working at various jobs, he trained as an artist in Montréal. He then attended workshops at the Chicago Art Institute and lived in Boston and New York. Upon returning to Canada, he painted watercolour scenes of Sainte-Rose and of Montréal’s port and Hochelaga district, subjects that would inspire him throughout his life. He began painting seriously and exhibiting his works during the 1920s, and it was about 1923-26 that he created the landscapes for which he is so well known, characterized by large, majestic trees and cloudy skies. It was also at this time that he painted urban scenes representing Montréal’s port and working-class neighbourhoods. He spent a year in France in 1934-35. When he returned to Sainte-Rose, he experimented with “la manière noire” (black manner), where the canvas was primed in black, making the colours painted on top seem brighter. He also developed “la manière grise” (grey manner), which highlighted the luminosity of the skies in the paintings. During the 1930s and 1940s he spent his summers in Québec City, île d’Orléans, Baie-Saint-Paul, the Saguenay and the Gaspé Peninsula, returning with scenes inspired by the small, sleepy villages along the St. Lawrence. In the 1950s he discovered casein, a milk-based emulsion, which allowed him to create new effects, particularly for painting skies. He had to give up painting in the mid-1950s for health reasons. He began painting again a few years later, but was no longer mobile. Fortin spent his final days in a sanatorium in Macamic in Abitibi, and died on 2 March 1970.
As often as possible, Fortin worked outside while designing his paintings, then finished them in a studio, sometimes soon after, and sometimes years later. More than half of his paintings were produced in a studio, but the style of his painting gives the impression that they were all done on-site. He often produced several variations on one theme. Fortin created between 7,000 and 8,000 works during his prolific career. He participated in numerous national and international exhibitions throughout his career. He was also a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (from 1942 to 1955). His works can be found in several private collections and in large public institutions.
The Inuit Co-operative Movement in Canada
The Inuit Co-operative Movement’s democratic and egalitarian principles gave Inuit communities and individuals the power to participate effectively in the management of their local economy, and were a crucial first step in the development of self-government in the North. The co-operative movement fostered new skills and relationships through training and education, and its overall success contributed to the economic and social well-being of Inuit communities, as well as to the development of Inuit political skill. By giving the Inuit greater control over production and pricing, it particularly helped the national and international recognition and commercial success of Inuit art.
The first co-operative started in 1959 in Kangiqsualujjuaq (George River) in Nunavik (northern Quebec) as a fishery and lumber co-operative; by 1963 there were 16 co-operatives in the North representing one in five Inuit families. In 1967 the Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau Québec (FCNQ) was founded. In 1972, independent co-operatives in the Northwest Territories founded the Canadian Arctic Co-operatives Federation Limited, known today as the Arctic Co-operatives Limited (ACL). The co-operative movement spread across the North and eventually included some northern Dene and Cree settlements. Co-operatives were based on principles of democratic control, community responsibility and co-operative value systems. For the Inuit, they promised more control over economic and social destiny. They promoted business practices in a context of ethnic identity and sharing that accorded with old traditions.
In 1963, when the co-operatives were still very much in their infancy, the gross volume of sales was estimated at a mere $360,000, growing to a massive $27 million in 1980; in 2006, the revenues were estimated at $136.4 million. Co-ops employed local people, brought cash into community infrastructure, and became multi-purpose enterprises that contributed to the growth, and fiscal and cultural health of communities.
The Canadian Handicrafts Guild (CHG), founded in 1906 in Montreal, was the first to market Inuit art in the south. After partnering with the Hudson’s Bay Company, the CHG experienced enormous success marketing Inuit art with almost no government aid. Eventually, the Arctic Co-operatives Limited (ACL) and the Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau Québec (FCNQ) managed northern art marketing, and they helped to make Inuit art synonymous with Canadian art on the world stage.
Today, there are 46 co-operatives in the Canadian North, with about 18,000 members.
Arvida Historic District, in Quebec
Located in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region some 250 km north of Quebec City, the Arvida Historic District was designed in 1925 and built in three phases up until 1950. It is an excellent synthesis of urban planning concepts favoured at the time, such as the City Beautiful and Garden City movements. A well-preserved example of a Canadian single-industry town, it is a unique high-quality workers’ housing project, where the urban landscape was quickly built up with a great variety of housing models. Arvida’s expansion is associated with the first aluminum plant in Canada and is a testimony to growth and development related to the country’s aluminum industry.
The city of Arvida, whose name is derived from the first letters of the name of its founder, Arthur Vining Davis (1867–1962), president of the Alcoa aluminum company, was founded following the construction of the first aluminum smelter in 1924. Through its subsidiary Arvida Works, the company was responsible for developing the area according to a plan designed in 1926 by Harry B. Brainerd and Hjalmar Ejnar Skougor. The 270 residences in the first phase were built in only 135 days, which is why Arvida is known as the “City Built in 135 Days.” After its prosperous beginnings, the plant was affected by a sharp economic downturn in the early 1930s. However, the beginning of the Second World War prompted a substantial rebound in aluminum production, resulting in major expansion for the city of Arvida. The second building phase started in early 1936 with the construction of houses designed by architect Ernest Isbel Barott and the erection of the Saguenay Inn in 1939. The city’s expansion, which had been managed by the company from the time of its foundation, came under the supervision of an urban planning commission in 1942. This period coincides with Arvida’s third construction phase, when houses were built according to the plans of architects Fetherstonhaugh and Durnford and R.H. Wiggs in 1944.
In Canada, a number of urban reforms initiated in Europe in the nineteenth century were introduced by American urban planners and landscape architects, including the City Beautiful and Garden City movements. The cohesive organization of Arvida’s original plan, the use of curved and straight lines and the presence of wide boulevards lined with buildings converging towards a public square are tangible examples of the City Beautiful movement. The functional separation of Arvida’s various zones, the presence of a greenbelt and hierarchical street patterns, as well as organic routes reflecting the site topography are influenced by the Garden City movement. Arvida was also the site of a major expression of regionalist architecture, which became popular in Quebec in the 1930s and 40s and was inspired by French Canadian architecture.
The proposed site is especially evocative of growth and development associated with the aluminum industry in Canada. The first aluminum plant in Canada was built in Arvida and, by the end of the Second World War, it was the top ranking aluminum plant in the Western world. Since Arvida’s industrial facilities made the company a world leader in the industry, the city’s built environment had to correspond to the company’s aspirations. This quest for excellence was reflected by a top quality built environment and a well-developed and particularly successful urban plan designed by renowned designers.
News Release associated with this Backgrounder.