Joseph-Octave Dion and the Preservation of Fort Chambly
East curtain wall, inner court of Fort Chambly, beginning of the 20th century © Société d’histoire de la seigneurie de Chambly, Fonds Armand-Auclaire
In 1854, Fort Chambly was in such a state of deterioration that the military authorities advised against making any further repairs. In any event, the British army was about to abandon the fort for good. And so it was left to the ravages of time.
Joseph-Octave Dion, resident of Chambly and history enthusiast, decided to save the fort from complete ruin. In1866 he began a campaign to convince the Canadian government that this valuable testament to the French presence in America must be preserved.
West curtain wall, inner court of Fort Chambly © Société d’histoire de la Seigneurie de Chambly, Fonds Armand-Auclaire
In 1882 the Department of Public Works granted $1,000 for repairs to the fort and appointed Dion to oversee the work. Four years later, Dion took up residence at the fort as its keeper. He remained there until his death in 1916.
Joseph-Octave Dion, in front of his private residence inside Fort Chambly © Parks Canada