Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site
Discover the horse-drawn ambulance and get to know the cart driver, Pierre "Pit" Masson
The horse-drawn ambulance...
This horse-drawn ambulance is the work of the Toronto company John Burns & Sons Carriage Works. MODERN, the ambulance was inspired by foreign-made models. UNIQUE, it was adapted to the specific needs of the quarantine station. It would transport many sick immigrants from the east wharf to the hospitals.
Pit Masson, carter and ambulance driver...
At the age of 26, Pierre "Pit" Masson was appointed by the Government to serve as the cart and ambulance driver. He received and transported the sick to the hospitals. On the way, he rang the bell with his foot to inform the medical personnel of his arrival.
Pit was an integral part of the life of the island, transporting commodities and equipment for the hotels and hospitals, coal and firewood, straw for the patients' beds, the immigrants' personal effects, etc. A key figure in the history of the island, he occupied this position until the closing of the quarantine station in 1937. In 1935, he received the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal in recognition of his loyal service.
By visiting this exhibition, you will dive into the past, thanks to an environment reflecting the realities of the time: :
Discover the characteristics of the horse-drawn ambulance
Learn more about the work of Pit Masson, carter and ambulance driver at Grosse Île
Let our guides tell you great anecdotes about medicine at that time
Horse drawn ambulance and Pierre Masson, around 1915, Fonds Denis Fournier, Parks Canada Collection (Q44)
Pit Masson and his horse, around 1915 , Fonds Lucienne Masson, Parks Canada Collection (G491)