Long before the Europeans set foot on our island, the rivers surrounding it were essential thoroughfares for the Indigenous peoples.
The Mille Îles and Des Prairies rivers shaped the lives of the colonists. In summer, the rivers provided water power to mill the harvested grains and a place to relax when the weather was warm. In winter, the rivers gave them a way to bypass privately owned transportation, which they had to pay for. If you were brave, all you needed was a sharp eye to judge whether the ice was thick enough and off you could go to Sainte-Thérèse to the north, or Sault-au-Récollet to the south for free.
Over time, the people living on Île Jésus also shaped these watercourses. In addition to farming, commercial development and tourism, there was industrial development. This modern reality sharpened the critical minds of our fellow residents, which led them to join forces to preserve their shoreline and their rivers, as well as the local plants and animals. We owe them a lot!
This exhibition explores the history of our rivers and, in doing so, reveals the history of our region.
President, Centre d’archives de Laval