Credits: BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Comité du 50e anniversaire de Rouyn-Noranda funds, interview series. 08Y,P34,S2,P135.
Image credits: BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Canadien National funds. 08Y,P213,P329.
Here is an interview with Rouyn’s pioneer Léon Dumulon who built his father’s General Store.
Léon Dumulon: I left Ville-Marie to go to Baie Gillies with horses. From there, we took several boats and then a boat to go to the Esturgeon Rapid. From the Esturgeon Rapid, we made a portage for our supplies and boat. We settled at German Point for fifteen days or three weeks. From there, we took the Kinojévis River through Routhier Lake […] [Inaudible] and we settled in the middle of Rouyn Lake in July. We stayed there from July to December. In December, we moved to Rouyn, in the house that still stands to this day (Dumulon General Store historical site). During winter, they brought a drill from Sudbury that we call a Sudbury Diamond Drill. They started to drill where the unemployment insurance building is today. The same winter, a helper and I cut the logs that were used to build the big house that became a historical site today. After that, the post office arrived. The first house I saw being built after us was in front of the post office; the Green brothers also built a small camp. It would become the Osisko Hotel after its extension. The shack beside him and in front of us was built by a certain George Watt, a black wrestler. After that, all the other construction started.
Interviewer: Could you share what was your first Christmas like?
Léon Dumulon: We were moving supplies from Rouyn Lake to our new home right here. Bert McDonald stopped us while we did so, in the neighbouring island of Notre-Dame-du-Sourire. He asked us: “Since it is Christmas, wouldn’t you like to come eat with us? Do you have something to eat?” so I told him, “We have salted lard”, so he said, “Well, I have a partridge.” We went to the General Store, took our salted lard with us and then went to Rouyn Lake for potatoes and carrots. On Christmas day, we ate and there was, I think, sixteen people around the table. It was a pretty great Christmas, but there was nothing much to drink.