Credits: BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Comité du 50e anniversaire de Rouyn-Noranda funds, interview series. 08Y,P34,S2,P112.
Photo caption: Fire-Rangers’ Cabin on Rouyn Lake.
Photo credits: BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Jean-Marie Beauchemin collection. 08Y,P178,P3.
Interviewer: Mr. Vital Goulet, you are one of Rouyn-Noranda’s pioneers. When you got here, what kinds of buildings, of shacks, was there?
Vital Goulet: There was none. There were no buildings when all of us arrived.
Interviewer: So there was absolutely nothing? Tell us about how things went when you arrived in here?
Vital Goulet: Before that very first year when we arrived, the forests were all still intact in what would become a huge construction site here in Rouyn for Saucier Leblanc.
Interviewer: So, like, most importantly, what kind of folks, what kind of people were there in Rouyn at that time?
Vital Goulet: Lumberjacks.
Interviewer: People working in the woods.
Vital Goulet: And prospectors.
Vital Goulet: Yup, prospectors. There was the ol’ Horne, the ol’ Renau I used to know, and then there was Poisson. And actually they were all prospectors.
Interviewer: There were no working mines at that time yet?
Vital Goulet: No, no! There weren’t.
Interviewer: There were just guys who thought they had found deposits?
Vital Goulet: Yup, some prospects, time and time again. Dr. Harvey, he was here. Dr. Harvey, he prospected in Cléricy.
Interviewer: So Mr. Goulet, times were hard in Rouyn-Noranda then?
Vital Goulet: We were in tents all April long, and we woke up in the morning to 4–5 inches of snow on the ground. But we were as well as we are now. The air was fresh and pure; it wasn’t polluted at that time.
Interviewer: It must have been hard to work in the woods at that time?
Vital Goulet: It’s not that it was very hard. It’s that there were lots of mosquitoes!
Vital Goulet: Those darn mosquitoes!
Interviewer: You fire-rangers built shacks too at that time?
Vital Goulet: Oh yes! We built shacks for blind pigs! [laughing].
Interviewer: What the heck is a blind pig?
Vital Goulet: It was girls coming here to make a living, selling beer. That’s all. Same as today, a brothel you know!
Interviewer: [pause] Weren’t there policemen in Rouyn?
Vital Goulet: There were two of the Provincial Police, Blackwatch and Turnbull.
Interviewer: The Provincial Police…
Vital Goulet: They would advise us not to go out alone at night. It was dangerous! There were all sorts of foreign people there!