A Meeting of the People: School Boards and Protestant Communities in Quebec, 1801-1998 (2004)

This post is a follow-up to an earlier post about Cartierville School.

A useful reference, regarding topics in the post, is A Meeting of the People: School Boards and Protestant Communities in Quebec, 1801-1998 (2004).

You can access the study online at Google Books. You can do a search for “Cartierville” at the link in the previous sentence. To access a preview version of the book, click here. If some words are highlighted, press “Clear search” at the upper right of the screen.

A review of the study is available here.

The book notes that Cartierville School was built in 1922.

The archives – particularly the annual reports of the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal – in the Bibliography may include additional information about Cartierville School.


A map of Cartierville can be found here. The neighbourhood, which is part of the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, is currently bordered by O’Brien Boulevard, Autoroute Chomedey, Riviere-des-Prairies, and by the southern commuter train line.

Watercolour of Sault-au-Récollet © Ville de Montréal, Gestion de documents et archives (Boîte 163-06-04-1, cdn Archives publiques), © Héritage Montréal

Wikipedia reference notes: “Ahuntsic-Cartierville is located in the north end of Montreal, on the banks of the Rivière des Prairies. It traces its history to the fortified Sault-au-Récollet settlement [at the eastern end of Ahuntsic-Cartierville], which was established by the Sulpicians in 1696. This in turn led to the colonization of the area.”

The link in the preceding paragraph, concerning Sault-au-Récollet, notes:

“In 1895, the inauguration of the Sault-au-Récollet tramway line by the Montreal Park & Island Railway Company linked Rivière des Prairies with downtown Montreal and brought significant changes to the area. City dwellers wishing to relax in a rural setting were drawn to the easily accessible locale and wealthy urbanites built opulent homes and summer cottages.”

Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey)

This fact is of interest to me given that the community where I live, in south Etobicoke in Toronto, similarly functioned as cottage country at an earlier stage of its history after most of the forests had been cleared. As in Montreal, the establishment of rail links between the metropolis and outlying rural areas brought significant changes.

As was the case with Sault-au-Récollet, as well, the building of opulent homes by wealthy urbanites, during a previous era, is part of the history of southern Etobicoke where I live.

The link concerned with Sault-au-Récollet also notes:

“Today, Sault-au-Récollet has the largest concentration of ancient houses and buildings on the north end of the Island of Montreal. Almost 300 buildings dating from the 18th century can still be seen: churches, convent ensembles, mill ruins, the nature park, cemetery, and archaeological sites. While still considered a transit zone because of its bridges and major roads, this neighbourhood has retained the rustic atmosphere that is so treasured by Montrealers.”

Background about the early colonization of Quebec can be found here.


The history that is referred to in the previously noted links relates to European history. In terms of the initial First Nations presence in the area I can speculate that, as is the case in Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey) where I live, the first humans in the area likely would have arrived about 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. I look forward to learning about the First Nations history of Cartierville.

As a March 5, 2014 Smithsonian Institute article notes, there is much evidence of a human presence across the face of the earth since the end of the last Ice Age. Whether we speak of events of 10,000 or 11,000 years ago in terms of forest history, prehistory, archaeology, or some other category of analysis, it’s a story that warrants celebration.

The topic brings to mind an excellent book – evidence-based, and with a focus on a wide range of frames of reference – regarding how we look at history, namely Canadians and Their Pasts (2013) by Margaret Conrad.

The introduction includes a quote from p. 80 [or p. 92, in the edition that I borrowed from the Toronto Public Library] of Requiem for a Nun (1951), in which William Faulkner remarks: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”


A useful overview regarding these topics is provided by Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, an online video also available as a DVD.

The video is referenced in a Wikipedia entry regarding the Society of Saint-Sulpice. The reference is with regard to the following entry at the latter link:

“In 1716 the French Crown granted a large parcel of land to the Mohawk north of the Ottawa River, and a smaller adjacent grant to the Sulpicians. The latter had the grant changed so that all the land was in their name, depriving the Mohawk of their own place.”


In the 1950s, winters in Montreal featured the accumulation of vast amounts of snow. I don’t know how much snow there currently is, on average, in Montreal. It may be less than in the 1950s.

I mention this because part of my recollection of Cartierville School involves recess activities in the snow. The depth of the snow, and the opportunities for making snowballs and snow forts, were a source of enjoyment.


I haven’t studied martial arts, but the judo move that I learned as a child, as previously described, has stayed in mind. I’ve given the topic further thought. An effective judo move serves as a figurative template. It serves as a metaphor. The move that I’ve described, in the previous post about Cartierville School, begins with a manoeuvre to get the opposing player off balance. After that, the person is flipped over your hip and they end up flat on their back. In the snow, that was a  great move for kids to practise.

Clearly, a counter move, in practice and on a theoretical or figurative level, is for the opposing player to maintain balance in such a circumstance. For example, one counter move is to shift your centre of gravity, when an opponent seeks to tip you off balance. Unless you find a way to respond, in an instance, you’re flying through the air on your way for a landing.

Transactional experiences

On a metaphorical level, the judo move also is concerned with transformative – or transactional – experiences in general – both what we see as good ones, and bad ones. Door to door energy scams, by way of example, are built on a template similar to the judo move that I’ve described. Defence against scams involve the application of knowledge – in a sense, the application of a checklist – of what to consider when somebody makes you an offer that appears, on the surface, to be appealing. It also involves a key initial decision: “Do I have reason to be speaking with this person, in the first place?” In door to door situations, my own conversations when somebody turns up generally last about three to five seconds, sometimes less.

Scams and scamming

Evidence-based practice, in any field of endeavour, is helpful in all aspects of life, including in the defence against scams – including scams related to historical narratives.

Confidence games, of the kind that Erving Goffman among others have studied, are a form of scamming. Goffman studied these from the perspective of symbolic interactionism. I would say that’s a good frame of reference to apply, in order to gain understanding of the underlying dynamics of such games. The judo move, conceptualized in metaphorical or figurative terms, also brings to mind the fact that much of military history is concerned with feints and deceptions, as key elements of tactical and strategic manoeuvres focused upon the achievement of desired, typically political, outcomes.

Van Horne School

Another recollection from elementary school concerns the great feeling that I experienced every time I began a fresh notebook at my desk. It was a delight to observe the first fresh page of a new notebook.

Another experience that I recall, again, is the day in primary school, at Van Horne School in the Snowdon neighbourhood in the early 1950s, before we moved to Cartierville, when I realized, as I looked up from my desk, that I now knew all the letters of the alphabet. I was learning English, which was my third language. I also recall that the recess grounds of the school were very crowded. My friends and I found a particular recess game, that we regularly played, and involved a great deal of running.

One day I had the opportunity to walk across the recess grounds when it was clear of students. It occurred to me that it would be a great experience, if my classmates and I could play our game under circumstances where there weren’t large congregations of other students – that we usually needed to wend our way around – on the paved schoolyard where we played.

I don’t know if we ever had the opportunity to play the game under such ideal conditions. At any rate, the concept of having enough room to play a game strongly took hold of me. It’s among the key things that I remember from my primary school years.


The year 1696, which marks the date, as I understand, of the initial European colonization of what later came to be called Ahuntsic-Cartierville, goes back a long way. By way of example, what is identified as one of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s most famous paintings, “The Little Street,” was painted in about 1657, and may have been listed in inventory drawn up for the auction of what is known as the Dissius collection (1696).


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