5:30 a.m., June 24)
plaques celebrate St-Joseph Blvd.'s rich history
By Fred Sherwin
franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de histoire
d'Orleans president Nicole Fortier stands
beside one of 32 historical plaques recently
installed along St-Joseph Blvd. Fred Sherwin/Photo
there was an Avalon. Before there was a Chapel Hill South
or even a Fallingbrook, there was a small police village
1950, fewer than 1,000 people lived in the area. St-Joseph
Blvd. was actually called Ottawa Street (the name change
didn't take place until 1957) and it looked a great deal
different than it does today.
community's unofficial "main street" has gone
through a number of changes over the past 64 years, with
many of the original homes and businesses long since replaced
by strip malls and fast food restaurants.
history that was in danger of being forgotten, has been
brought to life thanks to the efforts of the Societé
franco-ontarienne de patrimoine et de l'histoire d'Orléans
(SFOPHO) and the Heart of Orléans BIA.
two groups have joined forced to produce 32 historical
plaques that tell the story of St. Joseph Blvd. over the
years. Each plaque has a picture of what the location
looked like before it was altered. For instance, plaque
#21 outside the Kozy Nest restaurant at 2520 St. Joseph
Blvd., shows an old photo of the Dupuis House in which
Éva Dupuis lived in from the early 50s to 1983
when she passed away. After her death, the house was moved
to the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum and replaced
by the restaurant.
Dupuis was a direct descendent of one of the community's
original pioneers, François Dupuis, who is thought
to have lived in the same spot dating back to the 1830s.
of the houses are still in the same place they were 40
and 50 years ago, although they've undergone several renovations.
The home originally owned by Dr. Émile Major in
the 1950s, is now a commercial building housing the law
offices of Jacques Robert.
plaque outside the Royal Garden retirement residence commemorates
three former business that once stood on the site. Built
at the beginning of the 20th century, the Orléans
Hotel went through a number of renovations before it burned
down in February, 1982. The Palm Restaurant stood beside
the hotel from the 1950s until the mid-80s. It too burnt
to the ground in 1958, but was rebuilt shortly afterwards.
the Palm was a store owned by Armand and Esther Bégin
who moved to Orléans from Montreal in the early
50s. The couple owned the business from 1953 to 1957.
The building burnt down in the same fire that destroyed
the Palm Restaurant. A new building was built in its place
which eventually became the original Willie's Chinese
Food during the 1960s and '70s.
plaques are located on both sides of St-Joseph Blvd. from
1811 at the western end of the street to 3035 near Place
d'Orléans. The lone plaque that isn't on St-Joseph
is located at 241 Centrum Blvd. to commemorate the Vinette
Silo which dates back to 1945.
also a book that includes an aerial photograph of St-Joseph
Blvd. taken in 1949 and retells the stories listed on
each plaque. The project is actually part of the 400th
anniversary celebration of Samuel de Champlain's first
voyage through the Ottawa area,
It was funded in part by the Heart of Orleans BIA which
provided $25,000 to the effort and the Ontario Trillium
Foundation, but the research, the writing and the translation
was done by SFOPHO which contributed hundreds of volunteer
why the project was so important to the Society, SFOPHO
president Nicole Fortier said that it was their way of
letting both new and long-time residents of Orléans
know more about the community they live in.
to promote and let newcomers understand Orléans
background in terms of what it was before it became urbanized.
and also for the people born here it is so pleasing to
go by the plaques and remember where you come from and
then explain that to your children and your grandchildren,"
plaques are also important in terms of their contribution
to the ongoing effort to beautify St-Joseph Blvd. and
make it a more pedestrian-friendly street. Together they
are a celebration of Orléans, its history and its
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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