History of Châteauguay
At the start of the XVIIth century, Samuel de Champlain explored and charted the region but it wasn’t until September 29, 1673 when the first step of colonization took place when the Count of Frontenac, the governor of New-France, ceded the “seigneurie” of Châteauguay to, who was already the “seigneur” of Longueuil.
In 1683, Charles Le Moyne had a fortified manor or “Chasteau" constructed at the entrance to his land on Saint-Bernard Island. He lived there with two families and six other individuals. According to historian Léon Laberge, the name of Châteauguay originates in France. The community of Châteaugay exists within the department of Puy-De-Dôme.
Starting in 1685, events accelerated, wars became more and more hostile so people moved away from Saint-Bernard Island into the interior of the land.
The development of the “seigneurie” was realized, in great part, through the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, or Grey Nuns, who acquired it in 1765. Along with teaching, they constructed a bakery and encouraged the farming of the surrounding fertile land. They remained the “seigneurs” until 1854, when the system was abolished.
A “seigneurie”, then an agricultural town that engaged in the timber trade, Châteauguay only really boomed at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1912, the part of the village called the "bassin" incorporated under the name of the Town of Châteauguay and after 1960 the parish of St-Joachim de Châteauguay became the Town of Châteauguay-Centre. In 1975, these two communities fused to become the Châteauguay of today. “Armories” dites trois communautaires..
In 1775 the parish started the construction of one of the flowers of the community, Saint-Joachim church, now classified as a historic monument by the Ministère de la Commission des affaires culturelles et patrimoniales du Québec. Residents of Châteauguay only benefited from the presence of a permanent priest, Jean-Baptiste Dumouchel, in 1777.
The people of Châteauguay are rightfully proud of it. For instance: I was sitting at a meeting of the Bicentennial Celebrations committee and we were talking about decorating the church for the events. Someone said: "Let's not decorate it too much! As it is, our old church will be the most beautiful ornament for the celebrations."
Reverend Elie-J. Auclair of the Royal Society of Canada
The War of 1812
In 1813, Châteauguay became an outpost for the British Army. On October 26, 1813, the Battle of Châteauguay took place at a strategic location along the shores of the Châteauguay River, 50 km south-west of Montréal near the American border. Colonel Charles-Michel de Salaberry and his group of 300 men stopped the American troops who had invaded the borders of Lower-Canada.
From 1815 to 1836, tensions are raising between the French and the English. It reached its culmination during the rebellion of 1837-1838. Two patriots from Châteauguay, Narcisse Cardinal and Joseph Duquette, marched on the village and robbed merchant John McDonald of all of the weapons and powder found there. They took all of the Loyalists that they could find prisoner. One of them, named Findlay, succeeded in escaping and warned Colborne, at Lachine, after making the crossing from Caughnawaga. In the meantime, the Patriots travelled to Caughnawaga to discover the standpoint of the Iroquois. The Iroquois asked them to leave their weapons in order to talk. Through this ruse the natives seized them and took them directly to prison in Montréal; Cardinal and Duquette never returned. They were hanged in the public square and the others were condemned to exile.
Throughout history, the manor has undergone various transformations. The first manor (1674-1675) was constructed at the request of Charles-LeMoyne of Longueuil. The manor built in 1836 became too small and was enlarged and topped with a French roof by Mother Deschamps in 1881. Guardians of this wonderful site for over two centuries, the Grey Nuns sold in 2011 to the City of Châteauguay the knoll on the island St. Bernard and all the buildings that were there, including the Youville Manor.
Mill on Saint-Bernard Island
Still standing on Saint-Bernard Island is a masonry tower that was built in 1688; part of one of the oldest windmills in North America.
The second convent of the Congregation of Our-Lady, constructed in 1911, served as a place of learning until 1965, then as a residence for nuns until 1972. In 1973, this historic building was purchased by Châteauguay-Centre and made its city hall. In 1995, a fire damaged it and on July 1, 1997 it was reopened after having been rebuilt during the winter.