The Station Road &
This Live Our Heritage Trail starts at the corner of McNider and Beach Roads in Metis-sur-Mer. Including points #4 through #13 on the route below, this Trail can be initiated at several parts along the trail to allow visitors to make a loop(s) by car or, for the fit and adventurous, bike or even foot, but beware: locations for food and washrooms are few and far between so come prepared!
Properties marked with an asterisk (*) also are spotlighted on the Ville de Métis-sur-Mer Patrimonial Tour by plaques with supplementary information and photos. Please remember the places you are visiting are private property and respect property lines and inhabitants’ privacy.
This house at the southwest junction of Macnider and Beach Road is one of a few houses which, for a long time, were owned by the Macnider family, descendants of the first Seigneur of Metis. John Macnider (1760-1829) is considered the father of Metis because from 1818, he encouraged the immigration of settlers from his native Scotland by providing the families, descendants of which still live here today, with two years of provisions and free rent. Although there were no real roads at the time, MacNider saw to the construction of farms, a sawmill, a corn mill, a shipyard, and dwellings. He also encouraged the establishment of the Kempt Road, helping make the Seigneurie area into what was then a thriving community.
Built by the McNiders in the late 19th century, this house was rented to Mr. Ferguson, who operated a store there, and was later taken over by Jack Campbell (related to grocery store Campbell?). The post office was moved from the McNider residence across the street (Corner House?) into this building. Originally occupying a relatively small space, the post office was alongside what was to be the postmistress’s apartment. Beside this first-floor apartment was an office shared by CN staff: a telegraph operator and a train ticket agent.
In the 1940s, the top two floors of the building were used to house some of the Cascade Hotel’s summer staff. Sherrill Tuggey was appointed postmistress in 1942 and in 1945, Mrs. Janet Meikle, grandmother of Sherrill Tuggey, bought the building from the Cascade Hotel Company, after selling her farm and the Green Gables Hotel at Leggatt’s Point. At the request of the then Postal Department, Sherrill enlarged the post office, expanding it to the adjacent apartment. In 1953, her father, Sydney Tuggey, bought the building from his mother-in-law. For a while, this corner also became a bus stop.
Over time, the summer population decreased, as flying to foreign destinations became more affordable and as more women were working, and so were unable to summer for two months with their families in Metis while husbands still worked in Montreal and elsewhere. The big hotels were demolished during the 1960s, leading to the closure of the post office and telegraph office, and conversion of this house’s main floor into apartments.
In 1981, the property was converted into a triplex and the old telegraph office was made into a medical clinic during the summer months for a few years. The provision of free housing for doctors, in exchange for holding some office hours and being on call in emergencies, was covered by Metis Beach Community Association (MBCA) dues. The doctors answered the needs of summer and permanent residents, as well as visitors from time to time. ln 2000, the property was sold and two apartments are rented while the owner lives in the third unit.
Built circa 1854 (or mid 1880s?), this house of unusual design is known locally as the Corner House or the Octagonal House, for obvious reasons. It was originally owned by the MacNider family. Although no MacNider descendants remain in Metis, their legacy is preserved in the name of MacNider Road which intersects with Beach Road at this location. It was once the first post office in Metis. It is also thought likely that it was used as overflow accommodation for the Cascade Hotel.
- Did you know… ? John MacNider, the first Seigneur of Metis, played an important role in the creation of Kempt Road. Named in honour of Sir James Kempt, Governor of the from 1828 to 1830, this was the first road between the Lower Saint Lawrence region and the Maritime Provinces via the Baie des Chaleurs area. Thanks to MacNider’s influence, the road departed from Grand-Métis. A strategic decision, following the War of 1812 between the United States and Canada, directed the road through the Matapedia Valley to avoid supply lines being cut off. This also brought new residents to the area.
The property was later bought by the Drinkwater sisters, who were quite wealthy. An addition was made to the house around 1910, on the east side of the house. A garage also was added, adjacent to the property of the former Gift Shop on Beach Road.
- Listen to Pam Andersson (add link) recall a brief anecdote about Mrs. Drinkwater, her chauffeur and cat.
This house was bought later by Joan Sutherland (any info?) and in 1993 Peter and Sally (Kemp) Andrews purchased the property.
Did you know… ? The added garage went through several improvements to become a full cottage. Often rented by Rev. Don Hunt (summer minister at St. George’s Anglican Church for several years) and his wife Nancy Hunt, it became referred to as the “Hunt Club”.
This house was originally a McNider property and then was operated by the Cascade Hotel for a number of years. It was sold in 1945 to Rev. and Mrs. Basil Jones, a teacher and chaplain at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, QC. Of interest is that the Jones had no family of their own, but during World War 2, they cared for two English refugee boys, Christopher and Anthony Phillips, who would spend their summers at Metis Beach. The house, known as Knoll Cottage, was sold in 1967 to Jack and Patricia Hewitt, and it was passed to their daughter Kathy Hewitt.
The first recorded Anglican presence in Metis was George Jehoshaphat Mountain in 1821; he later became Bishop Mountain, and the first Canadian-born Archdeacon of Lower Canada. He also came again as Metis developed and held services in the Cascade Hotel and other locations for visitors.
However, it was not until the early 1900s that the St. George Anglican Church was planned and built under the patronage of the Molson family.
Land for the church was bought in 1903 from Samuel McNider for $100.00. The church was then built by Joseph and Jack Sim between the summers of 1904 and 1905 and the first service recorded in the register is in the summer of 1906. The church was consecrated by Bishop Dunn on August 25, 1907.
As funds became available, additions were made. The belfry was constructed in 1911 and the church bell installed, first being used in 1912. The apse and vestry were added after the 1912 season, ready for use in the summer of 1913, and the front porch was added at the same time.
The St. George window in the apse over the altar was installed and dedicated on July 23, 1922, the gift of Mrs. L. (Bertha Irving) Sutherland in memory of those ‘boys’ who gave their lives in World War 1. Her son William, after graduating from the Royal Military College (RMC) and joining Lord Strathcona Horse, had served in France in the First World War. His best friend had been killed there and, like many of his generation, he would never talk of these years. When one of his children would imitate the sound of an airplane, he would react strongly and say ‘never, never make that sound’. Nevertheless, in 1939, as the Second War started, William Sutherland joined the RCAF and was sent overseas, living in Britain for a number of years. William Sutherland had come to Metis many years before his widowed mother, Bertha Irving Sutherland, built Rockacre, a house that later sadly burned to the ground in 2016. Same Sutherlands as had the Corner House?
The brown-shingled house across the road from the church is the Church’s manse, a building purchased from a Mr. Barnes and given to the parish by Mrs. Ethel Kingston as a gift in memory of her late husband Herbert.
- Did you know… ? Unusually, the church backs onto a golf course. In 1926, a vote was taken by plebiscite to allow Sunday afternoon golf after services had ended at the area’s respective churches. Apparently there was a suggestion in the 1980s that golf should be permitted on Sunday mornings also, however, this did not get approval.
Known familiarly as the Cascade, the Cascade Golf and Tennis Club is one of Canada’s earliest golf clubs, and one of the 100 oldest in Canada that is still in operation. It had early participation of women golfers and it’s also got one of the best views from an elevated tee, with the Metis lighthouse and mighty Saint Lawrence River in the distance!
James Aird, appropriately Scottish given the early settlers in the area, is credited with introducing golf to Metis Beach in the late 1880s. Passionate about the game, he brought his golf clubs on vacation and practiced in a vacant field. The adjoining land became the Cascade Golf Club in 1901, whose membership included some of the greatest golfers of that time.
In 1911, Little Metis Tennis Club affiliated with the Cascade Golf Club. In 1913, the Cascade Golf clubhouse as it still looks today was completed and, in 1919, the Cascade Golf Club and Little Metis Tennis Club amalgamated.
The Cascade Golf & Tennis Club (CGTC) also became, for many summer residents, the social hub, with not just golf and tennis games, tournaments, and later lessons, but also movie nights, dinner dances, Children’s Parties, a lending library, Canada Day barbecues, the Canteen, and more.
- Walter Molson, one of the few surviving (in the 1940s ) original members of what became the CGTC, provided a complete – and appropriately witty (one simply must have a sense of humour to play golf!) – recap of the inception and early years of the Cascade.
- Did you know… ? How many of us remember the old saying that “children must be seen but not heard.” As it ever has been – or at least until this century – some older people liked to make rules, and some younger people forgot or like to flout them. What can have occurred to prompt this instructive notice to juniors?
- Read a few news articles about the Cascade Gold and Tennis Club, and some of its longstanding staff and members here.
As you continue south, away from the Saint Lawrence, you will come across a cul-de-sac going east called, formally, Cascade Road. This road is more colloquially known as “Skid Row”. It once was a dirt road that connected the Boule Rock Road to the west through Astle properties behind the Professors’ Row houses on Beach Road to McNider Road, providing convenient access to the golf and tennis clubs, and on to Station Road.
The name does not, as some people believe, derive ironically from ‘skid row’, meaning (in North America) an impoverished area that is home to people ‘on the skids’ or down and out – the poor, the homeless, or, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “a district of cheap saloons and flophouses frequented by vagrants and alcoholics.” In fact, skid row or skid road derives from a logging term dating to the late 17th century and referring to a path or road through the woods along which logs were skidded or dragged. The Astle family once owned much of the land in the vicinity and had a sawmill, which was used to plane tree trunks into planks for constructing many of the buildings and other structures in the area.
WARNING: Take great care as you turn right at the stop sign onto Route 132, and then left almost immediately, crossing Route 132 to reach Station Road, so named because of the train station that used to be there.
So named because of – no surprise here – the train station that used to be here, a trip to Station Road seemed like a very exotic and far-off place for small children spending summers in Metis Beach. It also was a special place for local kids growing up there in the middle of the last century. To get a feel for the spirit of the place, enjoy listening to Diane Turriff Ratté talk about her childhood memories of growing up on Station Road.
Station Road or Chemin de la Station is part of the second concession. At one time, there were many farms along the road, as well as stores, a mill, and a sawmill. Today, it is changing from agriculture to residential land. Whether you walk, bike or drive, it is a flat, curvy, tree-lined, shady road, with little traffic where you can enjoy the peaceful scenery and the sounds of nature.
- To get in the spirit of the place, listen to Diane Turriff Ratté speak of her childhood memories of growing up on Station Road (link to follow).
At 249 Station Road, Along the Metis West Trail (at 370 Beach Road), you will see where the old fire station, with its distinctive tower, was located. Given limited resources, and the fact that most buildings were of wood, there also were ‘red sheds’ at strategic locations around the area that could be accessed for stored fire hoses (and other equipment? axes? pails?) – these sheds could be a little tough to spot in winters! The tower and ‘red sheds’ are no more, but the fire station itself was moved here – with quick access by Rte. 132 to most locations. Garages were added to house more modern equipment that was later purchased.
- Did you know… ? You may have thought the fire tower was designed to help spot fires as you see in national parks, but no. Its height was really due to the need to hang the fire hoses to dry after use.
As in the past, fire and emergency services are largely managed by first responder volunteers – in fact, they are indispensable. As in the past, they respond not only to fires, but also to emergencies on the water, wasp stings, car crashes, and more, in addition to volunteering for many good causes. They provide advice on fire and water safety, host ‘meet your first-responder events’ to teach or remind people of fire and water safety rules, and will make home safety reviews. Find out more about our first responders – community heroes – and what they do and have done then and now.
Until the 1870s, people came to Metis by boat or on foot. The Intercolonial Railroad – a condition for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia agreeing to join Confederation – expanded from Montreal to Halifax, with Sainte-Flavie Station (now Mont-Joli) the nearest to Metis. There was a small Petit-Metis station in St.-Octave-de-Métis, however, the 12-hour train ride from Montreal to it had then to be followed by a long ride by loaded buckboard down the hills of the concessions – sometimes giving a bit of unwelcome excitement in bad weather and poor road conditions.
Despite Seigneur McNider having ambitiously worked on roads, the area’s highways and byways mostly remained horse-and-buggy lanes, connecting small towns along the coast, and those further from the Saint Lawrence to the river itself. Through the late 1800s, most summer residents continued to come by ship, followed by a buggy ride.
All this changed when the Canada & Gulf Terminal Railway Company bought 100-foot-wide strips of land across Metis to build the rail line between Mont-Joli and Matane. By 1910/11, Metis had earned its very own Metis station, and train travel became a much easier option. Prior to World War I, there was a dedicated seasonal passenger train from Montreal, ‘The St. Lawrence Special’.
After World War II, during at least summer months, the Metis train station also was the beneficiary of the weekend Metis Express. This allowed mothers and children to spend summers in Metis, and fathers to travel from work in Montreal by train on Friday evenings to spend the weekend with their family (and play golf or tennis, fish, and enjoy cocktails and other social events), returning Sunday evening to Montreal. Today as then, freight trains pass daily and many enjoy hearing the morning and late afternoon toots of the trains as they pass level crossings. If you’re on the golf course or elsewhere along the track, wave at the engineer and he or she will often wave back!
Better-quality highways across Quebec in the 1960s meant, sadly for some, that the weekend Metis Express was consigned quietly to the past as passenger traffic fell. The station was closed in 1970, but luckily not lost.
Did you know… ? The attractive old-style train station was later bought, moved, and converted into a home in Metis. There was a similar station in Baie-des-Sables, which also was moved in the late 1970s to the 4th Concession where it also was cleverly adapted into a family residence.
On the Metis West Trail, you may have seen the Metis Beach United Church of Canada. Built in 1866 as the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the church’s site was bought by Robert Turriff, John MacNider, and Daniel McGowan, who met with James Mathewson, an acting trustee for the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Canada. It is believed that Mathewson contributed to financing the church and donated the bell that calls the congregation to service. The church’s spire can still be seen from the Saint Lawrence.
Church members founded the Metis Beach Cemetery in 1903, with notice of the sale of the necessary property and its transfer to a trust managed by the Cemetery Company of Metis Beach (comprised of John MacNider, William and John Astle, John Crawford and William Turriff) was published as required at the time. In 1925, the Methodist Church of Canada combined with three other Protestant denominations to form the United Church; the cemetery was renamed accordingly.
- Did you know… ? The United Church Cemetery has important foreign guests, which the Metis community, Legion representatives, students and other volunteers, honour each year by placing their national flags at their gravesites.
How did they come to be here? During the Second World War, many more pilots were going to be needed, and they needed planes and to be trained in a safe place, far from large populations. In 1939, Prime Minister Mackenzie King had a dream, which he believed was a sign of “the power of the airplane in determining ultimate victory” in the war. That dream became a reality in the form of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). “By the end of 1941, Canada was already the established epicentre for British and Commonwealth flight training … spitting out trained aircrews in as little as six months.” Sadly some of the airmen perished in training accidents; among these were eight from English-speaking countries who were buried in this cemetery.
If you now turn left at the junction of Station and McLaren Roads, you’ll be heading south to St.-Octave-de-Metis, which also is part of this Trail – jump head to #11. If you first prefer the road less travelled, turn north at the junction onto McLaren Road, and proceeding towards the Saint Lawrence River, you will come to the 2nd concession.
The Seigniory of Metis was created in 1675 and the first Seigneur of Metis was Sieur Jean Baptiste de Peiras, a French nobleman. He did nothing to settle or develop the land and so, in 1802, it was bought by a Scot, Matthew McNider, later coming into the hands of his cousin, John McNider. John McNider influenced and arranged for numerous settlers to immigrate to Metis In 1818. The settlers, from McNider’s birthplace in Scotland, arrived on the ship Rebecca. The Scots from the lowlands elected to stay by “the beach” and the highlanders settled higher up on the 2nd concession, which became known – not surprisingly – as the Scotch Second or Rang des Écossais in French. Concessions are plots of land that seigneurs lease to people for farming, logging or other ways of earning a livelihood.
The Scotch Second connects McLaren Road in the east in what was Petit-Metis to part of the Kempt Road in Grand Metis. Partially dirt road in the Metis section, while paved in the Grand Metis area, this route offers opportunities for wildlife-watching in the wooded areas, and beautiful views of the lush green and later gold of agricultural land as crops are grown and harvested.
- Did you know… ? The word rang (range or concession in English) comes from a French term for row, as in rows of properties. Under the seigneurial system in ‘Nouvelle France’ (New France, now Québec), tracts of land were ‘conceded’ by the French Crown to French nobility and the Church. These individuals or entities developed the land or, in turn, conceded (leased) land to settlers – farmers, etc. – with both the seigneurs and tenants having responsibilities to each other. These narrow strips of land had access to the Saint Lawrence.
Once all of the first ‘row’ of seigneurie properties with riverfront land had been granted, the seigneur would begin a second rang within his overall seigneurie, and possibly third, fourth and so on. This led to a need for roads parallel to the river along the ‘bottom’ of each new rang, with perpendicular roads every now and then. Just as houses were for convenience built close to the river in the first concession (frequently known as the front, broken front or shoreline), houses built on the second and subsequent concessions were near the road with their farmland or woodlots stretching out behind in a long, narrow strip. For the inland concessions, roads took the place of the river for transporting supplies to, and goods from, farms and other small enterprises.
Did you know… ? Some roads in the vicinity were known as ‘corduroy roads.’ Logs were placed side by side, perpendicular to the road, to help carts and carriages over boggy ground. This resembled the thick, cotton material of the same name, with its corded or ridged surface. One corduroy road was found on the ‘Scotch Second’, connecting to the third range and St. Octave. Here Bovey ladies summering in nearby Metis inspect an example of a corduroy road: while perhaps looking like corduroy, it could feel very uncomfortable riding over such roads and horses risked breaking a leg.
The current territory of the municipality of Saint-Octave-de-Métis, or simply Saint-Octave to many, corresponds to the territories of the seigneury of Mitis and that of Lepage-et-Thibierge. The seigneury of Mitis was granted to Jean-Baptiste de Peiras by Governor Frontenac on May 6, 1675. The seigneury of Lepage-et-Thibierge was granted to Louis Lepage and Gabriel Thibierge on November 14, 1696. Not much happened in either for over 125 years.
The first settlers came to settle in the area in around 1840. These were people from Rivière-Ouelle, Kamouraska, Saint-Denis, Sainte-Hélène and Saint-Philippe. They were followed in the 1850s by families who had arrived from Scotland that had arrived in the area as Seigneur McNider populated his seigneury. They had settled on the first rang, and as the community grew, expanded south as new concessions were opened.
In 1855, the parish of Saint-Octave-de-Métis was canonically and civilly constituted. It was also the first village on Kempt Road from the Saint Lawrence River. Saint-Octave-de-Métis is said to have contributed to the formation of neighbouring villages such as Baie-des-Sables, Sainte-Angèle-de-Mérici, Petit-Métis, Price, Padoue, and Les Boules.
- Did you know… ? The name Saint-Octave-de-Métis recognizes Monseigneur Joseph-Octave Plessis, first bishop and then archbishop of Quebec from 1806 to 1825. “De-Métis” refer to the local Mitis and Little Mitis rivers.
Over the years, the parish was divided twice. In 1897, the municipality of the village of Petit-Métis was formed after being detached from the parish of Saint-Octave-de-Métis, while in 1908, the remaining territory was divided into two municipalities – Grand-Métis (near the Saint Lawrence River to the north) and Saint-Octave-de-Métis-Sud.
- Did you know… ? In the first half of the 1800s, the Catholic population in the area had to go to Saint-Flavie for religious services until a Catholic brother, already serving St.-Luce and St. Flavie, was directed also to serve St.-Octave. Either way, these were arduous trips from late fall to late spring so the first permanent church in St.-Octave began construction in 1854. When it proved to be too small at the turn of the 20th century, a new one was planned. Designed by architects David Ouellet et Pierre Lévesque of Québec City, the second church was built between 1911 and 1913. Its interior and exterior were completely restored in 1996 and 1997. Of particular note (no pun intended) is its beautiful century-old Casavant organ. Click here for more information and enjoy photos of the beautiful church as well as its organ.
The Church’s presbytery, designed by Quebec City architect E.P. Raymond, was built in 1926 and 1927 and is now given over to community purposes.
Parts of the village of Little Metis can still be seen today although it is mainly farmland now. And while one of the area’s ‘lost village’, the Société historique et patrimoniale de Saint-Octave-de-Métis, founded in 1990 to protect and make known the social and cultural heritage of St.-Octave, offers a fascinating display of Petit-Metis in 1935. Annually since 2007, the Société historique et patrimoniale has held a summer exhibition at the St. Octave presbytery (now Centre communautaire Chanoine-Michaud). Each year, Society adds to its exhibits .
- Listen to Pam Andersson (attach link) remember stories she’d heard from her mother and others about some of the (very) young buggy drivers who taxied visitors from the Petit-Métis railroad station to destinations in what is now Métis-sur-Mer!
The 45-kilometre Tartigou River runs from the Bon-Dieu Lake in Saint-Moïse to the Saint Lawrence at Baie-des-Sables. The name Tartigou is a transliteration of the Mi’kmaq word tlagatigotj. Tartig means “river of the little colony” or “little river of the colony.“ McNider Road runs south from the Saint Lawrence and, in 1925, to ease travel between Metis and the parish of St. Noël, Pont Belanger was built.
Pont Belanger has a timber-truss bridge structure, with connecting supports that you can see from the inside. These form triangular units that sometimes appearing to be diamond-shaped, as can be seen at the entrance to the third image of the bridge.
Why a covered bridge? To protect the wooden structure from the weather, particularly in winter: the cover can increase such bridges’ lifespans from 20 or so to up to 100 years. Interestingly, this covered bridge is not ploughed and still only is used for regular traffic in fine seasons. While it can still be used in summer to reach St-Noël, the road south of the bridge is in poor repair and so delicate or low-slung cars – prenez-garde! It is the road north of the bridge that is most used.
Nicknamed ‘The Belanger Bridge’ for the family of the same name who had land nearby, it also was known as the Red Covered Bridge, because of its red paint. Today it is white with green trim.
- Did you know… ? In addition to being an integral link between Les Boules and St-Noël, the covered bridge witnessed evenings of dancing under Chinese lanterns during Prohibition. Shocking!
- Did you know… ? The covered bridge always has been a favourite spot for young people (and older ones too!) of the Metis area. Many have fond memories of the days when they’d ride their bikes up to the bridge to spend the day fishing for brook trout, picnicking, and swimming. It was much easier biking back! Others made an outing up MacNider to the bridge an annual family pilgrimage.
- Did you know… ? Many young summer residents learned to drive in the ‘concessions’ leading to the bridge.
While most have forgotten, the Astles can be thanked by golf lovers for the Boule Rock golf course in addition to the Cascade Golf and Tennis Club (CGTC). In 1910, Frederick A. and Malcolm Astle built a nine-hole golf course for the use of visitors to four Astle-owned properties: the Metis Lodge, and the Boule Rock, Seaside and Cascade hotels.
After observing with interest the growing popularity of golf at the CGTC, the Astle pair decided to transform more rolling hill farmland into a larger golf course. Astle family members combined money and land to develop the Boule Rock course further. In 1919, the Boule Rock Golf & Tennis Club opened an 18-hole course.
- Did you know… ? It’s been described as the sportiest golf course on the Lower St. Lawrence, perhaps because of the ongoing friendly rivalry with its older Cascade neighbour and there is usually an inter-club challenge. Both golf clubs are among Canada’s 100 oldest still-operating golf courses.
As the Boule Rock’s 18-hole golf course and sport of golf became more popular, the Astles called in a well-known golf professional and two-time Canadian Open Champion to redesign the course layout in 1923.
- Did you know… ? Albert Murray had started caddying at 9, becoming at 15 Canada’s youngest pro golfer. He not only won the Canadian Open in 1908 and 1913, he also won the Quebec Open in 1910 and 1930, the 1924 Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association (CPGA, which he cofounded) Championship, and the 1939 and 1942 CPGA Senior Championships. He had redesigned his first course – the Royal Quebec Golf Club at Cove Fields – at 18 and designed or redesigned 67 courses over his lifetime, as well as starting the first indoor golf school in Montreal’s Ritz Carlton Hotel in 1916. We must ask ourselves, is golf a sport, a passion, or an addiction?
When the Astle family visionaries and founders no longer had heirs as passionate about golf as they once were, they sold the club in 1960. The buyers? A group of 25 regional sports enthusiasts, who renamed it Le Club de Golf Boule Rock Inc. A two-story clubhouse, with restaurant/bar and dining room, was completed in 1961. As transportation options and vacation tastes changed, the decreasing number of tourists to Metis was offset as interest in the game grew steadily and regional members increased accordingly.
Through the years, the group updated the machinery, lengthened some holes, and took pride in the work that was done on their cherished golf course. With the development of new golf courses in the region, the Club took on their most ambitious project. An automated irrigation system was installed in the 1990s, making it possible to enjoy immaculate greens and lush fairways throughout the golf season. Hot Augusts in the area, known for making walking both golf courses ‘crunchy’ underfoot, were a thing of the past.
In 1998, the group sold the golf course to Gagné Holdings Inc. Renovations were made to the buildings, equipment was updated, and improvements were made to the terrain. The clubhouse was expanded to accommodate 200 golfers, the pro shop was given a second floor, and a washroom was added on the grounds. The golf course entrance was given a facelift to welcome golfers and electric club cars were purchased to be more environmental-friendly and add to the tranquility of the course. Noticeable changes included a new tee on the 6th hole offering a view of the St. Lawrence River and over 8,000 trees planted along the fairways for better definition.
As the Boule Rock website says, “The 12 original hotels that greeted tourists in Metis Beach have disappeared, but the colourful summer cottages continue to bring many of the old families back every summer. The visionary founding fathers of the Boule Rock would be delighted to know that their gem of a course continues to glitter for all those fortunate enough to play here.”
Marcheterres have lived in the area since at least 1874, when Michel Marcheterre was born in Baie-des-Sables, marrying in 1895 – the couple had 20 children of whom 14 lived into adulthood. Michel managed the family farm until his oldest son took over. He also worked with wood from start to finish, that is, as soon as the snow melted, he would start working his sawmill to make lumber – beams and planks – for farmers in the area and himself. He built schools in the concessions/rangs for $300 and worked on buildings in and around on Les Boules and Baie-des-Sables, including for son-in-law Albert Ratté, his sons, and his own house. He later began building stables and barns, including some of innovative design. One of the best known, built with son Chrisostome in 1926 according to Quebec’s patrimonial property registry, was the round barn at the corner of the 4th concession/rang and rue Castonguay – sadly it blew down in early in the 21st century.
Michel Marcheterre also built a diamond-shaped barn with his sons in 1924 on the 3rd concession/rang. Les Entreprises Marcheterre continued and continuess to be in the family. Son Michel Marcheterre operated a sawmill and carpentry shop as well as a hardware store and now grandson Michel, who manages the sawmill, is highly respected for the well-made fittings and furniture he makes.
- Did you know… ? Because Les Entreprises Marcheterre is still able to cut and plane boards to traditional sizes and thicknesses, Michel is very popular with owners of Metis’s oldest homes! For example, when a board was called a ‘two-by-four’ in the past, strangely enough it actually measured two inches by four inches; today, most timber is milled and planed to give it a little more of a finished look and profile – while it is still called a 2×4, it really is only 1 ½” x 3 ½”.
The Cimetière de Métis-sur-Mer was opened in 1950 at the same time as the new Notre-Dame-de-la-Compassion church, replacing an earlier chapel on the same spot, opened its doors. Earlier, the deceased from Les Boules were buried in the nearby Baie-des-Sables cemetery.
As the francophone population had continued to grow in the parish of Baie-des-Sables, its church could no longer meet the religious needs of local families. A request was made for a chapel in Les Boules; permission was received in 1930 and it opened its doors in 1931. However, it was not until 1949 that Les Boules became its own parish.
Did you know… ? Volunteers annually go to seven local cemeteries the week before Remembrance Day to put flags by the gravestones of all known to have served. In this way, Rodolphe Anger, Omer Bélanger, L.-M. Bellemare, Joseph-Alcide Brochu and Rodolphe Cloutier are all honoured every year. A number of local people are buried overseas or elsewhere, for example, Sergeant Zénon Massé is buried near where he fell in World War II in Italy. We hope to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and are interred in foreign lands in future projects.
One thing many notice about the coastal area is wind: there’s a lot of it! It made a lot of sense for several reasons to establish the area’s first wind farm. Within the space of nine months, the Baie des Sables (BdS) wind farm was built, beginning operations in 2006. It consists – for those who love numbers and engineering – of 73 GE 1.5 MW turbines with a wind capacity of 109.5 MW. Built on private land in the agricultural belt south of Baie-des-Sables and Métis-sur-Mer, the location was the first of five such operations developed in the Gaspésie region by Cartier Wind Energy. The company’s success garnered awards and moved the company to become an industry leader, attracting visitors looking for insights into the secrets of its success.
Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. bought out shares of the final Cartier partner, a sale completed in 2021. One reason for Innergex’s success, beyond environmental benefits, is its commitment to being a true community partner. It has a program that donates annually to both communities, which put forward proposals to Innergex for civic projects. In addition to employing people in the areas where it operates, Innergex also shops locally whenever it reasonably can.
- Diagram[me] de la Seigneurie Lepage, Thibierge et Pachot appartenant aux Dames Drapeau | BAnQ numérique
- Innergex website
- CGTC website
- St-Octave municipality website
- BdS pamphlet
- Club de Golf Boule Rock