Sunday, 2 November 2014

Lac Saguay - Some Background

Where George B Gagnon taught (he was eventually Principal of Central Park)
On the blank side of a Lachute topographical map showing some of the locations where my grandfather taught, my father wrote out a list of his teaching locations during his career. His bride was a teacher at St Andrew's East and they were married in 1925. My father was born in Shawinigan Falls and my aunt was born in Montreal.

Original George Gagnon property at Lac Saguay, cabin at left and his shore well at centre.
My grandfather's property eventually extended past the left margin of the photo. To the right were other Moquin summer cottage properties. Detail of the cabin from this photo follows:

George Gagnon original cabin
1951 Gagnon-Moquin deed
My grandfather drew up this deed of property to record his purchase and it was signed by Romeo Moquin. This was during the era of fountain pens (ink reservoir pens with nibs which mimicked the properties of quill pens) and the document was created on rag paper.

Correspondence Romeo Moquin to George Gagnon, 1954
Mailed with receipts for payment, this note and letterhead provide interesting information about the Moquin family's other enterprises. Romeo refers to Mr Carss (of Philadelphia). The Carss family originally rented a Moquin cottage near my grandfather's and later erected a pre-fabricated summer cottage on a nearby corner of Lac Saguay.

The original cabin in September 1961
The windows are boarded up for the winter, as my grandfather would spend the cold months in Montreal. The cabin had a traditional well near the shore (it would freeze in winter) and no electricity or telephone. You can just see the edge of the generous front porch - logs notched at the corners like a traditional log cabin. The mountain is visible over the top of the wood stove's chimney.

Wood stove, old cabin,  July 1960
Speaking of the wood stove ... can you imagine how much winter wood chopping it would take to heat a summer cabin in the Laurentians? This flash bulb photo was taken in July 1960.

L.C. and George B. Gagnon
Here are our building bloggers - my father and my grandfather. In the family tradition, they are studying a book. Both were graduates of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. My grandfather also had an MA in Education from Columbia in New York.

L.C. and George B. Gagnon, mid-1950s
There was a lot of 'brushing out' work which needed to be done to get my grandfather's three little parcels of land in shape.

Here is a chipmunk on the front porch of the cabin - it usually competed with a red squirrel for peanuts there. And its name in French: ..
Le nom de « suisse » vient de la similitude du pelage avec la tenue à rayures des gardes suisses du Vatican.
You can see the shadow of the photographer at the corner of the feeder. This is close-range photo from an old point and shoot camera.

Lac Saguay, October 1962
... and this is the view from that front porch.

July 1949, Lac Saguay CPR station, Rosemary and George Gagnon
My aunt was eleven in this photo. Two years earlier my grandmother had died.

My father wrote:
They were at the station to see me on my way home to Westmount and to my job at Windsor Station which I kept until June 1951 when I went to Queen's Summer School and to Macdonald College in September.

Lac Saguay Canadian Pacific Railway station, July 1949
From the same photo: Notice the sleeve garters on the man closest to the camera with the shiny shoes. This is probably the CPR station agent and the sleeve garters are used to shorten his shirt sleeves enough so the cuffs don't drag in ink while he is writing - or in other railway dirt. The other two folks are probably normal travellers heading for Canada's metropolis (Montreal). Notice the kerosene platform light by the agent's head.

George Gagnon, property at Lac Saguay
Literally on the back of an envelope. In my grandfather's files is a handy summary of his property in formal terms for his quick reference or for use by his heirs.

David Gagnon and George Gagnon in original cabin, 1962
By way of introduction: Here I am after polishing off some cherry pie in October 1962. This is perhaps our last meal in the old cabin. The door is over my grandfather's left shoulder and my window looks out onto the front porch and lake.