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Birth of Montreal

More Next Week
Maisonneuve and his followers spent the winter of 1641-2 in Sillery preparing for their trip upstream in the spring. On May 8, 1642 he loaded his entourage onto three boats. These 45 souls Including Jeanne Mance, Madame de la Peltrie, three sisters of Saint-Joseph, seven other women and a cadre if men. Ten days later, they landed on the scenic bank of the large island where a stream ran through an idyllic site to the Saint-Laurent. He named his settlement Ville-Marie. In spite of the peaceful setting, it would be anything but peaceful for a long while. But for that, you must turn to the next book, THE BEAVER WARS. More about that next week. Read More 
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Birth of Montreal

Statue of Maisonneuve in Montreal today
Birth of Montréal:

In November of 1641, a late arrival from France contained an odd and historically important group. Paul Chomedey Sieur de Maisonneuve and Montréal arrived to settle the town of Ville-Marie on the large island of Montréal many miles upstream of current civilization. He arrived with an odd group of 35 men, 10 women, a few nuns and the very rich Jean Mance. They would winter in Sillery to the north of Québec city making plans to move upstream in the spring. This odd group did not have full support of the Québec government who felt it a foolhardy venture, but it would turn out to be one of the most important ventures in all of early Canada. Read More 
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Return of Guy

Half-Face is real!
Return of Guy:

April has arrived without its usual vengeance and the Québécoise are taking full advantage of the uncharacteristic glorious spring. Noël and Jacques-Henri have taken Noël’s brother and the two oldest boys to hunt. The girls have gone with Nicole Boucher to a birthday party leaving Françoise alone with the infant Jean-Paul. Deciding to take advantage of the wonderful day for spring house cleaning, Nicole puts the baby in his crib and begins to work. When she returns from the loft, she is shocked by a man standing in the door way. Her worst nightmare is realized as she realizes the man with the eye patch and severely scared half-face is real—and it is none other than Guy! He threatens the baby with his evil knife and while offering Françoise the baby’s life if she will submit to him… But I suppose you should read the rest in the book, 1634-Return to the New World. Read More 
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Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris today
Françoise and Noël’s fifth child and second son, Jean-Paul, was baptized by Father Lalement on 2-24-1641 at the Jesuit Chapel of Québec. On the very same day, unknown to the people of Québec, another group of French citizens met at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. They had named themselves l’Association de Montréal. Inspired by the report of Dauversiere and Fanchamp, they had chosen Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve as their Governor, and before the altar of the Virgin, consecrated their proposed, Ville-Marie de Montréal with plans to send a founding company when the weather broke. Read More 
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The Natives

Could not have done it without him
No Historical Fiction Novel set in early Canada is complete without some native characters, and here it is Jacques-Henri. He and his kind are instrumental in teaching the early French Canadians about life and survival in the New World. One iconic item is the bow and arrow. Although this weapon does not possess the power and awe of the French musket, as Jacques-Henri teaches, it does have the advantages of portability, ability to rapid fire (relatively speaking), portability and ability to be resupplied with ammunition in the wilderness. These characteristics are demonstrated throughout this book as well as in the sequel, The Beaver Wars. Now available at Read More 
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Nuns Arrive

Nuns arrive in Canada
1634-Return to the New World: More nun tales.
Included in the few Nuns who come to the new world are a few ladies who will become icons of Canada. Marie Guyart, known as Marie de l’Incarnation became head of the Ursuline Convent. Françoise Langlois helped her learn the ways of Canada and its natives, taking her on a voyage to stay in an Algonquin camp. Sister Marie Forestier was one of the three Augustinian Nursing nuns. Françoise takes her on a trip to an Algonquin camp where they arrive just following a brutal Iroquois raid, requiring the young nursing sister to use her novice skills to treat and save a number of braves as Françoise and these two French sisters become best friends. Read More 
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Bring in the Nuns

Nuns come to Quebec
1634-Return to the New World: Bring in the Nuns:
The religious needs of Quebec had been handled since the beginning by Priests and Brothers mainly Jesuits, unlike the rest of the Catholic world, Nuns were absent. Not until July, 1639 did the ship Saint-Joseph arrive with the first religieuse in Canada. Two groups stepped off onto North American soil: Three Augustinian nuns in their gray habits to run the hospital, and three black habit-wearing Ursulines to teach. As anyone who has attended Catholic school will know, Canada would never again be the same. Read More 
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Benoît and Bernier

Benoît and Bernier
Book Thirteen: Benoît and Bernier. These two lovable and philosophic voyageurs are sadly fictitious but they have provided a wonderful foil for discussing the early years of Québec from a new perspective. You will be pleased that they will continue on in an even more important position in book Fourteen. Read More 
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Native trappers

Fur trade
Book Thirteen: Native trappers. As I have indicated, most trapping of beavers was done by the natives and the Europeans traded with them. Although the beaver seems like a large rodent, its ecology is a bit fragile and as the European market grew, the natives attempted to keep up by increasing their trapping. Soon the beaver population dwindled causing the trappers—and European trappers to move further into the interior. Read More 
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More Beavers

Beaver fur top hat
Book Thirteen: More Beavers: Beavers were trapped for fur for centuries in the old world, but by 1600, the European beaver was all but extinct. This shortage was rescued by the timely immigration to a seemingly insatiable source of furs, the New World. Furs were acquired with the help of the natives and sent to the old world where they would be used for coats and other items to keep one warm. Furs were also combed of their hairs to make sleek items with a velour or a smooth surface like leather. Hats were very much in fashion and the beaver provide material for everything from a Davy Crockett type hat to the smooth top hat valued by the rich. Read More 
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