Saint Anne on Lake Saint Louis is a small picturesque community found at the westernmost tip of the island of Montreal. It's history dates back to the early days of New France. The area near where the Outaouais River flows into the Saint Lawrence River, was important in the fur trade. Rapids here necessitated a portage. A mission was first established in the summer of 1685 at Pointe Caron (then known as Point Saint Louis). The first pastor was Francois d'Urfé and the first church warden was Jean de Lalonde dit l'Espérance. A wooden chapel was built on the tip of the point. Jean's land concession was right beside it. Jean de Lalonde was killed by the Iroquois in September 1687. As a result of the constant Iroquois conflicts that occurred between 1687 and 1698 themission was abandoned. The small chapel built here probably fell into ruin but nothing in history is conclusive! Some feel it was reopened in 1703 and used until a new church was built around 1712 closer to the rapids.
After the signing of the Great Peace Treaty of 1701 in Montreal, the Iroquois conflicts in the area had came to an end. Settlers returned to the western tip of the island. On December 18th 1703, the register of the parish of Sainte Louis du Bout de l'ile was reopened. The first pastor was René Charles de Breslay. He was also pastor of the nearby mission on Ile aux Tourtes where there was a trading post run by Jacque Le Ber, son and Pierre Lamoureaux dit Saint Germain. Preferring the small island, it is here that de Breslay built a presbytery that housed a mission chapel in 1706. This island was strategically located for the all important fur trade. Problems arose because of the selling of alcohol to the Native tribes. Eventually the mission here was abandoned and relocated in 1721 to Oka across Lake of Two Mountains.
An event occurred in 1711 that was to have consequences in the story of this community. In the dead of winter of that year, de Breslay was called to the settlement on Ile aux Tourtes. He crossed the frozen ice to the island with a
horse and sleigh. On his return an accident occurred and he was left alone on the ice with a broken leg. Fearing for his life, he prayed for the intervention of Ste Anne. If he survived he would build a church in her honor. The horse returning home alone had alerted the parishioners. Remembering his vow, de Breslay had a church built closer to the rapids between Lake Saint Louis and Lake of Two Mountains at the tip of the island (Fort Senneville was nearby). Exactly when this new church was built is uncertain but it was most likely in 1714. The new stone church was twenty by twenty six feet and had no windows. Light came in from openings in the roof and the opened door. He renamed the parish Sainte Anne du Bout de l'Ile. The first entry in the registry of the parish of Sainte Anne is dated October 18th 1714.
Désirée Girouard in the 19th century wrote some excellent books on the early history of the area, one entitled ``Lake St Louis Old and New" published in 1893. The Lalonde Family website has an excerpt from this book that relates the story of the Chapel of Saint Louis.
Some of the descendants of the pioneers of Sainte Anne du Bout de l'ile have made web sites dedicated to their respective ancestors. We thought it would be fun as well as informative to link our sites together in order to create a more complete picture of this early French community. The links are found above with the thumbnail of the land concessions map!
The first stone church
Early land concessions. Several descendants of the pioneers of this community have created internet sites on their family stories. Double click map for enlargemnt AND links!