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POI Descriptive Title

Simon Fraser House






POI Historical Details

This house, built for Peter Grant in 1798, is located at 153 Sainte Anne street in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec. It is named for its most famous inhabitant, Simon Fraser (1760-1839),  a fur trader and partner in the Northwest Company.

Simon Fraser, Fur Trader

Born in Stratherick, Inverness-shire, Scotland, this Simon Fraser is not to be confused with the more famous Simon Fraser (1776-1862), who was also a fur trader and Northwest Company partner. Fraser became a member of the Beaver Club in 1803 and the following year married Catherine McKay (whose father and brother were also partners in the Northwest company). In 1807, Fraser purchased from John Gregory the Fief Bellevue at the nearby Lake of Two Mountains (Lac des Deux-Montagnes). When this house was destroyed in a fire, Fraser acquired this house on Sainte Anne street from Grant (another Northwest Company partner). He lived there until his death in 1839. His widow Catherine remained in the home until her death on 29 May 1846.[1]

Simon Fraser's family gravesite is located nearby, along Senneville Road.

The house was damaged in 1901 when a fire broke out to the east. This fire destroyed seven neighbouring houses. [2]

Simon Fraser House, from Judith Isherwood, A Historical Walking Tour of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue

From 1906 to 1954, the Bank of Montreal occupied the house. When the bank shifted its headquarters down the road, Simon Fraser's great granddaughter Jessie Blaiklock (Mrs James Stewart) moved into the house. [3]

A Canadian Boat Song?

According to legend, the Irish poet Thomas Moore wrote "A Canadian Boat Song" here while visiting Simon Fraser. [4] Although no proof has been found, the local IODE uses the poem as its marching song.[5]

The song, which refers to "St. Ann's," the "River St. Lawrence," rapids, a "green isle," and "Utawas' [Ottawa's?] tide" reads as follows:

A Canadian Boat Song

By Thomas Moore

Written on the River St. Lawrence.

Faintly as tolls the evening chime,

Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time.

Soon as the woods on shore look dim,

We'll sing at St. Ann's our parting hymn.

Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,

The rapids are near and the daylight's past!

Why should we yet our sail unfurl?

There is not a breath the blue wave to curl!

But when the wind blows off the shore,

Oh! sweetly we'll rest our weary oar.

Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,

The rapids are near and the daylight's past!

Utawas' tide! this trembling moon

Shall see us float over thy surges soon.

Saint of this green isle! hear our prayers,

Oh, grant us cool heavens and favouring airs.

Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,

The rapids are near and the daylight's past![6]

Saved from Demolition

In 1961 the house was threatened with demolition due to a proposed expansion of the Galipeault Bridge. A newly formed society, The Historical Society of Ste-Anne du Bout de l'Île, succeeded in saving the house and in 1962 it was classified as a monument and historic site. [7] Serving as a café run by the V.O.N. until 2008, the house was temporarily closed due to further expansion of the bridge, the construction of which is ongoing.

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