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Last of the Clippers2021 01 15 220326
The Thermopylae’s Canadian Odyssey

Speaker: Alexandre Reford, historien
When: Thursday, April 15, 2021, 19:30 to 21:00

Where: In virtual mode

Lecture in English followed by a bilingual question period.


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Scouring for a ship that could get a ready supply of rice to their recently opened mills in Victoria, British Columbia, Robert Reford tasked his partner John Dillon to find the right vessel. Dillon was told about the Thermopylae. “Dillon is having much trouble to get tonnage for Victoria,” Reford wrote his son, “and has as a dernier resort about made up his mind to purchase a sailing ship. He cabled me the names of several he was offered and we finally decided to bid on one called the Thermopylae…she is in fact one of the famous Aberdeen clipper tea ships…”
So began Robert Reford’s odyssey as the owner of the one of the fastest and most famous sailing ships ever built – the Thermopylae. Rival of the Cutty Sark, she was beautiful, sleek and fast, built to get the finest teas from China to the teacups of Britain’s aristocracy. Decades after her launch, Robert Reford bought her to transport rice to his new rice mill in Victoria. It was a short-lived and most disastrous investment. It brought Reford and his Montreal shipping agency and rice milling firm fame if not fortune. Historian Alexander Reford will tell the story of this fascinating episode in maritime history of the last of the clipper ships.



Alexander Reford is the I 04720z 1director of Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens. Educated at the University of Toronto and Oxford University he is the author of several books on Quebec history and gardens. He is a frequent contributor to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and is the author of the biographies of Lord Mount Stephen and Lord Strathcona and his great great grandfathers, Robert Meighen and Robert Reford. Some of his publications:

Des jardins oubliés 1860-1960
Guidebook to the Reford Gardens
Au rythme du train 1859-1970
Elsie’s Paradise – Reford Gardens
Treasures of Reford Gardens - Elsie Reford’s Floral Legacy
The Metis Lighthouse




Évolution des transports à Beaconsfield

Speaker: Pauline Faguy-GirardDesbarats PONYCART 1940s Web
When: Thursday, March 18, 2021, 19:30 - 21:00
Where: In virtual mode

Lecture in French followed by a bilingual question period.

S 22833 1MabelMcNameeNeale WebPauline Faguy-Girard will present an overview of the different modes of transportation in Beaconsfield over the years. From canoeing on Lake St. Louis to the different modes of transportation used on our territory and by the citizens of Beaconsfield, of all ages.

Pauline Faguy-Girard is interested in history and more specifically to Beaconsfield’s history since 2004 when she joined the historical society. Through the years, she has been secretary, treasurer and, since 2018, President of our historical society.


Exploration of the Martian System24996 Mars2020Perseveranc

Speaker: David Shuman
When: Thursday, February 18, 2021, 19:30 - 21:00
Where: In virtual mode

Lecture in English followed by a bilingual question period.

Looking at the past present and future exploration missions to our intriguing neighbour, Mars. Featuring the latest upcoming Mars 2020 Perserverence Rover & Ingenuity Drone Mission from NASA. David Shuman will present the history of the Mars Exploration Missions all the way up to the landing of Perseverance Rover on Feb 18th, 2021, just a few hours before this lecture.

David Photo 300dpi 1David Shuman is Director of Research & Development and Board member of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). Long time space enthusiast, amateur astronomer, David Shuman has a passion for past present and future exploration missions to the red planet Mars. He co-created a full scale model for the CSA of the Phoenix Lander, attended numerous Shuttle and rocket launches as well as numerous public talks on the subject of Mars in Canada and the US.

Website of RASC Montreal Centre:

wikipedia org wiki Perseverance rover================================================


The theme for the lectures of the Beaurepaire-Beaconsfield Historical Society

starting in February 2021 "Transportation"

will take you to a journey on land, on water and even into space

Everyone is welcome. 

The SHBBHS is privately funded. We thank Roberta Angell for her bequest that makes it possible for us to offer our lectures for free during this time of crisis.

InformationContact us


Alexandre Vattemare (Paris, 1796-1864)

Ventriloquist, Diplomat, Utopian, and Brilliant Inventor

Speaker: Jacques G. Ruelland
When: Thursday, April 16, 2020 January 21, 2021, 19:30 - 21:00
Where: In virtual mode

2021 01 16 102126

Lecture in English followed by a bilingual question period.


2019 11 21RuellandJacques AlexandreVattemareAlexandre Vattemare was born and died in Paris (1796-1864). He was a protean character. His exceptional talents of mime and ventriloquism earned him fame in post-Napoleonic Europe. If this man, esteemed by the rulers and the intellectual elite of his time, has gone down in history, it is because he has created an international system for the exchange of double specimens in the fields of arts, natural sciences , scientific and literary works, and advocated the construction of institutes bringing together many public services. He wanted to strengthen the bonds of friendship between groups of the human family and allow workers and poor people to learn easily. The purpose of this lecture is to identify the Vattemare project to build in Montreal and Quebec City, in 1840 and 1841, two institutes with multiple functions – real urban utopias – in order to break down national, linguistic, and cultural barriers through education, and in particular, free education of the workers and the poor.2021 01 16 102330

 The text of this lecture can be found on the speaker's website:

2021 01 16 101752aJacques G. Ruelland, Ph.D., retired professor, Department of Philosophy, Collège Édouard-Montpetit; Department of History, Université de Montréal; authored 48 books.


Robert Unwin Harwood, Seigneur of Vaudreuil : from Merchant to Visionary

Speaker: Michel Belisle
When: Thursday, May 21, 2020 November 19, 2020, 7:30 p.m. til 9:00 p.m.
Where: In virtual mode

Lecture in English, followed by a bilingual question period

2020 05 21MichelBelisle RobertUnwinRobert Unwin Harwood was the spouse of Louise-Josephte de Lotbinière heiress of the Seigneurie of Vaudreuil. Robert Unwin is a rather fascinating character, a romantic Englishman who developed the Seigneurie of Vaudreuil during the troubled period of the Rebellion of 1837. Robert Unwin was quite a character, much loved by his French-speaking tenants or censitaires. He was able to attract the attention and sympathy of both his French Canadian and his English tenants, a rare case. I knew him through his grandson Henry de Lotbinière Harwood who introduced me to the English-speaking community of Hudson and helped me a lot in my career with his archives and his advice. For me, to speak of his great-grandfather is to pay tribute to one of the members of Quebec's English-speaking community who was committed to the flourishing of the French community in the region.


Michel Bélisle, author and lecturer, was born in Montréal. He studied Anthropology - Ethnology at Université de Montréal, and Design & Environment at UQAM. He worked as assistant-curator at McCord Museum, curator at Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, curator at Trestler House in Vaudreuil-Dorion. He was curator for Special Exhibitions:
2007-2008 Vaudreuil-Dorion Public Library “Words and Images from our people”;
2004-2005 Trestler House, Historical Interpretation, in collaboration with artist and environmentalist Frederic Back
1999Trestler House, “A certain way of life”
He wrote several books and brochures on Montreal West-Island and Vaudreuil regions.


Les femmes sportives à Montréal au tournant du XXe siècle

Speaker: Valérie St-Georges
When:     Thursday, October 15, 2020,19:30 to 21:00
Where:    In virtual mode

Lecture in French, followed by a bilingual question period.

2020 03 19ValerieStGeorges tennis villa mariaAt the turn of the 20th century, more and more young women from the middle and upper classes were introduced to a variety of physical and sporting activities. In Montreal, many women practice activities such as tennis, golf, snowshoeing or skating, in a recreational setting. Some rare pioneers exploit instead their athletic abilities in private schools and universities or begin a competitive career. Yet, this enthusiasm of women for sports, a space dedicated for the building of male identity, is controversial. At a time when more and more young women are starting to claim their rights to vote and access male spaces, the emergence of the “New Woman” figure, this young sporty woman wearing lighter and masculine costumes (puffy panties/bloomers), tends to accentuate the anxiety around the disappearance of the “real woman”.
In fact, several issues underlie the practice of exercise and sports by women in the eyes of social actors of the time: how to promote exercise for general good health without risking its reproductive capacity? How to reconcile physical training and its potentially “virilizing” effects with the aesthetic ideal of feminity? Finally, how to encourage the participation of girls in certain forms of sports activities without exposing them to the public space? Fearful that they will develop protruding muscles, several social actors speak out against violent, brutal and unsightly physical activities such as boxing. Others are more particularly opposed to practices and gestures that can cause voluptuous sensations, such as riding a bicycle.

2020 03 19ValerieStGeorges MabelMcNameeNealeStill, in the 1920’s, women’s sports leagues are organized, and more and more women choose the competitive path. These inspiring and courageous athletes thus opened the door to the next generations.
Supported by various historical documents (photographs and extracts from articles published in medical, educational and feminine journals of the time), this conference will showcase some pioneers in the world of sports in Montreal and Quebec at the start of the 20th century and will highlight the difficult quest for the inclusion of women in a traditionally male sphere.

2020 10 16 111204Valérie St-Georges
Currently a teacher at the Michèle-Provost Academy, Valérie St-Georges holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Montreal. Her master’s thesis, entitled “Strength, Grace, Flexibility”: Physical Education of Young French-Canadian Girls in Montreal (1860-1920), was supported by the Quebec Research Fund in Society and Culture and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Although her research focused more specifically on the history of female physical education in Quebec, Valérie St-Georges holds an interest for variegated aspects of women’s history. She presented at the UdeM Feminist Summer University (2019 Edition) and participated in the writing of the chapter devoted to the mayor Valérie Plante in Les Maires de Montréal .

(Ruelland, Jacques G. (dir.), Les Maires de Montréal. De Jacques Viger à Valérie Plante, Maison nouvelle fédération, 2019.)


The First Black African Engineer, Great-Grandfather of Alexander Pushkin

Speaker: Jean-Pierre Raymond
When: Thursday, February 20, 2020; 19:30 - 21:002020 02 20JeanPierreRaymond P1240127 1
Where: Centennial Hall,
       288 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield, H9W 4A4

Lecture in English followed by a bilingual question period

2020 02 20JeanPierreRaymond AbrahamHanibalFebruary is Black History Month. Abraham Hanibal (Ganibal in Russian), born on the shore of Lake Chad in what is today Cameroon, was among the unlucky black to be made slave. But he got the unbelievable good fortune to become the adoptive son of the Tsar of Russia, Peter the Great, and will receive an engineer training in France.


The subject is presented by the retired engineer and history buff Jean-Pierre Raymond.



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Louis Lamoureux (1640-1717) and his descendants

Speaker: Jacqueline Lamoureux
When:     Thursday, January 16, 2020, 19:30 to 21:00
Where:    Centennial Hall,
                288 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield, H9W 4A4

Lecture in English followed by a bilingual question period

2020 01 16LamoureuxLouis Signature

Jacqueline Lamoureux will present Louis Lamoureux (1640-1717), first Lamoureux to set foot in Nouvelle-France, and some of his descendants.

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The Taché Family:

Designers throughout Centuries of the Canadian Society, Canadian Politics, Canada and the Québec Benchmarks

Speaker: Michel Fragasso
When: Thursday, November 21, 2019; 19:30 - 21:00
Where: Centennial Hall,
            288 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield, H9W 4A4

Lecture in English followed by a bilingual question period.

2019 11 21MichelFragasso Eugène Étienne Tache2019 11 21MichelFragasso Etienne Paschal TacheThe lecture will present some members of the Taché family over several generations. In the transition when Canada passed from the French to the English regime, Jean-Pascal Taché was involved. His grandson was Prime Minister and Father of Confederation Sir Étienne Paschal Taché. The son of the latter, Eugène-Étienne Taché designed the Québec City heritage icons and gifted us with the Québec motto "Je me souviens". This is the history of a principle driven family that designed, through their descendants, a part of Canada's history.S 23280z 1Michel Fragasso is history buff, genealogist and speaker on different subjects related to history and genealogy. Michel Fragasso is himself a descendant of the Taché family. His experience as a lecturer at Université Laval and various CEGEPs has enabled him to give lectures on heritage subjects and various other topics in Quebec and abroad.