In 2018-2019, the Beaurepaire-Beaconsfield Historical Society will host various lectures on history.

Our lectures take place on the 3rd Thursday of the month.

January 17, 2019 – Jacques Ruelland – Freemasonry

February 21, 2019 –Alexander Reford – Model Farmer-Robert Reford and the Origins of Macdonald College in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue

March 21, 2019 – Denis Gravel – Explosions à LaSalle (in French)

April 18, 2019 – Michel Belisle – LA VILLEGGIATURA

May 16, 2019 – Hélène Jasmin – THE LAKE DISTRICT, a jewel in the British Crown

Everyone welcome. 

Free for members; $2 for non-members
Become a member for $5 per year 

InformationContact us


Model Farmer:

Robert Reford and the Origins of Macdonald College in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue

Speaker: Alexander RefordMacfarm 2
When: Thursday 21 Feburary 2019
Where: Centennial Hall,
       288 boul. Beaconsfield, Beaconsfield, H9W 4A4

Lecture in English followed by a bilingual question period

The Reford family’s association with the Beaurepaire or Amable-Curot house at Thompson’s Point is known to members of the Société Historique Beaurepaire-Beaconsfield Historical Society. Less well-known is the role of Robert Reford in creating a model farm in nearby Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, the basis of the present-day Macdonald Campus of McGill University.

Robert Reford was no farmer. But he was a prosperous Montreal entrepreneur. He was also the country’s leading exporter of live cattle to the United Kingdom. Beginning in 1891, he began to develop a model farm on the Crévier property he purchased north of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. He described the impressive complex of barns and outbuildings he built as “the best in Canada if not in America”. Journalists of the time agreed. The farm was also a showcase for a herd of prize-winning Ayrshire dairy cattle imported from Scotland, assembled by one of the best stockmen in the country. Thinking the property ideally suited to become one of the Dominion’s experimental farms, he convinced tobacco magnate Sir William Macdonald to make the farm a key component of his zealous efforts to promote modern agriculture and rural education.

These few acres help illuminate a time and a period. Sifting through family archives and agricultural records, Alexander Reford has assembled the story of the trials and tribulations of his ancestor’s efforts to create one continent’s leading model farms.

Macfarm 1Alexander Reford is the director 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:

  • 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.

Recently, Mr. Reford produced the exhibition War Flowers / Fleurs d'armes, on display at the Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museum of Montréal in Old Montréal from October 2018 to March, 2019.  




Explosions à LaSalle

Speaker: Denis Gravel
When: Thursday, March 21, 2019
Where: Centennial Hall,
             288 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield, H9W 4A4

Lecture in French, followed by a bilingual question period

2019 03 21DenisGravel ExplosionCoinBergevinEtJean MilotDenis Gravel will describe the explosions in LaSalle in 1956, 1965 and 1966 (Monsanto): causes, consequences, context of the time, etc. and more specifically the explosion of March 1, 1965 which had caused 28 deaths due to a natural gas leak.

Denis Gravel is an historian. As writer or co-author, he has been involved in the research and writing of about forty books or research reports. His specialty is the history of the municipalities whether they are rural or urban. Architectural heritage and Quebec society complement his main areas of interest.



Speaker: Michel Belisle
When: Thursday April 18, 2019
Where: Centennial Hall,
           288 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield, H9W 4A4

Lecture in English followed by a bilingual question period.

2019 04 18MichelBelisle FlirtationBaySte Anne de BellevueThe great resorts locations of the province of Quebec became very popular in the mid 19th century with the development of railways. Wealthy businessmen and industrialists who were living in the Montreal Golden Square Mile began to stay in the country during summertime. This brought a social change for a new way of life.
They hired architects to build luxurious mansions with cozy interiors where they would escape from the city and reconnect with outdoor activities and fresh air, keeping on entertainment with garden parties and balls on the lawns.
No need to go as far as Murray Bay or Cacouna. This was the beginning of vacation and holidays spent in the West Island of Montreal. In the 1880’s, new developments outside the city of Montreal became favourite places for la villeggiatura : Dorval, Senneville, Beaconsfield, Baie d’Urfé, Dorion, Hudson and Ste Anne de Bellevue.

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:
« Elle s’appellera Kirkland – It will be called Kirkland » 2011;
« De l’île aux Tourtes à Vaudreuil-Dorion » 2007;
« À la pointe claire » 2005;
« La maison Génus au coeur de la Baie de Vaudreuil » 2004;
« Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, 300 ans de présence » 2003;
« Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal: the doorway to the Ottawa Valley » 2003
« La chasse à l'appelant des rives du Suroît au pays du Survenant » 1998;
« La maison des Trestler » 1998;
« La grosse île à l'ouest, Visages de l'île Perrot » 1996;
Best kept secret MTL West Island (West Island Heritage bicycle trail)
Brochure on Pointe-Claire Church
Touristic animation:
Guided tours by bus for Brébeuf College Cultural Association
Guided tours at Senneville Fort
Lecturer for different audiences: public libraries, historical societies...


THE LAKE DISTRICT, a Jewel in the British Crown

Speaker: Hélène Jasmin
When: Thursday, May 16, 2019
Where: Centennial Hall,
          288 boul. Beaconsfield, Beaconsfield, H9W 4A4

Lecture in English, followed by a bilingual question period

2019 05 16HeleneJasmin Lake DistrictJoin us on our travels through fabulous natural sites and recall tales and stories of the magnificent Lake District in North-West Britain.
This area counts 19 lakes and about 200 summits and valleys. So many things to catch our eyes in Lake District, so many pages of history: intriguing stone alignments associated with Druid gatherings, churches built in the 12th century, unique landscapes and wilderness camping, and walking routes still very popular today.
This beautiful region, which enchanted author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, poet William Wordsworth, artist and designer John Ruskin, and even Hercule Poirot, main character of Agatha Christie, traveling to Keswick to solve a case, dazzles us again and again. 


Hélène Jasmin, author and speaker, was educated at UQAM in Sociology; at École de radio-télévision Pierre Dufault in Montréal; and Violin private class with Master Eugène Bastien, member of MSO.
Her professional experience includes: freelance journalist for The Canadian Composer, The Medical Journal…; freelance radio program host, Radio-Canada FM, Montréal; assistant curator for the exhibits:
Images d’hier -- Saint-Laurent a 100 ans;
Génie en vol -- les 50 ans de Canadair-Bombardier (1994);
L’instinct du théâtre (60th anniversary of Les Compagnons), with Lorraine Pintal, director of TNM (1997).
She published:
Les Compagnons de saint Laurent – une petite histoire (éditions Leméac, 1986)
Père Émile Legault, homme de foi et de parole (Lidec éditeur, 2000)
Frédéric Back – La capacité d’enchanter (Lidec éditeur, 2015)
Elsie Reford, la grande dame des jardins de Métis (Lidec, 2015)
A Journey with Elsie – Book of Days (La Belle Amérique publisher, 2018)