Green Val­ley cel­e­brates 140th

The Glengarry News - - News - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

For 140 years now, Green Val­ley has been a hot spot of Scot­tish and French cul­ture.

Any­one doubt­ing that wouldn’t have done so for long had they spent just 15 min­utes in Green Val­ley’s com­mu­nity cen­tre over the week­end, where the vil­lage cel­e­brated its 140th an­niver­sary.

There was live mu­sic, rem­i­nisc­ing, and lots of dec­o­ra­tions and in­for­ma­tion on local his­tory. High up on the walls hung a num­ber of hockey jer­seys that had been do­nated by local hockey fa­natic, Léo Séguin. Be­low them were home­made posters that told the sto­ries of the fam­i­lies who have called Green Val­ley home for more than a cen­tury.

One of them was the Gau­thier fam­ily, which has been in the area since at least 1883. The poster shows how Julien and So­phie had 10 chil­dren at around the end of the 19th Cen­tury. Five gen­er­a­tions later, they are still here.

There were many posters telling sim­i­lar sto­ries. Ron La­joie, one of the event’s or­ga­niz­ers, says there were pho­to­graphs dat­ing back to the 1930s.

“Back then, Green Val­ley was a real farm­ing com­mu­nity,” he says. “The area started as a Scot­tish set­tle­ment but in the late 1800s, it went from be­ing 95 per cent Scot­tish to 95 per cent French.”

Mr. La­joie says that the new res­i­dents came from Québec and cre­ated a new cul­ture that re­volved around their lan­guage and their Catholic faith. At first, they at­tended Mass at St. Raphael’s un­til it be­came ob­vi­ous that there were enough Catholics in the area to merit their own church. In 1956, an old dance hall was con­verted into a house of wor­ship. Local Catholics met there un­til 1969, when the fa­mil­iar sloped-roof struc­ture of Sainte-Mariede-l'As­somp­tion was built.

For years, Green Val­ley’s Catholic chil­dren at­tended school at the for­mer L’École SteMarie un­til it shut down to make way for the big­ger L’Ange-Gar­dien school based out of North Lan­caster. On the week­end, sev­eral of those chil­dren, now grown up, talked about their time go­ing to school in Green Val­ley. Some of them hadn’t been back to the area in four decades. One of those peo­ple was De­nis Le­feb­vre, 68, who proudly pro­claims that he was born and raised in Green Val­ley. He, too, at­tended Ste-Marie and he spent much of the week­end bask­ing in memories.

Mr. La­joie says that the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee had rented a tent as the weather forecast called for rain. Luck­ily, the promised down­pour was more of a sprin­kling, which made for a rel­a­tively dry cel­e­bra­tion.

By all ac­counts, Mr. La­joie says it was a fan­tas­tic week­end.

He thanks the rest of the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee – Helene Ques­nel, Yvon Me­nard, and Julie Ther­ri­ault – and says that Green Val­ley will have a spe­cial 140th an­niver­sary-themed float in next Sun­day’s Canada Day pa­rade in Alexan­dria.

STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON PHOTO

WEL­COME HOME: Don­ald Prieur rem­i­nisces about grow­ing up in Green Val­ley while look­ing at one of sev­eral his­tory boards that had been erected in the Green Val­ley com­mu­nity cen­tre dur­ing the vil­lage’s 140th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion over the week­end. The...

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