Green Valley celebrates 140th
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.
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...