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Augustin-Norbert Morin (Photo - Morin Heights Historical Association)Born in Saint-Michel-de-Bellechasse in 1803, Augustin-Norbert Morin was one of eleven children of a prosperous farming family. Though not robust physically, he showed quick intelligence and was encouraged by the local priest to study at the seminary in Quebec City. Morin had great academic success and chose to study law. He also wrote for newspapers in Quebec and later, when he moved to there in 1823, in Montreal.

In 1830, Morin was elected to represent Bellechasse in the Assembly. By all accounts, he was an unusual choice, as he was not a typical politician. “L’entrée en politique de cet home pouvait sembler un paradoxe si l’on se fie aux descriptions des homes politiques de cette époque. Il ressemblait plus à un évêque en visite pastorale qu’à un politicien en quête de votes.”(1)

The part of Morin’s career that is of interest to us started in the 1850s when he became Minister for Crown Lands and Settlement. He had always been interested in the expansion of agriculture and the settlement of the then vast wilderness territories of Lower Canada. He moved to Terrebonne and later to Argenteuil as it expanded from the original seignory to the present county. “Morin, secrétaire provincial et commissaire des Terres de la Couronne, porta une attention spéciale à l’abolition du régime seigneurial, aux écoles séparées du Haut-Canada et surtout à l’électivité du Conseil législatif. (2)

In 1843, Morin married Adèle Raymond. They lived in the house he built in Morin Flats (later called Morin Heights) in 1860, but soon moved to Sainte-Adèle, where Morin would spend the rest of his life.Edgar Andrew Collard once wrote that Morin was “one of the figures in history, prominent in their time, who have receded into the past. Yet Montrealers all know his name well, even if few remember who he was… In the nearby Laurentians, such places as Val Morin and Morin Heights bear his name. He honoured his wife Adèle by naming Ste. Adèle after her. In the 1840s, he held the cabinet post of commissioner of lands. He was active in promoting settlement in these wilderness regions.” (3) Augustin-Norbert Morin died in Sainte-Adèle in 1865.


1) Biographies, Archives of Quebec, Montreal.2) Biographies, Archives of Quebec, Montreal.3) Edgar Andrew Collard, “The New Year’s Blessing,” in The Gazette, n.d.

**Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of an article that appeared in The Porcupine, Morin Heights Historical Association, Vol. 2, July 1998.