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THE DAVIDS OF VAL-DAVID

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The town of Val David, the first settlement north of Ste. Adele, had its post office named Mont Morin in 1873, in honour of A.N. Morin. The first few families, the Ménards and Dufresnes, were larger than life, both figuratively and physically. Two Ménard brothers married Dufresne sisters and the Dufresne brother did right by a Ménard sister. It is no surprise that the Ménards' mother became known far and wide as La Mère Ménard. Though smaller than her sons, she was about six feet tall and was a woman to be reckoned with. One story is told about her private trout lake: It was completely off-limits to anyone without her say-so and a poor would-be poacher discovered the penalty one morning when he was spotted fishing on the shore. La Mère Ménard lumbered out to the pond in her nightgown, picked him up, put him over her knee and spanked him. These early settlers, Morin's colonists, were colourful and industrious. They were the men and women who came north to establish Les Pays d'en Haut, a phrase that resonated in French like "Out West" once did in English. They established mills, farms, hotels and stores.

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