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Hitting the Heights: Summertime in the Laurentians (Excerpt from Quebec Heritage News)

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larger_mh_1.jpegWhen the railway first pushed northward into the Laurentians in the late nineteenth century, its initial purpose was to take out raw materials like lumber, building stone and minerals for the growing industries of Montreal. However, like so many best-laid plans, this was not how things happened, and although there was a substantial movement of goods, especially wood products, on the train, its true calling was bringing tourists in.

The Laurentians had been settled by both French- and English- speaking pioneers for almost a century before rail access linked them to the wider world. Roads were seasonal and never very good – muddy tracks at best, forest trails at worst. The train ended isolation for this then agricultural countryside and brought contact with people from urban society. We'll look at how this influx affected one small place – the tiny town of Morin Flats with its surrounding farms in the Township of Morin.

In 1895 the tracks reached Morin Flats and soon the people came...

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The complete version of this article appeared in Quebec Heritage News, Vol. 6, Number 2, Summer 2011. For back issues of Quebec Heritage News, or to order a subscription to this magazine, call QAHN at (819) 564-9595, or at home@qahn.org.

Sandra Stock is the current vice-president of the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) and its former director for the Laurentian region. She is past-president of the Morin Heights Historical Association.