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The town of Val David, the location of the first settlements north of Ste- Adele, was once known by t its post office, Mont Morin. Named for A.-N. Morin, it opened in 1873. The first few families, the Ménards and the Dufresnes, were larger than life, both figuratively and physically. Two Menard brothers married Dufresne sisters and the Dufresne brother did right by a Menard sister. It is no surprise that the Ménards' mother became known far and wide as La Mère Ménard. 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 for 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 night-gown, 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 a new settlement in 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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