Early Roman Catholic Churches in Western Quebec, Canada
in the Gatineau Valley and in Pontiac County
Painting by Ruth McMillan in 1976
Shows the Head of the Rideau Canal Locks in Ottawa, Canada in 1893
January 7, 2012:
While visiting Bytown or Bust, I noticed that you were transcribing records from St. Camillus
Church, which is near my area of interest.
Briefly, I have been trying to trace Austin Moran and Ann Powell. They came from Ireland before 1836 and all
I have been able to find out is that they both died in Pembroke, Ontario. The records are in St. Columbekille's.
I also have a list of their children, and recently found out that the firstborn, Bridget Moran, was born in
Venosta, Quebec, according to her death certificate. What I am trying to find out is what Catholic church
(or perhaps a mission church) might have served this area in this time frame? The birthdate I have for
Bridget is Oct. 30, 1836. The second child was baptized at Notre Dame in Ottawa, but I
find no record of Bridget there.
I am hoping that perhaps Bridget's baptism might be at the same church as their parents marriage, unless
they were married in Ireland before they emigrated. Any leads you might be able to suggest would be
Hello Mary.... It was nice to hear from you. Having been raised in part by my grandparents in Venosta,
I have an appreciation for the people and the history of the area. By way of CC to Al Lewis of Bytown or
Bust, I stand to be corrected on my 'opinion'.
I don't believe that there were any Roman Catholic churches in the Gatineau or the Ottawa area. I believe the
area was served by missionary priest from Montreal or Quebec city. In the day the priest would record the
services rendered in a register they would carry with them. Eventually the register would form part of the
records of the host or missionary churches, and that is where you would have to research. There was not
enough population at that time to support a congregation.
Wish you the best in your research.
Good morning, Mary and Garry:
Thanks for your correspondence regarding Catholic Churches in the Gatineau Valley.
I was just thinking about this the other day. Alexa Pritchard has just written a terrific book about the
history of Aylwin Township.
It's like an encyclopedia, about 600 pages. I think that in her book, she states that there had been
an early Catholic Church in Aylwin (at Kazabazua ?) but that it didn't last long. Is that correct, Alexa?
I'm going to start a new web page later today about the RC Churches along the Gatineau. I know of St.
Stephen's at Farrelton. Also St. Camillus – is it at Wakefield?). St. Martin's at Martindale was probably
not built until after the Irish famine in the late 1840's. I believe that there are churches at
Blue Sea Lake and Messines.
I think that there are also RC churches at Gracefield and Bouchette.
Then, the next one I know of is at Maniwaki, but there must be others in this part of the
I have the records from Notre Dame in Ottawa. They start in about 1829 and include many of the early families
in the Gatineau Valley. Some of the Notre Dame records were recorded by a missionary from the RC Church at
Half a dozen or so records from Buckingham appear together in different places at ND between 1830 and 1840.
I don't know if these were recorded by a missionary to the Gatineau from ND or one from Buckingham.
Is it OK with you if I add your e-mails to a new web page for the RC Churches in the Gatineau? Maybe someone
will be able to help us out.
E-mail Allan Lewis
January 13, 2012:
Thanks to Alexa Pritchard for the following:
Sorry for taking so long to reply!
The Catholics didn't have a proper church in the very Orange township of Aylwin until the 1940s. St Martin's
in Martindale (Low area) established around 1874, is where you'll find most of the catholic records in the
area, or in Farrelton at St Camillius. Gracefield and Lake St Mary (Lac Ste. Marie) also built very large
An occasional Mass was held in the tiny 6'x10' school house at Kazabazua Station that was opened in the
early 1930s. However in 1949 Charles St. Paul donated land at the intersection of present day highways
105 and 301 where a larger school with a chapel was built. In 1963 the school was closed and the building
converted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
See pages 80 and 416 of Celebrating 150 years of Aylwin Township.
March 9, 2012
Thanks to Roger Flansberry for the following:
Good afternoon to all of you...
To Bonnie: your request on finding a birthdate for Bridget Oct. 30, 1836....
I think a possible chance would be to look at Les Missions d'Aylmer (QC).
To all: I would like to draw your attention on Anastase Roy's book Maniwaki et la vallee de la Gatineau,
published in 1933. (You are probably aware of this book?)
Anastase has devoted a complete section on the Gatineau Parishes from Aylmer (St-Paul) to Mont-Laurier...
Kathleen Mennie-de-Varennes in her book Au coeur de la Gatineau, l'Histoire de la Paroisse de la Visitaion de Gracefield
has also written lots of informative material on the subject.