In 1663, the attorney general Jean Bourdon request to the bourgeois and to the principal inhabitants of the city and its suburbs to choose a mayor and two councillors. The mayor-elect will be Jean-Baptiste Le Gardeur de Repentigny, and the advisors will be Jean Madry and Claude Charron de La Barre. They will not be in a position that… 38 days.
Thereafter, the city will be managed by a trustee. From 1765, following the military administration that followed the Conquest, the city of Québec is administered by justices of the peace. This system, however, is proving to be ineffective.
This is why, in 1833, the town was incorporated and received a charter. She will now be governed by a mayor and a municipal council chosen by the population during elections.
The current mayor Régis Labeaume is the 37th in this position. Among all these councillors, some of which have left their traces by achievements levels of importance, for of the first with which they are associated or by bursts not always prestigious.
Here are 10 of those mayors.
1) Elzéar Bédard, the first mayor
Elzéar Bédard in 1842 by Antoine Plamondon, Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Elzéar Bédard is known to history for having been the first mayor of the city of Quebec. This attorney is elected by acclamation as councillor of the district of Saint-Louis on the 1st of may 1833.
At this time, the mayor was not elected by voters, but rather chosen from among the elected by the councillors. Up to the end of its mandate on 31 march 1834, it is case to lay the foundations of the new municipal administration.
In addition, from 1832 to 1836, it will be member of parliament for Montmorency, and he will support typically the Parti patriote. It will be part of the group who will introduce the “92 resolutions” to the legislative Assembly.
Appointed a judge of the Court of King’s Bench in 1836, it is suspended in 1838 by the governor of Durham because of his sympathy towards the patriots. He defends his cause in England and it receives a new load in 1840.
He held until his death, which occurred in 1849.
2) René-Édouard Caron, the mayor of adversity
René-Édouard Caron in 1871, Musée de la civilisation, archives of the Seminary of Quebec.
René-Édouard Caron was born in Saint-Pierre-du-Sud in 1800. In 1833, he was elected municipal councillor of the area of the Palace.
The following year, the Council elected him mayor by a single majority. He remained until 1836, and from 1840 to 1846.
It is him that will allow citizens to attend sessions of the Council. It will also set a regulation for maintaining a body of police officers, and firefighters.
From 1833, the city council has served in different places: at the palais de justice to the rue Saint-Louis, at the Albion hotel, on rue Sainte-Anne, to the House of the poor of the coast of the Palace, and even in the mayor Caron.
It is he who, in 1840, rent the house of Thomas Dunn, located at the corner of rue Saint-Louis and Sainte-Ursule, making it the first hotel of the city.
Under his administration, Quebec city will experience more disasters such as the cholera epidemic of 1834 and the two fire of 1845 that will destroy more than half of the city.
When these unfortunate events, it is distinguished by a remarkable effectiveness.
From 1850 to 1853, it will be the lawyer of the Corporation of Quebec, then he will be appointed as a judge of the superior Court, then the Court of appeal.
From 1873 to his death, which occurred in 1876, he held the position of lieutenant-governor of Quebec. Rue Caron in Saint-Roch neighborhood, recalls his memory.
3) Narcisse-Fortunat Belleau, a name predestined
Narcisse-Fortunat Belleau in 1865 by William Notman, McCord Museum.
Narcisse-Fortunat Belleau was born at Sainte-Foy in 1808.
In 1846, he was elected councilor of the district of Saint-Jean. He sits then to the committees of Roads, Settlements, public Buildings, and Gas.
Subsequently, the members of the city council choose unanimously for the position of mayor for a term of two years, 1850-1851.
The legacy of Belleau will be the construction of a dam and a water tower to Loretteville, the construction of an aqueduct to Quebec city, the establishment of a water tax and… the birth of municipal debt.
It also contributes to the construction of a railway line on the north shore between Quebec city and Montreal.
He will also be active on the political scene of the province of Canada: he will be member of the legislative council from 1852 to 1867, and executive councillor from 1865 to 1867.
In 1867, he was appointed lieutenant-governor of the new province of Quebec, the first in the title. Today, the rue Narcisse-Belleau Saint-Roch district recalls its memory.
4) Joseph Morrin, the first mayor elected by the population
Joseph Morrin in 1859, by Théophile Hamel.
Dr. Joseph Morrin was born in Scotland in 1794. Arrived at Quebec, about 1798, he began his medical career in 1815, and he turned to the help to immigrants. Thus, it contributes to the opening of the Navy Hospital.
In 1849, it is associated with the direction of the new bureau of health. He is also involved in the creation of a school of medicine at Université Laval.
From 1836, it will be justice of the peace, and, until 1840, when he was elected alderman of the Palace district for a term of two years. He held this function from 1850 to 1855. It will obviously be an active member of the health committee.
In 1855, his peers chose as its mayor for a year. Then in January, 1857, he became the first mayor directly elected by the population.
His main achievements as mayor are the acquisition of the banks of the rivière Saint-Charles, the establishment of the Court of the recorder (municipal court), the construction of the les halles market Jacques-Cartier bridge and the widening of the rue Saint-Jean-extra-muros. He also began the reorganisation of the police service, notably with the opening of stations in various districts.
Nowadays, the Morrin Centre on rue Saint-Stanislas recalls his memory.
5) Thomas Pope, a mayor, transparent
Thomas Pope, Ellisson & Company
This lawyer of scottish origin, was born in Ontario in 1825. He established his law practice in Quebec city as early as 1849.
In 1858, he was elected councilor of the district of Saint-Jean before becoming the 11th mayor of the city of Québec in January, 1861.
As chief magistrate, it advocates a democratization of the right to vote. In fact, in order to vote, a citizen is eligible should first have paid his taxes.
He regretted, therefore, that the poorer classes are deprived of the right to vote. It also denounces the political corruption and it asks candidates to disclose their campaign expenses. He was ahead of his time.
He died in service on the 29th June 1863. It will be the first mayor to have a right to a funeral of citizenship.
6) Adolphe Guillet dit Tourangeau, mayor of bursts
Adolphe Guillet dit Tourangeau, The Canadian album : men of Canada.
Adolphe Guillet dit Tourangeau was elected councilor of the district of Saint-Roch in December 1862.
In June of 1863, the Council appointed mayor to finish the term of mayor Thomas Pope, who died in service. It is then re-elected and he will serve in this position until December 1867.
It is under his administration that the tram horse will make its appearance in the streets of Quebec. In 1865, it was adopted a regulation banning the wearing of masks and fancy dress in the streets, and this, for the good order and peace in the city of Quebec. His departure from city hall was memorable.
He was re-elected in January, 1870, but shortly before, the City charter had been amended. We had returned to the system for the election of the mayor by the only advisors.
In the month of may, the Council must, therefore, endorse his election, but Tourangeau is contesting the new charter. When the advisers come to the city hall to hold the election, he refuses to come, and barricade with a few supporters. Out of breath and food, he makes himself three days later.
It will be necessary to wait until 1908 before the new mayor to be directly elected by the population.
The rue Tourangeau of the district of Saint-Sauveur remember to this day his memory.
7) Simon-Napoléon Parent, the mayor of the great work
Simon-Napoléon Parent was born in Beauport in 1855. Following his legal studies, he moved to Saint-Sauveur.
In 1890, he was elected alderman of the district of Saint-Sauveur and then, in 1894, the Council entrusted him with the post of mayor, he held without interruption until 1905.
At this time, the cumulation of positions was possible. Thus it is that from 1900 to 1905, it will also be premier of Quebec.
Under his administration, the city of Québec will have great work. In fact, it is the origin of the development of the Victoria park, opened in 1897.
In addition, it was he who built the present-day city hall and which allows the introduction of the electric tram. It also contributes to the improvement of port facilities and he opened the first public library.
Finally, it participates in the project of construction of the Quebec bridge, and it initiates the development of the plains of Abraham in a public park.
Today, the avenue Simon-Napoleon-Parent, of the district of Saint-Sauveur recalls his memory.
8) Lucien Borne, the mayor of modernity
Lucien Borne, Fund J. E. Livernois Ltée.
Lucien Bollard was born in Quebec in 1884. He will gain his life by administering the manufacture of leather from his father.
He was elected mayor in 1938 and he held this office until the end of 1953 by obtaining six consecutive terms. It will modernize the city.
We owe him the replacement of trams by buses; it is he who grants the first collective agreement to municipal officials; it to build the Colosseum in a record time of nine months; he is making important works of sewers and the construction of the pumping of the lower town; it is to draw the new coat of arms of the City; it creates a commissioner of industrial and the industrial park of Saint-Malo; it opens a large municipal library; he commanded the first urban plan of the city of Quebec.
The treasurer and council-manager was the book Christian Fountain. It meant, therefore, this tandem, under the name of “the administration Terminal-Fountain”. Nice nickname, city.
Nowadays, the street Terminal located in Saint-Sauveur and the centre Lucien-Borne recall his memory.
9) Jean-Paul L’allier, mayor visionary
Jean-Paul L’allier was born in Hudson in 1938. A lawyer by training, he has been in the service of the government of Quebec before entering provincial politics. He has served in several ministries in the government of Robert Bourassa.
He was elected mayor of Quebec in 1989. He occupied this position until 2005, holding the record of longevity for a mayor of the capital. His legacy revolves around two major projects.
First, the municipal democracy. It has established neighbourhood councils to give voice to the citizens. Then, he has revitalized Saint-Roch district, which was at that time on an artificial respirator.
Thus, it has renovated many buildings, he created many of the dwellings, it has consolidated the commercial service, it has to construct the Garden of Saint-Roch, which today bears his name, he opened workshops of artists such as the Jellyfish, he demolished the mail Saint-Roch to make a shopping street and it has renaturalisé the Saint-Charles river.
He was a visionary for whom the culture and the heritage were of the levers of development and enhancement of the city.
He died in 2016.
10) Andrée P. Boucher, the first mayor
Andrée P. Boucher was born in 1937. She was a teacher.
It was first known in politics in the city of Sainte-Foy, where she was elected councillor in 1984, and then as mayor in 1985, a position she held until 2001.
Woman stubborn, she managed to build a new city hall in spite of the rejection of the project by the population following a referendum. On the regional scene, she opposes almost systematically to the projects of the urban Community of Quebec.
Thus, it is against the construction of a new coliseum, against the holding of the olympic winter Games of 2002, and against the municipal mergers, it will say that it was the fight of his life.
Despite the forced merger, it is presented to the mayoralty of the new city in 2005 and she won a personal victory brilliant, although it doesn’t get the majority of the districts. Therefore, it must cope with strong opposition.
She died in service in August 2007.
Inside of such a short term, she cannot realize many things. However, she announced the enhancement of the archaeological site of Îlot des Palais. She wanted to make the legacy of the City of Québec for its fourth centenary. His successor, mayor Régis Labeaume, will reject this project.
Today, the former town hall of Sainte-Foy, now the office of the borough, bears his name.
A text by Jean-François Caron, a historian
- You can visit the page Facebook of the historical Society of Quebec by clicking here, and his web site by going here.
- You can also read our texts produced by the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec by clicking here, and the texts produced by the Society for the history of Levis by clicking here.
For more information, see: mayors of Quebec from 1833 to Réjean Lemoine and Louise Side.