Joseph Drouin Farm

Joseph Drouin Farm

SN01B

Informations

Street or road #
1233
Street
Saint-Jean
City
Orléans
Province
ON

White house, two storeys, barn, silo, stable

Type of building /structure /object

Farm with a house, a barn, a silo, a grain mill, a henhouse, a pigsty and a stable.

Owners (original, former, current)

On June 21 in 1824, the Crown gave W. B. Bradley all of Lot 3 (200 acres) in the First Ottawa Front Grant. Thereafter, this property was owned by: W.H. Hamilton in 1827, Thomas Poole in 1833, Alexander Forbes in 1835, G.B. Lyon in 1847 and finally, François Dupuis in 1847. Following the village plan prepared by Luc Major and registered in 1859, the southern part of Lot 3, which would form part of the centre of the new village, was divided into lots of approximately 12 to 25 acres each and sold to Orléans pioneers. Among them, were the Bastien, the Lachaîne and the Cousineau families. Also, the northern part of Lot 3 was divided in two parts only and François Dupuis remained the owner of this land. Several members of the Dupuis family settled there.

On January 17, 1894, Pierre Ménard bought the northeastern part of Lot 3 and cleared the land to make a prosperous farm. On September 13, 1926, Pierre Ménard sold his property to Joseph Drouin who had to leave a right of way along the east side of the farm all the way to the Ottawa River. On December 30, 1943, Joseph Drouin expanded his farm by purchasing 52.62 acres west of his property in settlement of the estate of the late Mary O’Connor. It appears that the Drouins’ built a wooden bridge across the creek to gain access to the fields during the haying season.

On November 18, 1948, Joseph Drouin appointed his wife Agnès and his eldest son Donat, co-owners of his farm. On May 14, 1953, Joseph Drouin detached a lot from the front, east side, on which he built a house to enjoy his retirement. On June 3, 1958, Joseph, Agnès and Donat Drouin sold two lots adjacent to Joseph’s. The first lot was sold to Henri Rocque, Joseph’s nephew, and the second lot was sold to another of Joseph and Agnès’ sons, named André.

In 1971, Donat auctioned off farm machinery and leased the land. Since Donat’s death in 1997, the property has belonged to his wife Jeannine.

Design or physical value (description of each structure, materials, anything unusual or rare, especially its architecture)

When Pierre Ménard bought the farm, there was an old squared timber house on the riverfront. One could access the property by using a road from the neighbour’s property located on the east side.  It belonged to Pierre and Antoine Rocque. Pierre Ménard moved this house to the south end of the property in order to be closer to the village. Today, this is at the end of Saint-Jean Street. Who built the house? Our sources do not indicate this. He added farm buildings such as a barn with a silo, a grain mill, a henhouse, a pigsty and a stable. All these buildings were made of pine boards except for the henhouse which was made of squared timber. (See picture.)

In 1926, the Drouin family settled on the farm and thanks to their hard work, the property became a prosperous farm.

The old squared timber house included a family room, two bedrooms as well as a summer kitchen built in the same style as the house. When the house became too small and outdated, it was demolished in 1938 and replaced by a larger, more modern house. The south-eastern part of the land was chosen to build this new house on natural stone foundations. It is a rectangular two-storey house with a gable roof and two verandas. The front veranda ran the width of the house. It was covered with a roof and decorated with wooden posts at the corners. The back veranda of the house was of a more modest construction.

The exterior walls were covered with red brick paper until 1974, when it was covered with white cedar shingles with a “Color Lock” finish.

Over the years, some buildings have been demolished as a result of reduced farm activities. The old squared timber henhouse (see picture), the pigsty and the barn were also demolished. Today, only part of the barn and silo remain. As for the granary, it is now used as a garage. The silo is made of blocks (concrete or ash?) and the roof, eaten away by rust and swept away by the strong northern winds, has disappeared.

All the farm buildings were made of pine planks and the granary was originally painted red.

Buildings of little heritage value on site

None

Historical or associative value (brief history or historical references)

The Drouin farm was the last operating farm in the village. The part of Bilberry Creek, starting from the church and better known as “La crique chez Drouin” (Drouin’s creek), has made many people happy over the years. The spring flooding allowed firewood to be gathered and cut with a round saw (see picture).  Children could skate on its frozen waters in the winter, and fishermen could find small bait fish such as silver minnows in abundance for great fishing in the Ottawa River.

For many years, the Drouin Farm sold its milk to the National Dairy in Ottawa. But as for the large garden whit its fruits and vegetables, they were shared among the Drouin families.

The part of the land along the river often served as a picnic area for the villagers (see picture). Although there was no dock, several known fishermen left their boats there, well hidden under the branches of trees. These fishermen owned a long line. They had a provincial licence at a cost of $25 per year from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Ontario. A long line was one that crossed the river with weights at every 50 feet. The line was placed at a depth of about 25 feet in order to catch the larger fish, such as sturgeon, which were often found in the river before the construction of the Carillon Dam in 1960.

Did you know that…

A certain group of fishermen consisting of Albert Brisebois, Arthur Lavergne and Lucien Gauthier would lift this long line twice a week. Lucien Gauthier had built his own rowboat, oars and all. The three men were Orléans residents and fishing enthusiasts. One Saturday evening when they had lifted the line, they found that they had caught an 85-pound sturgeon. Early Sunday morning, when they arrived in the village, a crowd of men had missed mass to see this miraculous fish!

Contextual value (description of the surroundings: cultural or natural landscapes and landmarks)

The Drouin Farm was well known for its value as a central location. It was used to grow large crops to feed the dairy herd, pigs and chickens. Seasonal activities included logging and using farm machinery to collect wheat, pile hay in the barn and harvest the crops (see pictures).

This farm was also crossed by the Canadian Northern Railway Company from 1913 to 1935. It should be noted that this company went bankrupt in 1923 and was integrated into the new Canadian National Railway. In 1942, the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario installed electrical power lines to serve Eastern Ontario. Since the 1950s, the property has been crossed by the Trans-Canada Highway, now Regional Road 174. An interesting fact is that following the construction of this Trans-Canada Highway, farm personnel had to move the dairy herd through the underpass under this road by using the culvert during milking hours.

Around 1972, the northern part of the property was sold to a developer who subdivided the property and built beautiful homes. Around 1983, following the incurable illness of the owner, Donat Drouin, the part of the property south of the Trans-Canada Highway was sold to another developer who also built many houses spread across three streets.

Comité des sites patrimoniaux : Colette Côté, Guy Legault, Françoise Miller

Auteure : Colette Côté (2018-2019)

Photos

Available documents

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