Juliette Mantha House

Juliette Mantha House

1943 Félix and Rose Anna Mantha House


Street or road #

Original building, built of squared timber, enlarged and clad, demolished

Type of building/structure/object

Old house (circa 1860),1½-storey, built from squared timber on a foundation of natural cut stone. Renovated and enlarged in 1970-1971. Demolished in 2016.

Owners (original, former, current)

Pierre Groulx, his brother Hercule Groulx, Pierre Rocque, Paul Boyer, Félix Mantha, Léo/Laurenda Mantha and Juliette Mantha. Since April 2016, this property has belonged to the developer Richcraft.

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

This old house was built in dovetail on a foundation of stones from the rock located on the front of the property. Originally, the roof was shingled and the summer kitchen and shed were adjacent to the house. The interior of the house included a master bedroom on the ground floor and two bedrooms upstairs.  The rooms on the upper level had mansard ceilings due to the slope of the roof. The ceilings were supported by the original beams (joists), giving the house an old-fashioned look. The floors in both the living and dining room were covered with oak wood planks salvaged from the Parliament Buildings after the fire of 1916.

In 1970-1971, an extension was added to modernise the house.  It included a family room, a kitchen and a laundry room on the main floor as well as two bedrooms and a full bathroom upstairs. This extension was built on a concrete foundation with a well-lit basement and a storage area. The entire house was covered with vinyl siding. This protected the wooden planks that required a yearly application of a coat of white lime.  Such a maintenance process became more difficult to keep up since it had become hard to find skilled labour able to perform this type of work.

On the east side of the house was a milk house made of squared timber in the same style as the house. This structure had an ice house in the back.  Blocks of ice removed from the Ottawa River in the winter were stored behind the building and were covered with sawdust to keep the temperature cold during the summer months. It was used to store canned goods provided by berries and vegetables from the garden and apples from the orchard. Containers of salted pork, homemade milk and homemade butter were also stored there.

At the front of the house, under a century-old maple tree, was a “brimbale” (a rod and lever system used as a hand pump) to draw water from the well. Although the property was sold to a developer in 2016, the orchard of about 30 apple trees remained intact. The front of the property was used as pasture land.  The ground was very rocky on that part of the property and people would often refer to it as “le rocher malin” because it caused so many problems for the residents.

Even with the renovations made, this house kept its heritage value and rural beauty. The owner, Juliette Mantha, was presented with the City of Gloucester’s Heritage Building Preservation Award on February 14, 2000.

On the property there was also a barn, a stable, a pigsty, a large shed and a henhouse. These structures were built with planks of wood cut out of trees found on the 5-acre wooded southern part of the property. This property extended to the end of the 3rd Concession, that is, at Renaud Road.

Buildings of little heritage value on site


Historical or associative value (brief history or historical references)

This property was home to Pierre Groulx who, in 1869, divided the 100 acres into two properties of 50 acres each. He gave the eastern part to his brother Hercule and sold the western part to Pierre Rocque. Among the members of Pierre Rocque’s family we find his wife, Marie-Louise Pépin (maiden name Lachance), his daughter Émilie, wife of Rhéo Vinette and another daughter Marie-Louise, wife of Séraphin Gravelle. Mr. Gravelle was the former owner of the land that became Blackburn Hamlet.

Around 1915-1916, Pierre Rocque sold his land to Paul Boyer who in turn bequeathed it to his daughter Rose-Anna, wife of Félix Mantha.

Rose-Anna married Felix in January 1905. From this union, seven children were born. Because of the economic boom associated with the construction of the railway in the northern part of the province, Felix and Rose-Anna settled in North Bay where he learned the trade of mason and bricklaying. He prospered greatly. However, during the post First World War depression, the lack of work forced them to leave and they returned to settle at 3672 Innes Road.

Berthe, the eldest daughter, was a schoolteacher and taught at the Billings Bridge and St. Louis Road schools (now known as Navan Road). Berthe also worked as a postmistress and a bank manager in Orléans. After their father’s death, Laurenda became co-owner of the farm with her brother Léo.  Jeannette completed her business studies and held a position as a secretary in the public service. Léo was a violinist and played at community and family gatherings. He inherited the farm from his father. Lucille became a nun in the Congrégation des Servantes de Marie Reine du Clergé.  Paul-Émile completed his university studies and obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science. He founded the Caisse Populaire d’Orléans and began his career as an appraiser for the Township of Gloucester. He later became an appraiser for the Government of Ontario. Finally, in the late 1950s, he started his own business and represented owners of land expropriated by the National Capital Commission.  Juliette, the youngest of the family, also embraced the teaching profession. She taught at one of the same schools as Berthe, her older sister, that is, at École Saint-Louis. She also taught at École Sainte-Thérèse-de-l’Enfant-Jésus in Cyrville. It is at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) that she would complete her years of work as an educational project officer for the French-speaking countries of Africa.

The Mantha family was well known for their love of music. Several members of the family, including Berthe, Léo, Paul-Émile and Juliette possessed an absolute musical ear. Félix’s tales and legends were collected by the Chief Archivist of Canada, Gustave Lanctôt. His folk songs are included in the repertoire of Canadian folk songs collected by Marius Barbeau, ethnologist for the National Museum (now the Museum of History).  The folk songs can be found under the heading: “Félix Mantha Collection”.

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

Rural property turned urban.

This property, located on the south side of Innes Road, was part of the land coveted by the Canada Cement Company. Due to its high content of rocks, it was sought after for the manufacturing of cement. However, following numerous and serious objections regarding possible environmental damage, the company abandoned its project. This was after having bought several properties and altering the beautiful agricultural area along Innes Road.

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

Auteure : Colette Côté (mai 2017)


Available documents


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