Type of building/structure/object – Commercial home and secondary residence on approximately 50 acres of land.
Owners (original, former, current) – In 1856, Luc Major bought 50 acres of land, the eastern part of lot 37. On this land, which was located on the eastern part of the village of Orléans, he built a house that served as a general store and an inn. Upon his death in 1859, at the age of 44, his widow, Émilie Masson, continued to run the business to provide for her 10 children. The eldest son, Joseph, built his own house on the same property and continued to farm his father’s land for several years. Afterwards, he bequeathed the paternal land to one of his sons, Albert, and moved to the village where he opened a general store.
The first house built by Luc Major was inhabited by several members of the Major family. It was used as their summer house until it was sold to the Frères des écoles chrétiennes in 1929. In 1947, Hermas Saumure bought it, made some renovations and sold it to Michel (Yvonne) Leblanc and their son Claude (Aline) Leblanc. During the 1960s, this beautiful house disappeared and was replaced by the first shopping centre in Orléans which is to be named Place d’Orléans.
The Joseph/Albert Major house was inhabited by Albert Major’s family. Albert married Marie-Louise Gauthier and they had seven children. In 1947, Albert and Marie-Louise moved to the village and sold their property to Alfred Léonard who bequeathed it to his son Edouard in 1953. This land is also part of the Place d’Orléans shopping centre.
Design or physical value (description of each structure, materials, anything unusual or rare, especially its architecture)
The house that Luc Major built was a Regency-style cottage, very common during the years 1849-1850. It was a fine example of the picturesque cottages built on landscaped sites and intended for city dwellers seeking fresh country air. It had two storeys and was made of squared timber resting on a stone foundation. The roof had eight gabled dormers with paned windows, giving it the appearance of a villa.
In 1929, the Frères des écoles chrétiennes added a large covered veranda on three sides of the villa. The north side of the house had no veranda since it overlooked the farm buildings.
In 1947, it was Hermas Saumure’s turn to renovate. The villa received another beautiful coat of white paint and the doors and window frames were painted sky blue. The main entrance at the front of the house remained white with a side bay. The posts and railings of the veranda were also refreshed with a coat of paint. Lattice panels were added all around the space underneath the veranda.
The farmhouse built by Joseph Major on the same land but a little set back was more modest. It was a typical bungalow: a small one-and-a-half-storey single-family house with a gable roof, a covered veranda at the front of the house, and symmetrical openings on either side of the main door. Our resources do not allow us to elaborate further.
Buildings of little heritage value on site
Historical or associative value (brief history or historical references)
Luc Major, a tradesman and the builder of this beautiful house, had participated in the construction of the Bytown Cathedral. Having purchased a piece of land in Orléans, formerly known as Saint-Joseph of Gloucester, he was mandated by Bishop Guigues, a member of the Congrégation des Pères Oblats de Marie-Immaculée and the first bishop of the Bytown Diocese, to draw up a subdivision plan which was the first official plan for the village of Orléans. This plan was registered with the Carleton Land Registry in 1858.
Among his ten children, Toussaint and Ormidas were blacksmiths, valets and coopers in Orléans; Joseph remained on the farm; Sylvanie became a general merchant and opened a store in Orléans. Later, in 1879, he moved to Ottawa where he became the owner of a very prosperous store known as S.J. Major Limited. His wife, Corinne Lebel, taught in a small school that today is said to be on the property of Éliodore Vinette.
Joseph cultivated his father’s land for some years but decided to open a general store in the village at the corner of St. Joseph Boulevard and St. Pierre Street. Joseph also presided the first Police Village of Orléans when it was created in 1922. He assumed these duties until 1930.
The paternal land was entrusted to one of Joseph’s sons, Albert, who married Marie-Louise Gauthier. They raised their seven children on this property. Their son Philippe became a house-building contractor in Ottawa, while another of their sons, Julien, became a Captain with the Canadian Air Force and served in England during the Second World War. One of their daughters, Bertine, was postmistress in Orléans.
A descendant of Luc Major, Dr. Émile J.S. Major, opened his practice in Orléans in 1931. He was the family doctor for Orléans residents for 39 years. In addition, he was a member of the Ligue du Sacré-Cœur, a school board trustee, the president of the Genealogical Society, a health physician for the Regional Health Commission, and coroner for both the Russell and Carleton Counties.
Contextual value (description of the surroundings: cultural or natural landscapes and landmarks)
This property was of real importance and had great value because of its location. It was located in a very busy area just on the edge of Gloucester and Cumberland counties. This property also experienced the rapid and gigantic growth of Orléans. Firstly, because at the beginning of the 19th century, it was located along the main road, near the train station. Secondly, because at the end of the century, numerous housing projects were being built in this district. It has been noted on several occasions that Orléans experienced the greatest growth in all of Canada.
Comité des sites patrimoniaux : Colette Côté, Guy Legault, Françoise Miller
Auteure : Colette Côté (2018-2019)