1 October

Statue of Bishop Laval, Quebec City

Laval Chosen Bishop

Visitors to Quebec City are always intrigued by the huge statue of Bishop Laval, standing with arms outstretched in welcome and blessing on top of the cliff. He was officially named Bishop of Quebec on October 1, 1674, by Pope Clement X, although he had been acting as such since June, 1659.

Laval belonged to a great and wealthy family, but he gave his share of the family estate to his brother and joined an order that went through the country barefoot and lived on food supplied by the people. He was in the thick of dispute from the beginning— when he was appointed there was a struggle for power between his order, the Jesuits, and the Sulpicians. His appointment was a triumph for the Jesuits.

The Pope appointed Laval "vicar-apostolic" of Canada rather than Bishop, because he would have come under the king if he had been bishop of Canada, while a vicar-apostolic came under the Pope. So Laval was in the middle of another controversy between Church and State.

Laval insisted on absolute equality between the governor and himself. On one occasion the governor, and the bishop were present at a catechism in a school. When the governor entered, resplendent in plumed hat, velvet doublet and jewelled sword, two boys stood up and saluted, which they did not do for Laval. They were whipped the next morning.

However, on the other side of the ledger, when Laval was in his eighties he was suffering from arthritis and could not sleep. One cold, winter night he hobbled out for a walk and found a small boy who had been turned out of his home. The youngster was shivering. not being dressed for cold weather. Laval took him back to his own quarters, gave him a warm bath, put him in his own bed and sat there watching him while he slept. The next day he made arrangements for his permanent care.

During his career at Quebec, from 1659 to 1706, Laval was given crown lands that became very valuable. He made arrangements secretly that when he died the revenue from them was to be used for education. Laval University is one of the many memorials to his service.


1 October

-1754    Anthony Henday stopped with the Blackfoot Indians at the present site of Red Deer, Alberta.

-1764    A proclamation of 1763 came into force, replacing military by civil rule. 1853 The Toronto Globe was issued as a daily newspaper.

-1916    The second war loan was oversubscribed by $100 million.

-1930    An Imperial conference was opened in London. Prime Minister R. B. Bennett represented Canada.

-1958    Canada House at New York was officially opened.