8 October

Hotel-Dieu Hospital Opens at Montreal

While Madeleine de Verchères and Laura Secord are generally regarded as outstanding heroines of Canada, there are many others whose bravery and devotion to duty equalled that of any man.

Among them was Jeanne Mance, who came to Canada with Maisonneuve. She called on a Jesuit father in Paris and told him she had a divine call to serve in Canada. After she had been questioned by the Queen, Anne of Austria, and other ladies of the court, money was provided for her to accompany Maisonneuve and found a hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, which was opened on October 8, 1642.

As was expected, the Iroquois were bitterly opposed to the building of a settlement at Montreal, and they attacked mail and supply boats going between Montreal and Quebec. It was not even safe to go outside the palisade to cut wood. On one occasion three men were killed and three others were carried off and tortured to death. Louis XIII sent out a ship, Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, with supplies and a number of expert workmen to reinforce the settlement. One of the workmen was a leading engineer, Louis d'Ailleboust, who was accompanied by an unwilling wife. Madame d'Ailleboust was soon so impressed by Jeanne Mance that she became one of her most faith ful helpers.

D'Ailleboust strengthened the defense of the settlement and then turned his attention to building the hospital, for which he had brought an additional gift of money. The worst problem was lack of room inside the palisade, and so the hospital had to be built on the other side of the St. Pierre River, a small stream that flowed through Montreal. D'Ailleboust chose high ground to protect the hospital from the spring floods. The ground was easier to defend than the settlement itself, and Maisonneuve would have been the wiser if he had built there at the outset.

In 1653, the hospital was attacked by 200 Iroquois when Jeanne Mance was there alone with her parents. A brave soldier, Lambert Close, went to the rescue with 16 men, fought the Iroquois for twelve hours, and managed to drive them away. There were many such adventures ahead for Jeanne Mance.


8 October

-1804    The schooner Speedy was lost on Lake Ontario with distinguished passengers aboard.

-1904    Edmonton was incorporated as a city.

              An Anglo-French convention settled the question of shore rights for French fishermen. France surrendered these rights in return for cash indemnities and territorial concessions in Africa.

-1906    A federal-provincial conference opened at Ottawa.

-1907    The transatlantic wireless opened for public service.

-1951    Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip began a tour of Canada which lasted until November 12.

-1960    The Federal-Provincial Constitutional Conference of Attorneys - General, which had met in Ottawa to discuss amendment of the BNA Act, came to an end.

-1964    Chief Justice G. S. Challies of the Quebec Superior Court was named commissioner to inquire into the fatal crash of the TCA aircraft at St. Thérèse, Quebec, November 29, 1963.

              The eighteenth Olympiad commenced in Tokyo, Japan. The gold medal for coxless pair rowing was won by George Hungerford, Vancouver, and Roger Jackson, Toronto.