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Auclair Hospice – Then & Now Montreal

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By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca

 

Auclair Hospice - 1907  (McCord Museum Archives)
Auclair Hospice – 1907 (McCord Museum Archives)

In 1880 Archbishop Édouard Fabre appointed Father Magloire Auclair to be the pastor in the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in the Village of Saint-Jean-Baptiste (today the southern sector of the Plateau Mont-Royal).

 

During his visits in the parish, Father Auclair noticed that many parishioners were infirm, in poor health, disabled, or mentally ill. In 1893, he wrote to Bishop Fabre to ask permission to build a hospice to care for them. His request was accepted, and Onesime Martineau was contracted to build the hospice according to the plans of architect Casimir Saint-Jean. On July 1,1894, the cornerstone was laid and blessed by Bishop Fabre.

 

Auclair Hospice - 2015   (Photo: Dick Nieuwendyk)
Auclair Hospice – 2015 (Photo: Dick Nieuwendyk)

The hospice, built of concrete, cement and masonry, would be the first fireproof building in Montreal.   Construction was completed, and opened on October 24, 1896.  Since bishop Fabre was in Europe at that time, bishop Lafleche presided over the rites of blessing “the house of the poor”. Afterwards a banquet was held in the great hall of the new building.  Among the invited guests were Louis-Olivier Taillon, eighth premier of Quebec, Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, Mr. Louis Beaubien, and Mr. Justice Gill, who suggested to name the hospice after its founder, Father Auclair.

 

Looking for help to run the institution, Father Auclair contacted the Sisters of Providence, a religious community, founded by Mother Emilie Gamelin in 1843 in response to the needs of the poor, the sick and the marginalized.  Their Superior, Mother Godefroy accepted, and the hospice would be managed by 30 nuns. It would host more than a hundred children, 51 boys and 53 orphans and orphan girls, and 58 adults (15 men and 43 women).

 

Father Magloire Auclair (Photo: M.M. Quéry Frères)
Father Magloire Auclair (Photo: M.M. Quéry Frères)

In 1930 an extension to the rear of the building was built. Other transformations slightly affected the appearance, including a flight of stairs with its original banisters inside

 

The building was vacant from 1977 before being bought by Rachel-Julien Developments in 1996 and converted into condos.

 

The building is located at 4220 Henri-Julien Avenue / Rachel east

 

 

Source: Historical Society Plateau Mont-Royal / Grand Quebec.com / Father Elias-J. Auclair (nephew of Fr. Magloire Auclair)

 

 

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