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 The Current Home of this Chafe Family
Beaconsfield, Quebec, CanadaBeaconsfield, Quebec, Canada

(Click on any picture to see them clearer)

woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)Chafe Family Tree
woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)Chafe Family Lineage
woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)History and Map of Devon, England - The origin of the Chafe Family
woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)History and Map of Petty Harbour, Brigus and Pool's Island, Newfoundland - The second stops for the Chafe Family
woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)History and Map of Greenfield Park, Quebec - The third stop of the Chafe Family
woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)History and Map of Baie d'Urfe, Quebec - The fourth stop of this Chafe Family
woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)History and Map of Beaconsfield Quebec - The current home of this Chafe Family
woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)A Brief History of Beaconsfield
woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)Detailed Maps of Beaconsfield: 1948 and Present

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A Brief History of Beaconsfield

The City of Beaconsfield is located on the west end of the Island of Montreal.  The city is situated along the north shore of Lake St. Louis, which extends into the St. Lawrence River.  The residential part of the city is bordered by Kirkland/Highway 40 on the north, Lake St. Louis to the south, Baie D'Urfe to the west and Pointe Claire to the east.  In 1998 the population of Beaconsfield was 19,414 (58% anglophone, 24% francophone and 17% neither official language).  The average household income is one of the highest in Quebec.  The community could also be called a "city of homeowners" as most families own their own residences, unlike neighboring communities to the east who have a high rental ratio.  The city is covered with trees and has many green spaces, recreational fields and a number of scenic parks that access the waterfront.  Suburban wildlife includes raccoons, skunks, rabbits, gray squirrels and chipmunks as well as many colourful birds such as robins, chickadees, blue jays and cardinals.  At the same time the city is situated only a 20 minute drive from the beautiful metropolitan city of Montreal.  Montreal is the largest city in the Province of Quebec, and the second largest city in Canada.

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Maps of the Island of Montreal (click on the images to see them clearer) and various Montreal city photos
The satellite image above was taken by the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery on Mission STS085 - 08-07-97

Humans occupied the St. Lawrence river valley for over 9,000 years.  However the first written records are only 500 years old.   This coincides with the ending of the last great ice age, which deposited boulders, gravel, silt and clay as it receded.  At one time the ice sheet was one mile thick over the Island of Montreal.  A large inland ocean called the Champlain Sea occupied the area as the glacier melted and formed successive beaches around the mountain and plains of  Mount Royal.  As the ice melted, the reduced weight of the ice sheet resulted in drainage of the river system from a southward to a northward direction and changed the water from salt to fresh water.  The first large animals were likely caribou, which were followed by nomadic hunters.  The oldest human remains found in the area date from 4855 B.C.  By about 800 A.D. Stadacona and Hochelaga Mohawk Iroquois tribes occupied the area.  When Jacques Cartier arrived in October 1535 at the village of Hochelaga it was observed that "more than a thousand natives came to the edge of the river to greet the 32 Frenchmen.  They bore gifts, especially corn bread...Between a conspicuous hill and the river were well cultivated corn fields and a wooden citadel...situated some three miles from the river bank"


Samuel de Champlain in 1613 on his seventh voyage to New France, recorded that Lake St. Louis and it's environs was "a lake filled with fine large islands, which are like meadows where it is a pleasure to hunt, venison and wild foul being found there in abundance, as well a fish,   The surrounding country is filled with great forests."  At the end of the day he built a barricade against the prowling Iroquois and kept a good watch through the night.  The next day they portaged against the swift waters near Ile Perrot.

There was not much European presence in the area until land was granted to Jean Guenet in 1678.  Guenet came from Rouen. Normandy, and acquired 120 arpents in Beaurepaire near the waterfront.  Between 1689 and 1700 the area was abandoned for fear of Iroquois attacks following a Massacre in Lachine.  Settlement resumed in 1701 and Guenet constructed a mansion on a farm he was operating.

The Beaconsfield area was farmed by continuously from 1702 until the 1940's.  The farms were well drained with a frost free growing season averaging 140 days and ample monthly precipitation.  The summers were hot, averaging 18ºC (65ºF).  Average annual snowfall was 305 cm (120 inches) which protected the plant roots in the cold winter months.  All of the homes built in Beaconsfield prior to 1768 have disappeared, as they were built of wood which eventually rotted away.  However at least 20 homes built before 1900 remain.

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The Guinard House on Lakeshore - the oldest house in Beaconsfield, built in 1778


In September of 1760 Montreal fell  to the British, but little changed for the residents, natives and clergy for a hundred years.  In 1769, Curot, a bourgeois voyageur, gained control of the Guenet farm.  He built a large house at Thompson Point, however the cost of this venture stretched his resources and his land, house and barn were seized in 1780 and sold at an auction.  The land changed hands over the years and from 1891 to 1907 was owned by the Reford Family.

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In the summer farming and harvesting.  In the winter sleigh-rides and  ice cutting on the lake

The Montreal and Lachine Railroad came to Beaconsfield in 1853.  "On October 26, 1856, the first train, with a wood-fed locomotive, crowned by a vast spark catcher and hauling seven yellow passenger coaches at thirty miles per hour" chugged its way over the recently completed tracks.  

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The Beaconsfield Golf Club - 1904
(located in Pte. Claire)


By 1880, Beaconsfield was becoming a summer resort for Montreal residents.  With the new train service, the area became more accessible.   Between 1891 and 1903 the number of summer residences grew from seven to sixty-five.  The families were wealthy Montrealers; Refords, Birks, Drummond and Gérin-Lajoie.  Members of the Drummond family lived in two large summer mansions called Bessarabia and Gables (1895) located along the waterfront.   Summer activities for the vacationers included yachting, fishing, golf, swimming and tennis.  In 1904 the Beaconsfield Golf Club opened up on pasture land and a quarry.


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Snow plowing in the 1930's


Permanent residential services began to be built.  The telegraph came to the town in the 1860's.  Telephones came to Beaconsfield in 1887, which were party lines with six subscribers to a line.  The Postal Service was established in 1892.  In 1907 electric power arrived with street lights being installed in 1917.  A race track was opened near St. Charles Road in 1929.  The Depression years actually resulted in a number of infrastructure projects being built such as road repairs, a town hall and concrete sidewalks.  For heavy snows, horse-drawn V-shaped plows were deployed.  In other areas a horse-drawn roller compacted the snow for the sleighs.  Between 1940 and 1947 Highway 20 was built paralleling the railroad tracks.  This brought the downtown of Montreal within a commutable distance to the town, resulting in a boom in residential population growth.


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Centennial Hall


Centennial Hall was originally built as a summer residence in 1906 by Joseph Perron.  He developed the property into a model farm, raising cattle and horses and cultivating a vineyard.  Over the years it belonged to Leo Dandurand a Montreal Canadians hockey team co-owner (1940), and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (1953).  It was sold to the town in 1965 and was converted into a cultural centre to commemorate Canada's centennial in 1967. The City of Beaconsfield was incorporated on 23 February 1966.  

In 1910 the town came into being and from then own started to grow.  In 1911 there were 375 residents.  This grew to 578 in 1921, 641 in 1930, 706 in 1941, 1,888 in 1951, 5,594 in 1955, 10,064 in 1961, 19,390 in 1971 and 19,414 in 1998.  In the 1950 major community areas of the town were opened up, including those north of the train tracks; Forest Gardens (1954), Drummond Park (1955), Edgewood Village (1960), Beacon Hill (1963) and Sherwood Area (1963).  Schools and churches followed with the population growth.  A hockey arena and swimming sports complex opened in 1975.  The sports facilities assisted in training for four local Olympic medallists; Peter Kirby (Gold, Bobsled-1964), Doug Anakin (Gold, Bobsled-1964), Robin Corsiglia (Bronze, Swimming-1976) and Carolyn Waldo (Gold, Syncro-swimming-1988).  The city is also home to two Yacht Clubs; Lord Reading and Beaconsfield as well as a lawn bowling club.  The library and city hall were built in 1968.

Reference and photos: Beaconsfield and Beaurepaire, by R.L Baird and G. Hall, 1998

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Detailed Maps of Beaconsfield: 1948 and Present

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Contact Us

February 23, 2001