History Geography Rockland
The villages of Rockland, Clarence Creek, Bourget, St-Pascal-Baylon, and Hammond, all in the same township all deserving mentioning as part of the Rockland community.
Rockland the Clarence region began growing in 1840 with the development of the road to l'Orignal-Bytown. Before then, farmers and settlers relentlessly cleared wooded space enabling them to cultivate land, which then was their only means of survival. In 1868, a young entrepreneur, William Cameron Edwards built a sawmill at the McCaul point in the Rockland area on the Ottawa River, followed by a link to the Grand Trunk Railway in 1888. Edwards, who held timber rights in the area also became the first postmaster, who named the area Rockland for the rocky nature of its landscape. The opening of the railroad followed in 1888 to allow wood and merchandise to be transported from Rockland.
In 1889, the mission served by priest Caron from Clarence-Creek became a parish. The first priest of the new parish was Siméon Hudon, a native of Québec City. Rockland's first school opened in 1875 with the first high-school not opening till 1905.
Construction of a second railroad in 1908 linking Ottawa and Hawkesbury greatly promoted population to Rockland. For .75 cents return fare, people could go to Ottawa and return the same day. The wood mill owned by W. C. Edwards closed in 1926, as a result of the economic turmoil following the First World War. A large part of the population moved to the Quebec province to find employment in wood mills in Hull and Gatineau. The economic recovery began in 1939 with the start of the Second World War. The return of soldiers after the Second World War brought an increase in population. Construction of homes increased rapidly creating a need for expanded water services, electricity and a sewer system implemented in Rockland 1964.
Clarence Creek a township in the Rockland area saw the first pioneers in 1853 arriving from Saint-Augustin, Quebec buying land for agricultural purposes. The first chapel built in Clarence Creek was in 1859. Then in 1881, the parish of Clarence Creek included all of the Township of Clarence including Rockland. By 1865, the village of Clarence Creek consisted of approximately 200 families. At that time, the railroad linked Limoges (South Indian) to Rockland and greatly promoted economic development thus allowing for transportation of wheat which was abundant.
The post office was established on March 1st 1867 under the name of Clarence Creek. The name was changed to Lafontaine on September 1st 1935 and back to Clarence Creek on June 16th 1936.
The Brook was the original name of the village of Bourget but wasn't changed to Bourget till 1910. Bourget being another village in the area of Rockland. During the years 1855 to 1863 villagers walked twelve miles to go to Church in Clarence Creek. In 1885 the people from the Brook started the construction of their own chapel.
Residents built a school that could service between 25 and 30 children in the area in 1860. In 1885, the school became public and was later expanded. After a few years, the school served as a community hall then it became a carpenter’s shop.
The Grey Nuns of Ottawa arrived in Bourget on August 15th 1903. In 1918 they took charge of the new school’s administration until 1930. On September 16th 1930, the Grey Nuns took possession of their convent and still own it as of today.
Agriculture was Bourget’s most important industry. The Bourget had a few industries and commercial enterprises. Before owning its first cheese factory, the village of Bourget had a butter production factory which burned down not long after its construction.
Bourget’s post office opened on May 1st 1880 under the name the “The Brook” but was changed to the Bourget post office on July 1st 1910. Whenever weather permitted, the local mail was delivered from Clarence Creek twice a week. In 1888, telephone services were available from Bourget to Rockland. In 1897, the Canadian Pacific company appeared and by 1898, trains traveled on a daily basis from Ottawa to Montreal. Electricity was available in the parish in 1937.
Until June 1st 1909, the village of St-Pascal-Baylon was called “The Lake” because of a small lake in the area. The name of St-Pascal-Baylon comes from the Patron Pascal Parent, one of the early pioneers of the area.
The Church and the Presbytery were built between October 11th 1908 and December 2nd 1909. But on June 20th 1943 the Church burned down.
Then on July 1st 1886 under the name “The Lake” the post office opened it wasn't till June 1st 1909 that the village of St-Pascal-Baylon adopted that name.
Located along the Canadian Pacific railroad, the village was built at the end of the 19th century. The region of Hammond was separated between Bourget, Clarence and Sarsfield.
While waiting for the construction of a church in 1912, religious services were held in a chapel which was later transformed into a school and then, into a parish hall.
The blaze of June 13th 1914 is a historic event which burned a large portion of the village of Hammond. Strong winds sent flames towards nearby homes which were destroyed. A severe draught, which lasted many weeks, activated the fire. A field of black soil was also the target of flames and burned for almost a month.
Once Hammond was rebuilt, it was again the target of flames in September 1941. The flames engulfed Hammond. Because of the hard work and persistence of every man in Hammond becoming a volunteer firefighter that Hammond was saved. Four elementary schools, two separate bilingual and two public, were available to the children of the parish. The post office in Hammond was established on the 1st of December 1895.
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