#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #13 Restaurant Tourville (1955-1960)

After being kept away for months from this challenge, it is now time to get back on track and to write about, not an ancestor this time, but about a restaurant instead once owned by Eugène and Stéphanie Tourville’s family.

The City of Laval will be soon celebrating its 50th anniversary and I thought it might be appropriate to ask some questions to our cousin Hubert who descends from the line of Hyacinthe Tourville, of Saint-François-de-Sales, on Jésus Island (or Laval today). Fifty years ago, the fourteen municipalities on the Île Jésus (e.g. Chomedey, Duvernay, Laval-des-Rapides, Laval-Ouest, Pont-Viau, Sainte-Rose, Auteuil, Fabreville, Laval-sur-le-Lac, Sainte-Dorothée, Saint-François, Saint-Vincent-de-Paul and Vimont) were merged to become Ville de Laval as we know it today.

In the 1950’s, it is still the country life in Saint-François-de-Sales and many Montrealers would rent cabins for the summer. A few years back, while driving on Boulevard des Mille-Îles, in Laval, I saw a wayside cross at the corner of Avenue Tourville. There was also a testimony besides the cross telling its story. I went back in April 2012, date on which this picture was taken. As you can see, the testimony is not there anymore but thank God, I found the text among my old pictures.


Wayside Cross at the corner of Tourville Avenue and Boulevard des Mille-Îles, Laval, Québec.


In 1956, Raymond Laforest had promised to erect a wayside cross if his prayers were answered. He did it with the help of Claude Tourville from whom he rented a summer cabin.

Let’s now welcome Hubert and ask him some questions about the Restaurant Tourville:

— Hubert, how was summer like in Saint-François-de-Sales during the period of 1955-1960?


Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. Camps à St-François-de-Sales, Que. 4 – Permalink: http://collections.banq.qc.ca/ark:/52327/1954052

It was the post-war period. More and more people owned a car. Therefore, it was possible to spend the summer in Saint-François-de-Sales. The farmers of Saint-François built hundreds of little white cabins on Boulevard des Mille-Îles. Starting June 24, on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Saint-François was quite lively: swimming, strolling, bicycle rides, badminton games at Louis-Georges Mathieu, tennis at Léon Tourville, golf at Louis-Georges Mathieu, golf at Bernard Mathieu, etc. Vacationers went to Restaurant Tourville.

— And what about this Restaurant Tourville?

It was on Boulevard des Mille-Îles, just at the corner of the road leading to Eugène and Stéphanie’s house. Aunt Stéphanie and her children (Rita, Clairette and Claude) were at the counter. It was like a little convenient store with pin ball machines, a juke-box, a dance floor, small tables where one could have a soft drink and candies. There were also some benches outside where we could sit and chat.

— This was like a meeting place?

Yes, for people who were taking a walk, riding their bicycle or for people who came in to buy the newspaper or a soft drink.

— Was it a popular place for the young crowd?

Teenagers would meet there with their bicycle. As there were benches outside it was possible to spend the whole evening there for a few pennies. And with these few pennies, one could have soft drinks, chips, play on the pin ball machines and have some music played on the juke box. That is where I met young girls for the first time. On the dance floor, rock & roll and some slow dancing took place. I even learned to dance the cha-cha on this dance floor!

The Restaurant Tourville was such a great experience for me and I have found memories of it. This was a great time in my life.

I would like to thank Hubert Tourville so much for accepting to be interviewed for this.

We do not have any photos of the Restaurant Tourville. Well, who knows, maybe this post will allow us to find one?

And Happy 50th to Ville de Laval!

52 Ancestors / 52 Weeks is an idea proposed by Amy Johnson Crow. Link on the image for more details about it.

52 Ancestors / 52 Weeks is an idea proposed by Amy Johnson Crow. Link on the image for more details about it.