Posthumous Tributes

The monuments below will aid in further exploring the posthumous honours LaFontaine was designated in the City of Montreal. The City of Montreal spent money building and planning for these monuments and tributes to LaFontaine, yet they have his former residence still standing and do nothing to restore it. Hopefully with the help of Canadians, his home will be given the recognition it deserves.

 

The Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine Monument in Lafontaine Park Montreal

 

 

The unveiling of the LaFontaine Monument in Parc LaFontaine Montreal was a tremendous event to honour such a great man, who is considered the father of responsible Government in Canada. A book was published by Le Comité Du Monument LaFontaine in 1930 titled Hommage à LaFontaine[2]. The book is a compilation of letters sent to various people about the unveiling of the monument in Montreal. In these letters and speeches, people expressed their sentiments about the unveiling of the LaFontaine Monument and it is clear they saw him as a great man. Mayor Houde explained how "après que S.H le lieutenant-gouverneur Carroll, aux sons de l'hymne nationale rendu par la fanfare des Carabinies Mont-Royal, eut fait tomber le voile qui revouvrait la statutie LaFontaine."[3]. The crowd was extremely large at the unveiling and Mayor Houde explained how the monument was erected "à la mémoire se sir Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, père du governement responsable au Canada"[4]. The Chief Justice for Sir Wilfrid Laurier was also present the day of the unveiling and he spoke very highly of the monument and LaFontaine as he said "It is a grateful joy to be allowed to laud and magnify LaFontaine's imperishable name. I would fain do it, excluding in a rise of Canada from colonial inferiority to international equality, wherein LaFontaine bore so great a part.[5].

 

The Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine Monument and Birth home in Boucherville

 


  

Home of Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine In Boucherville

LaFontaine was born in Boucherville and moved to Montreal to begin his political career. A monument was unveiled in Boucherville after his demise as well as a commemorative plaque, placed upon his birth home. Evidence of this is given by Dr. Eudore Dubeau, a doctor of the town who explained, "en présence d'une foule estimée à dix mille personnes, parmi lesquelle on comptait les sommités religieuse ete civiles, nous inaugurions le monument de sir Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine." [6]. He goes further to explain on how LaFontaine's birth home they placed a bronze plaque which "portant l'inscription comme sure son monument de "Père du governement responsable" et "Défenseur de la langue français." [7]. Once again he is referenced as not only the father of responsible government, but also the defender of the French language. LaFontaine refused to speak English in the Assembly and fought to use his mother tongue.[8] It was not that he was incapable of speaking English, he believed that people should be able to speak their mother tongue and he supported the French Canadians' right to do so.[9]

 

The Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine Bridge-Tunnel

 

 

In brief, the construction of the bridge-tunnel began in 1963 and was named after LaFontaine in order to preserve his memory for the future generations. Arguably one of the most important politicians of the 19th century in Canada, it seems fitting that he is designated monuments including a city infrastructure.

 

Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine Hospital

 

 

 

The Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine Hospital opened its doors in 1873 under the name "d'Hospice Saint-Jean-De-Dieu...La congrégation des Soeurs de la Providence"[10]. It was and still is a psychiatric hospital, although it is speculated that they also took care of orphans who they wrongly labelled as mentally ill in order to conduct medical experimentson; they are called the Duplessis Orphans. The name was changed because of letters from patients, although the reason they chose LaFontaine's name over others is not documented.[11]

 

The Baldwin and LaFontaine Monument on Parliament Hill

 

 

 


 

  Monument of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine in Ottawa

Created by Walter Seymour Allward who is best known for his design of the "mammoth Canadian Battlefields Memorial in Vimy, France (1922-36), that commemorated the important battle of Vimy Ridge."[12] Allward created the statue of LaFontaine and Baldwin which rests on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The "LaFontaine-Baldwin administration throughout the years 1849 and 1850 remained in a position of exceptional power."[13] Under this regime, LaFontaine fought to see the seigneurial system "abolished, but wished to find means to respect the interests of the seigneurs by a proper compensation."[14] Baldwin and LaFontaine fought hard to create unity within the government of Canada and build a true responsible government. If you would like to learn more about Baldwin and LaFontaine, a Canadian Heritage Minute has been made concerning their rise into leadership which can be viewed on our Homepage or here: www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?id=10140

 

Heritage still awaiting recognition 

 

 

The residence of Louis-Hippolye LaFontaine remains unrecognized and is left to fall into ruin. Why is the Canadian government letting this happen? Above we have seen various ways LaFontaine has been remembered, and yet we have a piece of history that is actually directly connected to his adult life and political career and no steps are made in preserving the Mansion. We need to have this building restored and given the proper designation befitting its rich history.

 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. ^Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation, Toronto. 2011. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0004461< Retrieved 31 Jan 2011> 
  2. ^ Fauteaux, M Aegisdius. Hommage A LaFontaine. (Montreal:Le Comite Du Monument LaFontaine, 1930)
  3. ^ Fauteaux, M Aegisdius. Hommage A LaFontaine. (Montreal:Le Comite Du Monument LaFontaine, 1930)21.
  4. ^ Fauteaux, M Aegisdius. Hommage A LaFontaine. (Montreal:Le Comite Du Monument LaFontaine, 1930)57.
  5. ^ Fauteaux, M Aegisdius. Hommage A LaFontaine. (Montreal:Le Comite Du Monument LaFontaine, 1930)58.
  6. ^ Fauteaux, M Aegisdius. Hommage A LaFontaine. (Montreal:Le Comite Du Monument LaFontaine, 1930)108.
  7. ^ Fauteaux, M Aegisdius. Hommage A LaFontaine. (Montreal:Le Comite Du Monument LaFontaine, 1930) 108.
  8. ^ Des Celles, D Alfred. LaFontaine et son Temps. (Montreal:Libraire Beauchemin. 1925) 45.
  9. ^ Des Celles, D Alfred. LaFontaine et son Temps. (Montreal:Libraire Beauchemin, 1925) 133.
  10. ^ Hopital Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine. Historique. Montreal, 2011, http://www.hlhl.qc.ca/hopital/portrait/historique.html
  11. ^ Hopital Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine. Historique. Montreal: http://www.hlhl.qc.ca/documents/pdf/Hopital/portrait/historique.pdf
  12. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia. "Walter Seymour Allward".(acessed feb 2011) http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=a1ARTA0010803
  13. ^ Leacock, Stephen.Baldwin, LaFontaine Hincks:Responsible Government.(Toronto:Morang & Co, Lmtd, 1907) 337.
  14. ^ Leacock, Stephen.Baldwin, LaFontaine Hincks:Responsible Government.(Toronto:Morang & Co, Lmtd, 1907) 356.