10 Decades, 100 Years

1910 – 1920

  • The population of Beaconsfield was 375, composed of sixty families consisting of local farmers and wealthy Montréalers who owned summer cottages.
  • On June 4, 1910 Beaconsfield was incorporated.
  • The first Mayor, J. L. Perron, was elected and improvements to the local roads began in earnest.
  • Rail travel improved and more summer cottages were winterized and former Montréal residents now became commuters who lived permanently in the town.

1920 – 1930

  • The population of Beaconsfield was 578.
  • Beaconsfield was very community-minded and many churches and schools were built. The first Protestant school was inaugurated in 1924.
  • A race track was opened close to St. Charles Road. Known as St. Charles Park the first big harness race attracted approximately 1,500 spectators.
  • Many social clubs were started in this decade: the Beaurepaire Winter Social Club, the Beaurepaire Choral Society, a Mens’ Club and a Womens’ Club to name a few.
  • In 1927 the first Girl Guides group was formed in Beaconsfield.

1930 – 1940

  • The population of Beaconsfield reached 641. Over the previous twenty-five years the formerly predominant French-speaking community changed to a predominantly English-speaking one.
  • A referendum in 1931 came out in favor of prohibition and the town of Beaconsfield went dry.
  • In 1931 Beaconsfield’s first Town Hall opened at 450 Lakeshore Road.
  • A fire swept through The Grove Hotel, the Canadian National Station and all of the surrounding residences bar one in 1931.
  • The 1930s marked the beginning of the Depression and those living in Beaconsfield at the time could recall the streets filled with groups of men tramping the streets at all hours looking for work and food. The Town supplied the men with work on a variety of projects such as digging ditches the length of Woodland Avenue, or later clearing snow and fixing roads and bridges.

1940 – 1950

  • During the Depression and the WWll years, growth in Beaconsfield came to a standstill. It boasted only 706 inhabitants in 1941 though that number was increased in 1942 when the Governor General requisitioned the Grove Hotel and placed thirty Canadian civilians of Japanese descent under the guard of the RCMP.
  • In 1945 the population was less than 1,200 residents. They lived mainly along the Lakefront or near the Beaconsfield and Beaurepaire Stations.
  • The Veterans Land Act was passed in 1946 and housing lots along Lakeview Boulevard, Fieldfare Avenue and Westcroft Road were allocated to housing for returning war veterans.
  • 1947 saw the inauguration of Route 2 ― later named Autoroute 20. This cut the travelling time to Montreal in half and led to the rapid expansion of the town.

1950 – 1960

  • By 1951 the population of Beaconsfield had grown to 1,888 inhabitants.
  • New streets were named and the town was expanding.
  • In 1952, Beaconsfield resident Andrew Hugessen took part in the sailing competition representing Canada at the Summer Olympics.
  • Beaconsfield Elementary School was opened with 16 classes at 257 Beaconsfield Boulevard in 1955.
  • By 1956 the population had expanded to 5,496 residents.
  • In 1958 a Protestant High School was opened with 18 classes.

1960 – 1970

  • By 1962 Beaconsfield had a staggering 10,064 residents.
  • Many schools and churches were built.
  • On February 23, 1966 the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council granted letters patent (the legal term for the process followed in granting a title or status to a person or entity by a monarch or government) creating the City of Beaconsfield.
  • In 1968 a new Town Hall and Library complex was built at a cost of $350,000. This coincided with Beaconsfield Day on September 21 and a celebration including a parade, hot dogs, open house for all municipal buildings with a sherry party, dance and fireworks at the civic centre.
  • Doug Anakin and Peter Kirby, residents of Beaconsfield, won Gold Medals in the 1964 Olympics in the Bobsled competition.
  • Construction began on a $3 million St. Charles Rd. underpass.

1970 – 1980

  • By 1971 Beaconsfield’s population had risen to 19,390 inhabitants.
  • In 1975 the official opening of the Beaconsfield Recreation Centre was held on March 27th.
  • Robin Corsiglia won a Bronze Medal in the 1976 Olympics in the 4 x100 medley relay.
  • A pilot project for the first CLSC was started on May 12, 1977 on Amherst. It was called the “Workshop of Health” or “L’Atelier de la Santé”.
  • The first public meeting of the Beaurepaire-Beaconsfield Historical Society was held on March 3, 1977 in the Council Chambers. The goal of the society was to gather material for the upcoming Beaurepaire Tricentennial in 1978. The pro-tem President was Steven Manson.
  • On January 5, 1978 700 new speed limit signs were installed, indicating the speed in kilometers per hour for the first time.
  • On May 18, 1978 the TriCentennial Celebrations of Beaurepaire were held. Four days were spent on a series of cultural and social events. Marguerite Frigon-Beaudet, known as Mrs. Beaurepaire, was invited to plant a commemorative oak tree near the City Hall.
  • School closure of Beaconsfield Elementary was announced on the 25th anniversary of the school.

1980 – 1990

  • Many families moved away from Beaconsfield and the huge growth of the preceding decades came to a halt due to a period of high inflation.
  • Approval was received from council to build the Bowling Annex addition with construction to begin in the following year.
  • Work was started on a Beaconsfield history book by the Beaurepaire-Beaconsfield Historical Society on April 2, 1986 with plans for its completion within two years by authors Gisèle Hall and Robert L.Baird. The book launch took place on November 11, 1989.
  • At the Summer Olympics of 1988, Carolyn Waldo, who grew up in Beaconsfield, won two Gold Medals in synchronized swimming ― solo and duet.

1990 – 2000

  • The population of Beaconsfield was 19,301.
  • Beaconsfield became a “City of Commuters”. The Beaconsfield train station became the most utilized commuter station on the West Island.
  • In 1998 58% of the population said their mother tongue was English while only 24% claimed French as their first language. The remaining 17% said neither of the two official languages were their mother tongue.
  • On June 22, 1995 a truck traveling westward crashed into two vehicles which had stopped at the intersection of Woodland Avenue and Autoroute 20. Three people were killed and one person was badly injured. The truck driver was acquitted of dangerous driving in 1997. Prompted by 9 fatal accidents between 1992 and 1995, in 1998 the government of Quebec completed construction of the Woodland Avenue overpass intersecting with highway 20.
  • The Ice Storm of 1998 paralyzed Quebec. The community of Beaconsfield rallied to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all its residents. The Beaconsfield Volunteer Rescue Squad was formed as a consequence.

2000 – 2010

  • The population of Beaconsfield is 18,906.
  • A new law concerning a reform of the municipal territories or the metropolitan regions of Montréal came into effect. The old municipalities of Beaconsfield and Baie-d’Urfé were forced to merge to form the borough of Beaconsfield-Baie-d’Urfé of the City of Montréal. Later, Beaconsfield de-merged and in 2006 it, once again, became an independent city.
  • The Beaconsfield Centennial 2010 Steering Committee is formed to organize the Centennial Celebrations of the city of Beaconsfield which begins the official incorporation date of June 4, 2010.

 

Sources: Beaconsfield and Beaurepaire by R. L. Baird and G. Hall,
www.lamemoireduquebec.com, www.wikipedia.com,
Beaconsfield Library local history collection, and The News and Chronicle

Researched and compiled by J. Clark with input from M. Purvis, D. Bouchard-Serhan and G. Hall