The southern area of the Laurentides was inhabited by the nomadic Montagnais and other First Nations, until French Quebecers settled it in the first half of the 19th century, establishing an agricultural presence throughout the valleys. During the 20th century, the area also became a popular tourist destination, based on a cottage and lake culture in the summer, and a downhill and cross-country ski culture in the winter. Ski resorts include St-Sauveur and Mont Tremblant.
The Laurentides still offer a weekend escape for Montrealers and tourists from New England to Ontario, though with the building of a major highway through the area in the 1970s (Autoroute 15), the area has experienced a lot of growth. Its largest city is Saint-Jérôme, in its extreme southeast, with a 2006 census population of 63,729 inhabitants.
The territory where the present city of Saint-Jérôme now stands was granted in 1752 by the marquis de la Jonquière, governor of New France, as the seignory of Augmentation des Mille-Iles (literally "enlargement" of the seignory of Mille-Iles). From the 1760s to the 1840s, the seignory was owned by the Dumont and Lefebvre de Bellefeuille families, living in the town of Saint-Eustache, 25 kilometers (15 miles) to the south. The Dumont and the Lefebvre conceded the farmland to colonists coming mostly from the region lying north of Montreal. The emerging town was then known under the name of Dumontville. The Catholic parish of Saint-Jérôme was constituted on November 15, 1834 and the village itself was constituted on July 1, 1845 by governor Metcalfe.
Jean-Louis Beaudry (March 27, 1809 – June 25, 1886) was a Canadian entrepreneur and politician. Beaudry served as mayor of Montreal three times, from 1862 to 1866, from 1877 to 1879, and from 1881 to 1885 for a total time served as mayor of ten years.
Born in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec, he was raised and worked on the family farm. After working as a clerk and shopkeeper, Beaudry opened a dry goods store with his brother in 1834. Beaudry became increasingly politically active. In 1827 he signed a petition in opposition to the proposed union of the upper and lower Canadas. In 1837 he became one of the vice presidents of the Société des Fils de la Liberté. When the Rebellions of 1837 occurred, Beaudry fled temporarily to the United States. He returned in June 1838 and resumed his business dealings which flourished. Read more...