Martin C.Barry
Councillor Melissa Monk and Mayor Eric Westram unveil the new photo montage of Rosemère’s outstanding mayors at town hall last week. Photo: Martin C. Barry

Old political rivalries were put aside for at least one evening last week when officials at Rosemère town hall paid tribute to mayors who made an impact on Rosemère’s history, while bringing together some of the mayors who served in recent years.
On hand on March 12 for the tribute held in the council chamber at town hall were members of the families of past mayors, including Mayor H.J. Hemens, Mayor Michel Côté, Mayor Marcel Di Tullio and Mayor Pierre Robitaille.

A historic occasion

As well, former mayors Monique Richer, Hélène Daneault and Madeleine Leduc attended the ceremony in person. The list of mayors also honoured during the evening included Raymond Perreault, Roméo St-Pierre, Ronald T. O’Keefe, Roland Durand and Yvan Deschênes.
“This evening marks a historic moment, as it brings together in one and the same place for the very first time the mayors who have been part of the history of our beautiful town,” said current Rosemère mayor Eric Westram who hosted the gathering.
“We chose to hold this event in the council chamber because it represents an emblem of all town councils that have held their meetings here,” he said. “On the occasion of this event, I would like to congratulate them for the work they have accomplished, because together they have built the Rosemère as we know it today.

Mayor Westram and Councillor René Villeneuve speak with former Rosemère mayor Monique Richer. Photo: Martin C. Barry

Framed photo montage

“I would also like to thank them for making Rosemère a great place to live for our residents, a place where community and economic life, as well as the beauty of our territory, truly distinguish us.”
During the evening, Mayor Westram and Councillor Melissa Monk unveiled a framed photo montage containing the images of the mayors who made the greatest impact on Rosemère. It will be hung in a special location in the council chamber next to the council’s seats.
While Rosemère’s history dates back to the late 17th century when it was part of the Mille-Îles seigneury of New France, the first permanent settlers began arriving in the early 18th century. Some of the first colonists were the Charbonneau family.

Current Rosemère mayor Eric Westram, right, speaks with his predecessor, former mayor Madeleine Leduc, during the Town of Rosemère’s tribute to its mayors on March 12 at town hall. Photo: Martin C. Barry

Brief history of Rosemère

In 1880, according to a history of Rosemère on the town’s website, J.P. Withers, a Canadian Pacific Railway officer, set up home in Rosemère. Impressed by the compelling charm of the many wild-growing roses, he decided to call the place “Rose,” to which he simply added the suffix “mere,” an old Anglo-Saxon word for swamp. He then went to Ottawa to register the name in use ever since.
In the early 20th century, the region – by then known under the name Rosemère – owed its growth to the presence of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1901, Rosemère opened the doors of its first post office, and in 1936, the area’s newly built chapel was inaugurated.

Rosemère becomes a town

On January 1 1947, the residents of Rosemère won a court case and the Parish of Rosemère separated from the Parish of Sainte-Thérèse (which had been founded in 1845). In the late 50s, Mayor H.J. Hemens wanted to approach the provincial government to apply for municipal status, without having to forfeit government parish grants.
A council meeting was held, which was also attended by a very large number of residents. The council obtained authorization and could go ahead to apply for municipal status. The Quebec National Assembly granted the mayor his request and, on February 6, 1958, Rosemère was officially given the status of a town.