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The Bourque House
137 Notre-Dame-de-l'île Street

Bourque House

Joseph Bourque was born in 1866 in L'Assumption, Quebec. His first wife was Henriette Charland and his second was Clara Fortier. He had six children: Arthur, Alexina, Albina, Oscar, Georgine and Yvonne. When he moved to Hull in 1889, Bourque built this family home.

The contract for the interior construction of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Church and presbytery brought Bourque to Hull after the 1888 fire in the museum district. He was responsible for the construction of numerous public and religious buildings and schools, both in Hull and elsewhere in Canada, notably Hull's former courthouse and the École des hautes études commerciales business school in Montreal, his greatest achievement. Some of his buildings have been classified as historic monuments. He built an extension to the water main of the Hull aqueduct in 1894, and to that of the water tower in the early twentieth century. His business partners were S.-Rémi Poulin, J.-Arthur Desrivières and Charles Lemoyne. He also owned a door and window factory at the corner of Papineau and Laurier Streets.

Bourque was also involved in municipal politics. During his first term as Alderman, from 1903 to 1905, he and the mayor, Urgèle Archambault, tried unsuccessfully to interest the federal government in building a parkway between the Chaudière and Alexandra Bridges, on the Hull side, similar to one already built in Ottawa. In 1914, when his only opponent André Dupuis withdrew before the elections, Bourque became the mayor of Hull for two years. He died of a heart attack on December 23, 1918, and left his heirs several properties as well as shares in the Provincial Bank of Canada. Although the family home was the common property of all the children, Alexina, who had married the Registrar Louis de Gonzague-Raby in 1917, moved into the house with her family in 1920. Their six children, Louis Jr., Josette, Lise, Jacqueline, Monique and Denise, grew up there along with their widowed aunt, Yvonne, and her daughter Joan.

Louis de Gonzague Raby was born on December 5, 1872 to Saint-André-Avelin, son of the notary H.-N Raby. Louis did his studies in Montreal and at the University of Ottawa, and his early work experience was under his father's tutelage. Named Registrar of Labelle County in 1897, he became Assistant Registrar in Hull in 1903 and Registrar in 1915. He died of a heart attack on January 10, 1938 at the age of 65, at the Registry Office where he had worked for 23 years. "Well known and popular throughout the district, Mr. Raby leaves behind numerous friends." He had participated actively in many recognized civic activities, including the Council of the Knights of Columbus, of which he was a Grand Knight and one of the founders in Hull. He was also a director of the Association du district pour la protection du poisson et du gibier (District Association for the Protection of Fish and Game), and a member of several sporting organizations, the Hull Chamber of Commerce and the Congrégation des Hommes.

His son, Louis de Gonzague Raby, born on July 17, 1918, was a notable priest in his day. After his father died, he worked at the Bank of Montreal for three years. In 1941, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was posted in London. At the end of the war, he resumed his studies, and he entered the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1952. He was chaplain of the Jeunesse ouvrière du Canada (Young Christian Workers) in 1953, in the Notre-Dame-des-Ouvriers parish in Montreal. In 1957, he was appointed chaplain to the students at the University of Ottawa, where he adapted to the anti-authoritarian spirit of the youth of the Quiet Revolution. As the liturgy changed, Raby adjusted by incorporating social issues related to the concerns and the generous spirit of the young. He directed several missions, involving students in working in the slums and in developing countries. He died of leukemia on September 9, 1975. "A true embodiment of kindness and charity," he is buried in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Cemetery in Hull.

In 1961, Alexina and Yvonne Bourque sold the house to Ernest Boudreau. Alexina's departure to a newer neighbourhood marked the end of the Bourque occupancy of this family home. Boudreau lived there for a time, rented it out and finally sold it in 1979. Pierre Delorme, an Ottawa chiropractor, bought the house and still has his office there.