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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Georgeville and Stanstead, Quebec and Lake Memphremagog

Our family spent part of the summer of 1955 in Georgeville, Quebec. Georgeville is a small town about halfway down the eastern side of Lake Memphremagog in the Eastern townships south of Montreal.

We rented one of the several cottages that were dotted about on a large property that I believe was part of a working farm. There was a large farmhouse with a veranda. In the back of the house there was an outdoor hand water pump. In the front of the house there was a mowed lawn where they set up a croquet pitch. I remember being surprised that a girl from my grade school class back in Montreal was also staying at the same place. There was a dining room in the farmhouse that catered to guests who rented rooms there and the cottage renters.
Old farmhouse, Georgeville, Quebec circa 1955

Same farmouse 1982.
I vaguely recall hanging out with some other boys my age that summer and riding the swings behind a little one room schoolhouse. I also remember the local general store where you could buy a Popsicle or blackball candies that were 3 for a penny.
There was a rather tiny beach area on the property and most of the activity seemed to be centered around a cement pier that was a short walk away. At one time, a paddle wheeler docked here back in the early part of the last century.
Maison McGowan or McGowan House as it used to be called, is an old wooden building that once was a summer boarding house. It stands right on the shore of Lake Memphremagog and appears to still be a going concern with an outdoor restaurant. It also looks like they rent kayaks. Across the lake is Elephant Mountain.
Dock at Georgeville, Quebec
Farm on western side of Lake Memphremagog.

Elephant Mountain, Lake Memphremagog
McGowan House, Georgeville, Quebec
McGowan House, Georgeville, Quebec
On the day we were in Georgeville this past summer there was some kind of festival going on but we had arrived when things were petering out. I believe the old farmhouse that we used to dine at had been torn down or burned down a number of years ago. We took a walk up a lane and I recognized the landscape as where the cottages were over 50 years passed. A few seemed to be still intact with some additions.
I had read somewhere that Donald Sutherland owned a home in Georgeville. This was confirmed by a few of the local weekenders we talked to. We could clearly see that the little village that once was almost exclusively English had transformed over the years and had become a popular weekend retreat for many French Canadians.
The old general store was still in operation and had been considerably updated. Instead of blackballs they were now marketing upscale food products.

General store, Georgeville, Quebec circa 1982

General store, Georgeville, Quebec 2012

There is a small town on the Oregon coast that reminds me of Georgeville. It is called Manzanita. One of those places when you are driving that you spot at the bottom of a hill that looks interesting and if you didn’t stop you would miss it going up the hill after passing it.
Stone ring, Stanstead, Quebec
Not far up the road from Georgeville is the town of Stanstead, Quebec. It is located on the Canadian side of the US border adjacent to Derby Line, Vermont. I can’t remember visiting Stanstead as a kid but I am sure we passed through it. On either side of the main drag that goes through the town there are a number of amazing looking Victorian mansions and old churches.
Stanstead College
Old house in Stanstead, Quebec
A church in Stanstead, Quebec.
Stanstead College, from what I understand, caters to international students and Canadians who want to experience getting a grade school and high school education at a private institution. A friend of mine from high school spent his whole adult life teaching at Stanstead. Kind of reminds me of the movie Goodbye Mr. Chips. About 18 years or so ago, I tried to look him up in Stanstead. It was Labour Day Weekend and he was away somewhere with his family. I left my business card stuck in the door jamb of his house and later tried to e-mail him. I never got a response. I hope I didn't freak him out. Hi Andy!

Newport, Vermont, Lake Memphremagog.
Sailor, Newport, Vermont.
There is something about this area around Lake Memphremagog. Time just seems to slow down and nobody seems to be in a terrible hurry about much. Kind of neat.

Old barn.
Wicked weather vane.
Covered bridge.
Kelley's Motor Court & Restaurant, Derby Line, Vermont 1950s.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting blog, i hope more is added. My family has lived in this area for well over a 100 years. The Wests and the Cambers. Its a very nice place. I just got back from a short vacation in Magog.