The loveliest lake in the New Dominion : Montreal villégiateurs on Lake Memphremagog, 1860-1914
In the early 1860s, wealthy English Montrealers began to purchase property on the shores of Lake Memphremagog to build lavish summer estates. Each year, these upper-class businessmen and their families would spend a significant part of the summer at their country houses, swimming in Lake Memphremagog, boating, playing lawn tennis and visiting fellow Montrealers. The emergence of summer residences on Lake Memphremagog was part of a broader trend towards villegiature, or tourism, in Quebec, and in North America, that largely resulted from the rise of the Industrial Revolution and the Romantic Movement. This research analyses the architecture and landscaping of the nineteenth-century summer residences on Lake Memphremagog as it seeks to understand the factors that brought wealthy Montrealers to this lake in the 1860s. It also examines how their upper-class background affected the way they experienced leisure while at the lake. Through this study, it becomes evident that Romanticism and upper-class values significantly influenced the location and styles chosen by the Montrealers for their estates. Additionally, an examination of the social and recreational activities of the summer residents on Lake Memphremagog indicates that the Montrealers re-created much of their urban social sphere in the country, associating mainly with other upper-class families and pursuing many of the same activities. Nonetheless, the primary sources indicate that the relationship between the local residents and the summer residents was generally a positive one.