For a far-sighted visionary, Curé Labelle was firmly rooted in reality. He knew full well that agriculture alone could not ensure that a region’s development would be sustainable. Commerce, industry and education were also essential to the growth and stability of new parishes.
He therefore got involved in the advancement of all areas of activity that would help ensure a future for the people who would settle in the developing regions. He wanted to make sure that young people who didn’t have any land would be able to find regular jobs. The townships would need healthy industries and businesses—economic activity that would provide jobs for store clerks, carters, sawmill labourers, etc. Education was another of his priorities. At his request, the Clercs de Sainte-Croix moved to Saint-Jérôme and set up a business college for boys in the parish.
He also glimpsed the tourism potential of the Laurentians: “The North will be the province’s paradise. People will come from all over to admire the wonders of nature.” Today, the tourism industry has indeed become one of the driving forces of the Laurentian economy.