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Industry and Mining

Fascinated by progress, Curé Labelle took great interest in the explosive growth of industry and commerce that occurred during his lifetime. He quickly grasped that the success of colonization depended on the development of industry.

Black & white photograph of a group of people, mostly men, standing on a walkway in summer. The walkway leads to a large brick factory building. People are also seen perched higher up, in an opening on a higher floor of the factory. Many of those pictured are wearing top hats for the occasion.

Inauguration of the Rolland family’s fine paper mill in Saint-Jérôme


Black & white photograph of a landscape in spring. In the foreground at right, a small wooden bridge crosses a fast-flowing river with rapids; a pile of logs is also seen. Upstream, in the background at left, is a dam with water spilling over it forcefully. In the centre is an industrial brick building, and behind it, a house and a few farm buildings.

View of the Wilson Pulp Mill and bridge

Labelle became one of the most fervent promoters of industrial development and technical training in the Laurentians. Over the course of the 23 years he served as the priest of Saint-Jérôme, his parish enjoyed rapid industrial growth. Local industry included sawmills, a tweed mill, several flour mills, woollen and fulling mills, a watch factory, a shoe factory, a glove factory, a piano maker, and two furniture factories. The best-known manufacturers that set up shop in Saint-Jérôme under Labelle’s influence were the J.-B. Rolland paper mill and the Wilson Falls (formerly Saunderson Falls) pulp mill.

Reproduction of an article in the newspaper Le Nord of May 4, 1882, with the headline “Saint-Jérôme iron ore analyzed at the École des Mines de Paris.”

Saint-Jérôme iron ore analyzed at the École des Mines de Paris


He also promoted mining in areas farther north. An iron ore mine humorously known as “Curé Labelle’s Hole” was operated on a small scale in Saint-Jérôme while he was the parish priest. It was said that 50 to 60 tonnes of ore a day were extracted.

Letter from Curé Labelle to William Scott:

Transcription of the audio: Letter from Curé Labelle to William Scott