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Inquiry Into Roc-d’Or Squatter Village

Black and white photograph of a gravel road lined with plank buildings. In the foreground, a pole bearing wires. In the background, a field and a coniferous forest.

The main street of Roc-d’Or seen from the rooftop of a building, circa 1942 (BAnQ Québec, ministère de la Culture et des Communications fonds).

Black and white photograph of a man in a suit, with a hat and a brush moustache, posing in a forest.

Burroughs Pelletier, an official of the inquiry, circa 1941 (BAnQ Québec, ministère de la Culture et des Communications fonds).

In 1942, Roc-d’Or was growing at an unrelenting pace. There were many attempts to incorporate and to formalise education. Then the Liberal Minister of Lands and Forests declared an inquiry into the future of the squatter village. Three options were studied for the inquiry: either incorporate Roc-d’Or as a municipality, annex Roc-d’Or to Malartic, or destroy the village of Roc-d’Or.

The Minister put two people in charge of the inquiry: Burroughs Pelletier, a civil engineer from the Division of Mining Villages and Edmond Pouliot, Deputy Head of the Lands and Forests Services. During the summer of 1942, they went to Roc d’or on two occasions. They met with various people, such as: clergy members, representatives from the mining companies, school authorities, town council members and some of the inhabitants of Roc-d’Or.

Two blank pages of the form lined up side by side. Entitled “Roc-d’Or inquiry”, they show different sections bearing on the main occupant, wife, children, and building assessment.

Form completed during home visits in the summer of 1942 (BAnQ Québec, ministère de la Culture et des Communications fonds).

Pelletier and Pouliot also consulted with various provincial departments for the inquiry so that they could have the big picture of the situation. During this inquiry, 397 names of Roc-d’Or squatters were sent to the Quebec Attorney General to check on possible criminal records.

The sad conclusion they came to after conducting this inquiry was to recommend the destruction of Roc-d’Or.

Black and white photograph of a two-storey white church. A staircase, on which a dog is asleep, leads to the main door. On the side, an open door gives access to the basement. In the background on the right, the Catholic primary school.

St. George’s Anglican Church, located on Montcalm Street, date unknown (Société d’histoire de Malartic, Gaétane Palin fonds).