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Malartic Township Squatters

Why did people without land title set in Roc-d’Or where there was no sewer system or running water? Especially since comfortable, well organized, towns built by the mining companies existed nearby?

Black and white photograph of a gravel road lined with plank and log buildings. Two men walk toward the camera. In the foreground, on the right, a telephone pole.

The view North from the south end of Roc-d’Or in 1937 (BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Canadian National fonds).

Living in the mining village was a privilege. Employees and a few merchants and professionals had precedence. Many newcomers to the Fournière Township had no other choice but to settle in Roc-d’Or.

Black and white photograph of an elderly couple in front of a rudimentary dwelling: a wood and textile tent. Log cabins are visible on the right and in the background.

A Roc-d´Or squatter couple in 1937 (BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Canadien National fonds).

In the company villages, mine workers could live in dormitories. But women and children were not allowed into these lodgings. Many of Roc-d´Or’s inhabitants were  miners who wanted to live with their families.

Black and white photograph of a clean, modern house with a front veranda. On the right, a rudimentary log garage.

Some of the more beautiful homes of Roc-d´Or circa 1942 (BAnQ Québec, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications fonds).

Some settled in Roc-d´Or to sidestep their employer’s control or to pay less taxes. The price of a lot in a company town was often too expensive as there was no guarantee of long-term prosperity in the region. Squatting was seen as an advantageous solution.

Black and white photograph of a rudimentary house divided into two sections, the first covered with tar paper, the second with metal foil. There is a carriage in front of the house, also a clothesline.

Some of Roc-d’Or’s more rudimentary buildings circa 1942 (BAnQ Québec, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications fonds).