Thomas Roche Lee (1915-1977), "Tommy", Mayor of Baie-D'Urfé from 1957 to 1961, was very much interested in the origins
and the history of the town. He helped to create the town's coat of arms. He invested his own time and money
to travel to Europe and do research into the history of the town.
The town of Baie-D'Urfé is named after the bay where François-Saturnin de Lascaris D'Urfé had his chapel in 1686.
François-Saturnin de Lascaris D'Urfé (1641-1701) was a missionary and member of a noble family from France. Born in Bâgé-le-Châtel, son of Marguerite and Charles-Emmanuel, Marquis D'Urfé et de Baugé (Baugé = old spelling of Bâgé).
Tommy Lee completed this book about the history of Baie-D'Urfé in the summer of 1977 and he died later in the same year. The book was produced on a mechanical typewriter and then photocopied.
Only the book with the original typewriter pages and a few photocopies seem to remain today.
It is a well-written book that is pleasant to read. The book has a nice and professionally made hardcover.
To preserve this book and to make it easily accessible for current and future generations I am providing here electronic copies in different formats. The Town of Baie-D'Urfé is the copyright holder of this book and those electronic copies were produced with the permission of the town:
The book contains references to a few places that have changed since 1977 or do not exist anymore.
Carriere's Greenhouses do not exist anymore however there is still a street called Carrière. The term Coop Area is now rarely used. This is the area where you find today the tennis club, the swimming pool, the Red Barn community building and the curling club. Coop refers to a chicken house which is now the eastern part of the Red Barn. The area around the streets Oxford, Cambridge and St. Andrew used to be known as College Green. There are as well some important roads that have changed names. Veteran's Road is now Lakeview and Station Road is now Morgan Road. The name changes occurred however prior to the writing of the book and it is therefore already mentioned in the book. The road known as Metropolitain Boulevard at the time of the book is now known as Highway 20 or Autoroute du Souvenir. Corpus Christi, the English Roman Catholic Elementary School, is now École Joseph Henrico and Oak Ridge Elementary School is currently Alexander von Humboldt school. St. Giles Presbyterian Church on Victoria Road is now Temple Dao En. Cooper's garage, at the time of the book Beacon Ford, is now the public works building at 300 Surrey.
Here are some pictures of things and places related to the book. You can click on a picture to get a full view of the picture.
Map showing areas that have today different names/buildings
The book cover
The first page of the book. Please choose one of the above electronic book formats to read the book.
A view of Urfe’s bay after which the town is named
A view of Urfe’s bay from the town hall side, panorama, click to view
A view of Urfe’s bay at night, illuminated by the moon. The glow in the background is the light from the city of Montreal.
A view of Urfe’s bay from the water side. Caron Point is on the left.
The Coop and J. D. Carrière’s greenhouses. Aerial photo from 1964, source: Archives de la Ville de Montreal
Baie-D’Urfe's lovely town hall, photo from 1916. James Morgan, a citizen, donated the building. The date above the door shows 1913. The building dates back to around 1875 and architect Edward Maxwell renovated it in 1913 for use as a Town Hall. Today we see 1911 above the door, the year of the town's incorporation. Photo scan by Frans Lecluse.
Baie-D’Urfe Town Hall, 2019-Oct-10
Note in the Montreal Gazette, Feb 4. 1911: Bayview incorporated and changed to Baie d'Urfe.
North end of Morgan Road near the train tracks. Photo from 1966. The little turning circle for horse carriages, originally donated by James Morgan, can still be seen very clearly. The Metropolitan Blvd is now HWY 20. Source: Archives de la Ville de Montreal
James Morgan (1848-1932), one of the founding fathers of the town. He donated the Town Hall with the land around it. He built the road to the train station. His uncle founded Henry Morgan & Co. Ltd. For details see: the Morgan family
The Henry Morgan & Co. store at the corner of Victoria Square and St. James (now St-Jacques) in Montreal. This is the first department store in North America. Illustration: Canadian Illustrated News, Dec. 25, 1880.
The little green school house. This one room school house stood west of town hall near the grounds of today's boating club. The first town council meetings were held here.
Aerial image from 1962. The little green school house can be seen across from Carriere’s greenhouses. Source: Archives de la Ville de Montreal
This is where Carriere’s greenhouses stood. The greenhouses are mentioned in the book because they were landmarks that everybody knew. Today only a street name remains. The Carrieres came to Baie-D'Urfé in 1941 to start their nursery business and the greenhouses where demolished in 1985.
Carriere greenhouses advertisement from 1967, N&V
The stone cairn with the plaque pointing out the location of D’Urfe’s chapel. The stones are from the site of the chateaux d’Urfe in France. Photo Aug. 2019
The plaque pointing out the location of François D’Urfe’s chapel. It’s now plastic because of theft and vandalism. Photo July 2019
The original plaque pointing out the location of François D’Urfe’s chapel. It was made from solid copper. Photo from 2008
The original copper plaque pointing out the location of François D’Urfe’s chapel. Photo from June 2011, photo by Jean-Marie Rodrigue
The original copper plaque pointing out the location of François D’Urfe’s chapel. Photo from Aug. 2011, photo by Jean-Marie Rodrigue
cairn and plaque, July 2019
Tommy Lee showing the cairn to François Collavéri Prefect de Loire (France), Baie-D’Urfé June 25th 1961, source: N&V
Francois Collaveri Prefect de la Loire signs the Book of Honour, June 1961, source: N&V
Book of Honour, entry from 1961
A guard of honour with the Baie-D’Urfe scouts following the unveiling of the cairn, June 25th 1961. The building on the left is the Horse Barn (now Red Barn). View from behind the Red Barn towards Lakeshore, source: N&V
T. Lee looking at the silver cup of François-Saturnin Lascaris D'Urfé. One of the few tangible items that remain today. source: brochure for the 1961 celebrations.
The silver cup has D'Urfé's coat of arms engraved at the bottom. source: brochure for the 1961 celebrations.
Jean de Lalonde plaque from 1987, the plaque did not exist at the time of the book but Jean de Lalonde is of course mentioned in the book
Thomas Roche Lee
Mayor Lee throwing the first stone at the official opening of the curling club, Feb. 13, 1960
Lee Avenue in Baie-D’Urfe
The grave of Thomas Roche Lee and Edith Maude Lee, Pointe-Claire, Hilltop section, Lot 7
A. Clark Graham
Arthur Cairncross, 8 July 1986. He has lived in town since 1910. His father was farm manager for the Stevenson farm. A portion of that farm became later Fritz Farm.
Peter Smith with his wife Mary in 1977, Peter came to Baie-D’Urfe in 1913 and his accounts of the early days of the town of Baie-D’Urfe are mentioned in the book.
William Spriggs, the book included his accounts of the early days of the town especially with regards to the College Green area, source: N&V March 1988
The town had paid back all its dept in 1941 and Mayor W. Maugham celebrated this with the council by burning the bonds. Baie-D’Urfe was at that moment dept free. Newspaper article from the Montreal Star, June 1941
A map from 1700 showing "paroisse St Louis" at "pointe D’Urfé"
The castle of the Urfé family in Champoly-sur-Loire, France: Château d’Urfé aka "Château Cornes d’Urfé", https://www.chateaudurfe.org/. The outer stones of the Baie-D’Urfé cairn are from this castle. Photo: wikipedia.org, 2010
Château d’Urfé, aerial view. The castle stands at an altitude of 927m with an excellent view over the entire region. It was build in 1408 by Guichard d’Urfé on the site of a tower dating back to the 12th century. Photo by Philippe Croom, 2016
Château d’Urfé in the late 1950s. It has since been partially rebuilt in and restored. The outer stones of the Baie-D’Urfé cairn are from this castle.
Château de la Bâtie d’Urfé. This is the second, more modern castle, of the D’Urfé family. It is located in the Loire region. Francois D’Urfé spent some of his childhood years in this castle.
Château de la Bâtie d’Urfé, photo from the late 1800s
Château de la Bâtie d’Urfé, La Poste France stamp issued in 2009
Ancien Château Bâgé. This is where François D'Urfé was born and where he died. It's inside the ancient town of Bâgé-le-Châtel a few minutes walk from Hopital Hospice. The building changed significantly over the centuries. A wooden castle stood here around the year 1000. The first stone castle was built in the 1300s. The circular staircase inside the current tower dates back to 1426 and the main building that we see today is from the 1800s. Click on the photo to see it in full size. Photo by Patrick Faucon.
Ancien Château Bâgé. Photo from around 1900
Ancien Château Bâgé. Photo from around 1900. View from Route de Mâcon (today known as Route de Saint-André)
Hopital - Hospice, maison de retraite, 74 rue Condamnale, Bâgé-le-Châtel, France. This retirement home dates back to the year 1250. Francois d’Urfe worked in this home after returning from Canada. He is buried here under the floor of the chapel. Panorama image. Click on the image to see the full panorama. Photo by Patrick Faucon.
Another picture of the Résidence d’Urfé, maison de retraite, Hopital - Hospice, Source: The Town of Bâgé-le-Chatel
Bage-le-Chatel around 1900, the Hopital - Hospice is on the left
Hopital Hospice, view from the west. Photo by Patrick Faucon.
The grave of Francois-Saturnin Lascaris d’Urfe inside the chapel of the Hopital Hospice. Source: The Town of Bâgé-le-Chatel
The grave of Francois-Saturnin Lascaris d’Urfe. It was vandalized with a hammer during the times of the French Revolution. The inscription is in latin and can be found at the end of the speech for his funeral. Photo by Patrick Faucon.
The chapel inside the "Hopital - Hospice". Photo by Patrick Faucon.
Copper plaque inside the chapel: Beneath this chapel lies Francois-Saturin Lascaris d’Urfe, Marquis de Beauge, Sulpician, 1641-1701, Born in and priest of this parish, missionary in Canada 1668-1687, founder of the town of Baie d’Urfe, Quebec, Canada. This memorial presented to the Village of Bage-le-Chatel by the town of Baie d’Urfe and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Lee, of said town, in 1962, 260 years after the burial service to M. d’Urfe in this very chapel. [click on the picture to see it in full size, picture: 2019-06-17, the Town of Bâgé-le-Chatel]
Pointe Caron, site of the chapel. It is named after Antoine Caron, a farmer, whose family and decendants owned the land from 1832 to 1906.
Field House: This is where Thomas R. Lee lived. This is an old farm house dating back to some time between 1850 and 1887. The area in the back where you see now the grey building used to be the backyard. His daughter Nancy sold the backyard around 1999.
Field House, 20625 Lakeshore, this is where Thomas R. Lee lived.
Field House, 20625 Lakeshore, this is where Thomas R. Lee lived.
The flag pole at Bertold Park, donated to the Town of Baie d’Urfé by a local lumber company to celebrate Canada’s centennial year in 1967. It is made from a 463-years old British Columbia fir and stands at 100 feet.
The centennial flag pole at Bertold Park. Tommy’s former house is visible in the back. [Click on the picture to see the full flag pole]
The centennial flag pole at Bertold Park
The centennial flag pole at Bertold Park
The D’Urfé church register. Register of the parish of St. Louis du haut de l'Île de Montréal, click on the image to see all pages. (he spelled it: La parroisse de St Louys du haut de L'Isle de Montreal)
The town had relied until 1959 on the provincial police for protection but, as mentioned in the book, Baie-D'Urfé got its own police following a meeting of the citizens in January 1958:
Baie d'Urfée citizens displayed a keen interest in the need for police protection at present, at the annual general meeting of the Citizens' Association last Friday, Jan. 10.
An estimated 200 members overflowed the hall and stood in the
Coop entrance foyer to hear the police proposal discussions which followed
the business of the annual meeting. After the alternative proposals had been
described by Alderman Pat Boyle, and considered from all angles from the
floor of the meeting, a count of hands was taken on a motion that the Council
should proceed with plans for police protection. The vote was recorded as
72-70 in favor "with a 1% margin of error", indicating a complete stand-off
on the question, for the time being.
The new policeforce came in the form of Chief Tom H. Gray. He himself was a citizen of Baie d'Urfée (note the old spelling of Baie-D'Urfé). Tom Gray came to Canada from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England where he had worked already as a police officer for 25 years. Regular police bulletins were now published in News & Views. He knew the people in town and the by-laws. Some of the problems that the fast growing town had were related to mischiefs by children or teenagers and Chief Gray was very good at handling them. In the tradition of the English policeman he was trained as a firefighter and he established a volunteer fire brigade in Baie-D'Urfé. Initially his "office" was in the Horse Barn, now known as Red Barn. Tom could do a much better job than any external provincial police due to his direct connection with the town and his work was much appreciated, so much that even a street was named after him. Chief Gray retired in 1969.
A report from the meeting on the police issue from 1958, N&V
Chief Gray and Constable Campbell in front of the new fire truck, Sep. 1961, source: N&V
A portrait of Chief Gray
Gray Crescent named after Baie-D’Urfe's police chief Tom Gray.
Display with Chief Tom Gray's hat
Response time and overall service must have been excellent as this report from 1963 shows. Tom Gray was even helping in case of medical emergencies. Source: N&V Jan. 1964
About the book author: Thomas Roche Lee (1915-1977), "Tommy", started his career as a journalist with the Toronto Star. At the age of 20, two years after starting with the Star, he was the youngest member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa. He also showed an interest in aviation writing and got this private pilot license to keep up with the practical side of flying. During World War II he served as flight commander for the RCAF Squadron 357. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1945. After the war he worked for the Royal Trust and the Canadian Banker's Association. First as a public relations officer and then as assistant vice-president of the Royal Trust Co. During his time at the Royal Trust he re-enacted a number of commemorative air flights. On June 14, 1969 he flew the mail plane from Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland. On June 24, 1970 he flew the first leg for the 50th anniversary flight of crossing Canada by air.
Tommy came to Baie-D'Urfe in January 1953. He was an active member of the Baie-D'Urfe Citizen Association. He became a town councilor in 1955 and served as Mayor of Baie-D'Urfe from 1957 to 1961. As Mayor he spearheaded the Town's defence against the plan to run the Trans-Canada Highway (HWY 40) bridge via Dowker Island and Baie-D'Urfe. He moved to Oakville, a suburb of Toronto, at the end of 1961 when his employer, the Canadian Banker's Association, decided to move from Montreal to Toronto. He did therefore not run for a second term as Mayor but he keept his home in Baie-D'Urfe. He was a loving husband, a father and an arts collector. He wrote a number of books and he was a historian. He was born on November 2nd 1915 in Thorold Ontario, a small town on the Niagara Peninsula. He died unexpectedly on October 16, 1977 from pulmonary thrombosis at the Toronto General Hospital. His wife Edith Maude Lee (Wilson) died on November 29, 2006 in Ottawa.
Tommy Lee, commemotative flight July 1970, photo: N&V
The regiser of the parish of St. Louis du haut de l'Île de Montréal
The D’Urfé church register, click to read, he spelled it: Le registre de la parroisse de St Louys du haut de L'Isle de Montreal
A victim of Frontenac
This is a little booklet made available by Thomas Lee in the 1960s and 1970s. It provides a very interesting insight into the personality and character of François D'Urfé as well as Louis Frontenac, François-Marie Perrot and other leaders in New France.
"A victim of Frontenac" booklet. Click on the image or here to read the book.
The "News & Views" is a local community magazine published by citizens. It is a volunteer effort and this magazine has been published continuously since July 1947. There are currently 10 issues of the News & Views published per year. The first issues were printed in the kitchen of Miriam Nagley and her husband Sidney Nagley. They lived at 20684 Lakeshore. Miriam Nagley was the first editor. See https://baiedurfe.ca/ for current issues of the N&V and more information about the Citizen's Association of Baie-D'Urfé.
As part of the 300-year celebrations the book "Baie d'Urfé, 1686 - 1986" was published and it was printed in much higher numbers (ISBN 2-9800651-0-2). This new book, also known as "The Tricentennial Book", covers besides the early days of Baie-D'Urfé the late 1970s and 1980s. There is as well a very good series of articles that ran in the News & Views magazine from 2002 to 2005. This series of articles is available at the library as a book.
The tricentennial book: Baie d'Urfé, 1686 - 1986, ISBN 2-9800651-0-2
Tales of Baie d'Urfé by Elizabeth Howard and Sandy Knoepfel. This is a collection of history articles that ran in News & Views from 2002 to 2005 and it available at the library.
book: Bâgé-le-Châtel, Ancienne capital de la Bresse, by Jeanine Monin. ISBN-10: 291026758X, ISBN-13: 978-2910267582, Year of publication: 2002, Jeanine, the author of this book, is now (2019) living herself in the ancient retirement home, Hospital Hospice. She shows the chapel to tourists when she has time. The book has a chapter explaining the link between Bâgé-le-Châtel and the town of Baie-D'Urfé.
A special thanks goes to the editors and contributors of News & Views for their work. This local community magazine has been up and running since 1947 and it has captured a lot of important information about the community.
Note: The Town of Baie-D'Urfé is the copyright holder of the "A HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF BAIE D'URFE" book. This web site is however a private initiative and unrelated to the Town.
Do you have some stories or pictures about Baie-D’Urfé that you would like to share?
Come and join!
Contact: Guido Socher,
This page contains some material copyrighted by third parties but all other content is free and available under the creative commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0).
p.s. The URL to these pages has the word "book" in it because of the book by Thomas Lee. There is no intention to convert these web pages into a book.