From early on Saint-Lambert had English pioneer settlers, but none of them stayed on for long. One exception is the Smith family, even if some would consider them latecomers; their presence here goes back for more than 185 years.

William Smith, the patriarch, was born in Cambridge, England, in 1786 and died in Saint-Lambert in 1852. He came to Canada around 1815 and settled close to Montreal, in the district of Griffintown. In 1816 he became the owner of one of the first brickworks in Montreal. With the construction of the Lachine canal from 1822 to 1825, his brickyard, located in the triangle of the future streets of Ottawa, Murray and McCord became very cramped in. William Smith decided to move lock stock and barrel across the river to Saint-Lambert. Through a notary’s act, signed October 29, 1832, we learn that the family bought a huge property in the Mouillepied.

Members of the Smith's family on their farm on Riverside (Source : Walker Family)

Members of the Smith’s family on their farm on Riverside (Source : Walker Family)

The land, which in modern day Saint-Lambert would stretch along the river from Bolton to Alexandra, reached all the way to Lapinière Road. At this end of their property they again built a brickwork and tile manufactory. The original deed mentions a fieldstone house and other buildings—most probably barns and stables. Later, the family would own a second stone house close to Alexandra, now destroyed. In 1852, the Smiths again suffered consequences of modernization: the Railway coming from Laprairie bisects their property like all the others of the Mouillepied.

William had died that year, four years after his son William II accidentally drowned. Both men were interred on the property. In 1835 the younger Smith had married Ellen Cauthers, who would go on record as the widow Wm. Smith on many deeds and early maps of Saint-Lambert. In 1860, she had the bodies of her late husband and father-in-law exhumed and put to a final rest in the new Mount-Royal Cemetery.

When in 1865 the Wesleyan Church was being built on Victoria Street the Smith family donated the bricks. They also brought the new wooden pews across the river, having waited till it was conveniently frozen, so their horse drawn sleds could make a beeline to our shores. The brickworks stayed operational till after the First World War. It is an amusing fact that the owners of such a factory lived in a house built of the biggest fieldstones in all of Saint-Lambert.

Over the years the tradition of naming the first son William was kept on. Some members of the ever expanding family moved closer to the Village. One of the descendants, William Percival Smith gave his life in the Great War of 1914-1918. The still existing stone house on Riverside remained the property of the Smiths for more than a century.  In 1964 the City honoured this English pioneer family by renaming Lorne Park, but for whatever reasons the name of Smith Park did not take hold.

Sonni Malo