Visit cemeteries to learn about our history

Les Jardins du Souvenir administers 14 Roman Catholic cemeteries in the Diocese of Gatineau. Established in 1978 as a non-profit organization, the Jardins du Souvenir is represented by Archbishop Durocher and is administered by a governing board.

The cemeteries cover an area of 75 acres of wooden and well-appointed land. They are well known for their peaceful beauty where tranquility, respect and serenity prevail. They have been chosen as the final resting place for thousands of Western Quebec families for over 165 years.

The cemeteries are a quiet refuge in the heart of the city. They serve as a haven of serenity for those who wish to reflect on the passing of loved ones as well as a sacred place for citizens who are passionate and knowledgeable about the history of our community.

The oldest cemeteries, Saint-François de Sales located on Saint-Louis Street (Gatineau sector) and Saint-Paul on Chemin d’Aylmer (Aylmer sector), were created around 1840. Then followed the Notre-Dame cemeteries, located on Boulevard Fournier (Hull sector) in 1872, Saint-Rédempteur on Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes (Hull sector) in 1914, Saint-Jean-Marie-Vianney on Boulevard Labrosse (Gatineau sector) in 1929, and St-Alexandre on Chemin des Érables (Gatineau sector) in 1960. Since then, the following have been added to the list: Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (Masson), L’Ange-Gardien, Saint-Fidèle (Fassett), Saint- Louis-de-France (Poltimore) Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours (Montebello), Saint-Nom-de-Marie (Lac Sainte-Marie), Saint-Pierre-de-Wakefield, Antoine-de-Padoue (Perkins), Saint-Émile-de-Suffolk and most recently, Sainte-Valérie (Boileau).

Commemorative ceremonies are organized every year in September to remind us of all these people who died. A mass or liturgy of the word is celebrated in each cemetery to allow the population to gather and remember their departed loved ones.

Did you know that… ?

  • The first cremator in the region was owned by Les Jardins du Souvenir, and it was in service from 1979 to 1995, after which two other cremators took over.

  • The entrance portal of Notre-Dame Cemetery, built in 1882, is made of carved stone according to the plans of Hull architect Charles Brodeur.

  • The Angel of Death sounding the trumpet of the last judgment, the statue atop the entrance portal to the Cemetery, was produced in 1902 by Quebec sculptor Arthur Vincent.

  • The consecration of the first columbarium in the Outaouais was conducted at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, 1983 by Mgr. Adolphe Proulx, second Bishop of the Diocese of Gatineau.

  • The first burials in Notre-Dame Cemetery of Hull took place in 1872.

  • Cremation, previously prohibited by the Catholic Church, was accepted by Pope Paul VI in 1964, since which time over 90% of people in the Outaouais have opted for this mode of disposition.

  • Administration of Notre-Dame Cemetery of Hull was the responsibility of the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate from the beginning until 1978.

  • Mgr. Adolphe Proulx, the incumbent bishop, died in 1987 at the age of 56 and is buried in Notre-Dame Cemetery.

  • The caretaker of Notre-Dame Cemetery of Hull, Mr. Roland Desjardins, lived with his family in the caretaker’s house, built in 1915.

  • It was under the management of Mgr. Adolphe Proulx that five of the six cemeteries currently administered by Les Jardins du Souvenir were assembled under the name of the consolidated Roman Catholic cemeteries of Hull.

  • Saint-François de Sales and Saint-Paul cemeteries opened in 1840, but Saint-Alexandre cemetery opened just in 1960.

  • Actress, writer and critic Laurette Larocque, better known as Jean Despréz, has rested in Notre-Dame Cemetery of Hull since 1965.

  • The founder of the Rassemblement pour l’indépendance nationale, Marcel Chaput, was buried there in 1991.

  • Father Louis-Étienne Reboul, OMI, founder of the parish of Hull, was buried in Notre-Dame Cemetery in 1877.

  • Donalda Charron, who led the famous matchmakers’ strike in 1924, was interred in the same cemetery in 1967.

  • The last man to be hung at Hull prison, Omer Girard, was buried at Notre-Dame in 1937.

  • Despite their physical proximity, St-Rédempteur Cemetery and the Coopérative funéraire de l’Outaouais are entirely separate entities independent of each other.

  • In 1999, Les Jardins du Souvenir sold a parcel of St-Rédempteur Cemetery to the Coopérative funéraire de l’Outaouais so that it could build a funeral home there.

  • The stations of the outdoor Stations of the Cross in the Notre-Dame cemetery on boulevard Fournier are an exact replica of the stations found in the Saint-René Goupil church. A great way to preserve and showcase the heritage of our churches. A visit is a must.

  • The Christ on the Cross (Corpus) in the Notre-Dame cemetery on Fournier Boulevard was created by sculptor Yves Trudeau for display in the residence of the Grey Nuns of Ottawa. The nuns subsequently donated it to the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette parish in Hull, which in turn donated it to the Jardins du Souvenir in 2021, when the Way of the Cross and Calvary were built.

Guardian’s house

Built in 1915, the Notre-Dame Cemetery Guardian’s house was first inhabited by Ovide Lemieux, his wife Exilda Jacques and their seven children, before becoming the family home of their son Joseph. The house was later occupied by Ernest Martel and his wife Alice Brault, who raised their nine children here, leaving in 1964. Other guardians replaced the Martels until 1975. After that date, the house served as the cemetery administrator’s office, and the guardian’s duties were divided among several people. In October 2006, the house was emptied and the offices moved to a new building on the site of the former kitchen garden. The house has now been given a new lease of life, as the offices of the management staff have been moved in, above the thousands of monuments that adorn the Notre-Dame cemetery.

The guardian’s house was probably a rarity in the region. The social value of this property lies in the fact that it evokes the very special and important work of the caretaker-digger who, through his tasks, took care of the places where our fellow citizens, our ancestors, our beloved ones and our elites are buried. Another significant social value of the time is expressed by the presence of this residence within the perimeter of the cemetery. The happy memories of the descendants of the guardians’ families and their friends bear witness to a time when the presence of death was part of everyday life.

Some of you will remember the sometimes acrimonious exchanges that took place a few years ago concerning the house. Will it be preserved? Destroyed? Renovated? For financial reasons, the Jardins du Souvenir funeral home requested and obtained permission from the city to demolish the house. Following pressure from citizens, the Commission d’urbanisme, which had given its approval, and a dusted-off document recommending that the house be granted heritage status, the City of Hull reversed its decision: the house had to survive and be renovated. But with what money? Considered heritage, but not cited, the house cannot benefit from all the advantages it would normally have. A grant promised by the city was never received. Fortunately, Religious Heritage made a substantial donation of $163,800, which helped make possible the restoration of the building that now houses the administration and cemetery offices.

Leave only the beautiful memories.

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