Open letters

<em>Echo</em> Cantley <em>Echo</em>

The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 35 no 10, May 2024. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.

Cantley’s Identity – Another suburb or “nature accueillante”?

By CPYC & Cantley1889

You can help determine Cantley’s future identity.

If you are under the impression that Cantley is a place where people go about their lives and that is it – you probably have not heard about the exciting historic events of citizen activism and resistance which ensured our community survived sudden death. Knowing our history and understanding our heritage are much more important than we often acknowledge. Not only because history tends to repeat itself, but because there are lessons to be learned.

Even as far back as the 1800s, Cantley Citizens have been rallying together to preserve Cantley’s unique identity and rural character. In 1989, after six years of hard work by volunteers and 90% citizen support, Cantley became the only municipality in Quebec to separate from the big city amalgamation which happened in 1975. The province granted us our independence from Gatineau so we could preserve our own unique identity. Cantley’s precious identity is now under threat once again.

The main lesson learned from our “battle for independence” is that we are stronger together. Regardless of language, religion, educational background, whether an original Cantley family or newcomer, in the 1980s we all fought together for our shared values and a common cause. Cantley citizens can rally again today whenever we feel that our very reasons to call a place home are under threat. We do not have to be passive by-standers. It is up to us to decide what Cantley’s future should be.

Chemin River is one of Cantley’s most historic roads bordered by forests rolling pastoral farmlands with horses and wildlife. Most historic is the 1829 farm of Cantley’s pioneer first settler, Andrew Blackburn. Beside it is the peaceful Blackburn Pioneer Cemetery nestled under a granite cliff and shaded by ancient trees. As its plaque describes, at least 32 of Cantley’s earliest settlers are buried here. Near Chemin River’s entrance was Cantley’s first Town Hall built in 1893. A short walk from there is the road’s picturesque Pomeroy Farm. Dating from the 1830s, its 113 acres of pasture, forest and its Victorian farmhouse are still intact.

Arthur Pomeroy helped make history. He was one of the key people in Bertrand Boily’s Cantley Citizen’s Committee which strategized Cantley’s 1989 separation. In his Pomeroy Farm home, he hosted many memorable meetings for the Committee and Cantley citizens.

Please join us for a joyful afternoon in the beautiful gardens of the heritage Pomeroy farm, 39 Chemin River, May 18, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., to celebrate 35 and 135 years of Cantley!

Enjoy homemade treats. Listen to firsthand stories about exciting events that infl uenced the Cantley we know and love today. Meet fellow citizens who call Cantley home and those who have been stewards of our beautiful rural community and its “welcoming nature”.

On May 28, don’t miss the opportunity to share your hopes and wishes at Cantley’s townhall to defi ne our identity going forward.