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At a glance: the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region
The MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges territory extends west of the island of Montréal in the Montérégie administrative region, at the convergence of the Ottawa River and the St. Lawrence River, near the Ontario and American borders. Eleven of the 23 municipalities of the MRC are part of the Montréal Metropolitan Community. Stretching over an area of 855 square kilometers, a gas infrastructure runs across the region and a major motorway network, namely Highways 20, 40 and 30, and two major railways, specifically the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National.
The vast green spaces and waterways that crisscross the territory are essential elements of the unique flavor of the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges. It is thus no surprise that the region offers several recreational and tourist attractions to regional residents neighboring population. Among the array of attractions in the region, you will find the Canal de Soulanges, Mont-Rigaud, Lake St. Louis, Lake of Two Mountains and Lake St. François, the many golf courses and equestrian centers, without forgetting numerous important heritage sites and cultural facilities. Among other gems, the region offers exceptional sites, such as the Historical Park of Pointe du Moulin, the National Historic Site of Coteau-du-Lac, la Maison Trestler, le Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, the artistic bicycle path, as many witnesses revealing the importance that culture holds within the MRC.
Proud of our heritage
Under British ruling and after the United States War of Independence, the convergence of a set of social factors brought into question the feudal tenure of lands. As a result, in 1854, the seigniorial system was abolished and replaced by municipal and regional administrations. The majority of the current 23 municipalities that compose the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges were then founded from religious parishes territorial limits.
In 1853, the construction of the Grand Trunk Railway from Montréal to Toronto, combined with an array of natural heritage attractions within Vaudreuil-Soulanges, will allow the middle-class villages to take root. So new communities began to emerge, especially in Dorion and in Hudson Heights.
In 1899, the inauguration of the Canal de Soulanges deeply changed the landscape from Pointe-des-Cascades to Coteau-Landing, promoting commercial trade, demographic and economic development, particularly in the villages lining the south shore. Considered today as a flagship heritage of marine engineering, the Canal de Soulanges was considered one of the most modern work of Canadian maritime engineering for the era due to its using avant-garde construction techniques and complete electrification made from an integrated power station linked to the canal and named "le petit pouvoir."
The construction of road bridges connecting the peninsula of Vaudreuil-Soulanges to the island of Montréal along with the economic boom caused by post-WWII encouraged middle-class families to settle in the region. In addition, the construction of highways 20 and 40 in the 1960s accelerated economic development. This is how urbanization and several residential projects saw the day.
All these facts and historical events have left a rich heritage that reflects even today, our wealth, our culture and a strong regional identity.
The location of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, on the outskirts of Montréal, makes it a very popular place of residence and is at the beginning, since many years, of the increase in the growth and diversity of the population. Its rich history, tourist attractions, rural and urban character, openness and dynamism, benefit the whole community and citizens who value culture and progress.
The MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges creation dates back to 1982 wheren the two county municipalities of Vaudreuil and Soulanges and the territory's cities were integrated. All the Vaudreuil-Soulanges municipalities are formally gathered around one table under the presidency of the prefect, elected by his peers, the mayors of each of the MRC. These meetings act as the starting point for dialogue at the regional level and the rallying forces from the municipal sector.
The first regular session of the council of the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges was held at the Community Center in Les Cèdres on May 12, 1982. Subsequently, the MRC council held meetings in the building of the County of Soulanges in Coteau-Landing (Les Coteaux). At that meeting, Mr. Bernard Charlebois, then mayor of Saint-Lazare, was elected prefect and, as such, chaired the meeting. A total of 30 municipalities part of the MRC at that time and the mayors of each municipality, including the municipal representative of the prefect, formed the council. In 1999, the MRC gave the Coteau-Landing building to the municipality of Les Coteaux and has since held its meetings at the current of Vaudreuil-Dorion location. Today, the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges includes 23 municipalities.
Since its creation, there have been 8 periods of prefecture at the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, those of Bernard Charlebois (1982-1987), Claude Sabourin (1987-1993), Luc Tison (1993-1998), Normand Ménard (1998-2008), Gilles Farand (2008-2010), Réal Brazeau (2010-2011), Robert Sauvé (2011-2013), Marie-Claude Nichols (2013-2014) and Jean Lalonde, the current prefect elected in April 2014.
Did you know that?
It was in 1859 that the county council of Vaudreuil had the current building built. With neo-classical style, it is one of the oldest public buildings in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region. At its inception, it was used for the activities of the county council, the circuit court and the registrar's office. Moreover, it was used for meetings between municipalities of the Village and the Parish of Vaudreuil.