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Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix, Quebec (Canada)

Le Haut-Richelieu, Montérégie

Last modified: 2020-06-13 by rob raeside
Keywords: saint-paul-de-l'île-aux-noix | le haut-richelieu | montérégie | quebec |
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[municipal flag] image by Olivier Touzeau, 15 May 2020

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Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix: 29.47 km², 1,900 inhabitants

The municipality of Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix is located 20 km south of Saint-Jean-de-Richelieu on the western bank of river Richelieu. Reported in 1609 by Champlain, the place was settled at the end of the 18th century. The parish of Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix was established in 1898, separated from Saint-Valentin; the municipality of the parish of Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix was established the same year. The dedication of the new parish was a tribute to Paul Bruchési (1855-1939, appointed archbishop of Montreal in 1897.

The blockhouse of Rivière-Lacolle was built in 1781 close to the confluence of rivers Lacolle and Richelieu by the British colonial authorities to watch the border with the new American republic. Aimed at protecting a mill and a lighthouse, the blockhouse was used as an outpost by the British soldiers. The two-storied, square wooden building was equipped with a tunnel connecting it to the river, which was mostly used by the soldiers to get freshwater.
On 30 March 1814, the American General Wilkinson headed to the mill and the blockhouse with a few thousands soldiers; they were stopped the low temperature and 200 British soldiers commanded by Major Hancock and supported by 250 men garrisoned on Nuts' Islands. This was the last significant event in the war in Lower Canada.
Disbanded in 1814, the blockhouse was used as a private residence until 1935. Acquired in 1950 by the Quebec government, the blockhouse was restored in 1965, 1975 and 1981 and transferred to the municipality of Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix in 1996.

Nuts' Island, located in the middle of river Richelieu, was part of the domain of Noyan granted in 1733. The lord rented it in 1753 to Pierre Jourdenet; the yearly loan was "a bag of nuts from the island". Fortified in 1759 by the French, the island was seized the next year by General Amherst, who ordered to suppress the island's fortifications.
The revolted American occupied the island in 1775 but had to abandon it because of disease. To face the threat of an American invasion through river Richelieu, the Brits fortified the island from 1778 to 1782. During the 1812 war, a naval fight occurred on 3 June 1813 close to the island. Whiel patrolling on Lake Champlain, thr American vessels "Growler" and "Eagle" sailed on river Richelieu up to the islands. Three British dreadnoughts ran after them and eventually captured them; the ships were renamed and incorporated to the British fleet. At the time, a shipyard was set up on the island, which boosted the development of a temporary village. The shipyard was closed in 1834.
The erection of Fort Lennox, named for Governor Charles Lennox, was initiated in 1819 and completed in 1829. The garrison was increased during the 1837-1838 rebellions; Patriotes were temporarily jailed in the fort. The soldiers left the fort in 1857, the fort being converted in Canada's first prison for the "reform" of teenagers.
Garrisoned again in 1862 during the Civil War, the fort was eventually abandoned in 1870 then the British soldiers left Canada. During the Second World War, Fort Lennox was transformed in Camp I-41 to intern Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany.
One of the few genuine British fortifications left in Canada, Fort Lennox is now managed by Parcs Canada
Municipality website
Ivan Sache, 19 May 2020


Flag visible at and
White flag with coat of arms and the name of the municipality in bold capital golden letters
Olivier Touzeau, 15 May 2020

The coat of arms of Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix is "Azure in base a river vert surmounted by an island proper charged sinister wit the tree vert the trunk sable. A chief pale azure 10 cannonballs sable in pyramid surrounded by two golden wheat spikes. Beneath the shield a scroll or inscribed "Affabilité et vigilance".

The chief recalls the history of the community. The two wheat spikes represent agriculture. The 10 cannonballs recalls vigilance exerted by Fort Lennox as an outpost.
The tree represents the nut tree that once thrived on the island and became its namesake (Nuts' Island).
The blue base represents river Richelieu, representing leisure and water sports, making of Saint-Paul-de l'Île-aux-Noix a privileged resort.
Histoire du Québec
Ivan Sache, 19 May 2020