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Sorel-Tracy, Quebec (Canada)


Last modified: 2018-07-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: sorel-tracy | quebec |
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[Sorel-Tracy flag] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

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The municipality of Sorel-Tracy (40,964 inhabitants in 2015; 6,670 ha) is located on the confluence of rivers Saint-Laurent and Richelieu. The municipality was established on 15 March 2000 as the merger of the former municipalities of Sorel (including Saint-Pierre-de-Sorel since 1992) and Tracy, validated by a referendum.

The region of Sorel was visited by the early colonists of Nouvelle-France, Jacques Cartier (1535) and Samuel de Champlain (1603). Charles Huault de Montmagny, Governor of Nouvelle-France, erected on 13 August 1642 the Richelieu Fort, which was ruined and abandoned five years later. Permanent settlement of the area was initiated in 1665 by Louis XIV. Alexandre de Prouville, Marquis of Tracy and owner of the Regiment of Carignan-Salières, was appointed Lieutenant General of French America, that is, head of the government of Nouvelle-France, from 1665 to 1668. He led two pacification campaigns against the Iroquois, erected two forts on river Richelieu (Chambly and Sainte-Thèrèse, and commissioned Captain Pierre de Saurel to rebuild the ruined Richelieu Fort. The regiment re-embarked to France in 1668, leaving in Nouvelle-France 400 soldiers and officers. Several decommissioned officers, became feudal lords and organized the colonization in the name of the King of France. Pierre de Saurel was officially granted in 1672 the domain he had been organizing for seven years. He settled 33 of his former soldiers and erected a mill and a chapel within the fort enclosure. Saurel was contracted in 1671 as the official supplier of oak and pine wood for the Royal shipyard in Quebec,. Lacking funds, Saurel became a fur trader; after his sudden death in Montreal in 1682, his widow, Catherine Legardeur, would keep the domain for the next 31 years. She eventually sold the domain to Claude de Ramezay, Governor of Montreal.

The parish of Saint-Pierre-de-Saurel was established on 21 September 1721. According to the 1724 census, the parish counted 53 landlords and c. 300 inhabitants. Shipbuilding, first mentioned on 30 September 1730, was favoured by the wood resources and the natural harbour of the Richelieu estuary; in 1795, the traveller Isaac Weld stated that the main source of income in the village was shipbuilding. The first manufacture in the area, producing tar, was established in 1740. Ten years later, Saint-Pierre-de-Saurel counted c. 800 inhabitants.

The lord of Saurel and commander of Quebec, Jean-Baptiste-Claude-Roch de Ramezay, surrendered Quebec to the English on 18 September 1759. In summer 1760, the inhabitants of Saurel attempted to stop the English troops marching to Montréal, to no avail; Montréal was seized on 8 September 1760.

In 1763, the Ramezay family sold the domain of Sorel to John Bondfield, an English burgher of Quebec. Seventeen years later, the Governor of the Province of Quebec, Sir Frederick Haldimand, purchased Sorel on behalf of the Crown to establish Anglo-American Loyalists. German mercenaries in the service of the Crown, mostly from the Duchy of Brunswick, also settled in Sorel; their chief, Major General Friedrich Adolphus von Riedesel lived with his family in the Governors" House from 1781 to 1783. The newcomers founded in July 1784 an Anglican church, the second ever built in Canada. Governor Haldimand commissioned in 1786 Major French, a civil engineer, and Samuel Holland to re-design the town according to a grid plan ; this was the first urbanism plan implemented in Canada. Impressed by the design during an official visit, Prince William Henry (later, King William IV) "offered" his name to the town, which would be known under the dual name Sorel / William Henry for the next 73 years.

In the 19th century, shipbuilding superseded fur trade as the main source of income in Sorel. H. Jollief owned in 1810 a shipyard located on the left bank of river Richelieu. The shipyard of the St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. was transferred nearby in 1830. The Irish McCarthy brothers founded in 1839 another shipyard, transformed 30 years later in the Federal Government's shipyard. This industry peaked in 1937 with the establishment of Marine Industries Ltd.; together with the Sorel Industries Ltd. steelworks, the shipyard employed up to 10,000 workers during the Second World War, producing warships and ammunition. The population of Sorel doubled between 1941 and 1951.

On 20 February 1954, the Parish Municipality of Saint-Joseph-de-Sorel was erected a Town. The name of Tracy, a tribute to the Marquis de Tracy, was proposed by a citizen in a public contest. The proposed names should not end with "ville" and not include the name of a saint, either. - Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 25 March 2017

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.


The flag of the City of Sorel-Tracy has a white field with the city logo centred horizontally, about two-thirds the height of the flag. The logo is square, with a wide stylized “S” in white running from the left side of the upper edge to right side of the lower edge; the background to the left is green and to the right is blue. Below, running half the length of the flag, is SOREL-TRACY in blue sans-serif letters.
Luc Baronian, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


The city’s documentation interprets the logo:
The logo represents a transformation of a capital S in bold Times font, cut at its extremities sans serif. This stylized S, the initial of Sorel-Tracy, represents somewhat the sinuous line of the Richelieu River that crosses the new city and its two components.

Luc Baronian, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


The flag was created after the merger of the cities of Sorel and Tracy in 2000. The logo is derived from the former logo of Sorel, which was designed in February 1994 by Jean-Guy Rajotte, then a professor at Fernand-Lefebvre High School and a member of the Société des graphistes du Québec. That Sorel logo was identical to the current logo, except in just blue and white. The blue/green colour combination was taken from the former logo of Tracy.
Luc Baronian, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Luc Baronian, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

More about the Flag


The logo of Sorel-Tracy was derived from the logo of the former municipality of Tracy, designed in February 1994 by Jean-Guy Rajotte, then teacher at the Fernand-Lefebvre secondary school and registered member of the Société des graphistes du Québec. The logo is made of a capital letter "S", in Times bold font, with the ends and serifs removed. The stylised "S", for "Sorel-Tracy", represents the sinuous course of river Richelieu, which crosses the new town and separates its two components. - Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 25 March 2017

Former Flags and Symbols

The former cities of Sorel and Tracy had flags. Sorel’s was white with the municipal coat of arms and name of the city. The Sorel and Tracy parts of the city each retains its own coat of arms.
Ivan Sache, 25 March 2017