Government of Canada

Government of Canada

October 10, 2012 11:20 ET

Harper Government Commemorates Dominique Ducharme and His Role in the War of 1812

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 10, 2012) - Jacques Gourde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, for Official Languages and for the Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec, announced today on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, that the building located at 105 McGill Street/400 Place d'Youville, in Montreal, Quebec, will be called the Dominique Ducharme Building.

"I am delighted that this building is being named in honour of Dominique Ducharme to commemorate the crucial role he played during the War of 1812," Minister Ambrose stated. "Mr. Ducharme fought both at the Battle of Beaver Dams in Upper Canada and at the Battle of the Chateauguay, and played an important role in Canada's development."

During the naming ceremony, Mr. Gourde unveiled a commemorative plaque that will adorn the building. "The building's proximity to the Battle of the Chateauguay site gives it special historic significance for the region," Mr. Gourde said. "It is appropriate that this building be named in honour of Mr. Ducharme, who fought in this battle and contributed to the rich history of our country."

This event is part of several commemoration activities taking place this year to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The anniversary is an opportunity for all Canadians to take pride in our country's traditions and history. The end of the war laid the foundation for Confederation and Canada's ultimate emergence as an independent nation in North America.

The building, which was officially opened in 1915, symbolized Montreal as the gateway to Canada. The building is currently occupied by the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Revenue Agency and Environment Canada.

The heritage of Dominique Ducharme

The Ducharmes were an important family involved in the fur trade and were for long closely associated with First Nations. Dominique Ducharme played a key role in the victory at the Battle of Beaver Dams in Upper Canada and at the Battle of the Chateauguay in 1813. It took the combined efforts of the British navy and army, volunteer Anglophone and Francophone militias and First Nations allies to put an end to the American invasion.

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BACKGROUNDER

105 McGill Street / 400 Place d'Youville

Montreal, Quebec

The building located at 105 McGill Street / 400 Place d'Youville in Montreal, Quebec, has been renamed the "Dominique Ducharme Building" given its proximity to the site of the Battle of the Chateauguay and its historical importance to the region.

Captain Dominique Ducharme fought at the Battle of Beaver Dams, in Upper Canada, and at the Battle of the Chateauguay, in Lower Canada. He played a key role in the development of Canada, thus contributing to the rich history of our country. During the War of 1812, Captain Ducharme was part of a contingent of Natives based in Lower Canada. He led 300 Caughnawaga Natives to reinforce the militia based at Lacolle, which was then transferred to Upper Canada in 1813, to Burlington Heights to be precise, with other Aboriginal warriors. During the Battle of Beaver Dams, Dominique Ducharme rounded up a troop of warriors, who forced an American detachment to surrender.

The Battle of the Chateauguay took place in October 1813. At the time, an American army major launched a mission in which his troops would enter Canadian territory and march on Montreal. On route, the American troops encountered a much smaller force, composed of Canadian Voltigeurs and Canadian Fencibles regiments, Lower Canada militias and First Nations allies led by Dominique Ducharme. British commander Lieutenant-Colonel Charles-Michel d'Irumberry de Salaberry tricked the American major into believing that the Canadian and Aboriginal force was much larger than its actual numbers and, after a hard-fought battle, the Americans retreated back to American territory.

The Battle of the Chateauguay was one of two major battles that caused the Americans to abandon their Saint Lawrence campaign.

The building

Officially opened in 1915 and later extended according to plans by architects Thomas Fuller and Dalbé Viau, the Customs Building has been a symbol of Montreal as the gateway to Canada. It was designated as a "recognized" building for historical reasons, for its remarkable architectural design and, even more importantly, for its significance to its surroundings.

Historical interest in the building is largely based on the important part of Canadian history that it represents. When construction of this customs check warehouse began in 1912, in the second decade of the 20th century, business activity was taking off in Canada. The wing whose construction was completed in 1936 allowed additional Customs Department services to be brought under the same roof as existing services at a time when the Department was dealing with new responsibilities assigned in 1916, after direct taxation was introduced.

The architectural importance of the building can be seen in the superior quality of the Canadian granite and sandstone used. The building has maintained its historical ties to the surrounding buildings, its influence on the character of the neighbouring streets and its importance as a local landmark.

Contact Information

  • Amber Irwin
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    819-997-5421

    Media Relations
    Public Works and Government Services Canada
    819-956-2315