Val-Brillant, Quebec Canada

Discover Val-Brillant, Quebec: A Historical and Cultural Gem

Nestled in eastern Quebec, Canada, at the base of the Gaspé peninsula, Val-Brillant is a charming municipality that offers a rich history and a unique cultural experience. Located on the southern shores of Lake Matapedia, Val-Brillant is an integral part of the picturesque Matapédia Valley.

The Many Names of Val-Brillant, Quebec

Val-Brillant has been known by many names throughout its history. Initially, it was referred to as Lac-Matapédia, Brochu or Brouché, and later Lac-à-Brochu until 1871. This name was in honor of Pierre Brochu (1795-1871), the first settler in the valley in what is now Sayabec. The place was also known as McGowe, named after an engineer working on the railroad. From 1876 to 1912, it was called Cedar Hall, a reference to the large hangar built from pieces of cedar that served as a coal shed for the railway. Finally, it was known as Saint-Pierre-du-Lac, in honor of Pierre Brillant (1852-1911), a missionary in the Matapedia Valley from 1881 to 1889 and parish priest from 1889 until his death.

The Rich History of Val-Brillant, Quebec

Originally Mi'kmaq territory, the area was granted as a seignory by Louis de Buade de Frontenac to Charles-Nicolas-Joseph D’Amours in 1694. After D'Amours' death in 1728, none of his descendants claimed the rights to the seignory, leaving it a remote and undeveloped land until the 19th century.

In 1830, construction began on the Kempt Road, a strategic military road between Quebec and the Maritimes, which was completed in 1833. An inn serving postilions and travelers along the road operated there from 1867 to 1876.

European settlement began in 1872 during the construction of the Intercolonial Railway. Supervisor Engineer Peter Grant built a house that accommodated the railway employees for many years. In 1876, the railway was completed and on July 1, the first train passed through.

In 1881, the post office opened, and two years later, the Mission of Saint-Pierre-du-Lac was established, named in honor of Pierre Brillant. In 1890, the Parish Municipality of Saint-Pierre-du-Lac was founded. By 1898, it had a population of 1600 people.

In 1915, the main population center separated from the parish municipality and was incorporated as the Village Municipality of Saint-Pierre-du-Lac, but renamed one year later to Val-Brillant. In 1986, the Village Municipality of Val-Brillant and the Parish Municipality of Saint-Pierre-du-Lac were rejoined in the current Municipality of Val-Brillant.

Demographics of Val-Brillant, Quebec

The linguistic landscape of Val-Brillant is predominantly French, with 99.4% of the population speaking French as their first language. English is not a first language for any of the residents, and 0.6% of the population speaks another language as their first language.