Cantley 1889 Articles

Echo Cantley Echo

The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 27 no 8, March 2016. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.

Toponymy (part 2) Stories behind Cantley's Street Names

by members of Cantley 1889

Place names should be expressions of identity, linking our community with its history, culture or geographic features. "Toponymy - the Bilingual Concept that Builds Communities!" by Michael Rosen appeared in the June 2015 Echo (volume 26 no.11).

In the early days, particularly in the early 1970s, the municipality named existing un-named roads in consultation with property owners living on those streets. In 1993 and after, these names became officially accepted by the Quebec Government under its new toponymy policy. This is also the time when each Cantley house was assigned a street number.

The following tells the origins of some Cantley street names.

Also branching off chemin Summer is rue des Estacades (log booms) a name suggested by a resident to honour Cantley's logging heritage. Thousands of logs, encircled by booms and pulled by tugboats, travelled past the base of rue des Estacades along the Gatineau River from the late 19th century to the early 1990s. (Photo taken near the summit of rue des Estacades.)


Chemin Holmes is named after Daniel Holmes, who farmed there from approx 1880. Daniel was the eldest son of the eldest son, Patrick, who homesteaded farther south in Cantley on his arrival in 1847 from Co Mayo, Ireland, with his widowed mother (whose husband is thought to have died at Grosse Ile, QC), four younger brothers and a younger sister who died soon after their arrival. Along with their neighbours, these "Famine Irish" persevered and many of their descendants continue to live in Cantley.


Interestingly, chemin Summer was the road through the Ray Foley farm for close to a century. Because the name chemin Foley already existed elsewhere in Cantley another name had to be chosen. In the early 1950s, several summer cottages were built at the end of the road, so after consulting their owners, the road became chemin Summer. Rue du Chalet is a small street leading from chemin Summer to two of these cottages.


Chemin Foley is named after the Basil Foley who lived on the road with his family at the time of naming roads in Cantley. The previous owner was Earl Day, a one-time employee of William Connor, of the well-known J. H. Connor & Son Ltd. washing machine manufacturer. The land was originally settled by one of the McClelland families. Basil was the son of Maurice Foley and Agnes Prud'homme, the daughter of Alexandre Prud'homme, Cantley's first mayor (1889).


An offshoot of chemin Romanuk is rue Oasis-des-Carrières. At least part of this street is on the property originally owned by Mr. & Mrs. Christopher (Christie) Holmes. Mid-way up the hill, what once were small mica mines later became a series of three quarries. In the 1960s the rock from these quarries was used to build what is now part of rue Saint-Louis in Gatineau. The quarries have since filled with water providing inspiration for the street name. Continuing further along, again on the right, is rue du Contrefort (Buttress). This meandering street leads right to the source of its name where it meets a lateral 'mountain' range.


Chemin Ste-Elisabeth takes its name from the Catholic church located at 47 chemin Ste-Elisabeth. The parish was founded in 1868. The present church was built to replace the small chapel that the priest from Chelsea had visited, providing occasional services. The first parish priest, Fr. Patrick McGoey, had the McGoey-Milks house built as his home (694 montée de la Source). The parish continues to serve the francophone and anglophone communities of Cantley.


Avenue Gatineau was named for access to the Gatineau River. This sign is on the Templeton/ East Hull Line about 2 km north of chemin Taché. It was once named the Haycock Mine Road since it led to the Haycock Iron Mine. Later it was named Lamarche Road for François Lamarche, an early settler in Gatineau. It is now on land used by the Nakkertok Ski Club. The Gatineau River and the City of Gatineau were named after Nicholas Gatineau (1664- 1700), notary of Trois-Rivières, Quebec. In about 1650, Gatineau wanting to return to his beloved France, turned to hunting and trapping on the Gatineau River to gather the needed cash for his voyage home. He never made it. Legend says he drowned in the river that now bears his name.


Rue du Contrefort intersects with impasse de la Coulée, appropriately named because this street descends into a small valley with steep sides that probably once carried melted water from a glacier.


Cantley 1889 welcomes any information about the origin of a Cantley street or place name. If you can help, please email: or write to 934 montée de la Source, Cantley, QC J8V 3K5. We are hoping to write more toponymy articles in future Echo editions.

For information on Quebec's toponymy, including when a street name became offi cial, see the official government website This website also welcomes missing information.

Return to list...