The name Beaconsfield was first used in 1876 by John Henry Menzies as the name of his vineyard (farm 31), in honour of his friend the renowned politician and novelist, Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield and Prime Minister of England (1874-1880).

Beaconsfield became a familiar appellation for the surrounding area and organizations:  the Train Station (1879), the Golf Club (1902) and the area around St. Charles known as Village of Beaconsfield (c1905).

Beaconsfieldwas accepted by its first Mayor Joseph Léonide Perron and its Council becoming the municipal name when it was incorporated on June 4th, 1910.

But, long before that name was used, the territory had been occupied since the 17th Century when fur trading was the economic basis for the settlement of Canada.

When the Sulpicians became the “Seigneurs” and sole owners of the Island of Montreal in 1663, they endeavoured an urban plan to belt the Island. Grants of land in the 17th century were allocated to established merchants, gentry and soldiers of the Carignan-Salières Regiments under the “Régime seigneurial” by the “Coutume de Paris”.

A first establishment west of Ville-Marie was Lachine followed by another known as “Mission St-Louis” in 1685 that encompassed the area between Lachine and Senneville. Concessions were allotted along Lake St. Louis. The first concession granted on the present territory of Beaconsfield was in 1678 to Jean Guenet who named it Beau Repaire (Beaurepaire). During the Iroquois attacks which lead to the Lachine Massacre (1689), the inhabitants took refuge at Ville-Marie. Following the “Peace Treaty” of 1701 between the French and the Amerindians, the farms were again being cultivated and hamlets expanded into the village of Ste-Anne-du-Bout-de-l’Isle and Pointe-Claire. Part of the Paroisse de Saint-Joachim de la Pointe Claire became Beaconsfield in 1910.

From pioneer settlement, Beaconsfield evolved into a favourite summer resort in the 19th century to an elite suburban residential heaven after World War II.

In 2002, Beaconsfield was merged with Baie d’Urfé into an administrative borough of Montréal. However, in 2006, these two municipalities separated from Montréal to become two independent cities in the Montréal Agglomeration.

The Beginnings of Beaconsfield Heights Park

As in most housing development of the mid 20th century in Beaconsfield, the Beaconsfield Heights Association was created by the residents of the neighbourhood. For several years, the thought of a community park had been discussed but no definite progress was made until April 1950 when it was found that the last available property suitable for parks development was about to be subdivided into building lots. As immediate action could not be expected from the Town, the B.H.A. called a meeting and established the “Beaconsfield Heights Recreation Park Fund” with a view to purchasing this 6 acres highly desirable piece of property. Approximately two thirds of the area was cleared, suitable for field sports and playground developments. The remaining third was heavily wooded, providing excellent facilities for nature study.
Fundraising brought enough money to take an option on the land on May 4, with a second payment on May 16, 1950, for a total of $500. At this point several City Councillors took an active interest in the project. At the May 16, 1950 Counsel meeting, it was voted that the Town assume the balance $2 360 of the purchase price thus ensuring a permanent public park in the neighbourhood. Members of B.H.A. were to assist in the development of the Park.
Tuesday and Thursday evenings of each week citizens of all ages participated in the development of activities. They installed a backstop and levelled the softball diamond and the playground area. Horseshoe pits were constructed for the 19 teams of the Horseshoe League ready for the season’s play. Other important items for immediate consideration were provision of a well, sanitary conveniences and first aid necessities, purchase of sports equipment, construction of see-saws, swings, slides, sand boxes, park benches and a picnic area.
The official opening of Heights Park was held on Labour Day. The President of B.H.A., Ronald Turnham, announced the transfer of the land for the right of way to the Park from Beaconsfield Court (now Westcroft). Mr. Les Barrell and Mr. Turnham each gave three feet (approximately 1 meter) along their entire joint boundary to serve as permanent access to the Park, and handed to His Worship, Mayor L. Parry, the deeds to the property. He accepted them in the name of the Town of Beaconsfield. He thanked the donors and christened the path “Alimar Lane” in honour of the wives of the donors, Mrs. Alice Turham and Mrs. Marguerite Barrell.
The other members of the Park Committee were George Osborne, Clarence Woolley, Gaston Boyer, Paul Poupart and Ronald Barrie, with William Barrell, member ex-officio. Supporting this project were Councillor J. Pynn and Ex-Councillor J. Knowles, defeated at the June 1950 elections.
Mayor Parry cut the white ribbon and sport activities got underway. Even with intermittent showers, the crowd enjoyed picnicking in front of the new barbecue pit.

Author: Pauline Faguy-Girard, President, Société historique Beaurepaire-Beaconsfield, October 2019
Sources: The Lakeshore News; Minutes of Beaconsfield Council Meetings

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