Maison Le Ber-Le Moyne, about 1671
China (La Chine) and Montréal Humour

La Salle’s departure in 1669 set tongues wagging among Montréalistes, who derided his impossible dream. The area called Côte-Saint-Sulpice soon came to be known as “la Chine” (China).  .


As Father Olivier Maurault wrote in 1926:

The way our ancestors mocked Cavelier de la Salle by naming his seigneury after the far-off country he had no doubt boasted he would soon reach shows that jocularity was not missing in those difficult times.”

By the summer of 1669, the name “la Chine” (China) was being used to designate the area west of the rapids, as recorded in a transaction between François Bourdet and Georges Allets drawn up by Notary Basset on July 22.

1667 marked the founding of the first permanent French settlement on the western end of Montréal Island. The name Lachine, first used in 1669 as an ironic label for Cavelier de La Salle’s land, became official in 1676, with the establishment of the parish called Saints-Anges de Lachine.

The illustration of Maison Le Ber-Le Moyne in 1671 is from the book by Désiré Girouard, Lake St. Louis Old and New, Illustrated; and Cavelier de La Salle, Montréal: Poirier, Bessette & Co, 1893.