St-Raymond: Boom Town
Saint-Raymond Travel Blog› entry 2 of 27 › view all entries
August 14th, 2001 – by: maplefanta
My link with St-Raymond was quite a purely winter one, both for the activities and school.
The only luck was that Lac-Sergent, being a resort with closest tie with it's neighbour in Jacques-Cartier County and Quebec city itself, was not having a big say on this hegemonic conflict for the county's first bestest place. Children from Pont-Rouge, Donnacona, St-Raymond especially would dislike each other to the point of never hanging together.
This sort of mentality conflict was just a reflexion of the political power going on within Portneuf county itself. Still a proud county which anybody would feel themself as different than the rest of the province or only tied with the St-Lawrence north shore with which rythm we live or feeling the bound with Quebec city. But certainly not with other far away places. St-Raymond did win the balance of power on the local scene when it comes to the number of population. But that eager need to be the number one did scar that town situated along the northern Ste-Anne river shore.
About St-Raymond itself, the town was founded by the mid 19th century by three pionneer family who moved north from the southern historic villages (Neuville, Pont-Rouge) and some others to acquire land and develop it. The settlement, located in the deep valley of the Ste-Anne river developped well surrounded by a vast hinterland of forest which was awaiting to be exploited. Therefore the local economy developped in regard of the lumbering industry and the bottom of the valley was taken by the farmers and cattle keepers. The whole Portneuf county was developping itself according to those industry, the forest in the north and the land in the south and that situation remained until today. This explains pretty much the reasons why the county was unspoiled by sprawl development and out of the tourist path until today.
The town developped as a service area for the hinterland and became an example of Boom town architecture in the east.
Today, the wood industry is dropping and St-Raymond has developped a major outdoor industry, which is eagerly awaiting the visitors. Though the product is there, the service town built along the route 367 is the gateway to the north with access to the public land and Faunic Reserve. It is also located just at the footstep of the Laurentian hill shield which grow quickly at low mountains and offer a majestuous landscape of mountains, forest, rives and waterfalls.
There are many waterfalls on the municipality territory, most remains only known to locals though the most famous is the Cascade Delaney situated in the Ice Age Valley of the Bras-du-Nord.
The Valley of the Bras-du-Nord is still at the moment an unspoiled and protected landscape, the view there is amazing and you can easily see the historic power of the Ice cap in shaping the land.
The Valley continue northward into the Public land and the mountains are getting higher and higher. For those living in urban area, it becomes hard to conceive the fact of driving hours on dust road between the mountains and around falling rocks as big as a truck just to reach one of the thousand lake offering a calm silent landscape or a high point where you discover the rounding top of the Laurentian hills going on with their greeness till the horizon.
The upper Ste-Anne valley also bear the trace of similar landscape as the Ice cap marks are all the shaping element in those land. Though it is clearly in the Bras-du-Nord Valley that you see and can imagine the remains of a glacier advancing stopping where the moraine stands, just a tiny push of sand for a glacier which forms a high summit to pass across by car and figuratively 'eating' the rocks from the surrounding mountains creating a deep escarpment.
The village also has an interesting architecture and interesting buildings. Of course it also bear the mark of the 50s-60s and later suburban style development but the historic centre is of high interest. It was renewed in the late 90s, making the horrid make and covering put in place during the recession years of the 70s and 80s away bringing the buildings back to their original bricklay and gradually turning back to a more living street mentality.
The church, like in every single Portneuf County town, is the main building, it is surrounding by a few convent building all holding historic and architectural masterpiece style for the local community. The Church used to be a powerful element both in the county and in the whole eastern part of the country. It showed it grandiose magnificence power through the quality of its architecture.
Having travelled abroad, having seen cathedral, castle and many other features; I can understand that many foreigner would see no interest in such building, but these people who may have not travelled out of their border are simply showing their pride and identity.
Also, why many will show you more pride into their buildings, church instead of the surrounding natural wonders... because the forest, the natural wonder are all around us yet part of our local identity and history. But it is also pointing out the harshest elements of developping the land, of building the society you have now out of purely a bunch of people with their bare hand. The nature represent the labour and its harshest element, we respect it. The architecture and the townscape represent what we accomplished, our way into civilisation and as a major character in the world.
The next stop is further north along the Route 367, more along the Holiday maker route now really into the Laurentian piedmont.
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