BUILDERS 150: HENRY BORDEAUX

12 May 2017

Novelist Henry Bordeaux gave Montreal a bronze bust of Jacques Cartier, on behalf of his native land of France, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of this explorer’s discovery of Canada. This gift was made in honour of the official name change of this bridge linking Montreal to the South Shore. Formerly called the Harbour Bridge, it was renamed for the famous French explorer who discovered Canada.

What do we know about Henry Bordeaux?
As the son of a lawyer, Henry Bordeaux continued his family tradition and studied the law as well. After practising for several years, he decided to pursue his passion and began a career as a novelist. Almost all of Bordeaux’s novels are set in his native city of Savoy, and his key themes relate to the family and traditional religious and moral values.

One of Bordeaux’s works recounts his trip to Canada, when he gave the bronze bust to Canada’s Minister of Marine on June 30, 1934. The official ceremony was attended by American and British dignitaries and representatives from Montreal’s business, finance and industry sectors, who came to witness Bordeaux’s symbolic gift from France.

Why change the name?
Although most people called it the “South Shore Bridge” before it was officially named the Harbour Bridge in 1930, a single name never stuck. After Le Devoir Editor-in-Chief Georges Pelletier filed a petition to change the name, the bridge authorities bowed to popular will and named the structure the “Jacques Cartier Bridge” in homage to the renowned explorer.