A brief history of Cholette Crescent

Kelly Snider
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Members of SFOPHO

EDITORIAL. Each month, an educational history column is featured in the Orléans Star to highlight the French names of local thoroughfares, parks and installations in Orléans. These columns are prepared by members of the SFOPHO (Société franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de l’histoire d’Orléans) www.SFOPHO.com in collaboration with the Orléans Star as a means of providing the community with a better knowledge of the heritage and history of Orléans.

Alexandre Cholette and his wife Ludivine Asselin.

Cholette Crescent, which is located north of St. Joseph Boulevard at the end of Dussere Street, was named after J. Alexandre Cholette.  

Born in Montreal in 1909, J. Alexandre Cholette grew up on the farm of his Cholette ancestors in Saint-Polycarpe, Québec. In 1937 he married Ludivine Asselin, a teacher in the parish of Saint-Polycarpe, Ste-Marie Concession, and they had three children.

It was a boom in the flax market, around 1943, that brought Alexandre Cholette to Orléans, on land owned by the Charbonneau family, close to Taylor Creek, in order to supervise the construction of a flax mill, and later he worked there.

Business was good, and flax farming prospered in the area, until the day in 1947 when a fire completely destroyed the mill.

The mill was not rebuilt, but Alexandre decided nevertheless to remain in Orléans.

At first, he started installing oil furnaces, which had become the prime innovation of the late 1940s. Then, he purchased a lot on Montreal Road in the west end of the village of Orléans, and built a restaurant there in 1948, with cabins and rooms for rent just beside it. It became a Tourist Home, and in addition he ran an Esso gas station.

These were wonderful years, when tourists arrived in large numbers from the United States, but when the Trans-Canada (Highway 174) was built, Montreal Road became a secondary thoroughfare, and tourists bypassed it as they drove into Ottawa.

In the mid-1950s, the restaurant was gradually converted into a grocery store, and in 1970 it was sold.

In 2014, a plaque was installed at 2193 St. Joseph Boulevard to commemorate the location of this grocery store, which a fire had destroyed in 1981.

Alexandre Cholette, a businessman as well as a public figure, was appointed justice of the peace, churchwarden, and works inspector for Gloucester Township.

Much to his credit, he was also appointed commissioner, in 1971, by the Honourable William Ross Macdonald, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, for his loyalty, integrity and ability to exercise power in the Judicial District of Ottawa-Carleton, a title which he held from 1974 until his death, at the age of 68, in 1977.

His wife Ludivine was 88 years old when she died in 2004, and they were both interred in the cemetery of Saint-Joseph d’Orléans.

Organizations: Esso, Trans-Canada, Gloucester Township

Geographic location: Orléans, Montreal Road, Joseph Boulevard Saint-Polycarpe Dussere Street Taylor Creek Ottawa United States Ontario Saint-Joseph

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