Héritage Sutton

Sutton Historical Society

Who we are

As its mission, the Héritage Sutton historical society seeks to preserve the history of the Sutton area as well as of the persons and families who have written it. It manages collections and archives, publishes booklets, offers educational activities and contributes to exhibitions presented by the Musée d’histoire et des communications de Sutton.

Héritage Sutton is incorporated as a non-profit organization administered by its volunteer members. The Board of Directors is comprised of: Jeanne Morazain, President; Carole Kierulf, Treasurer, Louise Harpin, Secretary; and Winston Bresee, Alexandrine Poissant, Paul Kinnis, and Gilles Gauthier, Directors.

All the activities, including research, indexation, digitization and editing are performed on a volunteer basis.

There are many ways to help Héritage Sutton fulfill its mission :

Acting on Several Fronts

At the last annual general meeting, held on November 23, 2019, Heritage Sutton President, Jeanne Morazain, reported on the last year’s activities and presented the priorities agreed upon by the board of directors for 2020.

Activities Report - 2019
Report presented by Jeanne Morazain, President.

To fulfill its mission of preserving and showcasing Sutton's memory, Héritage Sutton historical society continues to be active on many fronts.

Archiving and preservation

After completing the inventory and indexing of the Mont-Sutton ski resort collection (more than 5,000 photographs, 8 meters of textual records, some 375 maps and drawings and a hundred audio and video documents) the archivist, recruited thanks to a grant from BanQ, treated four further collections associated with the Boulanger family that were also bequeathed to us: Produits laitiers Sutton, Canada Art, Ameublement Boulanger and Famille Boulanger. The resulting directories are available in the Héritage Sutton archival network and via the website; consultation of these archives is possible by request.  

Note that the Mont-Sutton ski resort collection is an open collection which means that other documents can be bequeathed to it. Going forward, showcasing the content relies on the efforts of the new owners of the ski resort, the Boulanger family, the ski community and promoters of tourism to design projects and find the necessary funding.

The history society receives more and more family photographic archives that are scanned when the family wishes to keep the originals. If the donation is substantial, an archival collection is created and named for the donor. During the last year collections have been created in the names of the Barette, Deslières, Hepburn and Macey families.

The inventory of ten burial sites located on the territory of the former Township of Sutton has been computerized and will be available on our website for consultation.

Oral History: Parole des aînés

Héritage Sutton received a grant of more than $100,000 over two years from Quebec ami des ainés (QADA) to gather, share and make known life experiences and knowledge of seniors. Our oral history collection of over 80 interviews is in the process of being fully digitized; more than 35 new interviews have been added including 25 individual interviews, five in tandem and five with groups on topics such as the Filtex, border life, life on the farm, etc. In total 50 people shared their stories. Most of these new interviews are audio-based; however, the group interviews and some individual interviews were filmed. All these new interviews are in the process of being transcribed.   

The gathering of new interviews continues, and the expectation is that by March 2020, approximately 20 individual or group interviews will be added to the oral history collection.

Showcasing of this oral heritage is well underway:

  • The story of the former Filtex factory was told at a presentation featuring audio, video and live testimonials plus archival photographs on 12 June at the Salle Alec et Gerard Pelletier. The event was a sell out with about 125 people in attendance. As a result the event was repeated, including some new live testimonials, 27 October. Héritage Sutton also provided a selection of photos of female textile workers to artist Anne Billy who is preparing an exhibition on women in this industry.
  • Sutton has welcomed people of various nationalities over time and has become a rich intercultural environment. The paths of eight of these immigrants, including one couple, and their exchanges with the some 25 people who came to listen to them, were recorded at the Paroles et viennoiseries event held 29 September at the Sutton Junction Community Hall as part of the Journées de la culture event.
  • Interviews with seniors revealed the arrival of several war brides in Sutton: women who married Canadian soldiers sent into combat during the 1939-45 war. History notebook no. 31 devotes an article to them that the magazine Histoire Québec de la Fédération des sociétés d’histoire will also publish.
  • History is more often than not centered on the contribution of men. This has also been the case for Sutton. Interviews with seniors led us to discover several exceptional local women, including Jean Gilbert Naylor; notebook no. 31 draws her portrait .
Historical research

Héritage Sutton receives, year in year out, a dozen inquiries that require research and that are or are not charged for. Remember that members are entitled to one hour of consultation free of charge and thereafter at half the going rate.

Héritage Sutton is also entrusted with research mandates, notably by the Town of Sutton. In this way, the costs associated with searches and presentations abot the Filtex were shared between the program Parole des aînés and the Town in the context of the Rural Pact.

The Town also asks Héritage Sutton to document Patri-Arch's inventory of built heritage by retracing the history of occupation of different addresses. This year alone, some thirty new addresses have been researched. On the other hand, Héritage Sutton's desire to explore with the Town and the CDES avenues to disseminate the knowledge acquired on built heritage in the context of these mandates has gone unheeded.

Many of our members pursue research on topics that intrigue them. The publication of the two history notebooks in the spring and fall enables them to share their discoveries and add pieces to the jigsaw of local and regional history. The next notebook, no. 31, is being edited and will be officially launched at the November Annual General Meeting. Note that the cover page of the notebooks has been revised to make more room for photos.

Revision of the website

Heritage Sutton has entrusted the Sutton company Two Humans with the mandate to reconfigure its website to make it more dynamic, better referenced, enable the distribution of audio and video documents and facilitate electronic transactions.

The new website presents virtual folders of images and sound. Two folders are being prepared: the history of Filtex plus the Larouche family, nine of whose members told us their story and opened their family archives: photos, correspondence, musical recordings.  

In addition, the history sketchbooks are now available in PDF format. Members who wish to do so may opt for this format; if they prefer the paper format, the annual fee increases from $25 to $30 to cover postage costs.

The use of social networks, Facebook and Sutton Ami in particular, to promote Héritage Sutton and promote its activities has increased though has not yet achieved the desired level of consistency.

Partnerships in progress

Héritage Sutton has as partners for La parole des aînés the salle Alec et Gerard Pelletier and the Sutton Junction Community Hall Management Committee. The two organizations do more than provide a meeting place, they contribute to the scripting of the public events and the recruitment and the welcome of the interviewees. FADOQ is also involved in identifying potential witnesses. 

The anticipated partnership with the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University did not materialize due to the Center's ceasing of external programs. So, we made use of the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury Vermont for training and technical advice.

Citizen involvement

Membership remains stable at just over a hundred individuals. Volunteering has strengthened; on-call volunteers who can be assigned specific tasks are very loyal and represent about a third of members. A few new recruits came forward, seven of whom have become involved in key files. We can not really talk about rejuvenation; efforts in this direction must therefore continue.

Priorities for 2020
Presented by Jeanne Morazain, President.
Collection , Preservation , Storage

Following work over the last two years, the Oral History has become the gem of the collection Of Heritage Sutton. A request will be submitted to BANQ so that an archivist or a archivist Technician can proceed to index and also to create a detailed listing.

Donations to the archives have significantly increased over the last two years thanks to the Families who have participated by giving interviews to the project called "La parole des Aines"

Several other collections are being created and will soon need to be indexed.

Oral History Collection

The "La Parole des Ainés" has permitted some of our members to become familiar with the Recording and transcription of quality audio interviews. Heritage Sutton is able to collect and make available the testimonials of persons of interest who are willing, and those who are referred to us.

The Oral History collection will continue to increase by about a dozen interviews per year. Diverse forms.

  • The border is continually present in the history of the Township of Sutton and in the life of its residents. A public presentation of living on the border is being prepared and will be presented at salle AGP during the first quarter of 2020.
  • Our senior citizens have often talked about their childhood, their years in a small school or the convent. Their stories on audio , video or on-line will stimulate an intergenerational meeting with young students now planned for the beginning of 2020.
  • Other themes from the interviews: ski before the ski, food preservation, wood as an economic motor, roads travelled by students etc. Requests for grants have been deposited under the program "Histoires de chez nous" at the Canadian virtual museum, to transform these themes into virtual displays.
The return of Celebration of Memories

In October 2020 Heritage Sutton will propose a fourth edition of "Mémoires en Fête", whose popularity has risen from one edition to another. During the last edition in 2016 some 200 persons participated. This new version will be more prepared to convince people from both linguistic groups, retired or not to join the ranks of Heritage Sutton and its volonters.

This fourth edition will be more interactive. Many displays conceived to encourage exchanges and to interest more young people will be set up in the council room of the town of Sutton where the event will be held the 24 and 25 of October 2020.


  • Albums and photo collections will be presented hoping that the memories of visitors will help document historically ( people , places, dates, occasions etc. )
  • Seniors can reply to the question how was it by answering questions on video recording the ways to be and the ways of yesterday.
  • The quiz will be used to determine the usage of certain tools or old toys with demonstrations by seniors.
  • Photos will offer visitors photos of a retro nature.
  • Technicians will copy photos brought in by the public while volunteers will prepare a documented folder for each photo.

Volunteers from Heritage Sutton will meet visitors. They will listen to their motivations, their knowledge of Sutton history, their perception of the work of Heritage Sutton, their knowledge of its realisations, and the publications and use of the Heritage Sutton website.

This will also be an occasion to present the diverse activities of Heritage Sutton and their impact on the community; to solicit archival donations; to identify the contact person who will direct us towards seniors who are able to tell us about the past or open their family albums; to explain our special needs for diversified volunteers so that we can proceed with our mission; Historical and genealogy research; translation; indexing and treatment of details both documentary and numeric; use of website and use of social media; management and finance etc.

While in addition to being a celebration and an enhancement of the collective memory of which our seniors are the principal holders of this. "Memoires en Fete" has as an objective to recruit new members and to stimulate volunteer participation. Each of the past Sketch Books has brought out new ideas.

Historical Research

Heritage Buildings continue to be a field of research and we expect that the municipality will ask us to document new locations. We renew our invitation to the municipality and to the CDES to reflect on the means to valorise the expertise on Heritage Buildings.

The results of the research done in response to member requests or done for projects such as "La parole des Ainés" will continue to provide important ideas future articles in the Historical Sketchbooks.

Vitrine Numérique

The website offers new possibilities . We will use it to the maximum to promote our activities, communicate to the younger public at large, to distribute the Historical knowledge of Sutton and the region by using this multi-media plate form of virtual files. New files will be put on-line.

The opening on our site of a boutique, where one can buy the Historical sketchbooks, the boxes, research reports, become a new member or make a donation should better meet the needs of our younger participants. A detailed following of the boutique transactions will Validate the implementation of this activity.

Finally the objective to increase and to make more constant our presence on social media remains a priority: We are searching for someone to guide this activity.


The partnership between the salle AGP and the community hall of Sutton Junction continues, to be able to display the material collected by the project "La Parole des Ainés".

Following the "Chemin de l'Histoire" a path has been localised in the park of d’Arts et de rêves and a new co-operation is planned with the final details yet to be determined.

Finally we are looking for partners to conceive and realise intergenerational projects directed towards youth.