It is in 1868 that the Canadian government decreeded the construction of the Intercolonial railway in order to connect the Canada West to Maritime ports. By choosing Saint-Flavie as one of its service centers, the Intercolonial railway immediately attracts workers and their families, giving birth to “Sainte-Flavie-Station”.
On August 1 1874, we proceed to the inauguration of the railway between Sainte-Flavie and Rivière-du-Loup. From that date, Mr. Théophile St-Laurent becomes the first officer from the station of Saint-Flavie-Station.
The construction of the main buildings of the maintenance and repair center (the garage for locomotives, the building for cleaning cars, the shed of the rotary-table and the charcoal warehouse) ended in December 1876.
It is on October 23 1880, that the honorable Théodore Robitaille, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Quebec, officially proclaimed the erection of the village of Mont-Joli.
It must be remembered that the history of Mont-Joli is intimately linked to the railway. The evolution and growth of the activities of the Intercolonial, Canadian National, and now Railway of Matapedia and Gulf have largely dictated the pace of development of our city.
The Canadian National railway station of Mont-Joli is representative of the boom of the early twentieth century and of the expansion of the Chemin de fer Intercolonial (CFI). This station, that the CFI built to replace the old, confirmed the predominant role of Mont-Joli within the Bas-Saint-Laurent rail network. Mont-Joli is always an important step in the corridor between Montreal and Halifax.
Here is a leap of 123 years in history. Perhaps you don’t know that from 1884 to 1900, the officer from the station – or station master – of the Intercolonial in Mont-Joli, was Joseph-Antoine Bélanger, the grandfather of Jean Bélanger, current mayor of the town of Mont-Joli. He was probably the second station master at Sainte-Flavie-Station. Note that all his sons were either operators or officers and this tradition continued until the 4th generation, whose great-grandson of Joseph-Antoine, Michel Bélanger, a young retiree of Canadian Pacific. It must therefore be accepted that the story, the railway and the Belanger family had appointments in Mont-Joli.