The Mission to the Hurons
In 1742, the Jesuit mission to the Hurons, established at Detroit since
1728, is relocated to Bois Blanc Island. In 1747, the mission is burned
down by a group of Hurons from Ohio who are allied with the British and
Iroquois. A decision is made to return the mission to Detroit, this time
on the south shore of the river, opposite the fort. This location, known
at the time as la Pointe de Montréal, is near the site of the
present-day Assumption Church.
In 1767, the Assumption Mission will officially become Assumption Parish,
the first parish in Ontario.
Settlements on the South Shore
In 1749 the Governor-General of New France issues a proclamation to
be read in all the parishes of the St. Lawrence, promising tools, animals
and seed to any man who wished to settle at Détroit. Twenty-two
families leave the St. Lawrence and receive land grants on the south
shore, between Le Ruisseau de la Vielle Reine and La Rivière-aux-Dindes.
The following year, the proclamation is read anew, and another twenty
families come to join the new colony, called La Petite Côte. In
1751, lands are granted to the east of the Mission to the Hurons, this
time to families and soldiers from Détroit. These settlements
represent the oldest continuous European presence in what is now Ontario.
After the conquest of 1760, New France is surrendered to the British.
Life does not change much for the inhabitants of Le Détroit. The
fur trade remains the most important factor in the local economy. The
lands, many of which are low-lying and swampy, are not easily tilled.
In any case there is not much of a market for agricultural products.
Life is very hard for these pioneers; for many years La Petite Côte
is known as "La Côte de Misère", that is, Misery
There are however good harvests of fruit - apples, cherries and pears
- and early on the area is renowned for its orchards. Held in particularly
high esteem are the local pear trees, still known today as Jesuit pear