One West Islander's fight to save a city heirloom
Image courtesy of Gaétan Provost
In 1923, Esdras Lépine (1891-1959), a carpenter from Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, became chief of police for the city and established the volunteer fire department.
In 1936, he co-founded the Quebec Association of Fire and Police Chiefs. A strong promoter of fire prevention, Mr. Lépine convinced the city council that same year to purchase trucks to equip the budding fire department.
In response, they purchased a 1936 Chevrolet truck, which was not equipped with a trailer, nor a pump, nor a ladder.
With the help of municipal employees, blue-collar workers, and firefighters, Esdras Lépine had an articulated trailer with a ladder built. Since the city's streets were very narrow, the trailer was designed with a tiller; a rear steering system.
This truck was in use until the end of the 1970s. During its many years of service, the truck was a valuable tool for fire fighting and for the rescue of victims.
It has also been the object of amusement and curiosity for several generations of
of children, who have been amazed to see the truck speeding through the streets of the village.
Until its official retirement by the City of Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue in the early 1980s, the legendary truck was also part of all parades and celebrations of the city.
When it left Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue, the truck was transferred to the Phoenix company of Drummondville, formerly Camion Thibault, to be dismantled and recycled. But, in 1987, Mr. Gaétan Lafortune from St-Lin-Laurentides would acquire it and would invest in its
Since its departure 40 years ago, the truck has made only two appearances in Sainte-Anne's. The first one was in 2003 during the parish festivities and during "Ça roule au bord de l'eau" in 2017.
Before his passing last Fall, Mr. Lafortune had expressed his desire for the truck to come back, one day, to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. Since his passing, his hopes have been carried on by his family who also wishes the truck to be returned to its hometown.
In an aim to raise funds for the potential acquisition of the vehicle, Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue native and Senneville resident, Gaétan Provost has organized a GoFundMe.
"Today, this heritage gem has a unique chance to return to its city! Help make this project a reality!"
- Gaétan Provost, GoFundMe
If you would like to donate to the initiative and ensure that this Sainte-Anne's Celebrity makes its way home, be sure to visit the GoFundMe campaign today!