Morin? Morin Flats? Morin Heights?
Our community was officially the ‘Municipality of the South Part of the township of Morin’ from its incorporation in 1855 until 1950, when it became
Morin Heights. The official Quebec Gazette noted the change on April 1, 1950. The original township, Morin, included parts of Ste- Adèle, Val-
David and Val-Morin. In 1855 the township was divided, and the part that’s now Morin-Heights became the “Municipality of the South part of the
township of Morin.”
In the early days the municipality included four small hamlets (Britonville, Leopold, Christieville and Morin Flats). The part that became the
downtown core–with its post office and train station– was called Morin Flats, but the municipality itself was never called Morin Flats. In 1911, the
post office and the train station names were changed from Morin Flats to Morin Heights. While one early account suggests that Council made the
change in a brilliant public relations move in the knowledge that tourism was about to transform the region, Council minutes from the era
show that no such discussion took place, nor was any such resolution ever made. Why the change was made is a mystery still to be solved.
The booklet published in 1955 to celebrate the town’s 100th anniversary offered an explanation for the origin of the town’s name that isn’t entirely
accurate. “A story is told by a family named Simon (pronounced in French) who lived at Oka. They say the Provincial government sent an engineer
named Morin with a party to survey this part of the country. Mr. Morin engaged Mr. Simon who was an Indian to act as a guide for the party. The
Township was given the name of the engineer, and our river was named for the guide.” But..,.
There’s no evidence that any engineer or surveyor in our early history was named Morin, with the exception of
Pierre-Louis Morin (1811-1886), who worked briefly on an 1848 project in our region to determine the 10th Range
boundary. However, it is clear that Morin Township was named in honour of politician and Ste-Adèle founder
Augustin-Norbert Morin; the land had been surveyed and the name ‘Morin Township’ chosen and in use before
1848, when the first settlers arrived here.
The Simon River was most likely named after Simon Amicon, an aboriginal who lived at the junction of the river named after him and the North
River; he was the closest neighbor when A-N Morin arrived in the Mont Rolland sector of Ste-Adèle.
These erroneous interpretations were repeated in the town’s 1980 booklet (125th anniversary), and have been passed on since; in fact, this
version appeared until recently on the town’s website.