Identity on the Land. Company Towns in Canada.

From July 10 to December 13, 2020

Find out how companies across the country have planned cities, pushing back the frontiers of settlement to make them model cities at the forefront of urban planning. The exhibition reveals how major companies have succeeded in creating dream living environments for workers and their families while instilling a strong sense of pride and belonging.

In 2019, the Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean and its museum institution l’Odyssée des Bâtisseurs (The Builders’ Odyssey), in partnership with the Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage, produced the travelling exhibition, Identity on the Land. Company Towns in Canada. Located in the former company town of Isle-Maligne, it was only natural for l’Odyssée des Bâtisseurs to present an exhibition on the subject. The exhibition offers an opportunity to discover how companies across the country have planned towns, pushing back the frontiers of settlement, to make them model towns at the forefront of urban planning. The exhibition reveals how major companies have succeeded in creating dream living environment for their workers and their families while instilling pride and a sense of belonging in their inhabitants.

Anne-Julie Néron, Executive Director of the Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean, explains: “Many towns in the region were originally company towns, and we wanted to give visitors the opportunity to put regional history back into its national context. Since company towns were planned in all Canadian provinces, we wanted to present their common history. Moreover, when the exhibition goes on tour, it is an aspect of our regional history that will also be disseminated across the country”.

Exhibition Coordinator Jessica Lapointe adds, “There are many photographs and objects from across the country in this exhibition. We also have an application that presents all the company towns in Canada as well as videos from Fermont and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean on daily life in a company town”.

This was the first travelling exhibition proposed by l’Odyssée des Bâtisseurs since 2006. L’Odyssée des Bâtisseurs is the museum and tourism department of the Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean (SHL). Its exhibitions and activities highlight the industrial, cultural, built, intangible, and natural heritage of Lac-Saint-Jean.

This exhibition was produced by the Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean and its museum institution, l’Odyssée des bâtisseurs, in partnership with the Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage, thanks to the support of the governments of Canada and Quebec and the City of Alma.