The brother from another Buckingham, Part 2

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Brother Hormisdas-Marie Gamelin. Brother Hormisdas, “Up Canada Way… A Flight of Fancy Turns into Some Fancy Flying”. Soaring, March-April 1953, 8.

Greetings, my reading friend. Were you awaiting with barely controlled impatience the presentation of the second part of the article on brother Hormisdas-Marie Gamelin, educator, violinist, glider pilot and great lover of trout fishing? Yes? Such enthusiasm honours you.

As important as Gamelin’s contribution to the history of gliding in Canada / Québec was, his main concern remained teaching. He began his career in this field around 1920, at the brand new Mount Assumption High School in Plattsburgh, New York. Gamelin taught more than a decade in this school created by the Brothers of Christian Instruction, the name under which the congregation of the Frères de l’instruction chrétienne was known in the United States.

One of his students was none other than Joseph Mignault Paul Sauvé, future Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, a first in Québec, in the government led by the very (too?) conservative Maurice Le Noblet Duplessis. At the time, the boy was in the United States to improve his knowledge of English.

Sauvé became Premier of Québec at the death of Duplessis in September 1959, but died in January 1960. Antonio J. Barrette succeeded him. The defeat of the latter and the coming to power of the stupendous team led by Jean Lesage, during the general election of June 1960, was a turning point in the history of Québec. If I may quote the title of a very popular 1970 French language song from Québec, interpreted by the equally famous singer Renée Claude, née Renée Bélanger, it was the beginning of a new age. The Great Darkness ended and the Quiet Revolution began, but I’m moving away from our topic.

Gamelin arrived at the brand new École supérieure Saint-Stanislas in Montréal, Québec, around 1932-33. He left this institution to become a professor at the École supérieure Saint-Michel in Buckingham, Québec. Gamelin taught there between 1945 and 1966. One of his students was none other than Guy Damien “The Flower” Lafleur, one of the great stars of the Club de hockey Canadien Incorporé between 1971 and 1985. And yes, my reading friend, the “blond demon” was one of the many students of the École supérieure Saint-Michel who made glider parts in the carpentry workshop.

When he retired, Gamelin remained in the Buckingham region and became a mathematics and natural sciences advisor at the Commission scolaire régionale Papineau, which today appears to be part of the Commission scolaire au Cœur-des-Vallées, and that until 1971. He then began a career as an educational / scientific advisor at the Commission scolaire Vallée-de-la-Lièvre, also apparently integrated within the Commission scolaire au Cœur-des-Vallées, which ended only in 1986. Gamelin was then 87 years old.

During these 2 decades of post-retirement, Gamelin oversaw the establishment of natural sciences classes at the primary level. He also held the position of sciences and mathematics director for a while at the all-new Polyvalente de Buckingham. This school was renamed École secondaire Hormisdas-Gamelin in 1985. It was within the boundaries of the municipality of Buckingham in 2018. Better yet, one could see there a mini exhibition dedicated to Gamelin.

Recognizing the exceptional career of this educator, which went from the 1920s to the 1980s, the Association pour l’enseignement de la science et de la technologie au Québec awarded Gamelin its annual prize for 1982. As well, in 1985, the Canadian Soaring Association gave a commemorative plaque to this pioneer. Gamelin died in July 1989, at the age of 90.

I hope that you liked this article. Before I set you free, I wish to thank all the people who provided information. Any mistake contained in this article is my fault, not theirs. Bye bye.

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Rénald Fortier