L'Ange-Gardien - Champboisé
"Regard de l'autre côté" by Béla Simó
L’Ange-Gardien, the pioneers of the Lièvre River, and the work of the Eudist Fathers
In the 1820s and 1830s, Levi Bigelow and Baxter Bowman established sawmills and log slides on the west and east shores of the Lièvre River.
Settlement was closely linked to the logging industry, which supplied the forestry concessions along the river. The Cosgrove house, a log structure built between 1850 and 1860, is one of the oldest in L'Ange-Gardien and the Outaouais region.
In 1977, the descendants of the Irish pioneer Hugh Cosgrove sold the property to the Eudist Fathers who transformed it into ‘Champboisé’, a retreat centre focused on silence and solitude. Over the years, the fathers built cottages for those attending the retreats and converted an old dairy into a bakery, restored the barn, and built a new meeting room. Mgr. Adolphe Proulx, bishop of Gatineau-Hull, officially blessed the site on June 1, 1980.
In 2011, the Eudists transferred the property to the municipality of L'Ange-Gardien, which is committed to its preservation.
"Regard de l’autre côté", 2017, by Béla Simó
This three-part work reflects on the colonization of the shores of the Lièvre River and the pursuit of contemplation inspired by Champboisé. The background brings to mind the remains of a pioneer house. Built with square timber, these buildings are a testament to the history of colonization and the logging industry. Large waves represent the Lièvre River, an entryway that enabled European settlement of L'Ange-Gardien and the transport of people and goods upstream from Buckingham on steamboats. The third element, in the form of a bench, invites visitors to reflect and enjoy the solitude, recalling the original intention of the Eudist Fathers.
A native of Transylvania, Romania, Béla Simó studied sculpture in Austria with the internationally renowned artist Josef Elter. He immigrated to Canada in 1987 and lived for several years in Whitehorse, Yukon. He has twice been presented with the Yukon Advanced Artist Award. He now resides in Val-des-Monts, Québec and draws inspiration from Canadian nature.