Alma - 2007

Author: Rolande Fortin (0305)
Photos: Courtesy of Bernard Lebeuf, André Fortin (0043),
Jean-Philippe Fortin (0638), Gloria Fortin-Packard (0322), Conrad Fortin (0097)
Source: Fortinfo, # 12 – decembre 2007, pages 10-12
Last update: novembre 2007

We expected Friday evening to be relatively quiet with the presentation of a film about Arthur Fortin who left for the Rivière-la-Paix region in the north of Alberta in 1952. We were agreably surprised to see the large number of Fortins attending this event.

The presentation of the DVD in Alcan Room at the Universel Hotel was made possible thanks to Ameublement Tanguay of Chicoutimi and was really appreciated by everyone.

Many participants are already familiar with the place and are anxious to see the exhibition in the Mario Tremblay meeting room where family pictures and genealogical charts are displayed. There is also a kiosk where Carrier and his spouse Sylvie sell various items regarding the Asociation: pins, fortinfo bulletins, copies of the Coat of Arms etc. France Fortin is presenting her book titled “T’en souviens-tu?” (Do you remember?) and Solange Fortin exhibits her watercolours inspired by the history of her town, Alma. Jean-Pierre Fortin and Gisèle Vézina, two of the founding members of the Association, are in charge of the Fortin database.

On Saturday morning, many members attend a course “initiation to genealogy” given by Lawrence Bernard.The course is so popular that many participants have to remain standing.At 12:45, tour buses are available for the 132 passengers. Each participant is going to attend two visits which were chosen at the time of registration. Circuit A takes members to the Agriculture and Rural Society Interpretation Center in Lac-à-La-Croix region of Métaberchoune and then to a city tour of Alma. Circuit B takes people to Desbiens at the History and Archeology Center of Métabetchouane and at “L’Odyssée des Bâtisseurs” in the area of Isle-Maligne in the town of Alma. The visits only allow us to skim the surface of the subjects and encourage us to return. One hour is a very short period of time when it would take around four hours to satisfy our curiosity.

Back at the Hotel, the participants have plenty time to go around the exhibition and study it in depth. The cocktail is scheduled for 18:00 followed by the banquet at 19:00.

During the cocktail, Charles Fortin, master of ceremonies, introduces Mr Jean-Roch Pednault, councilman of Alma, who welcomes us to the host town.

Our president, André Fortin, presents him with our Coat of Arms. Then, for the 5th anniversary of the Association, Jean-Pierre Fortin launches the bound publication of the first 10 fortinfo. People have to act quickly to get one, specially new members, as only 25 copies are available. During the banquet, the president hands over a membership certificate to five new life members.

In addition, to mark the 5th anniversary of the Association, a souvenir pin is given to 44 of the 151 individuals who have been members for the last 5 years. It was an ideal occasion to fraternize. Members signed tickets which will be used for a draw at the end of the evening after the performance of Pierre-Paul Fortin , signer and fastest artist painter in the world. Since no handsfree microphone is available, his spouse attaches the microphone close to his mouth because he really needs to concentrate to paint and sing lovely classical songs at the same time.

The artist accepted the challenge. In 15 minutes he manages to do 3 magnificent canvases which will be part of the draw later on. Bravo! It is a great achievement. It has to be seen to be beleived. He is capable of painting even faster than he did this evening when necessary. There are miniature paintings and cards for sale at the next table. As scheduled, the activities of the day were completed by 22:30./p>

On Sunday, a Mass is celebrated at Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Church at Hebertville, some 20 minutes from Alma. Why did we choose to go there instead of St-Joseph Church in Alma, near the Hotel? Hebertville is the entry to Lake Saint-Jean. Our ancestors arrived there via Lake Kenogami; it was more practical to travel by water, reducing the number of trees to be cut down and the need to level the terrain to allow the passage of the horse-drawn wagons. The parish priest Hebert from Kamouraska came with his flock from Côte-du-Sud and then from Baie Saint-Paul, La Malbaie and finally from Chicoutimi. (See the reunion pamphlet for: Hébertville, la Porte du Lac-Saint-Jean by Rolande Fortin)

We wish to mention the musical interludes during the Mass carried out by Josée Fortin and her three children, Vanessa, Jonathan and Elodie Bouchard. An excellent performance! Elodie particularly touched the audience when singing Ave Maria. After the Mass, the general assembly of the Association is held in the church during which the attendant members elected the new Board of Directors.

From left to right: First row : Charles Fortin (459) vice-president, Gloria Fortin-Packard (322) administrator, André Fortin (043) president, Carrier Fortin (472) secrétary, René Fortin (022) tresurer. Second row : Achille Fortin (082), Lawrence Bernard (643), Michel Fortin (148), Rolande Fortin (305), Jean-Philippe Fortin (638), Gisèle Fortin (708), Gisèle Vézina (012), Jean-Pierre Fortin (008).

The gathering continues at Universel Hotel for a lunch buffet during which numerous participation prizes are drawn.

To close the activities of the 2007 gathering, Georges Fortin gives a conference about his ancestors in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean describing their arrival and their way of life.

The pastoral committee helped us considerably to make this Mass special for the occasion of our gathering. The parish priest Magella Guérin is an example that everyone should follow. A special thanks to Jeanne-D’Arc Fortin from Alma for organizing the Mass and for her excellent collaboraion in making this gathering a success.

Many thanks to my large Fortin family from Ontario regions – Kapuskasing, Brampton, Sudbury…from Quebec regions – Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Montreal, Abitibi, Quebec, Côte-du-Sud… and from the United States. You are all part of the Association des Fortin d’Amérique and we wish to keep you as members, corrrespondents and guests.

We seldom mention the official photographers. Their work is necessary for our archives and souvenirs of the gatherings. See the effort they have to do to be available at the right place at the right time! Jean-Philippe Fortin and Bernard Lebeuf, we do apprciate your work very much. Thanks to Achille Fortin who supervised all the activities of the 2007 gathering. Finally, thanks to all members of the Board of Directors and their spouses for their availability while preparing and holding the gathering.

We hope to see you next year, at the l’Oiselière Hotel in Levis, for the 2008 meeting on August 23. If you wish to participate at the “Marathon des Deux-Rives” the next day, August 24, don’t forget to register.