It can be said that the whole thing began on July 5, 1971 on a summer day at my mother's place at Pointe-au-Père.
A few years earlier, I got interested in my family's history and in my ancestors. I had a few notes on Nicolas and his first descendants. They were probably drawn from the Tanguay genealogical dictionary by an uncle or an aunt. I was hoping that on my retirement I would devote my leisure time making researches on the Paquin genealogy. My mother, Mrs Yvonne Audet Paquin, had informed me about Brother Pasteur and his research work. She said I should meet with him. The opportunity came by on a summer day of 1971 at Pointe-au-Père when Brother Pasteur was visiting my mother and I happened to be there on vacation. In the course of our conversation, I informed Brother Pasteur that we should take advantage of the opportunity of the 300 anniversary of the arrival of Nicolas in 1972 to celebrate this event. Our co-operation was then sealed with our friendship.
A three person committee was created in the falls with specific functions to organize the festivities surrounding the 300 anniversary. Brother Pasteur became president with a mandate to contact key individuals to organize the very first rally of Paquin. As secretary, I was in charge of publicity and media relations. Brother Jules Paquin was to develop a slideshow on Nicolas' country of origin, Normandy and other places where he had lived. He would also take care of archives. A little picture on page 207 of the "Little history of the Paquin families in America" book shows the very first meetings held by the committee.
It was decided that the rally would take place at Deschambault, the birth place of the Paquin family in America. The creation of the newsletter "Origin of the Paquin families in America" by Brother Pasteur in April 1969 served as a communication tool for the committee with numerous Paquin in Canada and in all America. A questionnaire appeared in the Vol 4 No2 of same to establish the interest on the proposed festivities and a favourable response was immediate and enthusiastic. The committee saw this as the signal to proceed.
Press releases were sent to various daily and weekly newspapers in the province with a view to develop the public awareness of the festivities of the 300 anniversary. During that time, under the direction of Paul Paquin, the Paquin from Deschambault jumped on the opportunity to form a committee consisting of 25 individual members of the Paquin family. See page 208 of "The little history". Their role was to ensure coordination and efforts. By June some 300 favourable responses had been received. Brother Pasteur was interviewed on radio station CHRC. The publicity reached its peak with a press release sent to CBC channel 6 television network . A telephone call from Pierre Leduc and a meeting with Mark Phillips and it was decided that they would film the festivities as they had in their mandate, at that time, provisions to film family festivities in the province. The committee agreed.
The team from the english channel of the CBC came over 4 days prior to the festivities and circulated in Deschambault and the vicinity to film and interview people. They were in action at the Thanksgiving Sunday mass on August 20th. The church lighting added to the splendor of the ceremony. The church was not big enough to accommodate all the 1000 Paquin present.
The ceremony was followed by a picnic on the provincial farm of Deschambault, the visit of genealogical boards, prepared by Brother Pasteur, and the viewing of a slideshow, prepared by Brother Jules Paquin. All the Paquin present on August 20, will surely retain an excellent souvenir of this fantastic rally. A complete report was made in the genealogy bulletin Vol IV No 9 of September 1972 and in "The little history..."at pages 222 to 224. The success may be attributed to the Paquin from Deschambault and to the committee from Québec and especially Brother Pasteur. The latter claims that the meeting at Pointe-au-Père is the spark that started the whole thing.
Once festivities were over, the committee stayed active. Brother Pasteur came up with a project to erect a monument to commemorate the festivities of 1972 to the descendants of Nicolas. Two places were identified to locate the monument namely the highway rest area or the land near the old rectory classified as an historical monument. Provincial authorities refused the location on the rest area due to a precedent being created and the possibility of vandalism. Municipal authorities were ready to accept placing the monument on the land near the rectory, but they were also concerned with the possibility of vandalism for they had already experienced a similar incident. This is when Paul Paquin, president of the festivities was ready to lease a piece of land 5 feet by 4 feet to erect the monument along with an access sidewalk of 32 feet long by 2 feet wide as part of lot P3 of Deschambault where his house is located at 116 Chemin du Roi. The proposal was accepted and the monument was erected on this lot and blessed by Father Jacques Paquin p.m.e. on August 24, 1975. The speech made by Father Jacques Paquin and the minutes of the meeting were reproduced in Vol VIII No 9 of the genealogical bulletin "Origines des Familles Paquin au Canada". Copy of the minutes were also inserted and sealed in the monument. In 1977, to ensure its permanent location for generations to come, Paul Paquin agreed to a bond for life on the lot where the monument is located.
The 3 member committee is still in action for the preparation of another rally to celebrate the 300 wedding anniversary of Nicolas to Marie-Françoise Plante. A questionnaire has been prepared to this effect and has appeared in Vol VII, No 1 of January 1975. Trois-Rivières has been selected for this rally because of the great number of Paquin in the area. Meetings were held on October 3, 1975 at the secretary location and on December 5, 1975 and on March 2 and 11 and May 19, 1976 at Trois-Rivières. The rally took place at the military armouries on August 8, 1976 and it was a total success eventhough it rained. Minutes may be found for the festivities in bulletin Vol VIII, No 8, 9 and 10. Brother Pasteur took advantage of this rally to launch his book "The little history of Paquin Families in America".
Excerpt from a text by Roger Paquin secretary and founding member of the association