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Jean Bourdon

Engineer, land surveyor (1612-1668)

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Bourdon, JEAN, b. at Rouen, France, 1612; d. at Quebec, 1668. In 1634 he went to Canada and became the first engineer-in-chief and land-surveyor in the colony of New France, and the first attorney-general of the Conseil Superieur, established in 1663. It was Bourdon who surveyed and laid out all the domains and land grants assigned in this territory under the supervision of land companies. He laid out the first streets of Quebec, and drew up the plans and supervised the construction of the first chateau, Saint-Louis, at the order of Montmagny. He left a chart of the Beaupre shore and vicinity (1641) and two plans of Quebec (1660-64). He also traced a map of the territory through which he travelled in 1646 when he was dispatched with Father Isaac Jogues, S.J., to Albany, to make a treaty of peace with the Iroquois; this, however has been lost. Well-informed, reliable, and conscientious, Bourdon was the confidential agent of the governors, who employed him on several missions with success. In 1657 he embarked for Hudson’s Bay, but driven back by the savages, and his way blocked by ice, he was forced to return to Quebec, after having reached 55 degrees N. lat. Jean Bourdon colonized the manorial estate of Pointe-aux-Trembles at a distance of twenty miles from the capital, and at a later date a fief, called after him Saint-Jean, still preserved in one of the principal suburbs of Quebec.

J. EDMOND ROY


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