If buildings could speak… - A historical and architectural tour of Vaudreuil-Dorion


Former Vaudreuil County Courthouse

Former Vaudreuil County Courthouse. © Bernard Bourbonnais - Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, 2017.
Former south-east facade of Vaudreuil County Courthouse. © Bernard Bourbonnais - Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, 2017.
Former Vaudreuil County Courthouse and work of artists Sonia Haberstich and Daniel Gautier (in foreground). © Bernard Bourbonnais - Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, 2017.
Joseph-Napoléon Lefebvre (center) in front of the courthouse in May of 1899. He will act as registrar at Vaudreuil’s land registration office from 1899-1918. © Centre d’archives de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Joseph-Napoléon Lefebvre Fund, P106.
The courthouse around 1902. © Centre d’archives de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Jean-Paul Pilon et Lucille Vernier Fund, P-25-1.
The courthouse, around 1920. © Centre d’archives de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Municipalité de Vaudreuil Fund, M07-3.
The building after the expansion of the ceiling of the land registration office in 1960 (south-west facade). ©  Centre d’archives de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Paroisse Saint-Michel de Vaudreuil Fund, M18 A1,3.227.
Vaudreuil County Courthouse 1978 expansion. © Groupe Harcart, 1982.
Side view of Coteau Landing’s (Les Coteaux) courthouse plan. 1858. Unidentified architect. Image restored by Isabelle Aubuchon. © Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, M. not., Georges-Hyacinthe Dumesnil, December 9, 1858.
View of new building of the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges. Building designed by the firm Massicotte, Dignard, Taillefer, Patenaude, atelier d’architecture (mdtp atelier d'architecture inc.). © Municipalité régional de comté de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, 2016.


Current name Le 420, avenue Saint-Charles

Original vocation Circuit court, Vaudreuil Municipal County, land registration office

Address 420 Saint-Charles Avenue, Vaudreuil-Dorion

Construction date 1859-1860

Architect, Firm or Contractor Adolphe Moffatt, teacher and self-taught architect; Narcisse Prévost, master mason, Jean-Baptiste Campeau, master mason, and Ambroise Fournier, master sculptor

Architectural type Institutional and non-residential

Status Institutional property (City of Vaudreuil-Dorion); heritage building recognized by the City of Vaudreuil on January 21, 2008


The former Vaudreuil Courthouse1 was built in 1859-1860 from plans drawn up by Adolphe Moffatt (1825-1902), principal and teacher of the village’s school for boys2. It was built in the heart of the Vaudreuil County on a lot donated by Robert William Harwood (1826-1897)3. The building hosted the Vaudreuil Municipal County’s circuit court. After 1922, the stone building was no longer used as a courthouse, but remained open as the land registration office and other Vaudreuil County activities4. In 1982, the Vaudreuil municipality became a new administrative unit: the Municipalité Régionale de Comté de Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC). The MRC started operating from this building in 19865 and remained active until March 2017, after which it moved to its new location at 280 Harwood Boulevard in Vaudreuil-Dorion6. The former Courthouse still belongs to the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, and rents it to various organisations such as the Conseil des arts et de la culture de Vaudreuil-Soulanges. Along with the Saint-Michel Church, the model school (Saint-Michel College), and the Sisters of Sainte Anne Convent, the county courthouse displays the institutional importance of the former Vaudreuil Bourg.

Test your knowledge

Who am I? I was Vaudreuil’s justice of the peace in 1857.

Before The Vaudreuil County Courthouse, around 1910. © Centre d’archives de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Joseph-Napoléon Lefebvre Fund, P106.

After 420 Saint-Charles Avenue. © Bernard Bourbonnais – Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, 2017.



  1. To facilitate reading and to respect Vaudreuil-Dorion’s historical development, the text in this heritage tour uses the names of Vaudreuil or Dorion for events prior to 1994, year in which the cities merged.

    Also, when citing this heritage tour, please do so as follows: Sébastien Daviau, Jean-Luc Brazeau, and Édith Prégent. If buildings could speak. A historical and architectural tour of Vaudreuil-Dorion. Vaudreuil-Dorion, City of Vaudreuil-Dorion / Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, 2017, <https://www.circuitvd.ca>, accessed [insert date].

  2. Centre d’archives de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Collection MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, I05/A5,5,002, December 23, 1859. [Original text] « Reçu de Mr F. de S. Bastien secrétaire-trésorier du conseil de comté de Vaudreuil, la somme de deux louis courant pour prix des plans du palais de justice du sous dit comté de Vaudreuil Alex M. Adolphus Moffatt ».

  3. Centre d’archives de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, microfilms, m. not., Joseph-Octave Bastien fils, October 5 1858. Immediate and future donation by Robert William Harwood, esquire, bourgeois of Vaudreuil, to the Corporation or Municipal Council of the Vaudreuil County, represented by John Burke, County Prefect.

  4. André Giroux. Les palais de justice de la province Québec de ses origines au début du vingtième siècle. Ottawa, Parc Canada, 1977, unpublished study, p. 286 (available at BANQ Québec) and Raoul P. Barbe. Les palais de justice du Québec. Cowansville, Éditions Yvon Blais, 2013, p. 423.

  5. File of the County Court House consulted in Manon Sarthou. Inventaire patrimonial de Vaudreuil-Dorion. Description et évaluation. Montréal, Ciné-Cité, 1996, n.p.

  6. Stéphane Fortier, « La MRC inaugure ses nouveaux locaux », Journal Première Édition, April 1, 2017, p. 11.