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


Adolphe Moffatt

Adolphe Moffatt (1825-1902). © Collection Mr. Pierre McDuff.

Birth 1825 in Louiseville

Death 1902 in Montréal


Alexis-Moïse-Adolphus Moffatt was born on June 1, 1825 in the parish of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue-de-la-Rivière-du-Loup (Louiseville)1. From an early age, he devoted himself to teaching. He obtained a teaching position in Repentigny in 1843 when he was barely 18 years old. Two years later, he was hired to teach in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. In 1847, Adolphe Moffatt became director and teacher of the boys' school in the village of Saint-Michel de Vaudreuil (Saint-Michel College)2, where he taught for 35 years.

On October 19, 1853, he married Sarah-Jeanne Desjardins (1835-1894)3 at Notre-Dame de Montréal Church. Originally from Montréal, she was born on December 22, 18354. The couple bore 17 children, although only 7 survived past childhood5. Due to their parents' social position, the Moffatt-Desjardins children had influential godparents from the Vaudreuil bourgeoisie, including, among others, notary François-de-Sales Bastien (1828-1899), Doctor Louis-Joseph-Avila Valois (1837-1899), and Robert William Harwood (1826-1897).


Although he trained to be a teacher, Adolphe Moffatt nevertheless occupied many other positions in the Vaudreuil community. Undoubtedly, one of his most famous achievements was his contribution to the built landscape of the Saint-Michel de Vaudreuil village. Although he was not an official architect, Moffatt signed the plans for the new facade of Saint-Michel Church (1857) as well as the County Courthouse (1859-1860)6. In the late 1860s, he also pursued photography in addition to teaching7. While residing in Vaudreuil, Adolphe Moffatt was also involved in the municipal sphere. He was in turn councillor, treasurer, secretary, and chief of the volunteer fire brigade for the village of Vaudreuil municipality, founded in 18508. From 1874 to 1877, he was mayor of the village9. Following his retirement from the academic world, Moffatt became secretary for the school district of Vaudreuil until 189610. He was even an insurance agent in 188611.

Until the 1860s, Adolphe Moffatt resided where he taught, in the village of Vaudreuil school for boys12. In 1867, he bought a piece of land located on the other side of chemin du Bois-Vert (Saint-Charles Avenue). He built a house the following year13, where he lived with his family until they moved to Montréal. This building, which had undergone many modifications, was located at 434 Saint-Charles Avenue. It was demolished on April 17, 2019. Between 1897 and 1902, Adolphe Moffatt resided at 776 Sanguinet Street in Montréal14. He died there on August 26, 1902. Two days later on August 28, an impressive funeral was held in Vaudreuil with many municipal dignitaries in attendance15. He was buried in the Saint-Michel Church Cemetery in Vaudreuil, next to his wife who had passed away eight years earlier16.