Whether or not it deserved it, the region of Terrebonne was so named in jest by its first seigneur, André Daulier Deslandes, in 1673. When one of his friends (whom he considered to be luckier) was granted the barony of Aubonne in Switzerland, the seigneur responded with his own particular brand of one-upmanship, christening his new territory, Terbonne (sic). Secretary General of the West India Company, Daulier Deslandes never set foot on this “good earth”. It was his successors who saw the potential of the place, which included a very interesting site – one small island set among the rapidly flowing waters of the Rivière des Mille-îsles.
In 1720, Louis Lepage, pastor of a neighbouring island, acquired the territory and began to build. He first constructed a church and a manor that also served as the presbytery. In 1721, l’Île-des-Moulins got its first flour mill and in 1725 its first saw mill, both built over the river so as to harness the powerful current. Lepage’s prosperity lasted two decades, but he got somewhat ahead of himself. Although he asked the King for permission to build a forge, he didn’t wait for an answer, and was ultimately refused, just as his project was nearing completion. As a result, Lepage was forced to sell the seigneurie in 1745.
Terrebonne circa 1810