There is almost a page of Belangers in the Greater Sudbury phone book. Many are descendants of one of Azilda’s pioneer families.
In 1886 Joseph Belanger moved from Quebec and settled in the Township of Rayside. Joseph was employed by the CPR and helped to build the railway. He served as mayor of the Municipality of Rayside at the turn of the last century.
According to historical lore, the town was named Azilda because his wife, Azilda Brisebois, was the first woman to get off the train at the Rayside railway station.
He and Azilda had 13 children. In 1906, the family built a three-storey home at 725 Notre Dame Ave. In Azilda. The cost of the home was about $2,500. Several generations of the Belanger family lived in the home.
In 1991 a historical plaque was erected at the homestead. Many of Joseph and Azilda’s descendants attended the ceremonies including their last surviving daughter, Dorilla Rouleau, who was 87 at the time.
Dorilla spoke of her memories which included a visit to her home by prime minister Sir Wilfred Laurier and his wife during the 1911 election campaign. The Belangers were related to the Laurier family.
Article was previously published in Sudbury 125