In 1535, Jacques Cartier went up the St. Lawrence River. He wrote in his Relations1 that, throughout the voyage, he saw on the banks a large number of houses2 inhabited by people who “font grande pescherye de tous bons poissons selon les saisons” (make a great catch of all good fish according to the seasons). On the « disneufviesme jour du mois de” (nineteenth day of September), he and his men stopped on the river west of the point, facing the Aboriginal village of Achelacy. Coming to meet them, knowing that the river has its whims and that it is better to make known its moods, a “grand seigneur dudit pays” (great master of the said country) explained to them in “ung grand sermon [...] par signes évidens avecq les mains et aultres serymonyes” (a great sermon [...] by obvious signs with his hands and other ceremonies) that a little higher up, the river narrows with strong currents and “tans de pierres et d'autres choses” (so many stones and other things) that it becomes “fort dangereulx” (very dangerous) to navigate on it.
« Le pays va de plus en plus en embellissant » (The country is getting more and more beautiful), Samuel de Champlain, 1603
A few decades later, during Champlain's first voyage, the navigator and his men found the river bank “fort aggreable tant pour les bois, vignes & habitations” (very suitable for woods, vineyards and dwellings). On June 23, 1603, they stopped at the point3 and Champlain described the place: “Nous vinsmes mouiller l'ancre jusques à Sainte Croix, distante de Quebec de quinze lieuës; c'est une pointe basse, qui va en haulsant des deux costez. Le pays est beau et uny, et les terres meilleures qu'en lieu que j'eusse veu, avec quantité de bois, mais fort peu de sapins et cyprés. Il s'y trouve en quantité des vignes, poires, noysettes, cerises, groiselles rouges et vertes, et de certaines petites racines de la grosseur d'une petite noix ressemblant au goust comme truffes, qui sont trésbonnes roties et bouillies. Toute ceste terre est noire, sans aucuns rochers, sinon qu'il y a grande quantité d'ardoise; elle est fort tendre, et si elle estoit bien cultivée, elle seroit de bon rapport4”. (We dropped anchor at Sainte Croix, fifteen leagues from Quebec City; it is a low point, which goes up and down on both sides. The country is beautiful and unified, and the land is better than what I had seen, with plenty of wood, but very few firs and cypresses. There are plenty of vines, pears, hazelnuts, cherries, red and green currants, and hundreds of small roots the size of a small walnut that taste like truffles, which are very good roasted and boiled. All this soil is black, without any rocks, except that there is a great quantity of slate; it is very tender, and if it is well cultivated, it would be of good ratio)
- Excerpt from: Jacques Cartier, Relations, Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1986, p. 147.
- Jacques Cartier mentions houses. They are certainly Aboriginal houses.
- In 1603, Champlain recounts in his travel reports that he and his companions landed at what they believed to be Saincte Croix, the place where Cartier and his men would have wintered in 1535-36. A few decades later, in 1637, when the seigniory of Platon known as Sainte-Croix was granted to the Ursulines of Quebec, the place was named Platon Sainte-Croix. This name refers to the plateaus or platons, “endroit plat sur les écors” (flat place on steep banks), which form the point. Then in 1815, appears for the first time the toponym “Pointe du Platon” which, in 1851, becomes “Pointe Platon”.
- Œuvres de Champlain, presented by Georges-Émile Giguère, Éditions du Jour, Montréal, 1973, volume 1, p. 90-91.
These texts about explorers are excerpts from:
Hélène Leclerc, Domaine Joly-De Lotbinière, Les guides des jardins du Québec, Fides, 2002, p.10-11.