Laprés & Lavergne - Photographer
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The subject of this large format mounted photograph was incorrectly identified by a previous collector as an officer of the 65th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles. This
supposition was seemingly based on the unit initials “C.M.R.” that appear on both the front and reverse side of the photograph. Based on the entire inscription that
photograph actually records the image of Paul Ouimet of the 65th Regiment (Militia) Carabiniers Mont-Royal.
Paul Ouimet (Paul Aldric Richard Ouimet) was born to a very prominent French Canadian family in Montreal on 6 July 1881. His father, Jospeph-Aldric Ouimet, had
command the 65th (then styled the Mount Royal Rifles) during Louis Riel’s Rebellion in 1885 and had unsuccessfully petitioned the government of clemency after Riel was
sentenced to hang. A member of the Conservative Party, the elder Ouimet also served as Crown Prosecutor and well as speaker for the House of Commons from 1887 to
Militia records confirm Paul Ouimet’s membership in the Carabiniers Mont-Royal from at around 1902 until at least 1909. Curiously while the photograph’s inscription seems
to give Ouimet’s rank as Captain the militia records never show him rising above 1st Lieutenant. Perhaps the captain’s rank was a temporary or brevet rank he was holding
at the time the photograph was taken inscribed (1904). Paul Ouimet seems to have served his entire military career with the militia and I have found no evidence that he
served overseas in either the Anglo-Boer War or World War One.
While not in uniform Ouimet appears to have made a living at least for some time as an insurance agent (1911 Canadian Census). Ouimet in prominently mentioned the 1922
edition of Who’s Who in Canada: An illustrated biographical record of the men and women of the time. In this volume his name is given as Paul de R. Ouimet. His mother’s
name is given here as Terese. He must have been of considerable wealth since he is mentioned as being a major shareholder in some ten financial, banking and mining firms.
He married Miss Emma Marie Tyo of Ogdensburg, New York on 1 October 1913. Since a man of the times was judged by the clubs to which he had been admitted as much as
anything else, Ouimet made sure to present a well rounded and sophisticated persona to fellow members of Montreal and New York society. He held memberships in the St.
Denis Club, the Montreal Jockey Club, the Dorval Jockey Club, the Montreal Chambre de Commerce, the Century Club (Ogdensburg, N.Y.) and the Ogdensburg Yacht Club.
A pencil note on the photograph’s reverse side mentions Paul Ouimet as being the one time mayor of Montreal but Ouimet’s name does not appear in the official list of
Montreal’s chief executives. Further details of Oiumet's later life have not come to light.
|Below: The reverse side of the photograph showing various inscriptions including one mistakingly identifying Ouimet as a one time mayor of Montreal.