Thursday, 26 April 2012

Golden Trinities

If there is one branch of our family tree that can be said to be “Golden” it is surely the Paré branch.  While these cousins are fairly distant from a Lanthier perspective, it is none-the-less a remarkable tale of two families bound together by three marriages and the recurring theme of gold: gold nuggets, gold records and perhaps Golden Globes.


Jean Paré (1631-1681) arrived in Canada from France in the mid 1600s along with his older brother Robert (1626-1684).

Jean’s granddaughter Marguerite Paré wed Jacques Perrier and their granddaughter in turn, Marie Josephte Perrier married Jacques Lanthier (1744-1828).  Marie and Jacques were then the paternal grandparents of both Gaspard Lantier (Lanthier), profiled in the first article in this series, and of Jacques Philippe Lanthier, subject of No. 3 in the series.

Recall that in the early 1860s, Gaspard Lantier and his brother Ozée were making their living sailing barges for the Calvin Lumber Company through the rapids and canals of the Saint Lawrence River from Kingston to Quebec City. Their cousin Jacques Philippe meanwhile was in the early stages of his political career representing the Vaudreuil region of Quebec and championing the interests of its Coteau-du-Lac Canal first in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada and later in the Federal House of Commons.

It might seem quite a co-incidence then, that their distant cousin Louis (5th cousin 1x removed to be precise, b 1823) should around the same time be the lockkeeper of the Lachine Canal.  It is quite likely, given all their connections to the canal operations, that one or both of the Lanthiers may have encountered Louis Paré directly, but it is unlikely they would have been aware of their family relationship.  It is with Louis Paré that this tale really begins.


Louis Paré was the third-great grandson of Robert Paré. He and his wife Ursule Latour (b 1829) were both born and raised in Lachine, Quebec, just outside Montréal.  The couple had four sons; Louis Alphonse (b 1848), Alfred, Theophile and Arthur, and two daughters; Marie Alphonsine (b 1852) and Lelia (b 1871).  Both daughters attended school at the convent of Ste. Anne, also located in Lachine.  It was there where they befriended Josephine Timmins, whose family ran a general store nearly 500 kilometres away in Mattawa, Ontario, a small town at the confluence of the Mattawa and Ottawa rivers north of what is now Algonquin Provincial Park.

The Timmins store in Mattawa, Ontario "then and now"

Josephine came from an almost ‘mirror-reflection’ family. Whereas the Parés comprised four sons and two daughters, the Timmins family had four daughters (Josephine, Margaret, Louisa, and Lucy Anne) and two inseparable sons, Lewis “Louis” Henry (b 1858) and Noah Anthony (b 1867).

Through her school friends, the Paré girls, Josephine met their eldest brother Louis Alphonse and the couple were wed by 1868.  Josephine then introduced her husband’s sisters to her brothers. Marie Alphonsine Paré married Louis Henry Timmins in 1881 and Lelia married Noah in 1891. The two families were now bound by three unions. 

The Birth of a Mining Legend

Noah Timmins
In 1903 Noah and Henry were still running the store in Mattawa that they had inherited from their parents. As the story has it, that September a blacksmith named Fred Larose dropped by on his way from working near Cobalt, Ontario to his home in Hull, Quebec. He told Noah he had come across traces of silver in an exposed outcropping and staked a claim in his own name and that of his employers, the McMartin brothers.

Noah wrote to Henry who was in Montreal at the time and asked him to go to Hull, find Larose and offer to buy all or part of his stake in the claim. Larose parted with half his share for $3,500.  Later, after a legal challenge to the claim was settled, Noah and Henry optioned the rest of Larose’s share for $25,000, a substantial sum in those days.  Over the next two decades the Larose Silver Mine produced over 25 million ounces of silver, making Noah and Henry very wealthy.

Meanwhile, Louis Alphonse Paré had become Assistant Chief Surgeon for the Royal Northwest Mounted Police.  He and Josephine moved to Saskatchewan where in 1887, when their youngest child Alphonse was only two, Josephine died suddenly.  Dr. Paré subsequently moved to Whitehorse, so young Alphonse spent years on the frontier shuffling between his father, a sister and an uncle and being home-schooled. They eventually thought it best to provide him a proper education, sending him to the Royal Military College in Kingston.  From there he was offered a commission in the British Cavalry and embarked for a posting in India.

Dr. Pare in Whitehorse
Alphonse never made it to India. While en route, he visited his uncles Noah and Henry in Montreal who convinced him to stay and attend McGill University. Noah then underwrote his nephew’s education as a mining engineer and upon graduation employed him to examine potential stakes.  It was on one such excursion in 1909 that Alphonse Paré came across a 19-year old prospector named Benny Hollinger and his partner Alex Gillies who were camped out on a claim they had just staked.

Paré was so excited he immediately tried to negotiate a share with Hollinger, then pursued the negotiation with Hollinger’s manager John McMahon in Haileybury, where he also hurriedly sent off cables to his uncles in Montreal. Noah came immediately to help solidify a deal. The mine that resulted came to be regarded as the gold mother lode of Canadian mining and certainly one of the best-known mines in Canadian history.  The mine itself, as tradition would have it, would bear the name of its original stakeholder Benny Hollinger.  But the city that boomed around it bears the name of the brothers that developed it – Timmins, Ontario.

[In 1978 Conrad Black acquired a controlling stake in Hollinger Mines. The conglomerate he built eventually sold the mining businesses and focused on newspapers, becoming a base for the financial shenanigans that landed Black in a Florida prison in 2007.]

From Mineral Gold to Entertainment Gold

Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies
in Japan July 30, 2008
This iconic family of Canadian mining has spawned a number of entertainers familiar to modern viewers and listeners.

Noah Timmins and Lelia Paré’s great grandchildren include Margo Timmins and her brothers Michael and Peter, who together formed the Canadian alternative country/blues/folk rock band Cowboy Junkies. With Margo as lead vocalist, the band enjoyed considerable fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially with their second album The Trinity Session, released in 1988. Five of their albums went “Gold”, with Trinity Session certified Double Platinum.

Margo’s sister Carolyn “Cali” Timmins is an actress, best known for playing the part of Maggie Shelby from 1983 to 1989 on the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope”.  She also appeared in Another World from 1990 to 1991 and a variety of other television shows.

Louis Paré and Josephine Timmins’ great granddaughter Jessica Paré is also an actress, currently appearing as Megan Calvet, Don Draper’s second wife in the hit television series “Mad Men”.

Her rendition of “Zou Bisou Bisou” on the Season 5 opener in March 2012 became an instant online sensation and has been released as a single by Lions Gate Records.

Considering “Mad Men” and its cast perennially garner multiple Golden Globe Award nominations, one can only imagine it is just a matter of time before Jessica adds one of these prestigious statuettes to her family’s golden legacy.

Steve Rogers is married to Jennifer Lanthier, who among other things, is the 6th cousin 4x removed of Louis Alphonse Paré, 9th cousin once removed of Margo Timmins, and 10th cousin of Jessica Paré.

Births, Deaths and Marriages

Quebec Vital and Church Records – Drouin Collection (1621-1967),  Institut Généalogique Drouin, Montreal, Quebec (database on-line at

Canadian Censuses of 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, Library and Archives Canada
(Indexed on-line at and, Public Member Trees

Noah Timmins Biographical Info

“Noah Timmins: The Grand Old Man of Canadian Mining”, Quebec Heritage News, Vol 3, No. 1,2, Nov 2004-January 2005, page 6.


Noah Timmins
Ontario Achives #20230, via

Louis Alphonse Pare in Whitehorse
Yukon Archives, MacBride Museum collection, Skagway Historical Society,

Timmins Store, Mattawa
Doug Mackey, The Mattawa Timmins Family in Perspective, North Bay Nugget Community Voices, Oct 31, 2008

Margo Timmins
Photograph by Masao Nakagami, (via Wikipedia)

Jessica Paré
Photo credit AMC (via Salon Magazine)


  1. Hello, you have Harriet as a daughter of Noah but that was his wife. It should be Louise TIMMINS b. c1862 Quebec, Canada. Who was my Great Grandmother. She married Arthur Ferland another Canadian Mining figure.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks for your feedback and I'm sorry I took so long to reply. Noah's wife seems to appear variously in the records as Harriet and Henriette. The daughter's first appearance in the Census is in 1871 where she is clearly listed as Harriet. But by the 1881 she is being listed as Louisa. A number of member trees identify her as Louisa Harriet, so I am editing the post to reflect her as Louisa.

  2. Thank you for this. Louis Alphonse Pare and Josephine Timmins were my Great Great Grandparents, Their daughter, Blanche Pare, married my Great Grandfather, John Macdonald. Now with your links I can follow the Pare family back a little farther.

  3. Would you possibly have a picture of the Timmins mansion at 66 Belvedere Place in Westmount Quebec before it was split into 2 homes.