Marie-Rose Turcot

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1887-1977

 

Turcot is remembered as one of Ontario’s most prominent francophone writers, the author of a novel, poems and several collections of short stories, and was a pioneer in collecting and publishing Franco-Ontarian folk tales.

Marie-Rose Turcot, Université d’Ottawa, Fonds Marie Rose Turcot (P22) , Ph 22-6

From about 1924 to 1969, Marie-Rose Turcot lived in the now-demolished Buckingham Apartments at 400 Cumberland (close to Rideau St). In 1969, she moved to 253 Daly Ave. (Corona Apartments), where she lived for five years before finishing her days in Orléans.

 

Born in Laurierville, Quebec, Marie-Rose Turcot moved to Ottawa at the age of 20 or so to work in the civil service. Later, she was one of the first female journalists in French Ontario and wrote a column in the newspaper Le Droit for 16 years, as well as in several other weekly and daily publications in Ottawa and Montreal, sometimes using the nom de plume Constance Bayard. She also worked in broadcast journalism for the French radio station CKCH in Hull, Quebec. She was active in a number of French-Canadian cultural organizations in Ottawa, including Le Caveau, as well as in professional associations.

 

Turcot wrote that she felt the “itch to write” and saw her typewriter as a sixth sense. She was able to lead an active professional life in part because she never married. In her unpublished autobiography, she mentions that she did have the chance to marry three times but preferred “to breathe the air and absorb the light of a voluntary solitude that allowed me to evolve as I wished and to use my free time to read and write.” (quoted in Frenette et al., 2005)

 

The Corona and the two neighbouring apartment buildings (the Queen and the Royal) were all built in 1912 on the former property of Sir Adolphe Caron (who was minister of militia during the 1885 rebellion).  While the Corona likely incorporates parts of the original Caron house, the other two buildings were new and typical of the walk-up apartment buildings being built in Ottawa before the First World War. Controversial at the time because it was feared they would depreciate near-by property values, such buildings originally featured large apartments meant to house families. These apartments have long since been sub-divided. The Royal used to have three stories until a 1959 fire burnt the upper floor.