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Canada's First Car Maker Honoured: Henry Seth Taylor Gets a Clock

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--September 27, 2012.

larger_clock.making.1.jpgThe clock tower constructed in part at the recent granite symposium was assembled last weekend in Place Henry Seth Taylor in downtown Stanstead. The assembly was completed, as promised, in time for the filming of the popular Quebec television show “La Petite Séduction,” which took place in Stanstead last weekend.

The town square, which was named after the local man who built Canada’s first “horseless carriage,” or car, in Stanstead, now features a twenty-foot clock tower in memory of that man.

Before the square was constructed back in 2009 -- to a backdrop of public bickering -- there was not one single monument in honour of one of Stanstead’s most famous sons. No street, no plaque, no nothing – and that despite the fact that Henry Seth Taylor had already been honoured on both a Canadian stamp and a coin.

larger_clock.making.2.jpgTo rectify that situation, the town council of the time went ahead with the construction of the square, naming it in Taylor’s honour. The design of the square included a stunning fountain and a great deal of locally quarried granite.

A clock tower had been part of the original design, but given the expenses connected to the construction of the square (not to mention the complaining), council installed instead a smaller prize-winning sculpture (by artist Martin Brisson), one that had been created for one of the earlier granite symposiums.

larger_clock.making.3.jpgEarlier this summer, Stanstead resident Guy Cloutier approached the current town council with a design for a clock tower to replace Brisson’s sculpture at the centre of the fountain. With the help of Robert Sheldon, most of the granite (not all) for the tower was donated by the local granite companies. All of the labour was donated by volunteers. All the town had to pay for was the granite for the base and the clock mechanism.

Last Thursday and Friday, a group of volunteers led by Sheldon worked feverishly to get the tower assembled in time for the filming of the “La Petite Séduction,” which was scheduled to take place in the square on the Saturday. By Thursday evening, about half the work was done. By Friday evening, it was complete.

larger_clock.making.4.jpgThe official inauguration of the clock took place on Saturday evening before a crowd of about 200 people. Master of ceremonies Robert Sheldon introduced all of the granite companies that had contributed to the project, along with the dozen or so individuals who had given their time.

A ribbon was then cut by Stanstead Mayor Philippe Dutil, with the assistance of Rémy Girard, the Quebec television and film star who was the guest of this particular edition of the “La Petite Séduction.” The whole event was captured on tape by the TV crew for inclusion in an upcoming broadcast of the show.