Trivia Quiz: Murdochville: the Turbulent Past of a Young Mining Town (Answers)

Duncan Crabtree*

--March 21, 2019.

1. B. Copper

2. A. York River

3. A. The first president of the Noranda Mining Company. The former miners’ camp was named after him and was known simply as Murdoch.

4. B. 1,000. 300 houses were built to accommodate these miners between 1952 and 1953.

5. D. The charter required the mayor and all municipal councillors of Murdochville to be able to speak English.

6. F. a and b only. For decades, households in the Gaspésie had been dependent on a fishing industry that did not provide as stable of an income as mining copper did. Moreover, being such a young town, Murdochville had built in the 1950s a new cinema, recreational complex, hospital and schools.

7. C. The building of ports in Gaspé and Mont-Louis. Gaspé Copper Mines developed both the requisite mining and municipal infrastructure in the town while the Quebec government ensured road access between Murdochville, Gaspé and L’Anse-Pleureuse. Hydro-Québec installed the four power cables under the St. Lawrence that would supply Murdochville with power.

8. D. 20 million

9. D. 3 times larger. Gaspé Copper mines determined that there were 67 million tons of copper around Murdochville in 1956 which gave the town optimism to have long term mining prospects. Nevertheless, these reserves would be mostly depleted just 26 years later in 1982.

10. B. 7.5 months. The dispute highlighted how the business-friendly stance of the provincial government, as well as Quebec’s anti-union legislation, made it difficult for unions to be formed in the mid-1950s.

11. A. The firing of the local union president. Though Noranda did use court action to delay union certification for 14 months leading up to the strike, the company had already been employing several tactics to prevent the miners from forming a union for five years before the strike.

12. D. All of the above.

13. B. It ended after an attack by strike-breakers. As the union leading it was uncertified, the Murdochville strike was considered illegal and thus Gaspé Copper Mines was permitted to use strike-breakers to continue operations. During the march, the strike-breakers were ordered to intervene against striking miners. Quebec's provincial police were looking on during the altercation but did not engage.

14. C. Pierre Elliot Trudeau

15. F. a and c only

16. B. The area was booming too much for miners to be dissatisfied. Though the organization did have to pay Gaspé Copper Mines $1.5 million in damages in 1970 for the illegal strike it led in 1957, the reason the union could not challenge the company was that the quality of life of the workers was simply too high in Murdochville in the 1960s and 1970s for them to want to go on strike.

17. B. Half of them were laid-off. The town’s population, estimated to be as high as 5,000 in 1974 dropped to as low as 1,600.

18. C. An underground fire.

19. D. To demolish the town with bulldozers. 70% of workers and 65% of the municipal population chose this outcome. The Quebec government decided, however, to keep it open despite the challenges of supporting the economy of such an isolated community. After mining ended, 50-60 jobs were created at a new SAAQ call centre and more were created by the installation of several windmills in the surrounding area.

20. C. Miller mountain. Needle and Copper were the mountains under which copper deposits had been discovered and mined.

*Duncan Crabtree, a History student at Bishop's University in Sherbrooke, interned with QAHN in 2019.