Viger, Jacques

Jacques Viger, journalist, author, militia officer, civil servant, politician, (b at Montréal 7 May 1787; d there 12 Dec 1858). Viger is known primarily for having been the first mayor of Montréal, but he also played an important role as a civil servant and as an intellectual, through his learned works and his collections. His career beginnings are poorly known. An editor of the Québec paper, Le Canadien, for a period of months (1808-09), he next appears as an active militia officer in the War of 1812. For the rest of his life he was involved with military functions through the militia. In 1814 he was given the position of inspector of the roads, streets, alleys and bridges of the city and parish of Montréal, a position he held until 1840. He was therefore responsible for the upkeep of the streets and for the development and physical maintenance of the city. When a first municipal charter was bestowed upon Montréal, he was mayor from 1833 to 1836, but due to the rebellion the charter was not renewed, and it was undoubtedly his patriote sympathies which lost him his inspector's position in 1840. Viger was always interested in learned works. He filled all 43 volumes of his monumental Saberdache with many miscellaneous memories, such as details from the campaign of 1812 or correspondence. He collected numerous documents and books and was one of the founders of the Société historique de Montréal (1858).