Development of the mountain village and its surroundings ended at that time. Tourists would only come to the mountain for the day, preferring instead to visit the Eastern Townships. In addition, steam power arrived and replaced the mills. The parish became the centre of activity. People left the mountain, and it returned to a state of peace and tranquillity.
In 1913, the Campbell family sold 890 hectares of its property to a wealthy young man, Andrew Hamilton Gault. By 1920, the 522 inhabitants of Saint-Hilaire had electricity, and there were 802 other inhabitants in the neighbouring countryside. By 1941, an aqueduct from Lake Hertel was supplying water to the 5,000 homes in Saint-Hilaire and Beloeil.
Gault spent many summers on his property. He loved nature and his mountain, and he was required to defend it many times to keep it all intact, fighting off uranium and diamond mining prospectors as well as expropriation threats to his lands for sandpit operations. Gault would remain vigilant and firm. In 1940, he sold his Lake Hertel water rights to the municipality of Beloeil.
In 1957, Gault constructed a vast manor house on the shores of Lake Hertel where he lived for a few months before his death. He left his entire property to McGill University, knowing that a well-established institution of higher learning would be able to protect the mountain for future generations.
Société d'histoire de Beloeil - Mont-Saint-Hilaire
Our thanks to the Société d'histoire de Beloeil - Mont-Saint-Hilaire for the use of photographs from their archives.