PARÉ, HUBERT, businessman; b. 5 April 1803 at Saint-Denis, on the Richelieu River, Lower Canada, son of Léon Paré and Marie-Angélique Grenier; d. 24 Jan. 1869 at Montreal.
Nothing is recorded of Paré’s boyhood; possibly he received his early education at the école de latin opened in 1805 at Saint-Denis. About 1819 he was in Montreal as a clerk in the employ of Félix Vinet-Souligny, grain merchant and shipowner. Paré rose to a partnership, married on 22 June 1835 Justine Vinet, daughter of Hippolyte Vinet and Marie-Anne Beaudry, and in the 1840s continued the grain business. In the 1850s he became a dealer in iron, and at the time of his death was a retail and wholesale hardware merchant. The shifts in his economic interests doubtless reflected the decline in cereal growing in Canada East and the rise of Montreal in the consumption and distribution of manufactured goods.
The organization of capital and the improvement of transportation also concerned Paré. Along with other representative French Canadians he was among the petitioners for setting up the Banque des marchands (1846) and the Banque Jacques Cartier (1861); his name also appears in the chartering of the Montreal City and District Savings Bank (1862). Paré had been one of the founders of the latter, when it was established, without incorporation, in 1846. The major commercial banks, the Bank of Montreal excepted, did not have savings departments; hence the desirability of an institution specializing in savings. Incorporation in 1862 regularized the bank’s position and extended its services. Paré was active in encouraging the fabriques to insure their properties against fire under the provisions of the statutes of 1853 and 1854, incorporating the Mutual Assurance Association of the fabriques . He had a substantial stake in railways, £500 in St Lawrence and Atlantic stock and a directorship in the Montreal and Bytown, both lines being essential to Montreal’s metropolitan outreach.
Hubert Paré’s wealth enabled him to assist financially in the training of his brother, the future Canon Joseph-Octave Paré*, and three nephews who became priests. Perhaps through the influence of his brother, who was Bishop Ignace Bourget*’s secretary, he was brought into the main stream of Catholic action. He became one of the founders of the Société Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, established in Montreal on 19 March 1848, and an early member of the Société de Tempérance and the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste; in all these he was frequently an office holder. The three societies were largely lay in membership and were designed to meet contemporary needs, charitable, moral, and cultural. Paré was also a member of the more traditional Congrégation des hommes de Ville-Marie, a men’s moral improvement society that dated from the time of Maisonneuve [Chomedey*]. He was on the parochial committee that secured chimes for Notre-Dame Church. He and Mme Paré donated one of the tenor bells, stood as its godparents, and named it “Hubert et Justine.”
He was active in business and in good works until his death on 24 Jan. 1869. Four days later he was accorded an impressive funeral, and burial in the crypt of Notre-Dame-de-Grace.
Hubert Paré lived in the golden age of the tradesman. He was more than just a successful shopkeeper, who adroitly changed his wares to take advantage of new conditions. He illustrates the strong sense of personal responsibility so characteristic of the mid 19th century social conscience. His activity in numerous philanthropic and cultural organizations suggests the extent to which the example of the France of the Restoration penetrated French Canada.
ANQ-M, État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Montréal), 28 janv. 1869. L’Ordre (Montréal), 26 janv. 1869. Borthwick, Montreal, 64–65. J.-B.-A. Allaire, Histoire de la paroisse de Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu (Canada) (Saint-Hyacinthe, Qué., 1905), 246–47, 257, 260, 339–48. Le diocèse de Montréal à la fin du dix-neuvième siècle, avec portraits du clergé; héliogravures et notices historiques de toutes les églises et presbytères, institutions d’éducation et de charité; sociétés de bienfaisance, œuvres de fabrique et commissions scolaires . . . (Montréal, 1900), 48–51, 122–27. Olivier Maurault, La paroisse; histoire de l’église Notre-Dame de Montréal (Montréal et New York, 1929), 192–93, 198–99. Pouliot, Mgr Bourget, II, 159–60. J. I. Cooper, “The origins and early history of the Montreal City and District Savings Bank, 1846–1871,” CCHA Report, XIII (1945–46), 15–25; “Some early Canadian savings banks,” Canadian Banker (Toronto), 57 (1950), 135–43.