Laurentian Autoroute DS photo – Any clues?

This picture, showing a Citroën DS at what appears to be some official ribbon cutting ceremony was taken on the Laurentian Autoroute north of Montreal.   That much we know.  However if this were the official opening of the Autoroute, we think there would be more people present.  And why would cars already be going through the toll booths?

Even more curious is the DS itself.  It appears to be painted a different colour on each side,   Look at the colour split in the front valence.  We can’t make out what is on the hood (the dark portion on the passenger side), but it appears to be an emblem of some kind.   We don’t think that’s a reflection of a sign.

There also appears to be some sort of official sitting in the front passenger seat of the DS.  Obviously a tall fellow and wearing what looks like a policeman’s hat.

The date is a puzzle…   In the background you can see the Laval-des-Rapides exit #6 sign.   According to wikipedia – Laurentian Autoroute, that section of the road opened in 1958.

We believe the fellow on the the right holding the ribbon is Jean Lesage.  He was Quebec Premier from July 5, 1960 to June 16, 1966.   It is known that Jean Lesage did drive a DS.  But is his the one in this picture?   Maybe the DS has some sort of Autoroute Vehicle paint scheme.  It might have been a Quebec government car.  Or maybe Lesage had it painted that way to campaign.  He was rather flamboyant.

Why would Jean Lesage be there?  He was appointed Federal Minister of Minister of Resources and Development in the Government of Canada from September 17, 1953 to December 17, 1953 and then Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources from December 16, 1953 to June 21, 1957.  It is highly unlikely and DS were Canada at time, but we mention Lesage’s Federal tenure gain some understanding why he might have been there.   He resigned from his federal seat June 13, 1958 following his election as leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec on May 31, 1958.

In what capacity was he there?  Was it taken when he was leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec sometime after May 1958?  Or is this a later picture taken when he was Quebec Premier (July 1960 onward)?

Can anyone, maybe our Quebecois sleuths, shed further light on when this photo was taken?   What was the event and who are the three people in the photo?

 Click on image to enlarge.


  1. For sure this is not Mr. Jean Lesage. M. Lesage was handsome, unlike this gentleman. And I doubt he would have such frivolities to have a two-tone car.

    But I will come back with some suggestions.

    – Louis

  2. The gentleman on the left looks more like Gérard Cournoyer. Minister of Transport for Quebec from 1960 to 64.

    More soon….


  3. I have got confirmation from the daughter of M. Jean Lesage that he never had a Citroen. However, the gentleman at left is Gérard Cournoyer. He was a Citroen enthousiast, and claimed his life to Citroen after a big accident on the Décarie highway. The DS was completely destroyed after been hit by trucks and cars, but he got out himself without a scratches. He had many DS from time to time and was well known by the Citroen mechanics who did offer service in Montréal. He was the Ministery of Transport of Quebec when Général De Gaules visited for the third time Canada in April 1960.

    The gentleman at right is most surely Sarto Fournier. Mayor of Montreal at the time of the visit of the Général. Around 15 DS were imported at the time by Citroen Canada for the French Gendarmerie that came at the time for the Général visit.

    My guess is that this one of the DS furnished by Citroen for the visit of the french gendarmerie. The chauffeur of the DS may be one of the french policeman that came for the Général visit.

    I am still searching for the identity of the women in the middle. My guess is that she is related to the french governement explaining the Gendarmerie DS. I will look further.


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