Dr. Saint-Firmin Monestime

Saint-Firmin Monestime was born on December 16, 1906 in Port au Prince, Haiti. He graduated from Medical School in 1936. In 1945, he came to Canada for a better life. During this time, he met and courted Zenaida Petschersky, a Russian immigrant.

In 1951, he establishes himself in Mattawa and opens a clinic. On February 8, 1953, he marries Zenaida Petschersky and they have four children. In 1957, he gets his Canadian citizenship and two years later he is elected the leader of Progressive Conservative Party in Mattawa.


In 1962, he ran for council and was elected. In 1963, he was elected Mayor of Mattawa.

Running for Mayor

He championed numerous housing and building developments in Mattawa, especially the construction of the Algonquin Nursing Home for seniors. In 1970, he became director of The Progressive Conservative Party and tried his hand at running for the President of Progressive Conservative Party for Nipissing, but was unsuccessful. In 1971, he was re-elected as mayor.

On October 22, 1977, he passed away.

He will always be remembered for the many contributions he did for Mattawa.


The Mattawa Museum is honored to feature a permanent exhibit supported by the Monestime family.

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Click on the double headed arrow in the upper right corner for a full screen view

Related Articles

Doug Mackey, 286:October 26, 2007 – Mattawa’s Dr. Firmin Monestime Remembered
Doug Mackey, 320:February 27, 2009 – Black History Month Remembers
Doug Mackey, 423:November 22, 2013 – Some Black History in Perspective
Doug Mackey, 427:March 7, 2014 – Dr. S. F. Monestime Black History Month Events a Success
Thestar.com, Feb. 17, 2014 – Photo exhibit honours Canada’s first elected black mayor
TVO, Claude Sharma, Feb. 13, 2019 – How Saint-Firmin Monestime made history as Canada’s first Black mayor
Black Ottawa Scene, Claude Sharma, Feb. 13, 2019 – How Saint-Firmin Monestime made history as Canada’s first Black mayor
Nord de l’Ontario Canada, Andréanne Joly, Feb. 13, 2021 – Saint Firmin Monestime : un Haïtien à Mattawa

Related Publications

Where Rivers Meet, The Story of Dr. S. F. Monestime Canada’s First Black Mayor by Doug Mackey
My Brave Haitian Family by Robert Monestime
… Conférences de médecine rurale by St. Firmin Monestime

Related Videos


Related Websites

Dr. Saint Firmin Monestime Facebook Page
Operation Black Vote Canada – Dr. Firmin Monestime Becomes the First Black Mayor in Canada
Black History in Ontario – Dr. Firmin Monestime
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario – Spotlight on Dr. Saint-Firmin Monestime (1909-1977)

Other Resources

University of Ottawa Firmin Monestime Scholarship

Students that have graduated from the École secondaire catholique Élisabeth Bruyère or the F.J. McElligott Secondary School in Mattawa, Ontario are eligible to apply if they also meet other criteria.

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© 2019 Mattawa & District Historical Society
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