When I was young (Montreal West & Turcot Yards)

I have appreciated the opportunity to contribute to a blog that recalls a time when I lived on another island with a deep-sea port that serves a different ocean. The thread with my comments is here Overview of Turcot Yards in Montreal. When I was young, the Turcot yards were about trains. As British Columbia builds grand infrastructure for the Olympics, it is interesting to see what becomes of of these proud (and expensive) monuments in only one generation. There is a fine quality to that blog. I think you will enjoy it.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About these ads

70 Responses to “When I was young (Montreal West & Turcot Yards)”


  1. 1 Cdnlococo December 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    The Turcot roundhouse used to be directly below the CPR Glen/Westmount yards and was accessed by a path down the escarpment just East of where old Decarie is.

    To access Turcot by road, you turned South on St Remi, then West on Pullman I think it was, to get to the rear of the roundhouse.

    Fascinating place to be when steam locomotives were still in use.

    We used to sit at the South end of Decarie and watch them service the engines.

    As the engine arrived from a run, it dropped it’s fire into a water-filled pit between the rails where the fire was quenched, in a cloud of steam. A large overhead travelling crane with a clamshell bucket then moved the wet ashes to waiting gondolas for use as fill along the line.

    The engine without a fire then moved East on it’s own steam into a wooden-walled Blow Down Pen where most of the hot water from the boiler was drained out.

    This made a thunderous ROAR and a huge cloud of steam.

    Minerals and treatment from the water collected so the rails were buried right up to their heads, looking like streetcar track.

    The engine was then moved onto the turntable and into the roundhouse for maintenance, the rest of the water being drained inside.

    There were other outbound engines getting coal and water.

    The coal chute was to the West of the roundhouse was, in all, about 1/4 mile long, with a long-sloped trestle up which coal hoppers were shoved by a Yard Engine into the covered tower from the West end.

    The coal was dumped into bins beneath the track in the tower, and engines on paralled tracks below took coal into their tenders from chutes on the bottom of each side of the tower.

    In 1961 we spent the summer watching them scrap over 110 steam locomotives at Turcot. Sad, and never able to be forgotten.

    We used to take the 106 bus along U L road and go down the STEEP road at the East side of Rose Bowl lanes to get into the Yards. A real thrill on a bike!

    In winter the City of Montreal used to go down the same road with trucks of snow to dump once the tracks were lifted in 1960s.

    Their Yard was almost right across the street.

    LaSalle Coke used to quench coke, and each time a huge cloud of steam would rise for almost a mile in the air, especially in winter.

    Until 1956 or so, all the gas used in the city was provided by LaSalle Coke and stored in the rising tanks once so prominent.

    The Natrual Gas arrived by pipeline from the West, spelling the doom, ultimately, of LaSalle Coke.

    I suspect byproducts from LaSalle Coke were used at Monsanto.

    The crane still extantby the canal was emptied by small narrow-gauge coal cars on a cable which cirulated into the plant proper South of St. Patrick St. at CPR Power Jct.

    When a canaller was being unloaded they wrapped the wheelhouse and aft quarters on the boat with canvas as coal would blow from the clamshell bucket and also rain down on your car if you stopped to watch the unloading.

    If you had binoculars, you could watch the coal cars circulating from the foot of Decarie.

    CNR changed from steam to electric or vice vera on passenger trains at Turcot East on Central Station Trains.

    Montreal Tramways used to run along the South side of Turcot Yard thru to Lachine.

    I too remember the explosion at Monsanto, and there was an apartment block in La Salle the exploded from Natrual Gas, killing 20 or so a few years earlier. We could see the smoke out our kitchen window.

    Around 1962 a private house blew up on Beaconsfield Ave. just North of Sherbrooke.

    We were coming in from Dorval and saw the houses on fire at Brock, and immediately rode our bikes down.

    There used to be a single-track level crossing of the CNR which went by Consumers Glass in VSP, then around West of CPR Sortin Yard and thru to Vertu and thence to Jacques Cartier Jct. just South of Bordeaux Jail.

    Old CNR at that time still passed thru Lachine to Dorval along side the Tramways out to Dixie.

  2. 5 Robert December 7, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Cdnlococo, thank-you for the thoughtful comments. I sense that you and I saw west-end Montreal from a similar perspective… but your views seem more mature. I suspect you are 4 or 5 years older than me. We may have passed each other on our bikes or at the counter at Elmhurst Dairy.

  3. 6 Cdnlococo December 7, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Dear Robert,

    Yes, I sense that I am just a bit older than you. I once went to Iona School over by Decarie, then to Rosedale School when part of the classes were still being held in the old Church Hall South of Terrebonne at Mariette.

    The Old Hall was being demolished when JFK was shot.

    If you go look at the house on the NW corner of Marriette and Terrebonne there used to be a white-on-blue enamel road sign on it’s bricks, which were rare even in the sixties.

    I then went to Monklands High over on Benny/West Hill.

    We had many a cone at the old Elmhurst Dairy, and, the joke always was the Bull and the Cow’s afterquarters were intact behind the billboard to the West of the dairy proper.

    I once spent 1/2 an hour looking for AVON on a Service Order! Was I mad!

    We haunted the train yards as kids, if not Turcot and it’s swamps, old Sortin Yard over at the end of Cote St Luc Rd.

    Lots of steam engines still, and the Lachine Canal not yet replaced by the Seaway.

    There were billboards overlooking 2/17 just down the hill from SKF and International Trucks and we could sit on them and view the whole scene of Turcot West, Canadian Car and Foundry and the Canal, once again with Lachine streetcars going back and forth.

    Therw was a Trucker’s Hotle, Peg’s?? on the corner of U L Rd where the truck tractors had all sorts of licence plates from everywhere.

    I don’t have time today, but once we walked the St. Pierre River from over by the CPR Hump near Blue Bonnets Raceway thru to CPR Sortin Yards at the Wentworth Golf Course.

    It drained all the arable land once where Cote St Luc is now, along Kildare, etc.

    Yes, we probably DID pass somewhere, maybe watching trains at Mtl West when seeing a DIESEL on a train was a novelty, and the Tramways used to turn up on Sherbrbrooke when thr Streetcars used to still turn at Elmhurst Loop.

    They had a big revolving illuminated LaSalle Taxi sign there next to old Track 4 at the station.

  4. 7 Terry Danks July 10, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Hmmm . . .

    I can’t help but wonder who you fellows are. My friends and I haunted Montreal West in the years 1954 to 1958 or so. Watching trains. And, indeed, I recall wanting to see DIESELS!!! After all, steamers were commonplace, eh? In fact I have a couple of snaps of The Canadian at Montreal West and a steamer too. They can be seen by clicking the small thumbnails at the bottom of this web page http://danks.netfirms.com/locos.htm

    And yes, when we could afford it out of our allowances, the cones at Elmhurst (although I had forgotten the name of the place) were a real treat.

    Yup, on bicycles too.

    I wonder if we knew each other all those years ago.

    • 8 Robert July 10, 2009 at 7:15 am

      Terry, I’ve just been reviewing your web site. The photography is stunning! I see that you have also done some excellent astrophotography. My interest in astronomy began a few years after you left the Montreal West area… in 1963. In June of ’63 a member of the Royal Astronomical Society, Karl McNamara, visited a neighbour, and he brought his telescope. Long after everyone else had gone to bed he was showing me wonders of the night sky. He told me that he was organizing a train to go to to Grand-Mère in July to see an eclipse of the sun. The next day I announced that our family was going. We did. That train was the first in many years to stop in Grand-Mère, and the town had a band to greet us at the station. The eclipse was awesome. Karl was a member of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. I joined that group. It was a turning point in my life. I’ve worked in three of Canada’s largest planetariums over a period of 20 years. I’m still a member of the Montreal Centre.

  5. 9 Robert July 10, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Hi Terry, I was born in 1943, so I would have been riding my bike around Montreal West during the years that you were there. I was one of the Ballantyne family who lived on Ballantyne Avenue South. My cousin Ralph was like an older brother, and he lived on the Upper Lachine Road (Avon Road). I clearly remember us watching a diesel passing through the crossing at Westminster, and him saying to my amazement, “Someday all of the engines will be diesel.” Thanks for the link to the pictures.

    • 10 Joanne Trenholme January 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Hi Robert Ballantyne,

      I just happened upon the ” blog” that you take part in.

      My name is Joanne Trenholme ( born in 1949) My grandfather was Wilfred Trenholme, who built and lived in that big old home at 150 Brock South. As a little girl, we used to go to Sunday dinner at my grandparents almost every week and I remember my father, Thomas Trenholme, pointing out his aunt, Ethel Ballantyne’s house, just across the street.

      I have lived all my married life in the Eastern Townships and often go over to the small village, near Richmond Quebec, called Trenholme, where my great/great/great grandfather, William Trenholme settled, in 1819.

      I am in frequent touch with most of the other members of our family: Prices, Clarksons, Kerrigans. My grandfather had six sisters, of which Ethel Ballantyne was one, so there are many cousins…. you, among them !!

      I remember going to family Christmas parties, years ago, with Ballantyne cousins: Murray, Jimmy and a third brother.

      Where, exactly, do you fit in ??

      • 11 Robert January 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm

        Hi Joanne,

        My sister and I grew up at 140 Ballantyne Avenue in the house of my father, George Ballantyne. George is the son of James Ballantyne, who built the large house at 124 Ballantyne Ave. The street was named after Grandfather, who was mayor of Montreal West from (I think) 1912 to 1927.

        I seem to remember reading a book by Murray Ballantyne about his conversion to Roman Catholicism.

        James Ballantyne was the son of John, who emigrated from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Great Grandfather John settled on a farm near Chester, Ontario. I believe he and his wife had about 16 children; 8 in Scotland, and 8 in Canada. I think I heard that one died during the crossing. The family legend is that as each of the children came of age, John would walk them to the King’s Highway (between Toronto and Montreal), give them one dollar and send them on their way announcing that this was, “the road of life.” The story is that they all did well. One became a Senator. My namesake was Uncle Bob, a Presbyterian minister. Aunt Liz was a beloved school teacher – the Elizabeth Ballantyne School was named for her. Grandfather ran a large plumbing and heating business, plumbing buildings as far away as the Manitoba Legislature.

        I think I remember a young girl who visited ‘Wilfie’ Trenholme’s household, and was friends with the Gillespie family who lived across the street from my house. Could that be you?

        Thanks for writing… Robert

      • 12 Joanne Trenholme January 23, 2011 at 10:16 am

        Hi again Robert,

        Thanks Robert for your speedy reply. I am trying to sort out all this family history and your contributions were helpful.

        When you mention your great-grandfather John ( from the Orkneys) and his sixteen children…. one of whom was a senator, that would be, I believe, Senator C.C. Ballantyne ( Charles), who would be my connection to your family.

        I am Wilfred ( Wilfie) Trenholme’s granddaughter. Wilfred’s oldest sister, Ethel Trenholme married C.C. Ballantyne and they had three sons: James, Murray ( who, indeed, converted to Roman Catholicism and a third.) ( nor sure of his name )

        My great grandfather , Thomas Anderson Trenholme, started Elmhurst’s Dairy and his two sons, Harry Trenholme and Wilfred ran the dairy. My father told me many wonderful stories of the dairy:visiting the large stable of horses which pulled the wagons and much more wonderful lore.

        So Senator C.C. Ballantyne would have been your great uncle, ( brother of James ) and he was mine as well, through marriage. James and C.C
        ( Charles) must have lived next door to one another on Ballantyne South. I remember my father telling me about visiting the Ballantynes out at their country home in Dorval, as a little boy and eating strawberries from their garden the size of apples !

        Interesting how inter-connected we all are.

        cheers,

        Joanne Trenholme Marosi

      • 13 Robert January 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

        Joanne,

        Grandfather and his brother, Great Uncle Charlie, acquired a plot in the Mt. Royal Cemetery, section F10. Charlie’s family are buried on the left side of the plot — and my grandparents, and all of my aunts and uncles (and parents), are on the right side. If you are in Montreal, you might visit and find out what relatives of yours are there.

        I knew there was a Ballantyne in Dorval, but I don’t ever remember visiting. I recall my Dad mentioning the large property when we drove by. That has since been developed, and the street is called Terrasse Ballantyne.

        I had no idea of the connection between the Trenholme family and Elmhurst Dairy. The dairy was a big part of our lives. People would come a long way to visit its ice cream parlour. I remember how unhappy Frank, the Milkman, was when the dairy took his horse and gave him a truck. His horse knew the route so well that Frank could be inside the wagon making up the next order, while the horse walked to the next house and stopped. I think I remember visiting the stables and the blacksmith shop that was out behind the main building of Elmhurst Dairy.

    • 14 Sheila Brooke Perez October 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

      My name is Sheila Brooke (Perez) I was born in 1943. I lived at 4995 Connaught Ave. And I went to St Ignatius school and also church where I made my first communion. I had a best friend Adele Dunnigan. We used to walk and roller skate all over the neighborhood. We used to go to the candy store for penny candy I believe the owner was Mrs, Unsworth. My father was Charlie Brooke and mother Stella, brother Allan, sister Pat. I remember going to Elmhurst Dairy and Burks Drug store. We moved when I was nine years old in 1952 when my father died. I found this blog by accident looking up St ignatius. Does anyone remember me or my family? Other friends were Ann Colvey and Susan Wilson.

  6. 15 Terry Danks July 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Well, I am a little surprised (disappointed?) that perhaps we did not actually know one another. I was born in ’44 so we are contemporaries. I lived on Coronation Avenue (1954-56) and then King Edward (1956-58) before moving to Pointe Claire. Rode the commuter trains to high school and college (Loyola) until finishing in 1965.

    Elementary school was St. Ignatius (corner West Broadway and Terrebonne). My best friend Barry, a year or two older than I, went to Monklands which I also saw mentioned here.

    My Dad drove me to Grande Mere for the eclipse in 1963 and I hauled my 4″ refractor along. I still remember the deep red of the prominences visible. Was thrilled at them! But it was such a short eclipse! I envy what the folks in Asia saw today.

    I only stumbled on this site as a result of searching for photos of the Montreal West CPR station. Didn’t find any unfortunately.
    What remains of it now?

    Thanks for dropping by the web site, BTW.

  7. 16 Cdnlococo September 3, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Was perusing the web looking for photos of NDG, and, was quite successful, finding a photo of Meldrum the Mover at Walkley and Sherbrooke when it was STILL a telephone exchange!

    Found a companion photo of the ‘new’ BTCo exchange on Monkland, later HUnter, taken between 1952, when the West extension was added to the building, but, prior to 1956, when the 3A streetcar from Girouard to Walkley by Steinberg’s was removed.

    Worked at HUnter for a while, amongst the Line Finders, Selectors and Connectors.

    ( Steinberg’s once had a tunnel with conveyors for groceries South beneath Somerled to their once-large parking lot on the East side of Walkley. )

    We used to LIVE at Montreal West Station, and the 3 E8s 1800-02 were Diesel favorites, they occasionally operated two coupled.

    Listening to the steam locomotive exhausts echoing off Slumhaven village apartments as they left for Westmount was lovely.

    My father and I saw the eclipse in 1963, but, we went up by train. CP ran an ‘Eclipse Special’ the locomotives being CP 1800-8705, then an almost-rare GP9 in the East, a MLW stronghold.

    We used to visit the stored to be scrapped steam locomotives at the CP St Luc roundhouse, then spent many a day watching the CNR cut them up at Turcot in ’61.

    At one time, Hydro Quebec had a small substation on the North side of Somerled between Doherty and O’Bryan.

    Used to listen to the steam engines, then the Diesels pull up the grade from LaSalle/Highland, South and North Jcts and then whistle for the crossing, back in the Fifties, at Cote St Luc road at West Broadway, before the shopping centre was built in ’56.

    At night, on hot summer evenings you could hear the small air whistle at the CPR Hump over near Blue Bonnets, the air whistle indicating to the pin puller how many cars to cut off to let down to the retarders, then the clatter of the retarders applying to slow them down.

    The whistles and horns of various yard engines around the area, and along St Patrick St. puctuated the nights.

    A canaller in the Lachine Canal would whistle 3-long for the bascule bridge at St Pierre by the Tramways substation and Canadian Car and Foundry and for the CPR swing bridge upstream by Dominion Bridge.

    LaSalle Coke would quench their name product resulting in an atomic-like cloud of steam hovering and expanding ominously.

    Minto was the street that disappeared.

    DExter was our phone No, then HUnter 4.

    HUnter 2 was electronic and Touch Tone could be ordered.

    All gone now.

    Many changes.

    The 105 is not what it used to be.

    Thank You!

  8. 17 Cdnlococo September 3, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Don’t forget the Fifties Royal Bank branch on the NE corner of Grand and Monkland, now an apartment.

    The Tramways used to Wye rush hour streetcars at Grand and Monkland, the original end of track before they extended to Walkley and Somerled.

    The wye was there until the end of streetcars on that route in 1956, making a satisfyling clanking beneath the floor as cars turned left onto Monkland towards Girouard.

    Yes, things have definitely changed in good old NDG.

    • 18 Robert September 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Cdnlococo, thanks for conjuring up those images and sounds of the Montreal that I remember… and left so long ago.

      I have a very vague memory of an orchard where Westhaven Village appeared. I don’t recall the term Slumhaven being used.

      So now I am curious to know who is behind the name, Cdnlococo. Isn’t it time for you to found your own blog or web site?

      • 19 Lori January 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm

        Yes, I’m also very curious to find out who’s behind the name, Cdnlocococo. You should definitely set up your own blog! I’ve come across your reminiscences a few times looking for old photos of NDG and find them so fascinating and well written. I can’t for the life of me find photos of what stood before the Decarie autoroute was built. But I did find out Minto disappeared, just as you mentioned.

        • 20 Ken McGuire April 21, 2013 at 8:04 am

          I remember going over to visit a horse stable on Minto. I did find – using Lovell’s Montreal Directories on-line {http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/lovell/} – that Christie Brown & Co. was located there so the horses could have been for bread delivery.

          • 21 Lori April 21, 2013 at 9:26 am

            Hi Ken, thank you for the info about Minto. Here’s a picture I finally found (oddly just as I got an email saying you responded to my post from 2011!) of what was there before the Expressway was built. Montreal archives released aerial photos of Montreal from 1947–49. I started at P10-25 in Westmount and got to P10-22 at Decarie: http://archivesdemontreal.com/greffe/vues-aeriennes-archives/jpeg/VM97-3_7P10-22.jpg

            • 22 Robert April 21, 2013 at 10:41 am

              In case folks reading Ken’s and Lori’s comments are curious about the location of the area around Minto — a street that vanished in the Decarie construction, download this kmz file and open it with Google Earth. I’ve done a fairly sloppy job of creating an overlay of an historical picture of the area. I am delighted to be able to see where there were once 2 roundhouses. Westmount Roundhouses

              Google Earth has a slider in the sidebar that will let you change the opacity of the overlay so you can compare the historical image with the more recent data.

              • 23 Spencer (Butch) Racine October 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm

                Robert /Lori/Ken
                I remember Minto Ave quite well. I lived on Oxford and Western and would ride my bike all around the Minto/Addington area. At the bottom of Minto were barns where they kept horses. We would roam around them in the evenings and hear them. There were also dogs in some of those barns and they’d bark at us when we were close. There were people whom my older sister told me were Beat Nics that hung around the vacant buildings. Probably living there.
                It was kind of a fieldy area and half way up there was a four foot drop in the land that we would take a run at with our bicycles and sail through the air. Further up the street there were houses all the way to Sherbrooke.
                On the other side of Sherbrooke was POM bakeries where we would through rocks at the pigeons in the rear of the building. A few doors over was TWA (I think they became canadian air lines) I remember there was this metal statue of an airplane right in front on the sidewalk. A block away was the Chalet BBQ which is still there today.
                I remember watching them tear down those buildings and wandering if the horses would be ok. There were also houses on the east side of
                addington that got demolished. Again I remember thinking that they were gonna tear down the Chalet BBQ (which was on the west side of addington) where we used to go get the best fries and a Coca Cola in a small green bottle.
                I also watched them digging the biggest hole I ever saw which became the expressway.

                • 24 Robert October 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm

                  Butch, Many thanks for the vivid description of life around Minto Avenue before the Décarie Expresssway appeared in Montreal. I loved the imagery of you catching some air-time on your bikes! BTW, I thought that the Pom Bakery was at The Glen and St Catherine.

                  I remember that somewhere around that part of Sherbrooke there was a pet shop with a mynah bird. I vaguely recall being there with my Mom. Yes, the bird could talk, but every now and then it would let out a shriek. We were told that it was imitating the sound of the old streetcars as they braked. Any idea where that store was?

                • 25 Spencer (Butch) Racine October 22, 2013 at 8:04 am

                  Hi Robert.
                  It was a bakery for sure. I always remembered it as being POM. Perhaps it moved to the Glen after that part of Sherbrooke was demolished to make way for the Decarie expressway. There were thousands of pigeons in the rear of that building and as kids we were always trying to catch them. I remember flying through the alley way on our bikes into a crowd of pigeons of course they always heard us coming and flew away.
                  There were a lot of vacant lots in those days and plenty of places for us to explore. I remember when they built the sky scraper on the corner of girourd and Sherbrooke. Before that it was a vacant lot filled with tall bushes. I remember playing hide and go seek in them. We would also use the alley way there as a short cut on our way to school. Daniel O’ Connel.
                  I do remember a Mina bird. Just can’t place where. There was a comic store that we went to see the new Superman, Green Lantern and others. We were eventually chased off by the owner cause we didn’t ever buy one. There was a joke store. We’d get chased outta there to. There was a restaurant called F.D.R. Which stood for Jack De Rice. Of course there was and still is the NDG park filled with trees that we used to climb to get the chestnuts. We got chased off quite a few times by the park keepers. A friend of mine fell out of one of those trees and broke his arm. I remember flagging down a police car to take him to the hospital on Northcliffe ave.
                  That whole area was a cool place to grow up as a kid. We spent a lotta time riding our bikes there and down Decarie where you could get into Turcot yards. We would put pennies on the tracks and wait for the train to flatten them out. We would wave to the conductors and they would wave back. I remember watching the workers unhook trains and then seeing the locomotives go onto that part of the track that would spin them around the opposite way. I remember the roar they used to make when they dumped the hot ash into the water underneath the track. I remember the trains would go into that enormous sized building and they’d make this sound that was like a motor reving high that lasted a minute or so then quite.
                  We got caught a few times by the CNR police who would take us home to our parents cause we weren’t supposed to be there. We would go back of course. I must of been in that place a million times as a kid.
                  We would catch frogs in the swamps. Some of my friends actually went swimming in those green pools. My mom told me you could catch Polio from them. One summer a young kid drowned in one of them. There was plenty of places to set up bottles and throw rocks at them. Or hit them with our sling shots. We would see hobo’s there but they wouldn’t bother us.
                  If you explored enough you could make your way over to the canal where ships would be. You could see the green bridge lifting up into the air. We always thought it would be cool if we could be on the bridge as it was in the air. We never tried it. That was before Ville La Salle was even there.
                  Once in awhile when I’m driving through that area on the 20 and were stopped in traffic I look at the yards. I remember the days it was filled with trains.I remember the days that the trains became diesel and were so much faster and quiter. I remember the days we would catch frogs and through rocks at bottles. I remember thinking that the days were so long and we had all the time in the world.

                • 26 Lori October 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm

                  Thank you so much for your reminiscences – your memory of the area is amazing!

                • 27 Spencer (Butch) Racine October 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

                  Hi Lori.
                  Thanks for your comment.
                  Are you an NDG’er? If so do you remember the RagMan. He was an old man who rod around the lower parts of NDG in a horse drawn carriage yelling out “Rags for Sale” and picking up junk. He used to sharpen knives and sciccors on a hand operated grinding wheel on the rear of his buggy.

                  Us kids use to sneak up behind the carriage and jump on the lower bumper for a free buggy ride. If the old man knew we were there he’d turn around in his wooden seat and crack his long whip at us to scare us away.

                • 28 Lori October 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm

                  I only moved to NDG in 1982 from the east end of Montreal. It’s funny, my mother, who grew up in the Plateau, remembers the rag man in the horse cart. And we still have Tony coming by in his truck sharpening knives out of the back of his truck.

  9. 29 Robert Grindheim March 3, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Cdnlococo,
    I was surfing the net to find some comments and notes about Rosedale School, when I discovered these postings on Montreal West & NDG. I attended Montreal West H.S. from 1957-1958 and lived across the street from the Elmhurst Dairy and down the hill from the train station. I was always fascinated by the steam locomotives that were still in service at that time and one of my most poignant memories was when I was the recepient of a roaring blast of steam from one of the engineers while busy looking at all of the pipes and gears. The Elmhurst Dairy was also a treat for many of us during the few days on the weekend that it was open to sell ice cream cones.
    Montreal West H.S. was also an remarkable school. It held classes from kindergarten through high school, which was quite an interesting mix of age groups. I also recall the Christmas Concerts and how much time our classes would spend rehearsing their hymns.
    Our family then moved to Rosedale St. and I was treated to life with Dorothea Pickel of the Rosedale School. Montreal was such a fascinating city in many ways. It was so easy to take the 102 or 105 bus to get downtown to the Atwater Station across from the Forum. From there if I recall correctly, we could take the 15 bus down St. Catherines to visit the movie theatres.
    I live in Minnesota now, and have often told me friends here that I’m living in the 11th province, eh! I haven’t been back to Montreal since 1963, but hope to make the trip back again within the next few years. I imagine that the neighbourhoods have changed somewhat, but I don’t believe that Walkley St. is now the prime value real estate sector of NDG.

    Best regards,

    Bob Grindheim

  10. 30 Terry Danks March 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Robert:

    I did not attend Mtl West High but I do recall going there many times during summer holidays to swim in their pool. My haunts were more around Coronation Park . . . now called Loyola Park . . . likely for political reasons?

    • 31 Robert Grindheim March 27, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Hello Terry,
      Our family moved to Rosedale between Somerled & Fielding after living in Montreal West. I remember Coronation Park aka Loyola Park very well. I played in the football and hockey leagues at the park. I’ve read that they don’t have the outdoor rink league due to budget cuts. I also understand that the leagues are now at the Doug Harvey Arena. Doug Harvey was the honoured guest at our hockey banquets. We had approximately 600 kids in attendance and Doug Harvey would sign all of our patches. It did break our hearts when he left to coach and play for the Rangers.
      I was able to do a tour of the area the other day via Google’s satellite and photo mapping. The house in which my family lived is gone and replaced with another duplex. I also discovered how many more apartment buildings have been erected on Fielding and Cote St. Luc.
      Did you also attend Rosedale School or Sir Arthur Currie?

      Best regards,

      Robert

  11. 32 Robert Ballantyne March 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I was in Montreal earlier this week. It was the first time I’ve been in the city for a decade. The trip was very brief and there was no time for exploring. So my experience was walking the downtown in the vicinity of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. The taxi from and to Dorval did pass through Turcot Yards, and I could glimpse bits of my old neighbourhood. There is lots of construction going on in the Yards. I am interested to find that my perceptions of that whole area has been considerably influenced by reading Neath’s eloquent and moving blog: Walking Turcot Yards

    Robert and Terry: I have found the street view images in Google Maps and Google Earth a wonderful way to explore my old haunts.

  12. 33 Robert Grindheim March 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Hello Robert Ballantyne,
    I’m glad that you’ve also discovered the wonders of the Google Maps and street views. I haven’t been back to Montreal since 1963 and I intend to do some more exploring via Google during the next several weeks. I expected to see some changes but was also pleasantly surprised to see how much has remained the same.
    I’m also blessed with a photographic memory and that has enabled me to make those comparisons.
    I also remember the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. It was quite impressive when it first opened and one of the elite centers of hospitality in the downtown area.
    I do intend to return to visit Montreal within the next year or so. It would be a miracle if I encountered anyone that I knew from so long ago, but just walking through some of my old haunts would be a treat.
    Thanks again for your follow-up comments and I will also make it a promise to try some of your Scotch Whiskey.

    Best regards,

    Robert Grindheim

  13. 34 Terry Danks May 20, 2010 at 11:28 am

    “Did you also attend Rosedale School or Sir Arthur Currie?”

    Hi Robert G.

    No, neither. I was a Loyola brat. St Ignatiuis Loyola Elementary, Loyola High and Loyola College.

    I did not know that there was an arena honouring Doug Harvey. I distinctly remember seeing the venerable defenceman one morning walking his dog while I was on my way to school as I was able to walk by his house. I do not recall precisely which street he lived on . . . the one that ran down past St. Catherine de Sienne Church? Or perhaps one over from that.
    I don’t think I had the courage to say good morning to him as he seemed lost in thought and quite oblivious to the presence of a young boy walking past him.

  14. 35 Robert Grindheim May 24, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Hello Terry Danks,
    I played hockey with a few of your fellow alumni. The one I recall most vividly is Michael O’Reilly. Although he wasn’t the biggest player on my team, he was certainly the bravest. My Boy Scout Troop also attended several events during the summer days at the Loyola College Campus.
    Doug Harvey was not well-treated by the NHL. His participation in the founding of the NHL Players Association was not well received by the Molson’s and it took the team much too long to finally retire his number.
    I’ve seen some interesting photos of Loyola Park via Google satellite views and it has evolved from the days when we used to play baseball & football. One of the playgrounds where we would use the swings and slides is apparently gone. There are also soccer fields in place of the football fields.
    I hope to visit the area in person in the near future.

    Regards,

    Robert G.

  15. 36 Gerry Rowe January 20, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Wow. Stumbled on this blog looking for something else. I am a few years older than the previous commentors I came from “Down the hill ” in Ville St Pierre. Walked daily back and forth to St Ignatious School, until 1950.

    Your blogs bring back all the sights and sounds of a great era. Thanks.l

    My old Birhplace has lost it’s identity, the street has been renamed, and it looks like there is a barrier set up between VstP and Montreal West.

    St. Ignatious School is finally getting some attention and money from the authorities to up-grade the interior and the old school yard. Last time I was in Montreal the school looked pretty run down.

    Again thanks for the memories.

    • 37 Robert January 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Gerry, thanks for commenting. Yes, I can see on Google Earth that some of the roads have changed. VstP was, of course, a large part of my world. Where else would kids in Montreal West go to buy fire crackers? I think a bylaw prevented their sale in Montreal West.

      For some reason (probably a small feud) my parents didn’t buy their meat from the butcher in Montreal West… we always received our groceries from Paquin… that store might have been on the corner of St. Jaques and Ave. Ouellete. I can remember that when the son, Placid Paquin, bought a Thunderbird, he’d use it to deliver the groceries. Since he’d want his box back – and in those days our kitchen door was always unlocked – I’d hear the door open and he’d call out, “Placid!” then he’d store cans on the proper shelves in the pantry, and put cold items in the fridge and leave with his empty box.

      Joe Kalen ran a gardening firm, and he planted the flower beds at our house. He had his house and a greenhouse below the high railway berm in VstP, probably somewhere along Rue Desrosiers.

  16. 38 Harold Rosenberg January 22, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Hi,
    It’s been a real pleasure reading all your wonderful comments about Montreal West. I ran across this page while researching a Trenholme family member
    I live on Ballantyne N., retired, and I write historical articles for the MW Informer. I live across from the Presbyterian Church on Nelson/Ballantyne.
    I’m currently writing an article on Jimmy Darou, a wheelchair-bound former jockey, who ran a gas station from the 1930’s through the 1960’s, on the corner of Westminster/Sherbrooke, facing the train tracks.
    Did anybody know Jimmy Darou, and have memories of him, or interesting anecdotes? I believe that Wilfred Trenholme of 150 Brock S.
    gave Darou a racehorse as encouragement to keep going after the tragic accident that put him in the wheelchair.
    I’d like to do some future articles on the Ballantyne and Trenholme family connections to Montreal West.

    • 39 Robert January 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Harold, I certainly remember the gas station… and Jimmy Darou’s story was part of legend of Montreal West – but he was of an older generation, and I have no personal recollections of him.

      One of the revelations of this blog thread – for me – is that there is a family connection between Trenholme family and the Ballantyne family. And I never heard that Wilfie Trenholme gave Jimmy a horse. It all sounds like a great story, and I’m delighted that you are researching it. I’ll see if I can find a connection with the Trenholme family for you. I’ll send you a private email.

      • 40 Judith Mc Tavish June 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm

        I have a rare booklet published in 1938 on Jimmy Darou and I notice that there is some interest in him in this blog. I will be delighted to give it to someone. It was given to my mother many years ago by MJmmy when she wrote a column about him.
        I notice lots of chat about the Ballantyne family too.I am a Dorval resident and remember Hazel Ballantyne with her trademark braided hairdo. She was a city councillor here for years and always an elegant presence.

        • 41 Harold June 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

          Hi Judith,

          Nice to hear from you. Thank you very much for the offer of the Jimmy Darou bookl. I’d be pleased to have it. Drop me a note at my email address (hrosenberg at videotron.ca) and I’ll arrange to get it from you.
          I’m currently thinking about future MW articles. Haunted houses in MW seems like a great topic,except I don’t how the current residents of said houses would feel about learning this information.
          Currently, I’m doing a piece on the first mayor (Lingley) of MW and his house on Brock N., built around 1895.
          If anyone has any memories of MW or old photos contact me and I’ll see if I can turn them into an article for The Informer. Always looking for ideas for articles, my free contribution to life in MW.

          • 42 Kathleen Otter-Smith June 3, 2013 at 7:44 am

            Hi Harold
            If you are going to do articles on haunted houses in Montreal West you could look into 10 Ballantyne South where I lived for the first 8 years of my life. My Mother would tell you nothing was wrong with that house but believe me there was. You couldn’t give that house to me now.
            Would look forward to hearing about the other homes in Mtl West.
            Kathleen

    • 44 Joanne Trenholme January 23, 2012 at 5:03 am

      Hi Harold and Robert,
      Following your blogs with great interest. I love it when someone wants to write some more history of Montreal West. I can add a little to the Jimmy Darou story. Growing up, my father ,Tom Trenholme, frequently mentioned what his own father, Wilfred Trenholme, had done to help Jimmy Darou. Apparently, Jimmy Darou was a jockey who rode my grandfather’s race horses. He had a serious riding accident, became wheel chair bound and my grandfather set him up with the gas station in Montreal West. He dropped in at the gas station often to chat and buy gas. Things did not go so well financially, for Darou, so my grandfather gave him a race horse. The horse’s winnings did much to help Darou out financially. Somewhere, in a box, in my home, I have a very yellowed and tattered Montreal Gazette article, written by ‘ Dink Carroll ‘ ( maybe) and entitled ” And he gave him a horse”….. You could likely find the article in the Gazette archives. I will come across it one of these days.
      Please keep in touch. I am always interested in learning more about my family

      • 45 Harold January 23, 2012 at 7:15 am

        Hi Joanne,

        Thank you very much for your reply. It clears up some questions I had about the gift to Jimmy Darou.
        I have a picture of Darou with a some race horses. There’s another gentleman in the pics. I’d like to use the pics with my article, especially if I can ID the other gentleman.
        I’m not sure whether I can paste the picture in this blog. Could you send me a private email (hrosenberg at videotron.ca) please, and I’ll forward the pic to you? I’ll also forward you some of the Montreal West articles I’ve already done.
        Thanks for the information, and your quick reply.

        • 46 Robert January 23, 2012 at 11:50 am

          Harold sent me this picture (hmm, I cannot make this a thumbprint in the comment field, and the image is nice and large… so please right-click on to open it in a new window or tab to see the whole image): Jimmy Darou with Cuvanna (the Trenholme horse) and another horse. The man holding the reins might be Mr. Trenholme, but he's not identified. Harold comments:

          The attached photo, taken on June 9, 1942, shows Darou with Cuvanna (the Trenholme horse) and another horse. I think that the man holding the reins might be Mr. Trenholme, but he’s not identified. I’d like to use the picture in my Darou piece, with a positive ID if I can get it. I’m wondering if you could alert Joanne Trenholme to my research. Perhaps she knows the ID of the man in the photo, as well as other facts about the Darou horse gift.

    • 47 1redowl May 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Dear Mr. Rosenberg,
      This is all too surreal!
      My name is Mary Bronwen (Prichard) Goouch, one of two nieces of Jimmy Darou. “Jimmy’s” sister, Marjorie Darou Prichard was my Mother.
      Jimmy’s real name was Harold James Darou.
      I knew Uncle Harold, as he was called within the family very well.
      He died after I was married, so the memories are somewhat fresh.
      My cousin, Don, Jimmy’s son,.kept up the station for a while.
      The reason that I caught this website is because I am a terrific racehorse fan, especially at Triple Crown time.
      Whenever I think about horses, I think about “Jimmy”.
      “Jimmy” as I called him as an adult, would visit Toronto where we live, every year at the time of The Queen’s Plate, Canada’s premier horserace.
      What do you want to know?
      Jimmy’s accident was during a race when he was on a horse owned by the husband of his sister Evelyn. My Mother was present when they put him in the ambulance.
      My Mother, Marjorie and her sister Doris were dancers in Montreal and took part in the Charity benefit at The Forum in Montreal following Jimmy’s accident.
      A remarkable man in many ways!

      • 48 panochallenge May 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        Hi Mary,
        What a pleasant and great surprise it is to meet you.

        I occasionally write historical articles for The Informer, the Montreal West newsletter.

        I decided to write a piece about Jimmy Darou, after I discovered some photos of him at the Quebec Archives. I researched him further and found some very interesting anecdotes about Mr. Darou.
        He was truly a magnificent person.

        His former Montreal West garage as Don knew it was demolished about a year ago. A Pharmaprix chain pharmacy is currently being constructed on that site.

        Thank you for appearing on this blog. I’d love to chat with you further, and fill you in on my research.

        For instance, while writing the article (which has not yet
        appeared, I discovered that one of his Montreal West friends was so impressed by Mr. Darou and his courageous battle, he financed the private printing of a small book about it. Only 100 copies were printed.

        Thanks, again.

      • 49 Kathleen Otter July 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

        Hi
        I grew up in the town of MTL west from 1950-1989 My family started up Mtl west hardware and I lived at 10 Ballantyne S and 160 Westminster N What a great town

        • 50 Robert July 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm

          Kathleen, many thanks for commenting. I certainly remember “Otter’s.” My family was a regular customer. I see that with “Les Fleurs Kathleen” you are still a shopkeeper, now in the beautiful town of Milton, Ontario http://goo.gl/maps/6mRk. Best wishes.

          • 51 Kathleen Otter August 2, 2012 at 7:45 am

            Hi Harold
            I don’t know anyone in the photo I was only 8yrs old.But I do remember the carnivals that were put on by the Town merchants over at Hodgson Field. The Davies Bros. used to bring in their ponies for the rides it was great fun.
            I actually started off my life in Mtl West living at 345 Westminster N corner of Northview and Westminster just before the “Hump”. My grandparents liked to buy up property and that was one of them. The house was converted into a duplex and we lived upstairs. We then moved to 10 Ballantyne S. when I was maybe 2yrs. old. It was an old Victorian built I think in 1894 my Mom loved it I didn’t this may sound strange but it was haunted (how about doing an Informer article on haunted houses in Mtl. West).
            I remember the Ballantyne mansion it was later converted into a nursing home and at Xmas we would go there sing carols pass out cookies and tea to the clients.
            Oh well enough of that for today Lots of stories and memories to tell
            Kathleen Otter

        • 52 Harold July 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm

          Hi Kathleen Otter. I’m very happy to meet you. I write occasional historical articles for The Informer, the Montreal West town newsletter. I’d love to talk to you more about your years in Montreal West. Do you have any photos from those early years of the hardware store? The Quebec Archives contains some of MW photographer Conrad Poirier’s photo archives. Here’s a Sept. 11, 1958 photo of some prizes awarded during a merchants’ assoc. carnival, taken in front of MW Hardware. Click on “voir les images” to view the picture.

          http://pistard.banq.qc.ca/unite_chercheurs/description_fonds?p_anqsid=201207271909022270&p_centre=06M&p_classe=P&p_fonds=48&p_numunide=830306

          All the best,
          Harold–Montreal West

          • 53 Kathleen Otter August 1, 2012 at 7:41 am

            Hi Harold
            Yes I do have photos one shows a horse and buggy in front of the store also other ones. David Watson has lots as well. He his the Town Historian and also a friend of mine. David probably has copies of all of mine.
            I am a 4th generation Mtl wester and both my kids grew up there and we all went to EB and Mtl West High both my parents did as well. My Moms side of the family are the Norwoods they lived on Rennie and Curzon.My Mother lives with us here in Milton and she just turned 96. My dad Doug Otter passed away 2004.If I can answer questions for you fire away.
            Kathleen Otter-Smith

            • 54 Harold August 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

              Hi Kathleen,
              I know David Watson very well. He has helped me a lot in researching my articles. I’ll check with him regarding the pictures you mentioned.
              One of the people I recently wrote about was Conrad Poirier, a longtime Montreal West photographer. He lived his whole life in a house located two houses south of me. You can read about him at:

              http://www.montreal-ouest.ca/uploaddir/files/informer/Informer_February2012.pdf

              (see P. 17)

              All the best,
              Harold–Montreal West

              • 55 Judith Mc Tavish June 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm

                Harold,

                I hope you will see my earlier post but in case you don’t, i have a copy of the 1938 booklet , privately published about Jimmy Darou. You are welcome to it, if you’d like it.

  17. 56 Gerry Rowe January 23, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I am also enjoying this blog. Robert, Paquin’s was were we bought our meat as well. I would also walk around the corner to Peacots, on the corner of 5th and Maple.

    I lived on 4th ave, accross from DR Kirkland’s house. I knew Claire Kirkland as a young girl when she was in University.

    Wal;king back and forth from VstP to St Ignatius school, I always admired the homes along Broughton Ave. I also delivered for Berks Pharmacy, I will never forget carrying those huge NY Times newpapers on Sunday.

    Our neighbour down the street was Mr. Morgan who was either the Fire Chief or the Police Chief in Montreal West.

    I came accross this blog attempting to connect with old friends from Ville St Pierre, alas without any luck. However I am enjoying following this one.

    Thanks

    • 57 Robert January 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      Gerry, this thread has been growing slowly since 2007. If you’d like to provide some contact information here (your blog, website, or email) you are welcome to do that. Links to websites are a good idea, but spell out the (at) sign in an email address so it won’t be scraped by spammers.

    • 58 Robert January 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      Gerry, Dr. Charles Kirkland, and his daughter, Claire Kirkland-Casgrain, are mentioned on page 72 of this book:
      Community besieged: the anglophone minority and the politics of Quebec – Garth Stevenson – Google Books – http://j.mp/AdkoZn

  18. 59 Gerry Rowe January 25, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Robert:
    I do not have a Web site yet, but I am working with a friend doing some research on Montreal and our experiences. When we are done we intend to put it together in a Web site.

    My email is gerrydrowe@hotmail.com.

    Thanks for the reference to Dr. Kirkland he was not only my Doctor but a great friend of the family, especially when my Father died , I was only nine then.

    Again Thanks

  19. 60 Gerry Rowe January 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Just came accross a web site http://www.n-d-g.ca/english/? that covers a number of Historical items for NDG including how many of the streets were named Treholme ave would be of interest to many.. Site also has a number of historical photos.

  20. 61 Colin Paterson March 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    It is a small world. I grew up in NDG. In 1981 we bought a waterfront house in Queen Charlotte Heights on Bowen Island. The lawyer for the North Shore Credit Union turned out to be a neighbour who grew up across the street from me on Harvard Avenue in Montreal.
    Haven’t been back to Bowen Island since we sold the house but I can spot it with binoculars from the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay.

    Colin Paterson

  21. 62 Deb Wickens August 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I only lived in Mtl West til I was 3 years old, but my Grandparents were there til they died and my Dad grew up there (Last name Wickens) They had a lovely old house on Wolsley St…. I remember the Davies Bros used to deliver groceries to my Grandma, there was a lovely big Christmas tree near the train tracks all lit up every year and a VERY steep hill leading down towards the 2&20. My Grandma sold her house on Wolsely after Grandpa died – about 1972 – for $62K – and she moved to an apartment on Westminister. Now that old house is worth almost a half million. My Dad loved Mtl West, had a ton of friends there and I always get the ‘warm fuzzies’ remembering that lovely part of town.

    • 63 Kathleen Otter August 14, 2012 at 8:02 am

      Hi Deb
      I think I remember the name Wickens from MTL West. The steep hill you are talking about is called devils hill its been there forever my Dad used toboggan down it when he was a kid.When we were kids we took our bikes down were we nuts or what.The christmas tree was on the north side of the train tracks where a small park used to be but long since gone.I too get the warm and fuzzies when I think of growing up in the town.
      Kathleen Otter

      • 64 Joyce Gosse July 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm

        Hi my name Joyce Martin Gosse I lived on Connaught near elmerst dairy I loved there maple walnut with a sugar cone.I also lived at 154 Westminster ave north across from the hair dresser and the candy store mrs Unsworth 0wned it she lived in back.I played tennis at the courts near ballentine school every day .Last year we visited and the courts are still the same even the little hut in the middle best years of my life.I also tobogganed down ashcan ally .In the winter we skated at the rinks baseball football with the boys and girls at mtl west high every day I was very busy girl love reading all the connents.

        • 65 Robert July 5, 2014 at 9:22 pm

          Hi Joyce. Wonderful comments! This is the first mention in this thread of Ashcan Alley. It reminded me of the summer day when I was riding down it on my bike, probably too fast. I don’t recall how it happened, probably a bump I didn’t see, but I went flying over the handlebars. This was long before anyone thought of mountain bicycles.

  22. 66 Robert August 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Hi Deb, thanks for commenting. I love my memories of Montreal West too.

  23. 67 fredm@dccnet.com November 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I grew up on Wolseley, a few doors down from the park beside Elizabeth Ballantyne.

    Ironically, I live on the Sunshine Coast now, not a skip and a hop from you, in Roberts Creek. Whenever I go to town, we zip by the north side of Bowen.

    Photos of historic Montreal West are damned hard to find on the net.

    • 68 Haroldro November 23, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Fred: A good blog to check out for Montreal-related historical articles and photos is: http://coolopolis.blogspot.ca/
      Most of the recently posted vintage black and white photos are ones that I’ve come across in my research. Some have to do with Montreal West. The “comments” section of each posting is the best part. Lots of interesting comments from west-end Montreal “old-timers”.

  24. 69 david watson,montreal west town historian. September 16, 2013 at 6:29 am

    great memories,god bless montreal west


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Robert's professional sites:
Ballantyne and Associates
Governing

Jump to month

Blog Article Categories

RobertB on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 135,663 hits

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: