and their stories / 9
The history behind the familiar
By Michael Walsh
Two-thirds of Westmount’s houses – and most of its schools, houses of worship, and civic facilities – are over a century old. Together, they weave themselves into a powerful visual and symbolic presence that is anchored in Westmount soil. Those who have put down roots in the City of Westmount have elected to become part of a community that stretches back in time; a community where a respect for the past leads to an assured hope for the future.
Peter F. Trent, Mayor of Westmount
In 1919 the Government of Canada created an advisory board (Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada – HSMBC) that recommends, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Act, “nationally significant places, persons and events” to the Minister of Parks Canada:
“Each national historic site tells its own unique story, part of the greater story of Canada, contributing a sense of time, identity, and place to our understanding of Canada as a whole.” Government of Canada, National Historic Sites
Interestingly, the HSMBC, has moved from a centralized selection processes, used until the 1930s – to one that today encourages all Canadians to be involved in the nomination of areas, places and people that best represent the country’s heritage.
To this end, on July 25, 2016, a commemorative bronze plaque from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was unveiled in a ceremony at Westmount City Hall. This plaque commemorated the City of Westmount’s national historic significance:
“The Government of Canada is pleased to recognize the national historic significance of Westmount District. This city is an exemplary model of suburbs from the Victorian and Post-Victorian eras in Canada. These types of designations reflect the rich heritage of our country and offer Canadians the opportunity to learn more about it.” Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport
What follows is other sample of houses that contribute to the City’s rich and historical diversity.
W. H. Black, Secretary, Bell Telephone (1899)
J. A. H. Hawthorne, Manager (1899)
G. H. Bland, Williams Manufacturing Company (1899)
The Williams Manufacturing Company established in 1863 manufactured treadle sewing machines. Their factories were in Plattsburgh, New York and on Notre Dame Street, Montreal. The company remained in operation until 1929.
Charles Manhire, Bookkeeper (1899)
216 Prince Albert
Thomas C. Chisholm, Commercial Merchant (1899)
220 Prince Albert
George Page, of Hersey, Page & Nair (1899)
222 Prince Albert
P. D. Gordon, Lumber Merchant (1899)
351 Prince Albert
Chris Adcock, Bookkeeper, Grand Trunk Railroad (1899)
353 Prince Albert
W. H. Kenwood, Butcher (1899)
A meat merchant with a shop located at 3001 St. Catherine Street (currently Cabot Square).
In the 1950s, The General Electronics Company had their store located at this address.
355 Prince Albert
Thomas Brady, Wells Richardson Company (1899)
Founded in 1872, the pharmaceutical firm produced medicines, infant formula, fabric dyes, and other household products. By 1894, Wells, Richardson had $2 million in annual sales (some $51 million in today’s dollars), employed more than 200 people at its Burlington manufacturing plant and offices, and had branches in London, Montreal, and Sydney. (Library News and Events, Champlain College)
444 Prince Albert
J. E. Bulmer, Contractor (1899)
The architect, Robert Findlay, designed seven houses for J.E. Bulmer on Prince Albert near Chesterfield, in 1898.
Feature image: 532 Prince Albert – Fred T. Jennings, circuit manager, Canadian Pacific Railway Telegraph Co. (1897)
Images: Michael Walsh
Westmount Places and Their Stories – Part 1
Westmount Places and Their Stories – Part 2
Westmount Places and Their Stories – Part 3
Westmount Places and Their Stories – Part 4
Westmount Places and Their Stories – Part 5
Westmount Places and Their Stories – Part 6
Westmount Places and Their Stories – Part 7
Westmount Places and Their Stories – Part 8
Michael Walsh is a long-time Westmount resident and a higher education IT professional. A mycologist and statistician by training. While not at work, he walks his dog and tries to impart the beauty and hidden history Westmount has to offer to residents and visitors alike through his blog at Westmount Overlooked.