Findlay home, a part
of Westmount history

Designed and built by one of Montreal’s premier architectural firms

By Joseph Marovitch

Updated 24 July 2019

Located near the summit of Westmount on a quiet street called Lexington there rests an Old English Tudor home that has been on that spot of land since 1926. Many pass by and curiously glance at the property, never realizing how profoundly historic it is, and how that home ties into the fascinating history of Westmount and that of Montreal. The property and its sister house next door were designed and built by the father and son team of Robert and Frank Findlay. Their company was called Robert & F.R. Findlay. To this day, the Findlay family still owns the property.

In 2006, the Westmount Historical Association chose to honour Robert Findlay for his wonderful architectural contributions to the city of Westmount and Montreal. The Findlays were known throughout the city for the structures they created, the attention to detail and fine workmanship of their designs. Utilizing their knowledge of history and structure, combined with the needs of the many prominent Montreal families they were designing for, they created magnificent homes and buildings.

In 2006, the Westmount Historical Association chose to honour Robert Findlay for his wonderful architectural contributions to the city of Westmount and Montreal.

Robert Findlay is credited for the design and creation of several governmental and corporate structures including the Westmount Fire station, Westmount City Hall, the Westmount Library, the Murray Park Shelter, the St James Methodist Church and the Sun Life Assurance Company on Notre Dame, to name just a few projects.

In 1938 Robert Findlay was awarded the first Medal of Merit by the Quebec Association of Architects for outstanding contribution to Architecture. Robert’s son, Frank Findlay was elected to Fellowship in the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. It was Frank Findlay who designed 732 Lexington and moved the family into the house in 1927.

732 Lexington is a marvel of an architectural structure from old-world Europe. Every detail of the house was carefully thought out and only the finest materials used as evidenced by the instructions in my possession that were provided by the Findlay family. The house was built to last forever with a stone foundation, stone base walls and heavy beams. The detail in the woodwork, corners and storage spaces are intimate and beautifully crafted.

Other Westmount properties designed and built by Robert and Frank Findlay include:

4100 Dorchester Blvd W – 1891
419/421 Lansdowne Ave – 1895
12 Aberdeen Ave – 1895
42-56 Chesterfield Ave – 1898
444/446 Prince Albert Ave – 1898
Westmount Library – 1898
15 Belvedere Rd – 1906
558 Roslyn Ave – 1907
3303 Cedar Ave – 1909
425 Roslyn Ave – 1910
3228 Cedar Ave – 1911
498 Mt Pleasant Ave – 1911
1 Braeside Ave – 1912
4334 Westmount Ave – 1914

46 Surrey Gardens – 1917
459 Upper Lansdowne Ave – 1920
Westmount City Hall – 1922
15 Stanton St – Fire Station Addition – 1923
65 Forden Ave – 1924
3246 Cedar Ave – 1928
730 Lexington – 1929
21 Shorncliffe Ave – 1930
757 Lexington Ave – 1931
4363 Westmount Ave – 1933
32 Shorncliffe Ave – 1933
1 Murray Ave – 1933
Murray Park Pavillion – 1936
758 Lexington Ave – 1938

Please note that references were made from an article in the Westmount Historian Newsletter September 2006 edition of the Westmount Historical Association and from the Findlay grandchildren.

Should you have questions or comments, please refer to the comments section at the bottom of the page. As well, to view past articles, click here.

Have a great week!

Next article: Why the September market is so exciting for buyers and sellers

732 Lexington Ave., Westmount

$2,595,000 • MLS 14929270
6 Bedrooms, 3+2 Bathrooms, Garage, Fireplace
Beautiful and historic home in excellent location.

OPEN HOUSE 2 pm to 4 pm SUNDAY, July 28

State of The Market

Montreal/Quebec is an interesting market in the world. Our real estate is still undervalued (Thank you to the PQ politics scaring investment since 1976) as we have been lagging behind the rest of Canada. However, the Quebec economy has been fairly stable and growing since the referendum on the charter of rights. As such, many foreigners have taken notice of the opportunity we present. Not all those who have taken notice are investors. Some are crooks who want to take advantage of our fiscal stability and Canadian warm and friendly nature.

I was recently contacted via Centris by an individual from the Far East, who indicated to me that he was interested in a property I had for sale and wished to present an offer. I told the individual that while I appreciated his enthusiasm, I required photo identification and proof he had sufficient funds to purchase the property.

To my surprise, the individual emailed me his name, address, phone number and a copy of his financial statement and passport. He also requested that I provide a notary, which I did. However, I requested that the notary not accept his funds in the notary’s trust account until I thoroughly checked the buyer’s identification.

‘As we tend to be good natured and Quebec is a safe place to place foreign funds, individuals try to use real estate as a way to either hide funds or clean ill-gotten gains.’

I contacted the buyer’s bank both in Montreal and the Far East and I called the number the buyer provided. The number did not work, and the bank told me they did not have a branch in the location indicated on the financial statement. Further, the address on the statement was the same as the buyer’s home address. Finally, the last straw, another broker told me he received the same emails I received with a different address of the property to be purchased.

As we tend to be good-natured and Quebec is a safe place to place foreign funds, individuals try to use real estate as a way to either hide funds or clean ill-gotten gains.

Basically, the individual will attempt to purchase a property with a condition of inspection but not financing. The buyer will wire transfer money to the notary. Just before any actual investment takes place, the “buyer” will cancel the offer and request their money back. Through the process of transferring the money to Montreal and then having it returned to the Far East, the money trail becomes ambiguous and requires a forensic accountant to audit and find the money trail.

After indicating to the buyer that verification was not possible due to wrong addresses and phone numbers, I never heard from the buyer again. By checking the buyer thoroughly, problems for the seller, notary and myself were avoided.

Best advice, know your buyer and your seller!

Image: courtesy of Joseph Marovitch

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.ca

Read other articles by Joseph Marovitch

Joseph Marovitch - WestmountMag.ca

Joseph Marovitch has worked in the service industry for over 30 years. His first career was working with families from Westmount and surrounding areas, hosting children between the ages of 6 to 16 as the owner and director of Camp Maromac, a sports and arts sleep away summer camp established in 1968. Using the same strengths caring for the families, such as reliability, integrity, honesty and a deep sense of protecting the interests of those he is responsible to, Joseph applies this to his present real estate broker career. Should you have questions please feel free to contact Joseph Marovitch at 514 825-8771 or josephmarovitch@gmail.com

There is 1 comment

Add yours
  1. Caroline Breslaw

    A very fine description of the home & its history. Although Frank Findlay was a partner in the firm with his father, his home on Lexington (& the matching adjacent house) were designed only by him. It was to be his family’s home & still is owned by his descendents. Highly unusual to find a Westmount house that has remained in one family and is basically unchanged for this length of time.
    Caroline Breslaw
    Westmount Historical Association

Post a new comment