City of Westmount
Council Minutes 1967-1980

The thirteen years spanning 1967-1980 were a difficult period

By Michael Walsh

“One of our problems in Westmount is that, wilfully or not, those who comment on us often misrepresent us. We are neither the fattest nor the wealthiest community in Greater Montreal, far from it. And we have here a complex society – socially, economically and in other ways. We speak both official languages of Canada, and numerous others. We are involved in an immense range of occupations and personal services and interests. Some Westmounters have ancient roots in this soil, others have fresh ones, but deep none the less. These are the characteristics of the city that we must strive to preserve.”
– Mayor P.A. Ouimet, November 8, 1971

Rimouski-Westmount twinning proclamation - WestmountMag.ca

Rimouski-Westmount twinning proclamation
Image: courtesy of City of Westmount

As we continue our journey into the City of Westmount’s past, through Council’s minutes, the thirteen years spanning 1967-1980 were a difficult period.

Beginning with the tragic loss of Mayor Ouimet, while still in office, other events challenged both the City and its residents. Specifically, the FLQ bombings, the integration of the Westmount Police Department into the M.U.C. and the Daignault Report (successfully contested by the City) that threatened the closure of Westmount’s police station. In addition, Hydro-Quebec’s proposal to erect a sub-station on Prospect and Clandeboye coupled with the demolition of an entire neighbourhood on Selby Street and the City of Montreal’s fire fighters’ strike were just a few of the events that tested the City’s resolve.

At this point, let’s browse Council minutes during this period and obtain a sense how the City rose to these challenges and celebrated its successes.

“That this Council, with all members present and in full unanimity, agrees to the twinning of the City of Westmount with the City of Rimouski and hereby orders that the necessary steps be taken to give effect to this agreement.”
– December 18, 1967

Selby Street sixplex - WestmountMag.ca

Expropriated building on Selby Street – Image: Michael Walsh

Changes in the 1967-68 Valuation Roll listed the demolition of 43 properties on Selby Street, 4 on Brooke Avenue and 4 on Greene Avenue.

“That the Council of the City of Westmount adopts as the official flag of the City of Westmount a rectangular regulation field of gold upon which is affixed in centre of this field the armorial bearing of the City officially registered with and presented by Lord Lyon as being the recognized crest of the City of Westmount, resplendid in its authorized true colours.
– December 16, 1968

Former City of Westmount flag - WestmountMag.ca

Former City of Westmount flag

“That the City of Montreal be requested to favourable consideration to the fluoridation of its water as a means of providing a public health measure; and…”

“That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the City of Montreal and to the other fifteen municipalities who obtain their water supply from the City of Montreal…”
– July 7, 1969

“Mayor McEntyre reported on the bombings which occurred on Sunday, May 31, 1970, in the City of Westmount… (he) extended his thanks to the employees of the City for their outstanding work, the citizens for their cooperation, the City of Montreal Bomb Disposal Squad for risking their lives in disarming unexploded bombs, the news media for their assistance in warning the citizens…”
– June 1, 1970

chessboards Westmount Park - WestmountMag.ca

Abandoned chess boards in Westmount Park’s former youth area – Image: Michael Walsh

“Alderman Robertson reported that the (youth) kiosk in the Westmount Park would open as soon as the electronic equipment was operative…”
– June 16, 1970

“Mayor McEntyre reported that Mrs. F. Richard Terroux, granddaughter of John MacFarlane, first Mayor of the Town of St. Antoine in 1890, had presented to Council a portrait (probably by Horne Russell) of Mr. MacFarlane.”

“Mr. MacFarlane had lived for many years in the Metcalfe Terrace house on Cote St. Antoine Road which he sold to Mr. Goode in 1880. Subsequently, he built “Hazelbrae”, a stone house at the corner of Churchill and Montrose Avenues, now number 85 Churchill Avenue. In the new St. Matthias Church, there is a stained glass window which he gave in memory of his wife, Jane Black.”
– July 6, 1970

John MacFarlane - WestmountMag.ca

John MacFarlane – Image: courtesy of City of Westmount

“That the City of Westmount… grant to the Quebec Deposit and Investment Fund… to purchase a piece of land in the City of Westmount bounded to the north by Tupper Street, to the east by Atwater Avenue, to the south by Dorchester Avenue and to the west by Wood Avenue… for the sum of one million two hundred thousand dollars…”
– October 20, 1970

(Ultimately, the land purchase went to Ithacan Development Corp. Ltd. and Woodpark Development Corp. Ltd.)

“That the Quebec Housing Corporation be requested to approve a program for the construction of 100 units of low-rental housing…
– December 8, 1970

(Known as the “Hillside Housing Project”, completed in 1974 despite fierce local opposition.)

“Whereas the City of Westmount is concerned with the imminent dislocation of approximately 29 families in the St. Antoine-Greene Avenue area as a result of the Provincial Roads Department’s intention to construct an access ramp to the Trans-Canada highway in this area;”

Hillside Housing Project - WestmountMag.ca

Hillside Housing Project – Image: Michael Walsh

“Whereas the City of Westmount has received no information as to what plans have been made for housing these families;”

“Whereas the City of Westmount believes there may be suitable alternative locations for the proposed ramps;”

“Whereas the Council of the City of Westmount requests that, in future, government activities which may affect local residents of a municipality not be initiated without prior consultation between the governmental and municipal representatives…”
– December 8, 1970

logo SPVM - WestmountMag.ca“Whereas the Montreal Urban Community Council has adopted a by-law calling for total integration of the Police Forces on the Island of Montreal without formulating or making available any plan to establish costs and standards or to determine the method by which integration would be logically implemented; and…”

logo City of Westmount police - WestmountMag.ca“Whereas the Council of the City of Westmount is opposed to the by-law as passed by the Montreal Urban Community Council…”
– March 29, 1971

“It was reported that bicycle riders do not obey the traffic laws… it was suggested that the Police should issue warnings…”
– September 7, 1971

Police ticketing cyclist - WestmountMag.ca

To this present day SPVM officers still issue tickets to bicycle riders traversing Westmount – Image: Michael Walsh

“Mayor McEntyre reported that it now appeared that buildings in Westmount, along the proposed extension of Metro, would not be demolished. Tests indicated that it would be possible to tunnel under them.”
– October 19, 1971

“That the official flag adopted at the Council meeting held on the 16th December 1968, be and is hereby retired and assigned to the care of the City Clerk for placement in the archives of the City; and…”

“That the Council of the City of Westmount hereby adopts as the official flag of the City of Westmount its coat of arm, granted on the twelfth day of May, 1945 by Lord Lyon…”
– March 23, 1974

Metro tunnel - WestmountMag.ca

Metro tunnel – Image: Société de transport de Montréal

“It was reported that as a result of the request of the Somerville Area Residents Association for the temporary closing of Prince Albert Avenue at the south side of Sherbrooke Street, General Committee of the Council requested that the Architectural and Planning Commission study the matter.”
– September 3, 1974

“It was reported that a petition to reopen Prince Albert Avenue at Sherbrooke Street had been received… Council… decided to leave it closed for the winter.”
– October 7, 1974

“Mr. N. T. Dawe, General Manager, on behalf of the employees of the City of Westmount, presented a painting to Council. The General Manager explained that this was the original painting, a copy of which appeared on the front of The Montreal Scene in September, 1974.”
– December 16, 1974

Prince-Albert Square - WestmountMag.ca

Prince-Albert Square – Image: courtesy of City of Westmount

“Whereas the Architectural and Planning Commission has reported that, in their opinion, the St. Stephen’s Church buildings are not immoveable properties of the nature specified in the Cultural Property Act…”

“That this Council take no steps pursuant to its authority under Bill 911 to prohibit the demolition of said St. Stephen’s Church buildings.”
– January 22, 1975

“Mayor MacCallum reported that an agreement in principle… between the City of Westmount and the Rotary Club concerning the rental of Victoria Hall by the Senior Citizens’ Residence…”

St. Stephen’s Church - WestmountMag.ca

St. Stephen’s Church entrance – Image: Michael Walsh

“Rental of the ground floor of Victoria Hall for a twenty year period for $100,000.00 “front end” charge…”

“That the lease would be renewable in twenty years for a further twenty years at a similar rate…”
– October 3, 1977

(The lease was ultimately signed by Manoir Concordia Inc. “Manoir”)

“That the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Rimouski be made honorary members of the City of Westmount Council…”

Victoria Hall main entrance way - WestmountMag.ca

Victoria Hall main entrance – Image: Michael Walsh

“Mayor MacCallum then proceeded with the passing over of his chain of office to Mayor St-Hilaire of Rimouski.”
– March 18, 1978

“Alderman Gervais read the following resolution adopted by the City of Granby:”

“Whereas the word “stop” is a French word;”

“Whereas this word originates in old French, in the words “estoper” and “estouper”;”

“… Whereas this stop sign, used in France, Guadeloupe and Martinique among others, is of international character;”

arret sign - WestmountMag.ca

Arrêt sign – Image: Reproduced under the GNU Free Documentation License

“Whereas the application of the Official Language Act is the responsibility of the “Office de la Langue Francaise”;”

“Whereas this body must be above considerations of political ideologies;”

“… Whereas experts consider that the use of the word “arret” on these signs does not comply with the rules of the French language;”

“… It was… unanimously resolved that the City of Westmount support the resolution… concerning utilization of the word “Stop”…
– February 5, 1979

“That the tender of I.B.M. Canada Ltd., for the supply of an IBM System/34 Computer System for the City of Westmount, for a monthly rental… of $3,834.24 including services and maintenance be accepted…”
– March 5, 1979

IBM System 34 - WestmountMag.ca

IBM System 34 – Image: Creative Commons

“That the City of Westmount establish a “Public Safety Unit” for the purpose of increasing the protection afforded to citizens of Westmount and their property and for the enforcement of certain municipal by-laws…
– March 17, 1980

public safety patch - WestmountMag.ca

I would like to thank Kayleigh Girard and Anthony Chiasson, City of Westmount, for their invaluable assistance in preparing this article.

Feature image: unveiling of new City of Westmount flag in 1974 – Image: courtesy of City of Westmount

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

Read other articles by Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh - WestmountMag.ca

Michael Walsh is a long-time Westmount resident. He is happily retired from nearly four decades in the field of higher education technology. A “professional student” by nature, his academic training, and publishing, include statistical methodology, mycology and animal psychology. During this period, he was also an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Prior to moving to Montreal, he was contracted by the Ontario Ministry of Education evaluating bilingual primary and secondary school programs. Today, he enjoys spending time with his (huge) Saint Bernard while discovering the city’s past and sharing stories of the majestic trees that grace the parks and streets. He can be contacted at michaelld2003@hotmail.com or through his blog Westmount Overlooked

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  1. Patricia Dumais

    I do vaguely remember the controversy over the ARRÊT signs.
    STOP is indeed a French word too! Visit France and you will see only STOP signs.
    (I’m sure the French living here must find it quite amusing our use of ARRÊT!)

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