Grosvenor and Prince Albert
The history behind the familiar: Houses and places that contribute to the city’s diversity
By Michael Walsh
Previously published February 19, 2017
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.
‘Westmount is an exemplary model of suburbs from the Victorian and Post-Victorian eras in Canada.’
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
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