Westmount places
Greene Avenue

The history behind the familiar: Originally bounded by a toll booth, Greene Avenue provided access to “Upper Greene”

By Michael Walsh

Previously published on October 10, 2020

Read letter dated 18th August from Mrs. R. M. Fatheringham calling attention to a wooden erection on Greene Avenue used as a plumber’s store and asking that same be removed as it was damaging to her property and preventing her house from renting.

– Council Proceedings, September 7, 1891

Several years ago, while riding the bus to work, I overheard two gentlemen discussing Greene Avenue at great length. What struck me was that they were describing it as a residential area – a neighbourhood of their youth. They were reminiscing about common friends, outdoor games, tobogganing on the hill above Sherbrooke Avenue, riding the streetcars, in sum, painting a vivid picture of an idyllic childhood.

Fast-forward several decades and ask someone how they would describe the street today – the words “tony” or “posh” might come to mind. As for myself, I would describe the street as a “sleepy business area” – an oxymoron that (in my mind) is a fitting description.

Snow plough sketch Greene Avenue -

Snow plow on Greene (1884) sketch by John Mcnaughton – Image:

In the 1900s, the street showed great promise as described in the following:

“Greene Avenue is the best real estate investment today. It is situated in the heart of the wealthiest communities in Canada, if not the American Continent. It is the only business street west of Guy connecting the Lower and Upper levels and more people pass on this street than any other street in Westmount. The Dominion Government has purchased a large site on this street for their West End post office, which will cost over $100,000.00. Three streetcar lines traverse Greene Avenue between St. Catherine and Sherbrooke and these lines carry some of the heaviest traffic in the city…”
– Real Estate Advertisement, October 1912

Capitalizing on the street’s commercial success, new business interests forced a residential relocation: “Greene Avenue from St. Catherine to Sherbrooke is due to take an added stature as a shopping area… with projected construction of more than one building… will replace present outmoded buildings, occupants of which have been served with a notice to vacate. Rumours that a major department store will locate there are, however, unfounded.
– Montreal Gazette, February 21, 1950

The street was originally named Chemin St. Antoine (1856) and owned by Mr. Edward K. Greene. The original Greene Avenue stretched in a northerly direction from St. Antoine Road, marked by a tollbooth, and referred to as “Upper Greene”.

The street’s growth and redevelopment continued until the mid-1970s and then, to a large extent, stalled. One might wonder why this occurred. In short, long-standing businesses based their success on personalized service and a customer base that was geographically constrained. The former comprises an expensive business model and the latter is not sustainable. It is anyone’s guesses what the street’s retail landscape will look like in another decade and how it will impact business owners.

At this point let us go back into an earlier time, where residents and businesses thrived in a symbiotic relationship, overcoming fires, floods, expropriations and massive redevelopment schemes that created today’s familiar landscape.

painting of Greene Avenue -

Painting of Chemin St. Antoine (Greene Avenue) by J. Duncan – Image: courtesy of City of Westmount

The street was originally named Chemin St. Antoine (1856) and owned by Mr. Edward K. Greene. The “original” Greene Avenue stretched in a northerly direction from St. Antoine Road, marked by a tollbooth, and referred to as “Upper Greene”. In 1884 Council named the street Greene Avenue.

That year, the portion of the street below Sherbrooke was in a state of disrepair. In fact, Council instructed Mr. Greene to put his road in proper order or have it closed. In response, Mr. Green offered to make over “Greene Avenue” to the Corporation on condition of him being relieved of all responsibility and expense in maintaining the road. Council considered the proposition untenable.

‘The Atlantic and Northwest Railway Company lowered the road’s grade to accommodate a bridge that would cross the street.’

Despite its condition, two-plank sidewalks were laid and by 1887 the street was surveyed, widened and, three years, later opened. The street’s widening was facilitated by a fire that destroyed several buildings, which resulted in vacant lots used to widen the street. In addition, the street was extended northwards to High Street (today’s Holton Avenue). In addition, the Atlantic and Northwest Railway Company lowered the road’s grade to accommodate a bridge that would cross the street.

A huge fire broke out in July 1890 destroying many businesses and residences in an area called the DeBellefeuille block at the corner of St. Catherine Street and Greene Avenue. Destroyed by fire: Water Paul’s grocery store, J. W. Paul’s feed store, Chapman’s pharmacy, R. W. Anglin’s greengrocery, J. Smith’s butcher shop, Alex Sigouin’s hardware store, residences from 144 to 160 Greene Avenue and 164 Greene Avenue.

The damage was extensive because, at the time, Cote St. Antoine did not have a municipal fire brigade and the nearest hydrant was on Dorchester Street requiring nearly a quarter of a mile of fire hose. This major fire, once again, provided the vacant lots used to widen the street to a uniform fifty-five feet, from St. Catherine Street to Holton Avenue. The costs incurred were paid by the fronting proprietors in three annual instalments.

Former BMO branch on Greene -

Postcard showing former Bank of Montreal branch and streetcar tracks on Greene Avenue (1908) – Image: BanQ

By 1892, the Montreal Street Railway had laid track along Sherbrooke street and started transit service to Clarke and Victoria Avenues.

Another fire, in 1893, destroyed Walter Paul Limited located on Greene Avenue at St. Catherine Street. The store opened on Greene Avenue in 1885 and, following the fire, relocated to University and Burnside (today’s boulevard de Maisonneuve). Their downtown branch was a purveyor to the Governor-General of Canada and supplied groceries to the Royal Train, which, in 1938, carried their Majesties through Canada.

Two years later, a petition launched by the owners of Greene Avenue north of Sherbrooke Street resulted in the name of this portion of the avenue being changed to Mount Pleasant.

The street was ceded in 1896 by Edward Greene and his associates. Interestingly, Messrs. Greene and Atwater also owned Columbia and Bruce Avenues, which they ceded to the Town that same year. Mr. Greene also owned Prospect Street and Stayner Avenue – also ceded on that date.

The street, now ceded to the Town, was comprised of several undrained lots with boarding and livery stables. Improvements began in 1902 with the installation of permanent sidewalks. To beautify the street, fronting proprietors had the option of macadam or brick outside their buildings. A few years later, Sheridan Nurseries added colour to the street with their flowering plants at the corner of Greene Avenue and Sherbrooke Street.

‘By 1892, the Montreal Street Railway had laid track along Sherbrooke street and started transit service to Clarke and Victoria Avenues.’

With the assistance of the Postmaster of Montreal, a uniform civic numbering system was implemented, starting with the number 1 at St. Antoine Street. This was refined in 1910 with the number 1,000 added to each civic number.

The following year, a large underground public lavatory was constructed at the corner of St. Catherine Street and Greene Avenue

The City’s beautification efforts suffered a setback in March 1914 when one of the principal water mains broke causing serious flooding to many of the cellars. The Montreal Gazette described it as follows: “…The water came with such a rush that when the doors were opened it carried baskets of vegetables and other supplies and sent them careering on waves down the street…”

Two financial institutions occupied the street: The Bank of Nova Scotia (Greene Avenue at Sherbrooke -1928) and the Bank of Montreal. The latter briefly occupied the street’s old Post Office before moving to its present location, in 1966, at the corner of boulevard de Maisonneuve and Greene Avenue.

The Montreal Light Heat and Power Company constructed an outside circuit, in 1932, on the west side of Greene Avenue that is still in use to this day.

Stayner Park -

Stayner Park – Image: Michael Walsh

In 1936, the City developed Stayner Park from a school purchased from the French Methodist Institute and demolished to create the green space. (The City enlarged the park, in 1952, through the demolition of a building on the east side owned by the City comprising six apartments.)

Despite its growth, the street seemed plagued with fires – in 1937 a major blaze destroyed civic numbers 720 through 730.

Arts and entertainment flourished on the street beginning with the Montreal Repertory Theatre (1938) located between Western Avenue (today known as de Maisonneuve) and Sherbrooke Street on land ceded by the City of Westmount. This was followed, in 1953, by a classical and modern dance school.

Dominion Store employee badge –

Dominion Store employee badge – Image: eBay

A Dominion Store opened on Greene Avenue at St. Catherine Street (1928) followed by Steinbergs’ Wholesale Groceterias Limited (1951).

As businesses grew so did the requirement for increased automobile parking. As a result, the City expropriated civic numbers 1370 to 1380 which were demolished, in 1965, to create a large parking area.

In 1966, the municipality gained full possession of the street by acquiring a lane behind the Bank of Montreal. The City enacted the Cities and Towns Act (section 430) that allows possession of laneways open to the public for ten years or more.

‘Another huge upheaval for the street’s residents was when, in 1970, the Provincial Roads Department built an access ramp to the Trans-Canada Highway, displacing 250 families in the Greene/Saint Antoine area.’

The street’s landscape dramatically changed, in 1966, with the construction of 2 Westmount Square, a twenty-one-story apartment building. Bordering Greene Avenue, St. Catherine Street, Wood Avenue and boulevard de Maisonneuve, its design by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, is described as “… standing majestically in a garden plaza concealing an international array of boutiques…” It also contained a 700-seat Famous Players cinema (1967) and some famous restaurants. The Greene Avenue entrance displayed a sculpture named The Chorus by Montreal artist Sylvia Lefkowitz. (1976).

Westmount Square -

Westmount Square

The Chorus sculpture -

The Chorus sculpture (miniature) – Image:

Another huge upheaval for the street’s residents was when, in 1970, the Provincial Roads Department built an access ramp to the Trans-Canada Highway, displacing 250 families in the Greene/Saint Antoine area. This resulted in the expropriation and demolition of all the residential dwellings on the east side of Greene Avenue between Selby and St. Antoine Streets displacing approximately 30 families. In total, the Trans Canada highway project resulted in a further 1,800 families having their homes expropriated between Sanguinet Street and the Lafontaine Tunnel.

This move caught the City by surprise and despite strong opposition, the provincial government went ahead with its plans. To the City’s credit, residences for displaced families were constructed on the south side of Hillside Avenue.

Selby Park -

Selby Park c. 2016 – Image: Michael Walsh

In 1972, an additional green space was created by the City at Greene and Selby Avenues, comprising (at the time) of twelve benches, play equipment and a water connection.

Greene Avenue comprised several notable merchants. These include Gordon & Son grocers located on Greene Avenue at Sherbrooke Street and Smithers Shoe Shop. The former sold delicacies such as whale, tiger, rattlesnake, chocolate-covered worms, grasshoppers and fried ant. They remained in business until 1973.

The street underwent a major redevelopment starting in 1974. It’s initial proposal included: one or two additional towers in the Westmount Square complex, a six-story parking garage on Greene and Dorchester, a Holiday Inn east of Westmount Square (the former RCMP site) and a new building to replace the old Post Office. Thankfully, many of these plans didn’t materialize due to strong opposition from the Greene Avenue Village Association.

Surprisingly, there was a group that disliked the Old Post Office. For example, an op-ed described the post office building as “… one of the most unsightly post offices ever built, but one so solid it could probably not be razed in any case…”

The Old Post Office -

The Old Post Office

The Old Post Office dates to 1913 and was vacated in 1969 because it was too small to handle the volume of mail. It was leased briefly by the Bank of Montreal and abandoned in 1972. The federal government then leased the building to Headway Management of Montreal in 1975.

The company converted the building into a “…distinctive shopping court with space for thirty sophisticated boutiques. Crowning the mall area will be a spacious gallery incorporating a solarium and an elegant restaurant…”
– Headway Management Ltd. Advertisement, 1975

Greene at St. Antoine
T. Prudhomme erected grocery store at rear (1915)

Montreal Brewing coaster -

Montreal Brewing coaster – Image: Collectors of Canadian Brewery Advertising

101 Greene
Daniel Angevine, Secretary, Montreal Brewing Company (1905)

118 Greene
John Laurie, Laurie Engine Company (1914)

“The Laurie Engine Company are among the oldest engine builders in Canada and have a deservedly high reputation of excellence of product. They have been in business for twenty-four years under the name of Laurie Brothers. They build all types of engines, single, compound, high spend and low speed, but their electric railway work has been on the low-speed Corliss engine type with auxiliary governors and stop valves designed by the firm… Scotch and Canadian irons are used and great care is taken in all construction details, particularly in the matter of flywheels, which are put together with Norway iron bolts of sizes such that the strains never exceed two tons per square inch of section…” – The Street Railway Journal, October 1895

Laurie Engine Company -ad -

Laurie Engine Co. ad, The Canadian Lumberman (1901)

218 Greene
A quarantine for the City’s sole smallpox case (1907)

235 Greene
J. M. Percival (1895), Canadian representative of the Co-operative Supply Association of London England.

239 Greene
Miss Cundill, Private school (1909)

257 Greene
Foster Brown Company Limited, school books and supplies store (1907)

259 Greene
Courville, butcher shop (1908)

320 Greene
See image of postcard below.

Postcard 320 Greene Avenue -

Postcard addressed to 320 Greene Avenue, September 1908 – Image: eBay

330 Greene
Captain Verity’s Horse Boarding and Instruction Stables (1908)

352 Greene
Hugh Vallance, W. C. White Boiler Works (1909)

359 Greene
Rectory of the Church of the Advent, Reverend H. M. Little (1910)

Pullman ad-

Pullman Company’s sleeping car service ad, appearing in the December 15, 1962, time table of the Seaboard Railroad (U.S.) – Image: Public Domain

410 Greene
John Foley, jailed for ringing false fire alarms (1910)
Adrien Brisebois, died of wounds while serving with the No. 2 Field Ambulance (1915)
Henri Brisebois, missing in action (1915)

756 Greene
Edward F. Taylor, the Pullman Company and a founding member of the Union Congregational Church (1930)
Founded by George Pullman, the company was the premier manufacturer of railway cars during the mid-1900s. In addition, the Pullman Company operated a sleeper car fleet which comprising nearly 10,000 carriages.

Cap Badge Duke of Connaught Royal Canadian Hussars -

Cap badge, Duke of Connaught Royal Canadian Hussars – Image: eBay

1015 Greene
Lieutenant Colonel James Barr, responsible for the organization and command of the Duke of Connaught’s Royal Canadian Hussars (1915)

1021 Greene
Alexander O’Neil, Canadian Express Company (1915)

“The Canadian Express Company operated mostly over the lines of the Grand Trunk Railway and built an express facility adjacent to Toronto Union Station in 1884. The company introduced the first money order service in Canada in 1891. Other services offered included traveller’s cheques, foreign remittances and money transfers by cable. In 1921, Canadian Express was taken over by the Canadian National Express Company.” – Toronto Railway Historical Association

Canadian Express Company postcard -

Canadian Express Company postcard – Image: Longley Auctions

1051 Greene
City of Westmount Relocation Office
The office assisted residents displaced by the construction of the Trans Canada Highway (1966)

1057 Greene
Esther Kneale Ford, President Anti-Vivisection League of Montreal (1945)

Lizzy Lind at Hageby’s -

Trafalgar Square, London, 19-3-1910, protesting the removal of the Brown Dog statue from Battersea Park; Animal Defence and Anti-Vivisection Society banner can be seen in the background – Image: Public Domain

John Henderson & Co. Coat of Arms -

John Henderson & Co. Coat of Arms – Image:

1074-1086 Greene
Baronscourt Apartments (1913)
Richard Pearce, arrested on murder charges, he eluded authorities for eight years before being found, under an assumed name, living in this building (1932)
William Murray, John Henderson and Company, furriers (1932)

“In Montreal in the 19th century, one of the most renowned hat and fur shops was the John Henderson Company. Like other specialized shops during that period, this store sold luxury goods, which complemented the merchandise sold in the department stores. Due to competition, merchants had to rely on their distinctiveness and on the quality of their service to attract and retain customers. They also made great efforts to create tasteful displays in their stores and in the windows where they presented their products.”

“It was a great advantage, however, for shops that wanted to remain competitive to be located in a strategic area, near their competition. That is why many businesses, including the John Henderson Company, left Notre Dame and St. Jacques Streets at the end of the 19th century to set up shop on St. Catherine Street, which had become the new commercial artery in Montreal.”
– McCord Museum

Grand Orange Lodge of Canada flag -

Grand Orange Lodge of Canada flag – Image: Creative Commons

1079-81 Greene
Boyne Loyal Orange Hall Lodge #401 (1955)

“The Orange Order was a political and religious fraternal society in Canada. From the early 19th century, members proudly defended Protestantism and the British connection while providing mutual aid. The Order had a strong influence in politics, particularly through patronage at the municipal level, and developed a reputation for sectarianism and rioting.”

“Like their fellow members around the world, Orangemen in Canada were devout Protestants and steadfast adherents to the British crown and its colonial representatives. Such allegiances were especially visible in parades when members chanted and carried banners that showed their support for God and country. Canadian Orangemen shared a conviction that the nation’s destiny was tied to imperial ambitions. They fiercely supported Upper Canada’s colonial government during the 1837 Rebellion, and, after Confederation, they eagerly championed Britain’s entry into military engagements such as the Boer War and the First World War.”
–The Canadian Encyclopedia

1084 Greene
Private C. V. Hood, 66th Battalion, killed in action (1917)

1087 Greene
J. R. Gardner, Architect (1900)

James Shearer Company -

James Shearer Company – Image: Wikitree

1089 Greene
B. H. Wills, secretary and treasurer, James Shearer Lumber Company (1900)

1087-89 Greene -

1087-89 Greene

“In the early 1860s, Shearer decided to enter the primary wood sector. With Jonathan Brown, a bookkeeper, he formed Shearer and Brown Company, which had a steam-powered sawmill south of the St. Gabriel lock. Shearer was thus able to produce for the primary lumber market as well as for the secondary one and these twin activities were the basis of his success. In 1871 the sash and door mill had 80 employees and produced material worth $71,000 while the sawmill and planing mill had 26 men and produced $40,800 worth of lumber.”

“The depression of the 1870s interrupted the pattern of growth but by 1887 the sash and door mill, James Shearer Company had 125 workers. The following year Shearer brought his two elder sons into the business. Three years before his death, the manufactory and the sawmill were amalgamated under the name of Shearer, Brown, and Wills Limited. After the deaths of the founding partners, the company would be renamed the James Shearer Company Limited in 1912.”

“Shearer was an innovator. He is said to have developed a hollow roof drainage system to overcome the problems of the Canadian winter. The roof was concave and the drain for the run-off was in the centre of the roof; it carried the water down the inside of the building where it was protected from freezing. This type of roof was apparently first used on the Windsor Hotel in Montreal in 1877.”
– Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Centre Greene -

Centre Greene, formerly the Unity Boys’ Club

1090 Greene
Unity Boys’ Club built on land ceded by the City and with the assistance of the Rotary Club (1949)
The building consisted of two floors and a basement containing club rooms, games rooms, a gymnasium with showers, a handicraft room and permanent quarters for the directing supervisor.

French Methodist Institute -

French Methodist Institute – Image:

1095 Greene
French Methodist Institute, Revered J. Pinel, Principal (1900)

“The Institute began its work in 1880. Its founder was the late Rev. L. N. Beaudry (who had) a desire for the salvation and enlightenment of his fellow-countrymen, the French Canadians in the Province of Quebec. The Institute prepared students for: The Conference Preliminary Course for French Probationers of the Methodist Church of Canada; Entrance in the Teachers’ Training Department of the McDonald College at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue; and, University matriculation. The original building was designed by John Pierce Hill, who also designed the Colonial House for Henry Morgan & Co. (currently Hudson’s Bay) on Saint Catherine Street.”
– The Westmount News, October 6, 1911

The building was altered in 1932 to form a residence for senior citizens.

1103 Greene
John Quinlan and Company (1922)

“JOHN QUINLAN DIES HERE IN 68TH YEAR. The death occurred yesterday at his residence, 323 Redfern avenue, Westmount, after a long illness, of John Quinlan, president of John Quinlan and Company, Quinlan Cut Stone, Limited, and the Georgian Bay Quarries Limited.”

“He was in his 68th year. Mr. Quinlan, who was an extremely well-known businessman in the city, and who furnished stone for the new courthouse, the main post office and many other public buildings in Montreal, was born in this city in 1868, the son of Timothy Quinlan and Katherine Kelly.”

“He was educated in the local public schools and started his business career with John Burns and Company in 1883. In the following year, he joined the firm of Stewart and Quinlan and was with that firm until 1895, in which year he started the present company of John Quinlan and Company.”

“In 1908 he opened up the Glen-bow stone quarries under the firm name of Quinlan Carter Limited, which supplied the cut stone for the Parliament buildings in Edmonton, public buildings in Calgary, the Lieutenant-Governor’s house at Strathcona, and many other undertakings. He sold out his interest in that concern in 1912.”

1112 Greene -

1112 Greene

“Among the buildings he erected were the civic library, Montreal; pathological and engineering buildings, McGill University: Bishop’s College School, Lennoxville; the Church of the Messiah; First Baptist Church; St. Patrick’s Orphan Asylum, Outremont; the power buildings, Montreal; St. Peter’s Church, Sherbrooke; Queen’s Hotel; Royal Bank Building; Bell Telephone Building; Sacred Heart Convent; Ascension Church, Westmount.”

“He was a member of the Board of Trade, and an ex-president of the Montreal Builders’ Exchange; he was an ex-Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus.”

“He professed the Catholic faith and was well known for his work among Catholic organizations. In 1896, he married Elizabeth Cogan, daughter of Simon Cogan, and is survived by her, one daughter, Mrs. John C. Kelly, of Montreal, and six sons, James, Gerald, John Jr., Robert, Harold, Clarence. Two sisters also survive, Mrs. John Cavanagh and Mrs. Fred Kirkup, both of Montreal, and eight grandchildren.”

“He was a governor of the Montreal General Hospital, and director of the Federated Catholic Charities; at one time he was a governor of Loyola College and the Catholic High School.”

“Mr. Quinlan was the youngest member of a pioneering building family and his activities took him to many parts of the country. He was a brother of the late Lawrence Quinlan, well-known contractor In his time, and of the late Hugh Quinlan, of Quinlan and Robertson. In the course of his business career, he introduced modern methods Into Canadian construction work, being the first to make use of steam shovels in excavation.”
– Montreal Gazette, July 5, 1935

Russian Order of St. George -

4th class Russian Order of St. George medal – Image: Creative Commons

1112 Greene
W. R. Gravely

Private William K. Gravely was awarded the Fourth class Order of St. George, August 1915, by the Czar of Russia. Reinstated after its abolition in 1917, the Order Of Saint George is the supreme military order of Russia, awarded to officers for brilliant military operations. It has four degrees (I through IV, the first being the highest) awarded successively.

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant W. K. Gravely, Canadian Forestry Corps (1919)

“On February 16, 1916, British Colonial Secretary, Andrew Bonar Law, made a request of the Governor-General of Canada to deploy Canadian lumbermen to aid in the cutting and processing of timber. Later that year, the Canadian Forestry Corps was created.”

“The request was an unusual one – regularly Canada would ship processed timber across the Atlantic to Britain. However, due to the high risk of travelling overseas because of German U-boats, it was deemed safer to bring the manpower to work in the forests of Britain and continental Europe.”

Poster for the Canadian Forestry Battalion -

Poster for the Canadian Forestry Battalion – Image: Public Domain

“Approximately 24,000 men served as part of the Forestry Corps in various parts of Europe to work on processing timber for construction of barracks, roads, trenches, ammunition boxes, and other supplies. By the end of the war, the Corps had produced approximately 85,000 tonnes of round timber, 260 million board feet of lumber, and over 200 000 tons of fuel and slabs.”

“Besides producing lumber, the Corps was also trained as infantry and on at least one occasion the Corps members were called to arms. When a request was made for 500 men to join infantry duty, records show that almost 1300 volunteered. By the time the offensive had been halted, a large number of Corps members had served in some capacity on front lines.”

“When it was disbanded in 1920 at the end of the war, it is estimated that the Corps was responsible for 70% of all lumber that had been used by Allied forces.”

“In 1940 the Canadian Forestry Corps was re-established in response to the start of WWII to play the same role.”
– Forest Products Association of Canada (CPAC)

Northern Pacific Railway brochure -

Northern Pacific Railway promotional brochure (1904) – Image: Public Domain

1160 Greene
Thomas Henry, agent, Northern Pacific Railway (today, know as the Burlington Northern) (1900)

1165 Greene
B. W. Brock, dentist

1166 Greene
Sam Salinsky’s tailoring shop (1922)

1170 Greene
M. C. Dawson, superintendent, Wagon Car Company (1900)

1180 Greene
John Laurie, The Laurie Engine Company (1900)

1208 Greene
A. A. Perry & Company, Grocers (1900)
Gordon and Sons (1948)
Produce store. The business was fined in 1948 for “…obliging purchasers to buy more merchandise than they desired or to buy goods they did not need…”

1212 Greene
Pressman’s Dry Cleaning (1930)

1212 Greene -

1212 Greene

1215 Greene
Regimental headquarters Royal Montreal Regiment (1919)
Montreal Industrial institute (1936)
Formally called the Montreal Industrial Institute for Epileptics. Founded in 1920, and amalgamating with the Victorian Order of Nurses Occupational Therapy Department and the Handicapped Workers’ Bureau, in 1937, to form the Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Centre.
Gallery Publications (1957)
Robb Imports Limited (1964)
A Quebec Liquor Board “code store”. To purchase alcohol, one needed to complete a form that included the unique beverage code.

1216 Greene
M. McDonald, confectionery (1900)
N. E. Ohman’s Jewellery Shop (1899-1983)

Camp flag of the Royal Montreal Regiment -

Camp flag of the Royal Montreal Regiment – Image: Fair Use Licensed

“Jewelry store ends and 84-year history… Part of the reason the shop is closing after 84 years – and four generations of Ohmans – is that it can no longer afford to be the kind of business it is. “This type of personal service – the customer is called by their name, they don’t have to wait to be served – it’s difficult to maintain.” Said Lois Kearns… whose grandfather, Nil Ohman, opened Ohman’s in 1899… Kearns said several factors – including increasing rent and the exodus of much of its traditional clientele – are forcing Ohman’s out… Business on Greene Ave. has been hit especially hard in the last few years… largely as a result of the demise of two major supermarkets.”
– Montreal Gazette, March 31, 1983

1216 Greene -

1216 Greene

1217 Greene
J. H. Hill, photographic supplies (1934)

1218 Greene
Joseph Morris, Montreal Locomotive Works (1913)

“The Montreal Locomotive Works, often referred to by its initials as MLW, was a long-established manufacturer of locomotives dating back to the late 19th century. During the early 20th century the newly formed American Locomotive Company (Alco) acquired MLW’s predecessor as a means of opening new possibilities in the Canadian market. Over the years MLW became a formidable builder, manufacturing at least one locomotive for most of the country’s largest railroads. During the diesel era, Alco’s northern arm continued to supply Canada with models inspired by its parent’s designs, slightly modified for use in that country. Interestingly, many MLW products remained in use long after most of its parent’s equipment had been retired from American lines.”
– American-Rails

The company was sold in 1975 to Bombardier Transportation who ceased locomotive production. In 1988 the company was sold to General Electric – five years later, GE closed the manufacturing plant.

Montreal Locomotive Works -

CNR Montreal Locomotive Works train metal sign – Image: eBay

1219 Greene
Mackay & Currie Ltd., coal retailer (1927)

1221 Greene
Goltman’s Business College (1925)
Robert Goltman was Principal at Goltman’s Business College, Montreal, as well as the official stenographer and formerly Instructor in shorthand and typewriting, McGill University.
Riepert & Foster Limited, builders (1925)
Bernard Altmans, out of print and rare books (1953)
Parkins Publishing Company (1963)

1223 Greene
Reid and Cambridge Company, plumbers (1930

Avenue Theatre poster -

Avenue Theatre poster – Image: Creative Commons

1224 Greene
Westmount Theatre Company (1915)
Avenue Theatre (1949)

“…Westmount’s first motion picture house, the Avenue, located on Greene Avenue… will open on Friday at 1 pm… Owned by the Westmount Theatre Company… is considered to be the most modern theatre in Canada… The entrance is described as strikingly modernistic, having an all-glass visual front. The ticket lobby is decorated with a frieze in colour depicting early Canadian historic scenes.”

“Features of the interior foyer, which has a vaulted dome ceiling treated with flock and the walls done in pima vera (yellow mahogany) wood panels, are the spacious coat checking counter and the candy bar…”
– Montreal Gazette, May 28, 1947

1225 Greene -

1225 Greene

1225 Greene
D. McLennan, D. & R. McLennan (1900)

1227 Greene
Bess, tire repair shop (1914)

1239 Greene
Francis Cundill, F. Cundill & Company (1900)
Dorchester Terrace School, girls’ school (1915)

1240 Greene
John S. Murray, florist (1900)
Andrew Murray, sculptor 1900

1247 Greene
The Book and Print Shop (1956)

1250 Greene
Steinberg’s (1978)

1251 Greene
Collectors’ Centre Antiques (1966)

Steinberg logo -

Steinberg logo – Image: Public Domain

1253 Greene
Seaton Stationery Store (1953)

1259 Greene
R. D. Anglin, Fruits and meat market (1900)
Roberts Provisions (1945)
Fined for selling vegetables at illegally high prices.

1261 Greene
Joe Weiner, shoe repair shop (1914)

1265 Greene
Nursing Sister Christina Cameron (1917)

Steinberg’s store on Greene -

Steinberg’s store on Greene c. 1950 – Image: PInterest

1267 Greene
C. Fessenden, Montreal Rolling Mills (1900)

“Rolling mills and factories producing such articles as nails, tools, boilers were established primarily in Montreal. The largest enterprise was the Montreal Rolling Mills Company, founded in 1869… Its rolling mills were modern installations with steam-driven machinery and employed 400 workers. Using pig iron from England, the company turned out a variety of productions; by 1881 it had become the largest producer of iron pipes.”
– Quebec: A History 1867-1929

Montreal Rolling Mills -

Montreal Rolling Mills – Image: – © McCord Museum M930.50.8.285

1269-71 Greene
Damaged by fire (1960)

1271 Greene
Mitchell’s Electrical Appliances (1953)

1299 Greene
Bank of Montreal (1966)

1310 Greene
Empire Life Insurance Company (1965)
Maisonneuve Broadcasting Corporation – CHOM-FM (1976)

1311 Greene
Westmount Antique Shop (1929)

1318A Greene
Doll Hospital, dolls repaired, dolls’ clothes, dolls and religious articles for sale (1950)

1320 Greene
Archibald Charles Bennet, J. Eveleigh and Company, manufacturers of trunks and travel bags (1913)
His father, John Bennet started the firm of Bennet and Henderson that manufactured steam engines. The Royal William, a Cunard vessel, and the first to cross the Atlantic entirely by steam was built by their firm.
Greene Avenue Valet Service (1930)
Animal Hospital (1933)
Lincor Home Decorations (1966)

1329 Greene
Henry Gatehouse and Son (1950)
Purveyor of meats, vegetables and seafood, the store had one thousand cold storage lockers for customers to store their purchases until such time they were required.
Kanter Erichsen Ltd., Scandinavian furniture (1956)
Mobilia Limited, Scandinavian furniture (1966)

1330 Greene
Alex Cowan D. V. S. Boarding stables (1900)
Standard Life Assurance Company (1964)

1339 Greene
McLean Brothers, plumbers (1934)

1343 Greene -

1343 Greene

1343 Greene
Apex Radio Service (1948)
Girouard Electrical Service (1959)

1346 Greene
Asquith Apartments (1928)
Real Shoe Shop (1952)

1350 Greene
The Children’s Corner (1956)

1351 Greene
Mrs. J. Corrigan
Great-granddaughter of Ellen Carroll who at 112 years of age was the world’s second-oldest woman (1939)

1355 Greene
W. G. Perry and Charles Brooks, art store and showroom (1952)

1357 Greene
Percy A. Drummond, Canada Sugar Refining Company (1900)

“The Canada Sugar Refining Company, which had become Redpath and Son continues to develop and grow… The advent of the First World War led to a government take-over of the entire sugar industry supposedly for the duration of the war, but in actuality for some time thereafter as well.”

“Due to incompetence, mismanagement and outright breaches of all assurances given by senior government officials, this control imposed crippling financial losses on the Canadian Sugar Refining Company Limited that could not be recovered… the outbreak of the Second World War when once again the Canadian Government took over the complete control of the Canada sugar industry. As in the previous war, bureaucrats with no knowledge or proper understanding of the sugar industry… led to the imposition of rationing in Canada…”

“Despite the end of the war… government controls remained in force until 1947. By this time, the Montreal refinery was in a significantly run-down state… In addition… the Lachine Canal not been widened or deepened to accommodate the increased draft of modern vessels led to the effective closure of the canal to commercial shipping in 1940.”
– A Gentleman of Substance: The Life and Legacy of John Redpath 1799-1869

1360 Greene
A. Reyburn Interiors (1957)

1363 Greene
F. P. Bickley, M. Fisher Sons and Company (1900)

1364 Greene
Harvest House Limited Publishers (1964)

1363 Greene -

1363 Greene

1367 Greene
Westmount Realties Company (1930s)
Dura Seal Floor Service (1939)

1368 Greene
Alfred Forbes, Forbes Brothers (1900)
William Rodden, William Rodden and Company (1900)
William Rodden’s foundry, located in Sainte-Anne ward, specialized in manufacturing stoves, bedsteads, scales, and ploughs.

1373 Greene
Cooke’s Beauty Parlours (1928)
McGregor Travel Company (1964)

1380 Greene
Lady Violet Johnson and Sir Edward Gordon Johnson (1950)

“Sir Edward Gordon Johnson, 5th Baronet was born on 17 March 1867. He was the son of Archibald Kennedy Johnson and Katherine Sophia MacDonnell. He married Violet Eveline Hayes, daughter of Thomas Edward Hayes, on 18 June 1902. He died on 15 April 1957 at age 90, without issue.”

“He succeeded as the 5th Baronet Johnson, of New York, in North America [Great Britain, 1755] on 6 October 1873. He was with Canadian Pacific Railway between 1903 and 1933.”
– The Peerage

1373-85 Greene -

1373-85 Greene block – Image: Andrew Burlone

1383 Greene
Westmount City Dairies Limited, distribution centre (1917)
Westmount Farm Products, Distributors (1918)
Nurses’ Home (1922)

1385 Greene
Mount Pleasant Pharmacy (1928)

1392 Greene
Gordon and Son, Fruit store (1931)

1441 Greene
David Lorne McLean, McLean Brothers plumbers (1934)

This brings to the conclusion of our journey through Greene Avenue’s development – one must admit, for a short street, it was quite a saga. Next time, you walk along its uncrowded sidewalk passing today’s glass towers, try to remember the two gentlemen on the bus that called this street their childhood home.

Images : Andrew Burlone, unless indicated otherwise

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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 or through his blog Westmount Overlooked

Clearly has launched Reincarnate, Frames made from Recycled Plastic.

There are 5 comments

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  1. Jacqui Reid walsh

    Absolutely fascinating. The history of the street is wothly of a full scale study. Plus the level of research is impressive. Looking forward to my next Greene avenue walk

  2. John Shaw

    1165 Green Ave. Upstairs in the Royal Bank building, fronting on Dorchester, was the offices of Westmount Taxi operated by Patrick Golden.

  3. Alfred Kloos

    Many other businesses were situated on Greene Avenue in the late 40s and early ’50s, including American Drug Store on the North East corner of Sherbrooke and Greene. Across the street was Oxford Soda. Others included Emile Beauty Parlor, Avenue Hardware Store, Avenue Snack Bar, Westmount Realties, Buttons and Bows Dressmaking Supplies, Cliffords. Grocery Store, Tony’s Real Shoe Store, Westmount Veretinary, Gordons Grocery plus many more. You could do all your shopping between Sherbrooke and St.Catherine.

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