Photos and memories


Help us tell the story of our community with your personal reminiscences or copies of photos or documents. You will enjoy sharing our history with your neighbours. Yvan Pelland



This wagon was used to deliver Barthelemy Thélésphore Décarie’s musk melons. The photo was taken around 1910, shortly after his death as his son Anatole stands on the wagon. Anatole was Yves Décarie’s uncle and Barthelemy Télésphore was Yves’s grand father. Yves Décarie very nicely shared this information with us. The land cultivated by Anatole Décarie had been in the Décarie family since 1675. The same melons were cultivated on lands from St Jacques to Côte St Luc, but tradition wants that Barthélémy Thélesphore started the culture of musk melons from seeds brought here from France by one of his employees.

Un champs de melon. Reconnaissez-vous le personnage?

A field of melons. Can you tell who the person standing there is? 

In 1778, Me Péladeau drew a plan of part of the island of Montreal, showing the surveying of the land and recording the name of every owner, within a territory including ‘Côte Saint-Joseph, Coteau Saint-Pierre, Côte Saint-Antoine, Côte Saint-Luc, Côte-des-Neiges and part of Côte Saint-Laurent’. As shown on the plan, most of this fertile land had already been claimed.

Reproduction d'une partie du plan original de Me Péladeau.

Reproduction of part of Me Péladeau’s plan.

Daniel-Jérémie Décarie, elected first Mayor of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce on February 12, 1877, was in office until his death in 1904 and was one of the occupants of the ancestral Décarie house, situated on Décarie, north of St-Jacques.

Daniel-Jérémie Décarie, élu le 12 févfier 1877 premier maire de Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, jusqu'à son décès en 1904, fut l'un des occupants de la maison ancestrale des Décarie qui se situait sur Décarie au nord de la rue St-Jacques.

Various views of the Hurtubise house:




Léon Bélec was the first police and fire chief of N-D-G. He occupied this post until the annexation of the Municipality to the City of Montreal in 1910. Joseph Lamouche was his assistant. Mr Bélec’s family had been living in N-D-G for more than 175 years. His mother was a Prud’homme descendant and his paternal ancestors came from Brittany. (Photographer unknown)


Long before the annexation to the city of Montreal, the fire station was stationed in the old Hôtel Catudal (tavern and rooms) corner Côte-Saint-Antoine and Décarie, a ward known as the village de Toutes-Grâces. The entrance was wide enough to allow horse carts to enter the inside court. As shown on the fire cart, the wheels were replaced by skis in winter. (Photo Fraser-Hickson Library)


Despite the modernisation of the fire services, some nice houses burned down after the annexation to the City of Montreal.


Mr Hugh Brodie, a Scottish immigrant, built Brodie house in 1812. The house was considered one of the best examples of Anglo-Norman architecture in Canada. Brodie house, known under the name of “Orchard Bank” because of the abundance of orchards on it’s lands, gave its name to Old Orchard Avenue. The house was sold to the city in 1949 to turn it into a cultural centre, but was never used to that end. It was demolished in 1961 to expand a neighbouring park.



Further south, along what is now St. Jacques, another farm road ran, on which some very large and stately houses such as this one and the Brodie house (see no. 15) were built at the beginning of the 19th century. These early reminders have, alas, since disappeared. (Photo Fraser-Hickson Library)


Built as part of the annexation agreement of 1910 with the City of Montreal and designed by architect Theo Daoust, the police station on Botrel Avenue near Côte St. Antoine (which now houses the Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the library) shows how municipal buildings centre about the evolving town nucleus and in turn contribute to attract other services and settlement. This photograph of the N.D.G. police force dates from about 1920. (Photo Fraser-Hickson Library)


The Hôtel Tessier, built after the Catudal, was located on Décarie’s eastern side between Côte St. Antoine and N.D.G. Avenue. (Photo Fraser-Hickson Library)







Settlement and development also created a need for products and small shops, such as the Baril grocery store on Queen Mary Road, sprang up around the turn of the century to cater to a more residential clientele. (Photo Fraser-Hickson Library)



Horse drawn tramways were usually pulled by 2 horses.



During snow season, tramway’s wheels were replaced by skis. They were then pulled by 4 horses.



This photo, taken at the beginning of the century, shows Décarie Boulevard, looking north, from Queen Mary Road. We can see the Montreal Park and Island Tramline coming from Cartierville. The little building on the left bears a Snowdon sign that probably was a tram stop. The centre sign reads : «These valuable lots for sale, Beaudry Realty Co ». The Beaudry family established itself in the area in 1666 with the arrival of Toussaint Beaudry. (Photo Fraser Hickson Library)


This view of Girouard Avenue looking south shows another tramline car. It ran down Girouard along Sherbrooke and into Westmount. When it was extended west along Sherbrooke in the 1910’s, another axis for urban development was created between Girouard and Wilson. (Photo Fraser-Hickson Library)










Development also meant the paving or the streets, such as Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Avenue, depicted here around 1917.


The proliferation of the automobile in the 40′s and 50′s engendered the establishment of service stations. The two examples here show the care and pride with which they were treated, as exemplified by the tidy flower beds of the one and the art deco styling of the other. One of them is still on the corner of Melrose and Monkland. If you know where the other was located, please let us know.







Dear Yvan, 

The garage in the photo on your NDG historical site is definitely the current location of Lazar Service Station located at 5790 Monkland corner Melrose. The original railing in the right corner of the photo is still on the property and is clearly visible today. The only changes to the exterior is the squaring off of the rounded facade probably done sometime in the late 50′s or early 60′s when Gulf acquired BA. 
Allan Lazar, January 26, 2010 








A  ‘belle’ from back then parked in front of the ‘pink house’ circa 1945.




Vignette showing how sewers were dug under Sherbrooke Street.

Around 1930, the intersection of Sherbrooke and Wilson was the centre of the expansion of the area west of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the main Post Office, Banks and Kresge were established there. (Kresge was then called a ‘dime store’). The sidewalks were still wooden sidesalks.


The increase in population created a growing need for recreational facilities. Here children skate in empty lots along Grand Boulevard.


With the help of concerned citizens, community groups and the Montreal Herald, the first playgrounds were set up in southern Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in the area around Western Avenue (now De Maisonneuve) and Oxford. It was not long before teams from N.D.G. made their mark on the local sports scene, a tradition that continues to date.



The 20′s and 30′s saw the creation of more schools. West Hill, where Jack Brash (pictured here) taught, and Willingdon, which recently celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, were two of them.


Those early days meant separate classes for boys and girls. These schoolgirls from St. Augustine school even had their own separate entrance.


The Monitor newspaper has been serving the community and recording its growth since 1925 and enjoys the largest circulation of west end area papers. It was originally located on Western Avenue (now De Maisonneuve.)

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Mr. I.L. Lafleur was the first resident to subscribe to Bell services. We can find his phone number, 334,  in the 1894 phone book.


The old Walnut exchange on Sherbrooke Street near Loyola was the Bell Telephone Company’s centre in the west end.



Bell moved to larger premises on Monkland. Inexplicably, a few years ago, the fine grille work above the door as well as the Greek style portico and art deco details fronting the building were removed and replaced by drab aluminium panels.

Erection of a telephone pole as it was done in the 1930′s.



The Shaare Zion Synagogue was the first one in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. Originally situated at the corner of Claremont and Sherbrooke, it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt on Côte St-Lud Road. This photograph depicts the dignitaries present at he dedication on September 7, 1941.


View of Somerled Avenue looking east at the corner of Grand. Note that in the late 40′s the north-east corner of Somerled is as yet undeveloped.

The end of World War II brought another wave of development. In order to accommodate returning veterans and their families, housing complexes such as Benny Farm were erected. Temporary housing was also provided, such as the white buildings depicted here on Victoria Avenue in Snowdon. They are no longer standing.


Beaconsfield Avenue in the early 50′s (with Hingston in the background) was paved, but otherwise undeveloped along its eastern side.


Religious life continued to play an important role in the community’s development. In 1927, the bells of tbe N.D.G. Church were consecrated in a great ceremony before an appreciative crowd.

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In 1953 Notre-Dame-de-Grâce celebrated its centennial with great festivities and a reception held on the grounds of the parish church. Attended by many dignitaries, among them Mayor Camilien Houde and Cardinal Léger (then Archbishop of Montréal), the proceedings attested to the pride forged by the community during its first hundred years.  

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The interior of the church in 1948.


Jacques Viger, first Mayor of Montréal, was buried in the crypt of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Church.

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A rare photo showing all the buildings of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce parish, when it still had all its… grace. From the left, the presbytary, converted into condominiums in the early 2000 (dozens of old trees were heartlessly cut that were our green heritage, to make place for garages), part of the Church and the Manor sadly destroyed (enthusiastically, if we are to trust this article from the Echo-Manoir published on Septembrer 14!)  



Letter from Jacques Viau, a Prud’homme descendant, published in La Presse about the fallen trees in front of the Monastery. M. Viau, we hope that you would communicate with us at N-D-G.COM, or Yvan Pelland, 514-489-2780).




Monseigneur Alphonse Décarie in front of the Manor in 1900.

There was an yearly benediction of cultivator’s seed in this Chapel, belonging to Messieurs de St-Sulpice, corner Côte-St-Luc and King Edward. On the right, the same building (gone today) in 1945.





A corpse in NDG?
Translated from an article in the ‘Nouveau Journal’ , December 1961

On January 7th 1922, on the corner of Décarie and Snowdon, right in the middle of NDG, Raoul Delorme’s lifeless body is found. It is established that Delorme lived at 190 St-Hubert St in Montréal. The autopsy determined that he was dropped off, already dead, with six bullets wounds to the head and neck, at least one at point-blank range. Raoul Delorme, 24, lived with his 37 year old brother, Reverend Adelard Delorme, public assistance chaplain, and his half sisters, Lilie and Florence. The Reverend knows nothing, has seen nothing, and fervently says a requiem mass. Surprising fervour when it is discovered that a week before Raoul’s death his brother had contracted $25,000 worth of life insurance on Raoul’s life to ‘benefit his legal heirs’… Raoul would have been able to recuperate part of the investment upon reaching 60, had he lived long enough! Evidence points at the Reverend. However, after years in Court, a battery of psychological tests and a trial, there is still no real proof, and despite a number of cases of dementia in the family, the fact that only two jurors believe in his innocence (Canada demands unanimity), and a new trial ending in a reversed verdict where only two jurors find him guilty, the Reverend is released and the truth buried with him.


Zénon Décarie, thaumaturgist

Cover of a book on Zénon Décarie, thaumaturgist and emulator of Frère André, titled ‘The Good Father Zénon’ , published by his community. Born June 15th, 1870 in Ville Saint-Laurent, ‘le bon Père Zénon’ died in the States on July 26th 1940.


Birthplace house of Zénon Décarie in Ville Saint-Laurent.


Testimonies of people miraculously cured by Zénon Décarie.





This series of semi-commercial duplexes was built in 1930 by Fernando Pilon who was selling fruit and vegetable in a ground floor store, while his family was living upstairs. That section of Côte-Saint-Luc was part of Terrebonne Street. We can still see that building on the north-west corner of Côte-Saint-Luc and Coolbrooke. Fernando Pilon also built houses in the area from the 1930′s until the early 1960′s.


This house located at 3805 Girouard Ave. was built for Omer Pilon’s family arount 1918. You can see the wooden sidewalks, and Girouard Street, then a dirt road, crossed by the tramway road.


The same house in 1934.


View of Omer Pilon’s house a few years after its construction, looking north, towards Notre-Dame-de-Grâce street. We can see the new concrete sidewalks and the tramway line still running along an unpaved road.


The tennis court that was sitting on the north-east side disappeared when the neighbouring houses were built.


The same house today.


Throughout the ward’s urbanisation, residents were able to garden on land for sale. Maybe this resident was growing melons.


Daniel Johnson, ex-Prime Minister, father, in full regalia, in front of his residence on Oxford St, in 1957. Minister of Natural Resources in the Duplessis Government, Johnson married Reine Gagné whose family had lived in the area for at least two generations. (Photo: courtesy Mary Johnson).


6257 Upper Lachine, house built in 1880.


This areal view of western Notre-Dame-de-Grâce as it looked in 1933  shows how development was largely concentrated near the Sherbrooke Street corridor. The building of Loyola College can be seen in the middleground to the left.


The main building of Loyola College, now part of Concordia University, stands as impressive today as it did when it was built fronting Sherbrooke Street in 1919.


Loyola campus in 1945.


Décarie and Queen Mary, 1913


Décarie and Queen Mary, 1965


One of the two bridges that crossed the CPR railway over Grand Boulevard or Benny avenue.


The Snowdon name of the avenue and ward which is part of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, comes from William Comrie Snowdon who built this house around 1875. This Georgian 12 room house was called Valley View (Vue de la vallée). Picture taken in 1945, author unknown.




Help us tell the story of our community with your personal reminiscences or copies of photos or documents. You will enjoy sharing our history with your neighbours. Yvan Pelland
514-489 2780