Monday, July 16, 2018

Dawes Brewery


Year unknown.
9 of the 31 Black horses owned by the Dawes brewery in Montreal.
The stables were in Griffintown






Entrepreneur Thomas Dawes founded the Dawes Brewery in 1811 on the banks of the Lachine Canal.

When he died, his two sons, Thomas and James, took over the company. When James died, his two sons went into business with their uncle Thomas. One of these two grandsons, Andrew James, eventually assumed ownership of the company and became president of National Breweries Ltd., a group of breweries including the Dawes Brewery.

This company was the first in Canada to employ the telegraph, using it to communicate between its Lachine facility and offices downtown.

A true family business, the company continued to be run by other descendants (including Norman J., Kenneth T., and Donald) between 1921 and 1952, although the brewery shut down its Lachine operations in 1927.



1943-1944 sign atop of Dawes brewery on St-Maurice St.


After that, the buildings were used for various purposes: a candle factory, the sale and repair of household articles, and now a museum. The Maison du Brasseur (Brewers home), Vielle Brasserie (Old Brewery), and Pavillon de l'Entrepot (Warehouse) now make up the Guy-Descary Cultural Complex.

Photographs courtesy of Roger Albert and Griffintown Memories on Facebook

Friday, July 6, 2018

Apocalypse for a horseman

FOR 40 YEARS, Leo Leonard has been operating the Griffintown Horse Palace. But a redevelopment plan for the area would turn his property into housing and commercial space.


Leo Leonard at his Griffintown stable on Ottawa St., with horse Rocky in the background. “People say I should turn the place into a zoo and charge admission,” he says.

During the Second World War you could hire a calèche to take you up to Mount Royal for $5. Today, if you can find a driver willing to make the four-hour return trip to the mountain, it would cost about $300.

“When I began driving in 1942, it was another era,” said Leo Leonard. He has owned the Griffintown Horse Palace on Ottawa St. for 40 years.

“Back then there were 62 carriages at Dominion Square outside the Windsor Hotel and another 25 outside the gates of McGill. Today, there are only 35 calèche drivers’ permits, and all the drivers are down in Old Montreal.”

The price of a calèche ride is $45 for a half-hour, $80 for an hour. Competition is stiff.

Horse-drawn carriages are an anachronism in the 21st century, and their future, as well as that of Leonard’s stables just south of the École de technologie supérieure on Notre Dame St. W., is up in the air.

The Southwest borough has designs on Leonard’s property, one of the last in the area to house horses.




A redevelopment plan unveiled in October for the neighbourhood has the stables, tack house and corral earmarked as an area for office and commercial space, and affordable and subsidized housing.

Inspired by Toronto’s Distillery district, an industrial area that was transformed into a gentrified neighbourhood, urban planners see Griffintown as an ideal site for redevelopment.

Heritage Montreal’s Dinu Bumbaru says while he wel- comes development in the area, razing the stables would be a mistake.

“They are not a great monument,” he said, “but they are the only remnants to remind us that the driving force behind the metropolis was the horse.

“There is room in the city’s heritage policy to keep Leonard’s stables, and perhaps integrate them into a … network of Montreal memory to remind us it is the unheralded blue-collar workers who make a great city.”

Leonard was born in Goose Village and raised in Griffintown. He is 81.

Known as Clawhammer Jack, he is probably one of the last residents to have lived and worked in the neighbourhood for eight decades.

His permit to run his stable has a grandfather clause that states he can keep horses on the property as long as he owns it.

Leonard concedes, however, developers are eager to acquire his land, and perhaps the time has come for him to sell.

“I’ve always been in the horse business, but now I’m fed up with the industry,” Leonard said.

“People say I should turn the place into a zoo and charge admission,” he said with a chuckle.

Leonard bought the stables, which date from 1862, for $15,000 in 1967 when the city ran the Ville Marie Expressway eight blocks to the east, and people moved out of the neighbourhood.

He won’t say how much he wants for the property, which contains residential units, a tack house, a barn for eight horses and a small exercise corral.

“I’m not supposed to talk about anything, but, yes, agents have been coming around to talk to me about selling. We’ll see what happens,” Leonard said.

In addition to his property, he says, real estate agents are looking at a nearby scrapyard and an old paint shop next door.

Should he sell, Leonard isn’t sure what he’ll do if he no longer has horses to look after.

“I won’t go live in Florida, that’s for sure,” he said. “You’ll never catch me on a plane.”

Sunday, July 1, 2018

O Canada!



History of Canada Day
Canada’s national holiday is celebrated on July 1.

Canadians across the country and around the world show their pride in their history, culture and achievements. It’s been a day of celebration, where many festivities are held across the country, since 1868.

The Creation of Canada Day
July 1, 1867 : The British North America Act (today known as the Constitution Act, 1867) created Canada.

June 20, 1868 : Governor General Lord Monck signs a proclamation that requests all Her Majesty’s subjects across Canada to celebrate July 1.

1879 : A federal law makes July 1 a statutory holiday as the “anniversary of Confederation,” which is later called “Dominion Day.”

October 27, 1982 : July 1, “Dominion Day” officially becomes Canada Day.

The Celebrations Start
July 1, 1917 : The 50th anniversary of Confederation. The Parliament buildings, under construction, are dedicated to the Fathers of Confederation and to the courage of Canadians who fought in Europe during the First World War.

July 1, 1927 : The 60th anniversary of Confederation. The Peace Tower Carillon is inaugurated. The Governor General at the time, Viscount Willingdon, lays the cornerstone of the Confederation Building on Wellington Street.

From 1958 to 1968 : The government organizes celebrations for Canada’s national holiday every year. The Secretary of State of Canada is responsible for coordinating these activities. A typical format includes a flag ceremony in the afternoon on the lawns of Parliament Hill and a sunset ceremony in the evenings, followed by a concert of military music and fireworks.

July 1, 1967 : The 100th anniversary of Confederation. Parliament Hill is the backdrop for a high-profile ceremony, which includes the participation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

From 1968 to 1979 (with the exception of 1976): A large multicultural celebration is presented on Parliament Hill. This concert is broadcast on television across the country. The main celebrations (called “Festival Canada”) are held in the National Capital Region throughout the month of July. These celebrations include many cultural, artistic and sport activities and involve the participation of various municipalities and volunteer associations.

From 1980 to 1983 : A new format is developed. In addition to the festivities on Parliament Hill, the national committee (the group tasked by the federal government to plan the festivities for Canada’s national holiday) starts to encourage and financially support the establishment of local celebrations across Canada. Start-up funding is provided to support popular activities and performances organized by volunteer groups in hundreds of communities. Interested organizations can make a request to the Celebrate Canada program.

1981 : Fireworks light up the sky in 15 major Canadian cities, a tradition that continues today.

1984 : The National Capital Commission (NCC) is given the mandate to organize Canada Day festivities in the capital.

2010 : Festivities on Parliament Hill receive a royal treatment when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh join the festivities to celebrate Canada’s 143rd anniversary.

2011 : Their Royal Highnesses Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, participate in Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill on the occasion of Canada’s 144th anniversary.

2014 : Canadian Heritage organizes the 147th Canada Day celebrations. As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, the government has given the Department the mandate to organize Canada Day festivities in the capital.

2018: Happy 151st Anniversary, Canada!