On Park avenue, at the corner of Laurier

News 13 January, 2018
  • photo Courtesy of the Archives of the City of Montreal, Mile-End. Park Avenue (intersection of Laurel). 1933. VM98-Y_3P037 Photo Pierre-Paul Poulin

    Centre d’histoire de Montréal, in collaboration

    Saturday 13 January 2018 17:50

    Saturday 13 January 2018 17:50

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    The chic Park avenue

    “Soon, these poles unsightly will disappear from the beautiful avenue of the Park !” say they may be those Montrealers looking at the work of burial to the Commission of electrical services to the northeast intersection of Laurel. It is at the end of the 19th century, that this sector of the City of St. Louis develops under the impulse of the brokers toronto McCuaig and Mainwaring. In order to maximize the number of lots for sale with their suburbs, ” Montreal Annex “, the two men change the route of the avenue of the Park of a twenty meters to the west, giving him a strange curvature to the height of the rue Fairmount. Of residences and fancy apartment buildings rise in the area until the annexation of the City of Saint-Louis by Montreal in 1910. Companies with permission to build on Park avenue in 1912, several residential buildings adopt a commercial function. Neighbor the Regent theatre, an elegant building follows this trend by hosting several shops, such as the hatter Lillian Rubin, whose billboard is visible on the sidewalk.

    Smokers and fans of hockey

    On the building of the Montreal City & District Bank, advertising for the cigarette Turret is hard to miss. Located in Saint-Henri in 1908, Imperial Tobacco is launching the cigarette Turret in 1925. With its slogan ” Turret, the choice of Canadians “, the company targets the working class with incentives and contests. Inside the box, poker cards are collectible : a good hand can be worth an umbrella, a coffee, shaving cream or a pair of gloves. In 1932, the Turret offers $ 15,000 in prizes for those who devineront correctly the number of points accumulated at the end of the season by each of the nine teams of the national hockey. The prize money is doubled for those who send their response on a box of the cigarette Turret. Three millions of hockey fans participate in the contest. After having abandoned the trade mark, Imperial Tobacco stimulus Turret in 1974. These cheap cigarettes are sold until the turn of the 1980s.

    The war of the trams

    Tram no 17 circulates in the direction north on the avenue of the Park, to Cartierville. At the center of a heated debate, the establishment of this means of transportation in the Mile End goes back to 1892-1893. The Council of the town of the suburbs, the two sides compete fiercely. Some elected officials prefer to the Montreal Street Railway (MSR), headed by Louis-Joseph Forget, serving the city centre and recently electrified. Other aldermen promote the Montreal Park and Island Railway (MP&IR), chaired by Louis Beaubien and well-established in the periphery. Rumors are rife in regard to the maneuvers to get the contract : bribes of the MSR, or even the kidnapping of the alderman Young to prevent the quorum ! It is in an extremely tense that the Council sign and finally an agreement of thirty years with the MP&IR. In financial difficulties, the company does not, however, its obligations. Pursued by the City of St. Louis in 1896, it lost its trams in a fire. Victorious, the MSR acquires its rival moribund at the beginning of the 20th century.

    ♦ For more information, see the excellent book by Yves Desjardins, History of the Mile End, Quebec city, Septentrion, 2017. 355 p.