Montreal And The Environs

Montreal is credited with being more extensive than it is in reality, for the outlying parts, that are generally included when speaking of” Montreal,” are, in many cases, entirely distinct cities or towns. Taking the various suburbs, in order, from east to west (with a brief mention of their chief points of interest), we find the city proper to be surrounded as follows.

On the extreme east is seen the town of Maisonneuve, incorporated in 1883, and containing a number of large factories and the National Lacrosse and Baseball Club, also a driving-park. In the north-east is Delorimier municipality, which extends west to Papineau avenue and north to Cote Visitation road. Then conies the village of Villeray, which confines the city boundaries to the point where the town of St. Louis commences. St. Louis was formerly known as St. Louis du Mile-end, and incorporated in 1895, including what is known as the Montreal Annex. The town is growing very rapidly, having a population now of eleven thousand. The Shamrock Amateur Athletic Association grounds are in the town-limits. Next comes Outremont (” Beyond the Mount,”) which dates back to 1875. This is almost entirely a residential suburb, and contains many very pretty houses and an old relic in the shape. of the cabin of the” Accommotion,” the first steamboat built on the St. Lawrence, which was brought here for use as a summer-house. The Outremont Golf Club was organized in 1902, and their course includes over eighty acres of excellently diversified territory, over which nine holes have been laid out. Further west are the villages of Notre-Damedes-Neiges and Notre-Dame-de-Grace, lying at the back of the mountain; and in close proximity are the two cemeteries—the Mount Royal for Protestants, and the Cote-des-Neiges for Catholics. Both lying in a hollow on the slope of the mountain, it is difficult to say which is the more beautiful, although, from point of interest, the Catholic cemetery takes first place by reason of the” Way of the Cross” and the “Patriots” monument, the latter being erected to the memory of the rebels who fell in the rising of ’37.”The Way of the Cross” is a winding road, overshadowed by trees, and at regular intervals are shrines representing scenes on the way to Calvary. The road gradually creeps up until the summit is reached, on which is erected a realistic representation of the crucifixion. On certain church festivals open-air sermons are preached here, attended by fifty thousand to eighty thousand people of the several congregations in the city.

The village contains a hospital for incurables and the celebrated Villa Maria Convent—the mother-house of the nuns of the Congregation de Notre-Dame. A magnificent building erected by them on the south-western slope of the mountain, overlooking Westmount, was burned down in eastern end now remains. Their present home is” Monklands,” a house that was at one time the residence of the governors-general of Canada, when Montreal was the seat of government. It is now a seminary for girls. The Park and Island Railway tracks run round the back of the mountain and through several old-fashioned villages, affording a most delightful ride. Mention must not be forgotten of” Lumkins” a celebrated hostelry for snowshoe parties in the winter and bicyclists in the summer.

The next boundary of Montreal is Westmount, a town given over altogether to residences, with, here and there, a few stores, and a population of about ten thou-sand. It is becoming every year more popular, and deservedly so, for its avenues and streets are most charmingly laid out, with handsome and picturesque residences.

St. Cunegonde rejoices in the title of” city,” and lies to the west of Montreal, like Westmount, but on a lower level. Its population—about eleven thousand are chiefly engaged in, or connected with factories, of which there are a great number. Nearer to the river is the city of St. Henri—the third largest city in the Province of Quebec—with a population of twenty-two thousand. This was formed by the amalgamation of the former villages of Tannery West and Coteau St. Augustin, and is noted for its magnificent city-hall and a remarkably fine parish church.

This completes the confines of Montreal, excepting for the small town of St. Paul, which lies south of the Lachine Canal and some of the more distant suburbs can now be taken.

On the south side of the St. Lawrence, directly opposite the town, lies the town of St. Lambert (population fifteen hundred), the residents of which are mostly employed in the city. A crib-work, lately completed by the Government along the river-bank to protect the town from floods, forms a splendid promenade of over one thousand feet in length. There is excellent boating on the river, the St. Lambert Boat Club being one of the best around Montreal. Slocum Lodge, the club and kennels of the Canadian Hunt Club, is situated on the river-bank, and a very tasty new club-house is being erected for the Victoria Golf and County Club, which will have a full eighteen-hole course ready by the autumn.

A few miles further east is the flourishing county town of Longueuil, containing some thirty-five hundred people, and in which a market is held daily. Ferry-boats run constantly between here and the city, while in winter the ice-road across the river is the chief highway for market produce coming into Mont-real from the southern districts. In January, 1880, a railroad was built on the ice, and trains, consisting of locomotive, tender and two cars carrying two hundred passengers, ran between Montreal and Longueuil, using this unique track in safety.

West of St. Lambert, and a little below the Lachine Rapids, lies the ancient parish of Laprairie, dating back to 1668. The village can be reached by boat from Montreal, and is a very pleasant and healthy summer resort. It has the honour of being the first place to have railroad service in British North America, a railroad being built from here to St. Johns in 1836. This was at first worked by horse-traction, afterwards by steam, but the rails were taken up a few years later. There is excellent fishing in the vicinity.

Returning now to the Montreal side of the river, mention may be made of Verdun, with its immense insane asylum for Protestants, which is situated on the lower road to Lachine, and nearly opposite to Nun’s Island or, properly speaking, St. Paul Island. This island was conceded, in 1664, by de Lauzon to Jacques LeBer and others, one-third of it passing into the possession of the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame in 1706. In 1764 the whole island became their property, and the same year they built the nunnery.

Beyond Verdun there comes to view the celebrated Lachine Rapids, now almost as widely known as Niagara Falls. These are the most perilous of all the St. Lawrence rapids, the river making a drop of forty-five feet, and the channel being set with jagged rocks that would cause instantaneous destruction to any craft diverging but a hair-breadth from the one tortuous passage which alone makes navigation possible, and then only by a thoroughly experienced pilot. Lachine rapids were navigated by a steamer for the first time on the 19th August, 1841, and since that date many thousands of people have felt the thrill of what is a most exciting experience. One or two steamers make the journey every day whilst navigation is open, trains from Montreal connecting with the boats at Lachine specially for the trip. Those people who look for a series of theatrical escapes from a watery grave will be either disappointed or gratified (according to temperament) by the actual journey down the rapids, as the dangers, although real and ever present, do not appear evident to the average passenger. On leaving Lachine the increased speed is soon noticeable, and a drag on the boat intimates the force of the waters some little time before the white breakers of the rapids appear. Gathering speed with every foot of the journey, the vessel at last feels the full tremendous power of the river, as, surrounded by angry waves on every side, the noise of which almost drowns the voice, it rushes through what appears to be a rock-strewn cauldron of boiling water. Wicked-looking rocks appear to bar further passage, only to be left to the right or the left as the boat obeys the pilot’s guiding-hand, whilst whirlpools and seething eddies, here and there, tell of the many deep fissures in the river-bed. The downward course is distinctly felt as the boat descends, the sensation being almost as if the vessel were going down a flight of steps (as in truth it is), only without any actual bumping or jolting.

No one should rest content with but one experience, as the eye is too busy noticing the surroundings on the first trip to allow full realization of the relent-less forces surrounding the boat. The second or third trip will prove far more exciting, as one is then better able to appreciate the iron nerve and steady hand of the Indian pilot, which alone saves the vessel and its living freight from instant destruction.

The town of Lachine lies a few miles above the rapids and nine miles from Montreal, the first settlement dating back to 1666, in which year Sieur de LaSalle acquired a tract of land from the Seminary and built thereon a stone house, the ruins of which can still be seen on the lower Lachine road, although slowly crumbling away. LaSalle left his seigniory to explore the far West, believing the way to China lay by way of the St. Lawrence (hence the name”A la Chine”). After founding the present city of Kingston (then known as Fort Frontenac), navigating Lake Ontario, building Fort Niagara, discovering the Mississippi and tracing it into the Gulf of Mexico, lie was murdered by his own followers in the wilds of Louisiana in 1687. On LaSalle abandoning the settlement, it again came into the possession of the Seminary, and gradually developed into a peaceful and contented little village, all unconscious of the terrible doom that was about to overtake it. On the evening of the 4th of August, 1689, night fell on a happy, thriving village. Next morning black ruins, smouldering homesteads, mutilated and charred corpses; and, for the survivors, the memory of the most hellish and indescribable cruel-ties. The Iroquois, out of revenge for breach of faith on the part of the French on two or three occasions, and smarting also under the well-merited chastisement of the Senecas by de Denonville, had surrounded the village, under cover of a dark, stormy night, ruthlessly massacred the inhabitants, and laid waste the land to the very gates of Montreal.

Near the LaSalle homestead is an old windmill, well over two hundred years old, erected by a Scotchman named Fleming, who had to fight a long action with the Sulpicians, they having

claimed the exclusive right of grinding corn on the island of Montreal. The Privy Council finally decided that the air of heaven being free, no one could be restricted from using it.

The present town has a population of about six thou-sand, and is a popular residential suburb for many Montrealers during the summer months. Its regattas are among the best on Lake St. Louis, and the Lachine Boating Club is far-famed. Several large industries are located in or near the town, and there is a big Roman Catholic church, and a fine convent in the charge of the reverend sisters of St. Anne. St. Stephen’s Church, situated close to the convent, is associated with much interesting history, although the building itself is not very ancient. It was built about 1834, during the days when Lachine was a military outpost, and was at first a military chapel, pure and simple; but when the present Archbishop Bond of Montreal took charge of the parish, after his ordination, it became attached to the Church as a mission station, finally becoming a part of the diocese when Bishop Oxenden was bishop.

The Lachine Canal commences at the town, running direct to Montreal, with five locks, which overcome a difference in levels of forty-five feet and allows boats of fourteen feet draught easy passage. Below the town, and near the foot of the rapids, is the power-house of the Lachine Rapids Hydraulic and Land Company, who develope some twelve thousand electrical horse-power for use in Montreal, etc.

On the opposite side of the river is the Indian village of Caughnawaga, while beyond Lachine are the numerous summer resorts on the lake-shore, of which Dorval and Dixie have already been mentioned on page 94. Lakeside, Beacons-field, Pointe Claire, etc., call for no special notice, but St. Anne de Bellevue is worthy of more than a paragraph and will be described more fully later.

On the northern shore of the island of Montreal, and nestling on the banks of the Riviere-des-Prairies, is the little village of Cartierville (named after the discoverer of Canada), which can be reached either by driving, or by the electric cars of the Park and Island Railway. Right at the back of the mountain, on the” Mountain Belt Line,” is a small station known as Snowdon Junction, and it is at this point that the line branches off for St. Laurent and Cartierville. The first stop of importance is St. Laurent, a small town of twelve hundred inhabitants, with an immense church, convent and college, and a very pretty little lake and park near the track. It also contains five hotels and chicory and tobacco factories. To a non-Canadian, it appears astounding that such small parishes can afford the huge churches that are so iii evidence in many of the country places in the Province of Quebec; but a visit to these churches at the different services on Sunday morning will generally convince the stranger that they are none too large for the congregations they have to accommodate; the church being the rallying-point for miles of surrounding country.

No one would imagine they were in a British country on glancing round here, and seeing the French flag everywhere. From the church, the college, the hotels, and from every house boasting a flagpost, the tricolor floats in the breeze—the symbol of a nationality that, although merged in the”Canadian,” still re-mains French.

On reaching Cartierville station, a pathway immediately opposite leads to the park, an extremely pretty enclosure on the banks of the Riviere-des-Prairies.

Although only lately opened, it is already very popular with holiday folks, and an excellent restaurant in the grounds supplies refreshments, both solid and liquid. The park has a number of swings and seats, and offers numerous attractions in the way of recreation, the walks along the river-banks being alone worth the journey from the city. On the other side of the river is Bord-a-Plouffe, through which a road leads to St. Eustache (some eight miles north), the scene of the fight with the rebels of ’37 in which Dr. Chenier was killed. The house in which the Imperial officers were quartered, prior to their crossing the river, can be seen at the principal corner of the village. After exploring the park, the road should be taken leading to the village, when, on turning to the right, one again comes to the river at a point where it is spanned by an old wooden bridge. In the woods to the left are to be found, in the early summer, the most lovely profusion of wild-flowers on the island, with wild strawberries and raspberries in abundance; whilst the lepidoptera enthusiast will find more varieties of butterflies than he can name. The Riviere-des-Prairies is known locally as the”Back River,” and has many beautiful and picturesque spots along its shores. Boating and fishing are favourite recreations, and a very pleasant break in a week’s hard work in the city is to be obtained by a ride out here for a couple of hours’ fishing—vide the old man in the picture. Further up the river is St. Genevieve, another equally pretty place, to which it is hoped an electric car service will, before long, give easier access. A little past St. Genevieve commences a chain of magnificent country mansions, which continue along the north shore of the island right round to St. Anne de Bellevue. The roads round here are well shaded with trees, and the occasional glimpses of the river, and the old-fashioned wayside cottages, make a walk or a drive a very enjoyable experience; or, if a cycling trip be contemplated, a fairly good run is afforded, the roads being for the most part well macadamized. The Park and Island Railway has now been incorporated with the Mont-real Street Railway and the connecting city service greatly every twenty minutes during the summer, with extra evenings and on holidays and Sundays.

Some three or four miles below Cartierville, and on the banks of the same river, is the village of Sault-aux-Recollets. The Park and Island Railway runs a half-hourly service to and from the city, and the ride is even more picturesque than the one to Cartierville. After passing the Shamrock Athletic grounds, in the north-east suburb, the track runs through the weirdest collection of small houses to be seen on the island. They are apparently built of old biscuit tins and bits of scrap metal, some being covered with tarred felt studded with big nails, whilst others are patched with a dozen different sorts of tin. The line runs for a little way through flat bush-land, covered with small shrubs, and then descends a long gradual slope towards Ahuntsic, bet-ter known as Peloquin’s. A very lovely view is to be obtained from the top of this slope; the fertile meadow-lands, dotted, here and there, with clusters of trees, with the glitter of the river in the background, being extremely

characteristic of the island of Montreal, and forming a scene of picturesque cultivation such as is not often seen. At Ahuntsic, the track turns at right angles to continue to Sault-aux-Recollets, which is about another half-mile about another half-mile further most delightful little village, and the most typically French-Canadian on the island; gardens, and the quaint open-air ovens, all combining to produce the impression of their belonging to some byegone days. A very fine convent, surrounded by extensive grounds, is situated on the banks of the river, and belongs to the Sisters of the Order of the Sacred Heart, one of the leading educational institutions for girls in Canada. Not only from Canada, however, are its pupils recruited, but from all over the States, as the healthy and picturesque situation, together with the excellence of the teaching, makes it the most popular of all the nunnery schools. The academy, here, has one hundred and fifteen young lady pupils, and there is a separate free day-school, which has three French and two English courses of study, with ninety pupils; whilst in Montreal the order (which was established in Canada in 1842) has two establishments (one a poor school), with two hundred and sixty-six children in attendance. Their chief building is on St. Alexander street.

A very large church, built in 1851, stands near the car track, and bears a strong resemblance to the celebrated St. Anne de Beaupre, near Quebec. The illustration shows one of the wayside shrines so numerous in the country parts of Quebec Province. This particular shrine (which has a figure of the Virgin in the turret on the roof) is placed on the road-side between Sault-aux-Recollets and Peloquin’s. Peloquin is a name very well known to Montrealers, the hotel being one of the most popular outside of Montreal, and a favourite resort for bicycle clubs, driving parties, the Montreal Tandem Club, and the Montreal Hunt Club. By crossing the bridge over the river near the hotel, the river-side road can be taken to St. Vincent de Paul, the great penal establishment of the Province; or, by striking across the island (Ile Jesus, not Montreal Island), St. Rose can be reached, a very charming place on Jesus river, where many Montreal citizens reside during the summer. Either of these two places are worthy of a visit, and are well within a two-hour’s walk of Peloquin’s. About half-way between here and Cartierville lies the pretty village of Bordeaux, situated on a high plateau overlooking the river. By reason of its charming scenery and well laid-out streets and avenues, this village has become a favourite summer resort of Montreal business-men during the last few years, and the Canadian Pacific Railway, giving a frequent service of trains into Place Viger Station at a commutation fare of five cents, lends a further inducement to reside here during the summer months. Eastward of Sault-aux-Recollets, towards Bout de 1’11e, there are no other villages of importance, and it will be noticed how comparatively bare of villages the northern side of the island is.

The early settlements all took place on the St. Lawrence side; the branches of the Ottawa, flowing round the northern shores, being too broken up with rapids to be of any value as an avenue of trade; and it is probable that Cartierville, Sault-aux-Recollets and Bordeaux only sprung up from their being on, or near to, the main roads leading to the mainland, this proximity to a trade-highway bringing certain means of livelihood, apart from what was to be made out of the cultivation of the ground.

“To BOUT-DE-L’ILE” BY THE MONTREAL TERMINAL RAILWAY. — From the inception of the Montreal Terminal Railway, in 1896, the management has spared neither time nor money in developing the system for the welfare of the public. How they have succeeded is proven by the thousands of people who crowd the cars to visit that latest acquisition to the city’s breathing-spaces—Bout-de-L’Ile Park. The park is, however, but one of a number of interesting places along the line, and it will be, perhaps, best to describe them in the order they are reached. The Terminal tracks, until quite lately, only ran as far as LaSalle avenue, in Maisonneuve, but they now extend into the heart of the city proper, thus opening through communication between all parts of Montreal and the delightful country extending for twelve miles east of the city. On leaving LaSalle avenue, a sharp turn in the track presents such a sudden change of scene as to be almost theatrical. One moment the car is passing along an East-end street, amidst dust, dirt and grime; then, instantaneously as it were, it is amongst green fields, with a fresh, invigorating breeze bringing the scent of wild-flowers to replace the unsavoury odours just left behind. As the car glides along and Montreal is left further and further behind, one begins to realize why Montreal Island is called the”Garden of Eastern Canada.” The farm-lands fairly breathe”productiveness,” whilst the appearance of the farm-buildings speak for the prosperity of their owners. Three miles from Maisonneuve, Longue Pointe is reached (sometimes called Beaurivage Village), where there is situated an immense asylum for the insane, under the care of the Sisters of the Order of l’Asile de la Providence.

A great fire broke out in the asylum in 1890, by which many inmates were burned to death, but it has now been rebuilt and greatly enlarged. Half a mile south of the track lies the village, which dates back to 1722, and here is situated another asylum, which takes in well-to-do patients who can afford to pay for the treatment and care given them. The large buildings passed on the way to the village are the farms and out-buildings of the asylum. A nunnery is situated nearer the river. Another few miles brings to view a large cluster of houses sheltered under a great profusion of maple, elm and ash trees. This is Pointe-aux-Trembles, a little village lying on the banks of the St. Lawrence, which ought to be much better known by Montreal people. It is almost like a toy village, so diminutive are its houses, with their tiny gardens, and so narrow are its quaint little streets, all trying to hide under and behind the spreading boughs of the trees. It is far from being a modern settlement, for the church was built in 1709 (as the date on the front relates), and the old tower, standing a little to the west, dates back to the founding of the village in 1674. These old towers, of which so few now remain, were the grist-mills of the seigneurs, to whom the tenants had to bring their corn to be ground, one-fourteenth being left in payment for the service rendered. Some of them were loopholed for defensive purposes against the Indians, and were the scenes of many exciting deeds in the early days of the colony.

A magnificent view is to be obtained from the top of the lighthouse near the tower, the expanse and magnitude of the St. Lawrence river being realized most vividly when seen from an altitude. A number of skiffs are to be had, near the small pier, for boating on the river; and a first-rate hotel is situated on the main road to Mont-real, just outside the village. It is remarkable that more people do not make their summer home at such a charming little place, as the air is delightfully sweet and fresh, the village both romantic and picturesque, and “town” but thirty minutes distant. A short distance east of the village are the new rifle-ranges, which have but lately been opened for the practice of good shooting—that primary necessity of the wars of the future,—and on Saturdays and holidays the great number of men who face the targets show the appreciation with which they are regarded. Another mile, and the line branches in two, the main track continuing to Bout-de-1’11e and the branch to Brisset, commonly known as”The Chapel.” Here is built” la Chapelle de la Reparation,” and in the grounds surrounding it is the” Grotto of our Lord’s agony.” The grotto stands near the beginning of the Via Doloris, or path along which the Stations of the Cross are ranged. It is a large mass of cement and stone, fashioned into the form of a natural pile of rocks, and, within, a life-size plaster figure of Christ kneels in the attitude of prayer, while a white-robed angel descends in front of Him, carrying the cup in his hands. Another shrine is placed in a grove nearby, built in a similar way, but containing a figure of the Virgin. The shrine has only recently been established by the Fathers of the Holy Sacrament, but the number of pilgrimages thereto are already making it, to Montreal, what St. Anne-de-Beaupre is to Quebec. An effort should be made to pay a visit on the occasion of a special pilgrimage, as the religious ceremony is impressive from its very simplicity. The ceremony starts with a preliminary sermon in the chapel, after which a litany is sung at the grotto, and a short open-air sermon preached in French and English. Then the priest begins another litany as he leads the way through the grotto, his voice growing fainter and fainter as he recedes in the distance. From here a tour is made of the Stations of the Cross, the people halting before each station while the priest explains the story represented by the group, and makes a plain application to everyday life. When his short discourse is ended, all kneel on the bare ground and chant a brief litany, then rise and proceed to the next station, openly praying or singing as they go. After the eleventh station the procession halts at the foot of the great Calvary, where three crosses are reared against the sky. Then it moves on again, the service finally coming to an end at the sepulchre, where the Christ is represented lying still in death. The air of genuine devotion shown by the large throngs of people that take part in the procession (many of whom are folks whose bent figures and wrinkled faces tell of a life nearly finished) gives a striking example of the hold the Roman Catholic religious ceremonies have on the minds of the people.

Continuing by the main line to Bout-de-l’Ile, about half a mile from the terminus a stop is made at the park, an enclosure of over thirty acres in extent, bordered by the Riviere-des-Prairies. In this park, which is absolutely free to the public, are shady grounds and open fields, swings, rustic seats and tables for picnicing parties, pavilions, and a well-stocked restaurant, and, in fact, everything that can make the place attractive and bright. Competent guardians are in attendance and the courteous and careful way in which they handle a big crowd on holidays is wonderful.

ST. ANNE DE BELLEVUE —This picturesque village lies at the extreme western end of the island of Montreal, and is, without exception, the prettiest and quaintest bit of the whole island. It is one of Montreal’ s most popular summer resorts, and the shores of the river above the village are clotted with the magnificent country-houses of the more wealthy Montreal business-men.

But St. Anne has very much more than a reputation as a pleasant summer suburb. Its position, at the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers, made it the scene of many stirring events in the early days of the French settlers. Here, the voyageurs, when leaving for the unknown interior, said a long goodbye to civilization; here, the Indian war-parties, travelling from north and west by the two great rivers, united their forces before sweeping down on the white settlers further east; here, about 1700, trade was carried on with the friendly Indians, frequently interrupted by fighting with the hostile Iroquois. Now, however, all is peace, the only tangible remains of byegone romance being the ruins of old Fort Senneville and the LeBer windmill. The fortified chateau known as Fort Senneville was built by Jacques LeBer de Senneville in 1697. It originally consisted of a two-story house, protected by square flanking towers at each corner, which commanded all approaches both by land and water. Garrisons of soldiers were kept there in 1747 and 1748, in consequence of fresh attacks by the Mohawk tribe. The fort was finally dismantled, in 1775, by the American troops when marching upon Montreal. The ruins are now well preserved but almost lost to sight beneath the vines and creepers. On an elevation, a little further inland, is the old windmill, erected in 1688, by the same man. It was loopholed, and bore several fierce Indian attacks in safety, until 1691, when the Iroquois burned it, after a gallant defence by LeBer’s people, who defended a breach in the wall against three hundred Iroquois, losing only two of their number whilst so doing. A new top has lately been added, and the whole is in excellent preservation. The village itself consists of one long main street, containing many picturesque old houses. Other streets lead off in all directions, mostly crooked, and queer-roofed, one-storied cottages are everywhere iii evidence. Here is to be seen the house in which Tom Moore, the great Irish poet, resided in 1895, and in which he wrote the” Canadian Boat Song.” There are some capital hotels, and, as regards boating, words can hardly tell of the many exquisite dream-spots to be found amongst the islands of Lake St. Louis and the Lake of Two Mountains. The fishing is exceptionally good, black-bass, perch and dore being the most plentiful, whilst the maskinonge grounds, that lie seven miles below St. Anne, are amongst the best Canada. Guides and boats can be had for two dollars a clay and sailing-boats at a nominal charge. The Ottawa river boat stops here on its way to Carillon (a very enjoyable day’s trip), and again on its return journey to Montreal, the latter being a most agreeable way to return to the city,