Thursday, June 16, 2011

Van Horne Mansion Montreal

The Van Horne Mansion.

Well, now that I've got the first draft of Flo in the City written, Threshold Girl I am paying attention to details.

I have Edith and Flora take the Sherbrooke Tram to St. James Methodiste (because I am sure that is what Edith would have done) and so I get to describe the grandest street in Montreal and some of the Golden Mile Mansions.

Edith is a knowledgeable person... She was a knowledgeable person, and a bit of a parvenu, and no doubt knew who lived where.

The Van Horne Mansion's demolition has signficance to me. It was demolished in September 10, 1973, the year I started at McGill. So I heard a lot about it, and probably saw its demolition first hand.

It wasn't lost on me, back then, how that area of Sherbrooke West was being uglified by new skyscrapers.

A rather ugly edifice, I think, went up where the Mansion was. A man named David Azrieli erected it. Not too long afterwards, when I was working as a temp office worker I met the man... I was hired to replace his secretary, probably just answer phones, and he said Hello and he seemed a very nice gentleman.

Anyway, I'm looking at McCord Museum photos and anything else so I can  describe their trip from Greene to City Councillors. I have that Edgar Andrew Collard book, too, All Our Yesterdays. (He calls Sherbrooke West the 5th Avenue of Montreal. Yes, it once was, but no more. ) I guess Edith and Flora would pass 72 Sherbrooke West, where my grandparents would be living in 1922 when my Mom was born, but not then, no in 1911.... In 1911 the census shows they were living on St. Hubert.

Apparently, the Ritz Carlton is just being built in May 1911, when Edith and Flora take this trolley trip.

And I guess I should go the McCord Museum to see their latest exhibition and to get a feel for the era... by looking at corsets and such.

By doing this little scene I get to say an awful lot about Montreal in 1910, just by having Edith describe the places, which is very much in character.