Things almost didn't happened for me this week,
and I have only myself to blame,
being a procrastinator and waiting until the last minute to prepare everything...
When I saw a couple of weeks ago
I knew I'd take the theme into a certain direction
to speak of one of the many culinary landmarks of Montreal,
when I finally sat down to research my topic,
nothing worthwhile came up!!!
NADA, NICHT, RIEN PANTOUTE!!!
I was most disappointed,
especially when comparing with everything I've got already for the following theme...
So I had decided on Thursday to announce I was skipping this week,
looking at the prompt and nothing inspiring coming up.
The prompt showed a sign for a watchmaker
and I had already done some kind of jewellery here.
Another sign speaks of a florist and I did that when I presented some pictures "of a blind man",
at our Botanical Garden,
And for that coffee lounge,
I had already served you tea here,
and coffee [or so I thought...] here.
So, what now?!?
I 've done coffee with you guys,
but never "café"...
Some will say
"Aren't they one and the same?!?"
as you will see...
St James Club,
One of the oldest clubs still active in Canada,
the St James Club was first situated on St-James Street,
hence the name,
(and I noticed that this was only a street away from where I nearly got hit by a truck last week
while taking pics in Old Montreal.
I actually walked by that place and didn't even know it'd be part of this post.
See a recent view I found on the web),
in a somewhat modest house built in 1845,
called the Marie-Emilie Berthelet House.
They held a first reunion in 1857
and sought incorporation in 1858.
See the document here.
It quickly moved to a new location on Dorchester Street,
(now Rene Levesque Street),
near University Avenue.
This is what you see here above,
a Victorian building by J.W.Hopkins,
where they moved into in 1864.
It was meant to be a gathering place for Montreal's elite,
for business and relaxation.
Many deals may have been settled there
among businessmen and politicians;
we have a commission that is looking into corruption
between [current] politicians and businessmen,
breaking the law about fair business and taking bribes to sway decisions
about various projects in favor of those who gave that money.
I wonder if back then,
business was [always] done properly
as ethics would dictate...
I am not insinuating that shady deals happened
among its illustrious members,
many who shaped the city's history and destiny,
just that politics and money make odd bedfellows...
St James Club's Café,
Imagine yourself enjoying coffee or a stiff drink
while chatting up some fellow members
about current affairs and other small talk.
An elegant surrounding offering dining and relaxation in a private setting,
away from prying eyes.
the city had its eye on the building during the mid 1950s
because of a major project they were planning,
the building of Place Ville Marie,
and the club got an eviction notice in 1958,
despite being a reputable institution and the building near a century old.
The notion of heritage didn't impress politicians back then
as they saw only progress,
and nothing would stand in their way.
It happened in many instances.
Still does sometimes...
The club relocated nearby,
on Union Street,
to what is still its current location,
offering the same excellent services to its members.
If this was once a gentleman's club only,
women have been admitted since the 1970s.
With the Women's Lib Movement
and women becoming gradually a force by sheer number to be reckoned with,
it would have been nonsense to keep them excluded from the club.
St-Louis Café and Tavern,
A less exclusive establishment,
by the looks of it...
but surely it was convivial enough back then
to satisfy its regulars.
Its location caused me a dilemma though...
I wondered if the "St Louis" referred to what used to be
an old district in the northern part of Montreal,
in what we now call the Plateau Mont-Royal and the Mile End.
But the type of building and paving of the street made me think of another part of town,
and its clear affiliation with the Dawes Brewery in Lachine
makes me think I am right
and that this tavern was situated on St-Louis Street,
in Lachine as well.
That would be the arrow on your left on the map.
A more modest part of town
where workers would gather for a brew [or coffee, though unlikely...]
after a long day's work.
They perhaps were not part of the decision making that would influence their life,
but they made life happen with the blunt force of their arms and sweat on their brow
through various jobs to provide for their families,
part of a community that stood together in solidarity.
Lachine is a very old district,
going back to the early days of the [French] colony.
Situated just before the Lachine Rapids,
it had trading posts for furs and other goods in demand at that time,
but also forts to defend themselves against Iroquois in the 1600s...
As centuries passed by and it became obvious the "pale faces" were not going anywhere,
they became a permanent fixture on the island of "Ville Marie".
The British eventually conquered the French colony,
and as they say,
the rest is History!!!
Back to Dawes,
Thomas Dawes established his brewery in 1811,
starting an economic boom in that sector,
bringing in labor and development [over a few decades, mind you...]
of all the necessary services to sustain a population,
like transport, electricity and sanitation.
Other companies followed suit,
tapping in this new work force for bridges and railroads,
The Lachine Canal was dug between 1821-25 and inaugurated in 1826,
thus securing safe transport on the waterway for neighboring companies,
and also on train tracks lining the canal
and connecting to the Port of Montreal,
a vital part of our economy.
Here's a lovely bird eye view of the canal.
If I've inserted a link above for the Lachine Canal in its sepia days...
It is a lovely location!!!
back to Dawes!!
Can't you feel that this is the middle of the night
and I am spinning this post out of proportion?!?
Well I am!!
I just keep on adding stuff.
Somebody stop me!!!
As I was about to say,
Dawes Brewery and its founding family were influential in the development of Lachine,
getting involved in its politics,
building churches and a general hospital und so forth...
The 20th century was not so kind to them,
what with the American prohibition,
a fusion with the National Breweries Ltd consortium,
and the crash in the late 1920s...
the company survived until it was sold in 1952.
It remained in the collective memory of Quebecois for a long time,
and favorably so.
The Dawes' involvement in the community was perceived most positively,
their contribution is undeniable.
one of our best known cartoonists who,
among other things,
graced the pages of the Montreal Gazette since 1972 with his work.
I grew up with his work!!
Café Holt Renfrew,
I have been to many cafés in my life,
but I have no pics to show for except,
a recent visit to Holt Renfrew's Café,
where I shared lunch with a friend of mine.
Fine fare and a glass of wine went down easy.
I had espresso!!
not bad for someone who had absolutely nothing to say this week.
I have plenty to say next week!!!!
I should be better prepared this time...
You can now go for your next serving at
One lump or two?!?
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