Victoria Ave & The Village

After WW 11 the St Lambert Legion decided to build a youth centre. They had enough money to build the foundation and cover it and for several years it was used for hockey and football dressing rooms and the main hall was used for dances. During in later part of the 1950’s the City assumed responsibility and finished the building, adding a gymnasium, and a room for the Legion, and an apartment. Eric Sharp moved into the apartment when he came to St. Lambert as recreation director in 1958. When Eric moved out the apartment became the offices for the Recreation Department When the City acquired 31 Lorne ( former St.Michel School ) the Recreation Department moved there and the old recreation building including the “ Pit “ was demolished to make way for the newer recreation building, seen above. This too has now been totally replaced by this beautiful brand new facility (lower). Photos provided by Bruce Field.

Gordon Park in St. Lambert on a crisp wintery evening. Photo by Bruce Field.

Heading up from the St. Lawrence River Victoria Avenue cross streets run Logan, Desaulniers, Aberdeen, Green and Webster, the shortest of the five and a corner of which we see here. Webster Street was the route all Montréal-Sud (English: Montreal South was a suburb of Montréal located on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River founded in 1906) bound M.&S.C. trolley cars used to head over to Mercille Ave. and onward toward the end of Pont Jacques Cartier Bridge. Situated at the northwest corner was Brown's Pharmacy, now converted into footwear and ladies clothing stores. On the opposite corner (bright green store front), upon entering the building one could turn left into the Parker Cleaners counter, or turn right into the city's main tobacco outlet, "Tobacconist Allan Hooper". Both outlets were very popular, and one did not have to be over 18-years to buy cigarettes. This building is presently occupied by Clothier Maison Lambert. Photo by Bruce Field.

St. Lambert loves snow, and always looks so pretty when it comes and softly brightens the surrounds, especially along Victoria Ave. Well, last week it snowed and Bruce Field was right there with his camera recording the scene for all our benefit. Thanks Bruce.

City of St. Lambert Parks Department has beautified the lower section of Victoria Ave. through the planting of 600 very large Chrysanthemums. These border the various walks through Gordon Park and the Village Square. Photo by Bruce Field.

CASTONGUAY Cycle & Sport, still located at 667 Victoria Ave. is one of the oldest continually operating merchants in St. Lambert. Through the years there have been a number of changes in staffing and product mix, but still specializes in "Aiguisage" (sharpening) as one outdoor sign announces, and bicycles. Castonguay also now represents sporting good manufacturers of Exercise Equipment and other types of Sporting Goods. The outside of the store as seen in the Newsletter photo might be a bit misleading as it shows only the red-brick front, but the building continues on far enough toward the back to allow vehicle parking (this inside photo confirms). Many older alumni will readily recall being greeted by a seated cigar-smoking Emile, who would look at you through a slight haze, realize what you had come for, and would raise to grab your ice skates for sharpening or to help wheel in your bike to have spokes, flat tires or a broken chain repaired. No one ever had to wait very long to get what they came for. Photo by Bruce Field.

The Bandstand in Gordon Park with Firehall in background, circa early 1960's.
Photo submitted by Roy Hardiman, father of Alan Hardiman C'68, from Toronto, ON.

The old St. Lambert Post Office circa early 1960's.
Photo submitted by Roy Hardiman, father of Alan Hardiman C'68, from Toronto, ON.

Roy Hardiman: We were talking about the website with the old St. Lambert pictures. When we lived there in the 1960’s I took some slides of various subjects and I thought you might be interested in seeing them.

The days are getting shorter and windbreakers are coming out from our cupboards, so let's take another glimpse back to a warmer day. On this day, shortly before Victoria Ave. took on the appearance of a post WWII site, (see photo below) merchants, shoppers and just strollers enjoyed the warmth and friendliness of St. Lambert's main street. For all those St. Lambertans who have moved to other, far away places, and didn't have the opportunity to visit during Reunion 2010, this is really how our 'village' appears. Photo provided by Warren Mackenzie.

The Victoria avenue project is being done in 3 stages. The first stage is from Logan to Aberdeen and was done in May and June. The second phase is from Aberdeen to Webster and is being done in July and August. The third phase is from Webster to the CN tracks just past Horsfall. The total cost will be over 7.8 million dollars. Aberdeen, Green Webster and Horsfall will be done from Victoria to Notre Dame at the same time. The streets will be completely redone with new sewers, water mains, sidewalks and lighting. As of now they are a little bit behind schedule but expect to catch up. For more information go to Photo and caption provided by Bruce Field.

Taylor's Parking Lot Before Construction

As in 2009, the City of St. Lambert is altering infrastructure along major thoroughfares. Firstly, the full length of Desaulniers Blvd. was dug to a depth of 15 feet to lay new water supply lines and during Reunion 2010 we saw what a beautiful job had been done including the introduction of new boulevard curbing and fancy lamp standard. Today, Victoria Avenue is going through a similar, very disruptive process causing driving and parking problems for shop keepers and resident shoppers. According to Kaye (Alexander) Banham (C-'57) “They are now at the corner of Green and Victoria and heading north in the street repair of Victoria after a 2-week break for the construction holiday. They have erected two temporary huge metal parking structures over Taylor's parking lot, and on the parking lot on Notre Dame. Real eyesores, but they are helping with the parking." Photo by W. Mackenzie.

Formerly Victoria Avenue's most popular hardware retailer, Quincaillerie Ranger, these premises have been converted into one of the City's most popular eating establishments - "Cafe Passion". During last May's Alumni Association Reunion 2010, to gain a table at lunchtime one had to wait for seating. The menu choices are extensive, the food is great and the service most pleasant. Photo by W. Mackenzie.

Hartley's Ice Cream store is known as Glaces et Chocolats Hartley Cafés but the big bold lettering let's everyone know that it is still the Hartley's we knew more than 30 years ago when the business first opened in the former corner offices of Dupuy Lumber, across from the Wallace Garage at Prince Arthur and St. Denis.

The present owner Celine Hallee has been connected for the past 10 years. Celine decided that a move into the present Victoria Ave. location was simply a matter of “this is a better location, more visible, larger premises and better parking. We also now provide seating both indoors as well as out.”

Hartley's now make their own chocolates and pastries in addition to the traditional large variety of ice cream, becoming a favourite place to just 'drop into', for all St. Lambert residents. Photos by Bruce Field.

Taylor’s Department Store has a long history. The part that was the Victoria theatre, pool room and bowling alley was originally a store probably built in the early 1900’s. Next door was the Taylor family home and store. The store was started by Ernie, Charlie and Dorothy’s father. He used to go around St. Lambert selling needles and thread, door to door, with his horse and buggy. When he built his house it eventually became his store. At one time they used to sell shoes in their store. I can remember during the war being fitted for a pair of shoes by Charlie (who was home on leave and working in his army uniform).There was an alleyway between the two buildings that led to another alley that ran parallel to Victoria and was in between the store on Victoria and the houses on Notre Dame. The Taylors lived upstairs in their house and the store was on the ground floor. Later the Taylors moved and the store took over the whole house. Sometime in the late 40’s or early 50’s a new building was constructed and the house was demolished. In the early 50’s when the new bowling alley on Green St. was built, the bowling alley above the Victoria Theatre building moved out and the pool room moved up to the top floor. Offices were installed on the second floor. Later the theatre closed and Taylors bought the building. They eventually joined both building getting rid of the alley between, and built a false front for the two buildings. In the early 70’s Taylors needed more space so the offices and pool room removed and replaced by new store departments. Recently the false front (including the old marquee for the theatre) was taken down and a new exterior front with large display windows was built. Photo and comments are provided by Bruce Field.

The block, where Mercille Park is located, has been a park for over a century, based on available photographs of the old Post Office taken prior to existence of the monument. The Cenotaph was erected after the first World War. The names of all the St. Lambert veterans who died during the war have been inscribed on the sides. After the second World War a bronze plaque with all the names of the St. Lambert veterans was added. In the early nineteen sixties there was some landscaping done, and a small fence and wall was added around the monument. A few years ago the bronze plaque was stolen, and since then a new stone plaque has been installed. Annually, Remembrance Day ceremonies take place in and around Mercille Park. Photo and comments are provided by Bruce Field.

The cost of the replacement plaque was partially funded by the alumni association and it's members.

This stretch of building on the north side of Victoria across from Gordon Park, like so many others in a rejuvenated downtown, has had a recent facelift. Most alumni will remember Bert’s (Bert Rosevear) variety store, once having been a popular source for Newspapers and Magazines, along with a huge variety of 'penny-candy' for kids to spend their weekly allowance, has been replaced by a brand new liquor store (formerly up Victoria Ave. in the old A&P). Next door is a hair salon, then a boutique (women’s clothes), Louis Perras Jeweller and Olive and Olives which is a specialty store selling olive oil and other olive products. Betty Brite cleaners is still at the corner and the restaurant is still around the side on Aberdeen. Two floors of office space are over these stores. Photo and notes provided by Bruce Field.

Alumni from St. Lambert High and the earlier days of CCHS would have visited the offices of Dr. Oulton located here. Dr. Oulton had an office and a small surgery as well as a waiting room on the first floor and he lived upstairs on the top floor. Right next door to the right as you face the building was the telegraph office that was operated by George Clark's (of the Travel Agency) father. It was grey stucco and was separated from the Oulton building by a lane. The street car line went along in front and there was a stop in front of these buildings so anyone going to Victoria Avenue could get off. When I was young I occasionally delivered telegrams for Mr.Clark. At present this beautifully restored building is occupied by one of St. Lambert's top restaurants "Les Cigales", as well as a clothier and offices of a Notary Public. Photo and Caption by Bruce Field.

Victoria Street looks prosperous - quite gentrified with lots of boutiques and cafes. Even Hartley's has expanded and gone very upscale, making their own ice-cream now in lots of exotic flavours - even lavender. Here's a photo taken on a Sunday afternoon, after having lunch in the new Restaurant Café - previously Quincaillerie Ranger Hardware. We couldn't get over how busy the street was, and not like we remember Victoria Ave. to be on a Sunday.

"This safety campaign was a big thing at Bell in those years, I would guess the 1950's. The same kind of sign showed up at the CNR Shops at Pointe St. Charles Shops in Montreal." - Lorne Perry. (Top Photo provided by George Poirier).

"The photo was taken on St. Denis St. looking slightly down towards the river. It was in the block between Elm and Prince Arthur. The buildings in the background are still there. The very left hand building is at the corner of Elm. At the time it was a barber shop. The picture was taken in the front of Wallace garage when it was on St.Denis. Wallace garage at that time was also the garage for the Bell trucks , both service & installation and construction vehicles were garaged at night and weekend in Wallaces. Photo was prior to 1956. That was when Bell built their own garage on Lafayette in Montreal South and moved their vehicles there." (Bottom Photo and comments provided by Bruce Field).

Bell Canada construction and repair-crew members pose in front on their late 1930's model Dodge/Fargo service vehicle. Photo was taken on the Elm Street extension running behind the Waterman Fountain Pen factory, in the early 1950's, according to this new style logoed Quebec license plate. Photo provided by George Poirier.

1957 was a very busy year as St. Lambert celebrated it's Centennial year. This part of the celebrations took place in Gordon Park across from City Hall, with Mayor John L. Townshend, who was an alderman from 1948 to 1955 and Mayor from 1955 to 1958, officiating. Photo L. Perry.

The photo of Victoria Ave. in 1913 was provided by Laura Prince, C-'76 (St. Lambert, QC) while the 2008 photo, taken from the exact same spot (middle of Riverside Drive, where Victoria Ave. and Logan St. meet, was provided by Alumni Association Vice-President Harvey Carter. Laura has been advised, and is currently researching City Council and other Real Estate records to determine if the large house on the right-hand side (where the Logan Apartments now stand) is that where her parents John & Judy Prince lived and where Laura now lives on Maple Ave. There will be more information and photos relative to the relocation of the Maple Ave. property in future issues of the Newsletter.


Tom "The Greek" and Mrs. Tom pose in their famous Cavendish Tea Room on Green St. This photo was taken in 1940, long before the "Cave" became the favorite 'hang out' for St. Lambert high school students, as most would remember it. For a more detailed story about the "Cave", refer to Andy Little's Flashback Series contribution on the Alumni Association website.

St. Lambert C.1920

Corner of St. Denis Ave. and Elm St. as seen from the roof-top of the Waterman Pen factory. The vacant area in the foreground is where in later years the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway Co. parked out-of-service streetcars. The Bell Telephone Co. building on the east side of Elm St. does not appear, nor does one single automobile. (St. Lambert Historical Soc.)

In this photo looking 'up' Victoria Ave. it appears Fords had a large share of the local auto market. On the near left one will notice the 'Hughes Shoe Store' sign, a place where anyone could go and watch live x-rays of their feet. Then comes Ranger Hardware, Miss Hughes Gift Shop, St. Lambert Bakery, the Soda Bar and Provencher's Drug Store. On the right the marquee for the Astor Theatre is visible. (Ross McConnell)

Victoria Avenue in the 30s and how it appears today

When it comes to a small town, main street - St. Lambert's Victoria Avenue has a lot to offer, today as well as back in the 30s. Walking down the main drag, the heart of the village, one would meet and recognize many residents by name or at least by their faces. It was a great place to communicate with your neighbours – to meet, greet and treat at a local shop, an exciting experience in a small town of only 7000 people. Back then, like today, it had stores, services and professional offices to provide the needs of the residents.

Many names on the street and adjacent areas became legendary – Chalmer's, Giroud's and Brown's drug stores; doctors Craig, Oulton, Hale and Brault; Boissey's Meat Market, Albert's Grocery later a cafe, Taylors' dry goods; Vardon's, Rosever's and Martin's variety stores; Simm's Bakery, Hughe's Shoe Store; Ranger's, Shanahan's and St. Lambert Hardwares; the Astor and Victoria Theatres; Cousineau's bowling and billiards emporium, the Blue & Grey Wool Shop; Snyder's Electrical; Assi's Department Store; the Cave Restaurant; the Chinese laundry, Victoria Sweets, Lachapelle's Jewelry and other main street stores and facilities.

The strength and appeal of Victoria Avenue persists today with a new breed of names and stores to appeal to the residents of St. Lambert and surrounding areas. The strong tradition of the village continues and will do so in years to come. (Ross McConnell - St. Lambert High - Class of 1945 )

This photo was taken of Lorne Avenue as viewed from the St. Barnabas Church property. The house on the far left is 76 Lorne Avenue where I was literarlly born in and the house on the far right, the corner lot, was the Webster home where my cousins David (C-'55) and Janet Webster lived. Lorne Square is almost out of range to the right. I was totally saddened when they tore down such vintage houses to build a hi-rise several years ago. I guess that is known as progress?????

The park, which you really can't see at the far right of the photo, is called Lorne Square. The top side of the Square faces Elm Street, the side closest to the camera faces St. Barnabas Church and the Masonic Hall. Every Christmas a huge Christmas tree was erected in the Square and was fully decorated by Christmas lights - a great sight. Several weeks prior to Christmas the scouts and cubs used to pull a sleigh with Santa Claus on board and deposit him at the base of the tree. The kids would line-up to talk to Santa and receive some Christmas goodies. The Square was also used to dump the snow taken from the surrounding streets. We looked forward to having a hill in the neighbourhood to ski down or try out our toboggans and sleighs.

Submitted by Ross McConnell - St. Lambert High - Class of 1945

The Astor Theatre (Société d'histoire Mouillepied)

Don Morrison: This photo is great, but it is missing two of its most memorable features:
1. The side door on the right side where we used to sneak in, and,
2. Grumpy "old" Mr. Mather, who, as I recall, owned it, or at least managed it.

Harry Letts: I believe the owner/manager was "Bill" (I think) Mather. I remember a Montreal troupe called "The Children's Hour" who appeared on the CBC radio in the forties – coming to the Astor Theatre for a live concert. Seems to me they took the movie screen down and the stage was 10 feet wide with cement blocks in the back. I also saw many movies there with all the gang of the times. You are right, there was a back fire door in which we used to sneak in. They sold popcorn in the lobby. I also remember that the projectionist for a while was one of the Grant boys from Mercille. (His father was Frank Grant, the golf pro at the Country Club of Montreal.

Dale Morrison-Wallace: Ross and I both remember Mr. Mather also. Ross was really interested in Mike Grant's house next door. He remembers Mr. Grant picking up cocks at the train station and walking down past Wallace Garage with them in a cage. He held cockfights in his backyard, which, of course, was highly illegal!

Bev Collins-Allen: I recall

The Astor Theatre had the newer releases but the Victoria Theatre had double features, which gave you more entertainment for your 50 cents! Both theatres provided the newsreels and a cartoon. In those days, of course, swear words were taboo, and in deference to the Church so was the word "divorce". I remember seeing a popular movie at the Astor called "Three Darling Daughters". It was about the effect of a divorce on the lives of these three girls. The word "divorce" was deleted throughout, making a serious movie somewhat of a comedy.

Ross McConnell: For at least 10 years or so I had been trying to procure a shot of the theatre where I used to earn some spare cash while attending Sir George Williams College. I ushered at the theatre like many teenagers did in those days of long ago. I eventually graduated from usher to relief projectionist one night a week. Got to see many a film and the experience helped to start me on a career in documentary film production, which lasted over 40 years.

Virginia Carter: Getting into the Astor Theatre at only 15 years of age, when the law stated that we were supposed to be 16, seemed like we were thwarting authority, but the real thrill was to watch 'Cops & Robbers' acting in a way that was totally foreign to life around us, as we knew it.

Warren Mackenzie: Two things come back quite clearly.

1. Mr. Mather always there to greet moviegoers, smoke swirling around him with cigar butt in-hand, and speaking in a very raspy voice.

2. The last movie we saw was in 1964 - "The Hustler" with Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason and George C. Scott. Throughout the entire movie all the actors seemed to be chain-smoking. Pat and I couldn't wait to get out and light up.

The old Bank of Toronto on the S.E. corner of Woodstock and Victoria Ave.
Note that Victoria Ave. has not yet been paved. (Anon.)

North-west corner of Victoria Ave. and Desaulniers St. - Circa 1910.

This is across from Gordon Park and is where the Soucie Building stands today.The four-flat unit on the left was built by Louis Alphonse Venne, a former mayor of St. Lambert (1915 - ), around the turn of the century. His home is adjacent (on the right) to these flats. The vacant lot across the street (nearest the camera) is the corner where Mr. Venne an architect by profession built stores with apartments above them. One store, on the corner, was owned by Mrs. Cass and next heading up Victoria Ave. was the Aziz family's and later Esber's Dept. Store. (Marie Venne - Hensley)

Romeo the Bread delivery man, who opened Romeo's Snack Bar and Romeo's Taxi Stand on the corner of Green and Oak Ave. (A.Little)

St. Charles St. Roy's Tavern in Longueuil. (A.Little)

Victoria Ave. Bus Stop in front of the Victoria Theatre, near the corner of Elm St. (A.Little)

In the previous photo looking down upon the bus stop across from Taylor's Dept. Store and the Victoria Theatre, one can see the tops of the letters "A" "I" and "R" from the Victoria's marquee. Many will remember what it was like walking into the theatre lobby and being greeted by a smiling Mrs. Collins seen here, along with daughter Beverley. (S.Collins)

St. Denis St. The Wallace B-A Service Station near the corner of Prince Arthur St. (R.Wallace)