Sunday, July 31, 2011

'Concrete' Evidence of Poor Construction on the Ville Marie Expressway-YIKES

         If your driving on any of the roads in Labelle Province ,you should maybe keep your neck really stiff ,in case any of the concrete decides  to take a holiday & lands on your car....more evidence of some poor construction ,this Ville Marie Tunnel isn't really that old in the grand scheme of things..



MONTREAL - The Ville Marie tunnel has been closed in both directions between de la Montagne and Panet Sts. after a large piece of concrete came tumbling down onto the roadway Sunday morning.

According to Montreal police Constable Anie Lemieux, the concrete fell just after 9 a.m.

"The information that we have is that a structure collapsed...near de Hotel de Ville Ave. overpass," Lemieux said. "No one has been hurt, and no is trapped inside."

The structure was apparently a large piece of concrete roofing installed directly over the roadway. The concrete had been shaped into a grill-like structure with holes to allow light and air to filter into the tunnel.

The structure fell across four lanes, three of which were open to traffic at the time.

Construction of a tunnel linking the new CHUM research centre to the Champs de Mars métro station had closed the St. Laurent Blvd. ramp at Exit 6 near the site of the collapse. The ramp was scheduled to re-open on Aug. 6.

It remains unclear if the construction had anything to do with the concrete falling. There were reportedly workers on the site Sunday morning, but none of them were injured.

Transport Quebec spokesperson Caroline Larose was asked directly by reporters when the last inspection had been carried out on the overpass. She would only say that Transport Quebec conducts regular inspections on all highway infrastructure.

Approximately 100,000 cars pass through the Ville Marie tunnel each weekday, said Larose.

A large security perimetre has been set up around the site of the collapse. It is unclear when the Ville Marie will be re-opened to traffic.

More to come.

Canada's August Long Weekend Civic Holiday

    So here we are on the August longweekend Civic holiday,I hope you are all having fun & remember to play safe. The Yikes factor in this being the August holiday already is,Next Stop is Labour Day...........YIKES !! 5 weeks away,that is scary boys & girls verrry verrry

      Any way have some fun BBQ ing, & whatever is your method of relaxation.

                                           Enjoy the Weekend       

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ogilvy's (with apostrophe) is Sold ,You have to have a lot of Dough to buy this joint

          and this family has just that,a lot of dough. The Weston family takes control of the historic Ogilvy's ( again with apostrophe,we are allowed that here---lol) The store has been around Montreal since the 1866 era . We have all peered through their windows,as well as the Eaton's ,& Simpson's & The Bay.......looking at all the Christmas stuff....

MONTREAL - Montreal’s historic Ogilvy's department store is changing hands for the second time in just over a year.

Selfridges Group Ltd., the real estate arm of Canada’s wealthy Weston family, is the new buyer.

Terms were not disclosed. Selfridges said it will retain current management.

“This store is a great addition to our growing international portfolio,” said chief financial officer Paul Gallagher.

“SGL is pleased to have this opportunity to enhance its retail operations in Montreal, which has an international reputation as a leading fashion centre.”

Just last year, the upscale Ste. Catherine St. store - founded in 1866 - was purchased by a private investment group comprised of Champlain Financial Corp., BB Real Estate Investment Trust (controlled by the Beaudoin/Bombardier families) and the Quebec Federation of Labour’s Solidarity Fund.

It bought the building, also for an undisclosed sum, from owners that included a Toronto investment firm and the CBC Employee Pension Fund.

Selfridges said the acquisition fits with its corporate plan to own and operate “permier luxury stores in select markets.” These include the Brown Thomas chain in Ireland, de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands, Selfridges in the United Kingdom and Holt Renfrew in Canada


Friday, July 29, 2011

more of the members albums

             Another bunch of the members albums, have a look I'm sure some of the photos will awaken your memory banks:




Sleeping Under the Bridge

          Well now ,living Under the bridge, one time you would have been really down on your luck ,...Now you have to be really successful to get a primo spot like living Under the Champlain Bridge...............hahahahaha  Who the hell would want to live under the Champlain Bridge or any bridge for that matter,with 50,000 or more buses,trucks,cars motor cycles a day whipping by over your head.....please a novel idea,but would you sit out in your front yard & have a bbq,Yikes........not only that but what about the people who already live Under the bridge,they would all of a sudden be 'Homeless'----so we displace people already down on their luck.It's such a weird & dumb idea,that they will probably do

MONTREAL - The Champlain Bridge is in need of replacement; we can all agree on that fact.

Repairing it would be a very large and expensive mistake. So we need to build a new Champlain Bridge.

But where will the money come from?

How will the new bridge be maintained, and again, with what money?

And what will the bridge represent to the city?

These are the questions that, if left unanswered, will result in an unsuccessful bridge, and Montreal does not need another one.

My thesis for my master’s degree in architecture proposed a new inhabitable bridge for the 21st century in Montreal, connecting the Old Port and Île Ste. Hélène. Thanks to this thesis I received the school’s outstanding achievement award.

So what is an inhabitable bridge? It is a bridge on which people live, work and play. It’s an old idea, one that has mostly been forgotten – though a few examples still remain, like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Ponte Rialto in Venice and a few more scattered around the globe. A handful of architects have tried to revive the idea, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Yona Friedman, Zaha Hadid, and a professor at Université Laval, Zvi Hecker.

The inhabitable bridge answers the questions I posed at the outset:

Where will the money come from? Pre-selling units and space to people who are interested in living and working on the bridge could cover a large part of the bridge’s construction and service costs.

How will it be maintained, and with what money? History shows that all past inhabitable bridges were sustained from the taxes paid by the people who lived or rented space on the bridge. The Champlain Bridge would be the same. An inhabitable bridge generates revenue that a regular utilitarian bridge does not. It pays for itself and then some.

What will the bridge represent to the city? An inhabitable bridge is a statement that does not go quietly. It would create a new and powerful gateway to Montreal. And since Montreal is a UNESCO city of design, a beautiful, innovative and design-hungry city, where better to put a 21st-century inhabitable bridge?

The final question is not “Why build an inhabitable Champlain Bridge?” but rather,“Why not?”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Revisit Some of Our Photo Albums

        I thought I would post as a slide show,some of the photo albums that have been posted here in the photo section to share with everyone,..More often than not we probably forget these are even here. So maybe I will post a few each day or so, & thanks again to all the people who did share some of their old pictures with us,over the years.

.....So Have Fun & Remember Verdun

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I may have added some of these in the past,but I thought I would repost in segments,It's just a series of pictures from around Verdun,& the Montreal area too. Many of the places you no doubt will remember,maybe not. Enjoy your trip back.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Airport in LaSalle

I am continuing my research on the little known airport in LaSalle where Buzz Beurling had his beginning in aviation in the 30s. I found the following aircraft company in the 1930-31 Lovell directory:

Dominion Aircraft Co. Ltd,

7900 Blvd LaSalle,

F G M Sparks mgr

The street address seems to be where the golf course was situated facing or near the dam. I am slowly unraveling the mysteries on the airport and any help members can give me would be greatly appreciated. If we could find some photos of aircraft parked in or in front of the hangar and aircraft landing and leaving the airstrip would be the holy grail but a map showing the airstrip would also be quite a discovery. I previously went through all the Guardians (1929-1967) in our archives and never saw any mention of an airport in LaSalle. 

Yesterday I met a Mr Harry Carlyle who is 91 years old and lives in Verdun since he was 4 years old. wich means he arrived from England in 1924 but he does not recall any airport in the vicinity. He lives on Leclair street in Crawford Park and remembers going to the Bannantyne school and was in the army in the 2nd WW. He was an officer with 2 stripes and remembers hitting a soldier who would not obey orders wich he was not supposed to do. He grew vegetables on his property and used to sell them at the Atwater market and of course he remembers the farms with cows. His wife died 4 years ago and lives alone in his home He gave me his phone number and we agreed to keep in contact.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where Were You July 20th ,1969 ?

                On July 20, 1969, the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all time when a human first set foot on another celestial body.

Six hours after landing at 4:17 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining), Neil A. Armstrong took the “Small Step” into our greater future when he stepped off the Lunar Module, named “Eagle,” onto the surface of the Moon, from which he could look up and see Earth in the heavens as no one had done before him.

He was shortly joined by “Buzz” Aldrin, and the two astronauts spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned 46 pounds of lunar rocks. After their historic walks on the Moon, they successfully docked with the Command Module “Columbia,” in which Michael Collins was patiently orbiting the cold but no longer lifeless Moon

1984 well try 2011 Big Brother 'is' Watching You Big Time

George Orwell must be grinning like a cheshire cat,.......his 1984 has come to pass & then the youtube video in the first comment window.....Scary boys & girls Verrry Verrry

Places & Spots & Things You May Remember---Have Fun

Just a bunch of stuff in one of my albums ,we've sure accumulated a lot of things over the years..........hope it prompts some good memories for you...I posted this Pierette sign because I think these were the first convience stores we ever had ( although a mom & pop dep on each corner is far more convienent, I think)

                                                                                        besides I lived above one at 90th &Lasalle Blvd ? the old Fontaine Bleu Apartments.....................................................................HF&RV                                                                               

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hot Dogs ? Never Got These @ the Natatorium

         Toasted or Steamed, tout garnee avec chou, or just mustard & onions, that's what we got,.....Now have a look at these:


Some say the hot dog was developed in Frankfurt in 1487 and thus was called a frankfurter.

Others assert Johann Georg­hehner, a butcher from Coburg, Germany, created it in the 1600s. His links, because of their long and lean shape, were known as a “dachshund” or “little-dog” sausages. It is said that he later travelled to Frankfurt to promote them.

It’s not clear who was the first to heat and serve them in a bun, but a few sources say that in the late 1860s, German immigrants in New York sold them from pushcarts. Names such as dachshund sausage gave way to a phrase vendors could easily shout out: “Get your hot dogs, here!”

More than a century later, the preference for such traditional toppings as mustard and relish is still strong. But those who like to be more adventurous might like one of the three recipes I cooked up.

One is a German-style hot dog adorned with beer-braised red cabbage and Swiss cheese. My second offering is a Japanese-style hot dog accented with sweet and sour rice vinegar pickles and addictive ginger sauce. My last is a southern-style hot dog spiced up with fresh salsa, jalapeños and Monterey Jack cheese.

All will taste great while you sit on your sun-filled deck, enjoying a cold beer

" Beleive it or not they actually have a 'recipe' to make these hotdogs--Really ? a Recipe for a Hotdog including preparation time & cooking time.......Come On .Anyone even  in a Coma could make a hotdog.................hahahahaha      

                            Well here is the article called 'Dressing up the Hotdog' I'm sure they are good,but when I think of a hotdog,it's just the old Verdun/Montreal style ones I remember most.      


                   Have Fun and Remember Verdun........................     

ps: I bet I might only have one hot dog a year nowadays--maybe.    Cheers !


Montheif Farm

I found my notes on the Montheif family included in the E.G. Montgomery memoirs.






When the Twentiethg century was just around the corner, E G. Montgomery of Hampstead, lived on a farm in Verdun. To this day, his fondest and most vivid memories are of early Verdun.

Mr Montgomery remembers when they got the idea of developing Verdun and built a bicycle track for the purpose of having bicycle races. There was only one road in Verdun during Mr Montgomery's youth. It was Lower Lachine Road (now LaSalle). They had'nt put Wellington street through yet.

U.H. Dandurand, who had the distinction of owning the first automobile in Montreal, was the man who organized the building of the bicycle track, Mr Montgomery remembers, and had Verdun first subdivided for building purposes.

Mr Montgomery attended the first school in Verdun wich was situated where LaSalle and Gordon are now located. At the same time there was a tollgate across the road from the school. Horses and buggies coming from Montreal on their way west on LaSalle Road paid tolls wich kept the roads in repair.

At the back of the school (where the boardwalk is now), they built a dike, the first protection they had against flooding in the spring. The dike ran from where the Grand Truck Boating stood to Riel avenue and from the fields to the high lands.

But one spring, the water broke through the dike and flooded Verdun. Travel had to be done in boats. Everyone living downstairs had four feet of water in their flats. The wooden sidewalks, wich had been sitting on wooden cross-pieces without being nailed down, were floating around Verdun.

Mr Montgomery remembers Charlie Baker, probably the first policeman in Verdun, who worked for the city of Verdun for about half a century.

He remembers too, Henry Hadley, City Engineer for Verdun, whose father had a farm wich gave some of the streets around Côte St Paul their name.

He remembers the family of Montheiths, the family of the present Federal MP for Verdun, (Old Johnny and young Johnny) who had two dairy farms and who delivered milk to houses in the city.

He still has a newspaper photograph of the children who went to the first Verdun school with him in 1895.

Mr Montgomery remembers Verdun as few people do.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pssssst: Wanna buy a sidewalk------- Saint Catherine St. Big Sidewalk Sale

          Sounds like a great day for people watching and just wandering around Downtown,a walk along Saint Catherine (sans auto's)  for a couple of hours ,lunch at an outdoor cafe ,..or buy something.........Saint Catherine Street Annual Sidewalk Sale,,,sounds like the Wellington Street Promenade deal.just a largewr scale I guess.Oh well always something to do in Montreal,maybe spend the whole day Downtown & take in some sort of festival later on ......

here's the Gazette comment on this.

MONTREAL - Ste. Catherine St. will be closed to traffic between St. Marc and Bleury Sts. this weekend for the annual sidewalk sale, billed as the largest one in Canada, attracting 300,000 people, organizers said. Stores will be open for outdoor shopping till 7 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

..............If you go ,Have Fun,.but whatever you do , Do Not ,I repeat Do Not take any photos that could be posted here,we are batting almost a 100% in the participation category.& we don't want to spoil it or shock anyone...........hahahahaha Cheers ~~HF&RV ~~

Friday, July 15, 2011

Canada Parks Day July 16th-Go Out & Enjoy One Near You

   On May 19th,2011 Parks Canada celebrated 100 years of Parks Canada,Tomorrow Sat July 16th is designated as Parks Day across the contry from Coast to Coast to Coast. And Canada has some specatcular parks too,why not take advantage of one day to appreciate what's all around you. Matbe our Montreal members will get out to MtRoyal or any of the surrounding greenspaces along the waterfront,maybe perhaps take some photos to bring us all up to date ,as to what's hapenning around Montreal,.or anywhere for that matter....(I won't hold my breath on the photo much to some's dismay I would imagine).......hahahahah Anyway enjoy your weekend & if you get to a great park,then Have Fun


Canada's Parks Day 2011 will take place on Saturday, July 16. Mark your calendars now and check the events pages, beginning in June, for activities in a park near you.

Canada's Parks Day 2010 celebrated the International Year of Biodiversity. Thousands of people participated in fun, educational, family-oriented events in parks and historic sites across the country. Many activities highlighted the important role that parks play in maintaining healthy and resilient ecosystems, protecting critical habitat for species-at-risk and contributing to human health and well-being.

Thursday, July 14, 2011



*                  A CENTENARY  IN CANADA 1910 2010

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Welcome to the New Millenium or A/C in Busses ! What Will They Think of Next ?

                         I would have thought that all bus's if not most busses nowadays would be air conditioned Imagine those hot humid sticky Montreal summer days,with swealtering heat & you are on a bus with 50 other people jammed in ,all of you just tolerating the ride home........Wow I had forgotten that old scenario,I have had occasion to be on a bus here in Victoria and all the double decker bus's have A/C, I don't know if all busses have it,but they should,especially in would be greatly appreciated by all the users.. here's this mornings Gazette story about Montreal's new busses....

MONTREAL - As you board a packed bus in the middle of a July mini-heat wave, ask yourself: Would you be willing to pay more for your commute if this rolling hotbox was air-conditioned?

Well, the Société de transport de Montréal has been putting the question to its riders this month – and polling them while they are travelling on buses that are, in fact, air-conditioned.

Riders on Routes 24 (Sherbrooke), 10 (De Lorimier), 103 (Monkland), 165 (Côte des Neiges), 173 (métro bus Victoria), 535 (Park Ave./Côte des Neiges reserved lane) and the 747 Express to Trudeau airport have been met on their AC-equipped ride by STM workers asking them to fill out a survey on whether they would favour the installation of air conditioning on buses.

Each bus line has had one air-conditioned vehicle added to its route.

Riders are asked whether they are willing to pay more for the comfort of air conditioning and whether they’re concerned about its effect on the transit authority’s carbon footprint.

The poll suggests the STM, which last year dismissed air-conditioned buses as too expensive, might be re-thinking its position.

“We’re testing a lot of things,” said STM spokesperson Isabelle Tremblay. “We want to compare urban lines with less urban lines.”

The poll is part of the fallout from a controversy that began last summer by the opposition Projet Montréal party at city hall.

The party tabled a motion in council noting that New York City’s new subway cars and buses are air-

conditioned, and that air conditioning does not seem to appear on the STM’s call for tenders for new métro cars.

It urged the transit authority to ensure that new subway cars are air-conditioned.

But the STM argued that its studies showed it would cost about $20 million to equip its buses with air conditioning units and an additional $5 million annually to maintain them.

Fuel consumption would increase by about 25 per cent, while exhaust from the air conditioning units and the buses themselves would create about 3,200 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.

The costs for an air-conditioned métro: $50 million to equip the cars and a little under $2 million annually to maintain the units.

An earlier survey conducted for the STM found that air conditioning was a priority of only 14 per cent of métro users. Among bus users, AC ranked 12th as a priority.

Tremblay said on Tuesday that the costs of running air-conditioned buses on the test routes will be examined along with the poll data to determine whether there is strong demand for air conditioning and, if so, whether the cash-strapped transit authority can afford it.

She reiterated there are no plans to air-condition métro cars or stations.

Would you be willing to pay more for public transit if you were guaranteed an air-conditioned bus ride? Tell us in the comments box below

                       ..Have Fun and Remember Verdun..

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Airport in LaSalle

I have asked Denis Gravel, LaSalle historian about the LaSalle airport and he confirms that there was such an airport on the land and prior to the golf course in the beginning of the 30s. There is an old map somewhere showing the airport and Denis will send it to me when he finds it. As far as some photos are concerned, these may be harder to find but hopefully some will turn up sooner or later. Denis also says that a LaSalle citizen told him that light aircraft  used this airport.

This is a new and interesting subject and I hope we can discover more information on this airport where Buzz Beurling started his interest in aircraft. Buzz died at age 26 in 1948 therefore he was born in 1922 and he must have been very young when he started flying.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

What's Up 'Dock' ?

At 11:07 a.m. EDT (4.07 p.m. GMT) Sunday, Commander Chris Ferguson guided space shuttle Atlantis to successfully dock with the International Space Station (ISS). The two spacecraft were flying about 240 miles high, east of New Zealand, at the time they docked.

This was the 12th and final time Atlantis docked to the space station. It was the 46th shuttle docking to a space station, nine to the Russian Mir station and 37 to the International Space Station. Atlantis performed seven of the nine Mir dockings. This was the 86th space shuttle rendezvous operation and the 164th “proximity operation” in the history of the Space Shuttle Program, where a shuttle conducted operations in close proximity to another spacecraft.

The shuttle and station crews opened the hatches and held the traditional welcome ceremony at about 5:47 p.m. GMT. Atlantis’ crew of Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim joined Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov of Russia, Satoshi Furukawa from Japan, and NASA’s Ron Garan and Mike Fossum.

The combined crew of 10 begins more than a week of docked operations, transferring vital supplies and equipment to sustain station operations once the shuttles are retired.   Live video feed from inside the ISS

Parts of Atlantis' main engines are visible in this image, which is one of a series of images taken during the back flip or rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM). Atlantis 'posed' for this and other photographs and visual surveys on approach to the International Space Station. The station crew used an 800 millimeter lens to capture this particular series of images. Image Credit: NASA
Parts of Atlantis' main engines are visible in this image, which is one of a series of images taken during the back flip or rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM). Atlantis 'posed' for this and other photographs and visual surveys on approach to the International Space Station. The station crew used an 800 millimeter lens to capture this particular series of images. Image Credit: NASA

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Angus Shops CPR

The Canadian Pacific Railway's Legendary Angus Shops

Richard Bladworth Angus was born in 1831 in Bathgate, Scotland - about 20 miles west of Edinburgh. He came to Canada at age 26 with his wife and began work as a bookkeeper and clerk with the Bank of Montreal. After a time working for B of M in America's First and Second Cities, he became general manager at the headquarters of the bank at age 38 in 1869 - two years after Canadian Confederation.

The building with the classic columns is the bank's head office.

Angus then joined those famous Scottish cousins - George Stephen and Donald Smith - in private investments.

Along the way, they met a Canadian  who liked the challenge of building and running railways : J J Hill.

George Stephen also became president of the Bank of Montreal.

In a business world devoid of the complications of  conflict of interest  laws, regulations, guidelines, aspirational targets, or sniff tests ...

Stephen, Smith and some business partners bought the American St Paul and Pacific Railroad in 1878. Some Montrealers wondered if Angus and Stephen could work in Bank of Montreal's best interests while some of its funds were being privately used by them and their associates to buy a bankrupt US railroad for over $5 million.

Angus subsequently resigned from the Bank of Montreal and became vice president of the renamed road - the St Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad - in 1879 ... the "Manitoba Road".

The Manitoba Road circa the 1880s
CPR construction feeder
Vice President & Co-investor : RB Angus
(Back then Winnipeg was in northern Manitoba!)

  • You already know that during CPR construction ... the Prairie and Rockies CPR was separated from the Eastern CPR by the rolling sea of Precambrian granite north of Lake Superior.
  • The St PM&M - majority owned by the associates alluded to above (exact holdings not disclosed) connected ... the US midwestern rail network at the Twin Cities ... to a CPR feeder line ... which connected that point on the American border ... to Winnipeg.
The Point ...

Pretty much everything and everyone needed for construction of the CPR out of Winnipeg ... came over the line controlled by Stephen, Smith, Hill, Angus et al.

The Canadian legend is that if the CPR went bust, Stephen and Smith should be seen to be personally bankrupt, themselves.

The way things turned out, the Manitoba Line made Smith, Stephen and their co-investors a small fortune - one of many good investments they made.

But getting back to Angus ...

After his initial work with the associates at the Bank of Montreal, and on the Manitoba Road,
Angus was involved in the following CPR and high-finance related activities ...
  • Provided financial analysis on a regular basis, complementing Stephen's entrepreneurial prowess ... for the CPR Syndicate ... and later for the CPR.
  • Signed the Canadian Pacific Railway Contract with the government ... as one of the CPR Syndicate's original members.
  • Worked as the first CPR General Manager until 1882 when Van Horne was hired.
  • Spiked together the CPR's eastern network, particularly in the key Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto area..
  • Served on the CPR board and committees for 40 years.
  • Invested in Dominion Bridge of Lachine Quebec ... which supplied most of the heavy steel structures the CPR needed.
  • Invested in Canadian industry : paper, telephones, hydro power & street railways, and sugar refining. Sweeet.
  • Returned to the Bank of Montreal as President, serving 1910-1913.
  • The new Canadian Pacific Railway Angus Shops complex was named after him when it opened in 1904.
  • He died in 1922.

R.B. Angus

Angus Shops : Meeting the Needs of the Railway
and The Empire ! : "hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! ... and a tiger! ... grrrrr"

As mentioned elsewhere on this website ... the CPR's various rolling stock shops - acquired from absorbed eastern Canadian railways - combined with the CPR's own tiny, perfect Delorimier Shops (the "New Shops") ... would not provide the scale, efficiency, and standardization the CPR wanted.

Eight years after Angus Shops opened ... and a quarter of a century after the last spike ... the following figures from the government's railway statistics show that scale, efficiency, and standardization of rolling stock processes were essential for the CPR's operations.

CPR in 1912 : Equipment Costs

Repair ($)
Steam locomotives
Passenger cars
Freight cars
Work equipment

For perspective:
CPR transportation revenues 1912:  $114,303,208

This is the financial argument for Angus. Without beginning to consider buying new rolling stock, maintaining tracks and roadbed, paying train crews, buying fuel, or any of the other activities carried on all across Canada, the CPR was spending a great deal of money keeping its equipment in good condition ... with Angus well-established.

Fun fact : the CPR was paying over $500,000 a year for water for its mainline steam locomotives !

I have fooled around with calculating inflation and perhaps multiplying these numbers by 15-20 might give you an approximation in today's dollars.

CPR in 1912 : Types of Rolling Stock on the Roster

Locomotives ...
Passenger cars ...
First Class
Second Class
Combination [e.g. passenger + baggage]
Emigrant [no frills sleeping/cooking]
Baggage, Express, Postal
Other passenger
Freight cars ...
Stock [livestock]
Other freight
On company service (OCS) cars...
Officers & pay cars

This is the organizational argument for Angus. A large, complex organization like the CPR needed to get some control over all of these rolling 20 to 300 ton assets. Angus was the "main place" where standard plans, standard procedures, and new programs were established. There were other, smaller shop complexes in western Canada for geographical efficiency (Ogden at Calgary, Weston at Winnipeg), but Angus was the focus of the CPR's attention when it came to rolling stock.

In a sea of wooden cars in the CPR yard at Winnipeg ... it looks as if some Plasma TV's are being pilfered !
This photograph from 1910 or so shows a nice variety of wooden cars ... all of which must be maintained.

... and meeting the needs of The Empire ...

Of course this was not foreseen when Angus was built ... but as World War One began a decade after Angus opened, there was no CNR ...

The Grand Trunk lines, the Canadian Northern ... and other railways which were already wards of the state, did not form an integrated efficient system.

Given Canada's Empire-dictated participation in the Great War ... and the quantity of railway assets and CPR staff eventually needed in Europe ... it was fortunate that the CPR had its act together as a national railway, and that Angus was already well-established when the war began. To some extent, Angus Shops also began producing war materiel - beginning with artillery shells in 1915.

Clean air brake components are on the workbench ...
probably at a photogenic training area at Angus.

With the active recruitment of skilled CPR employees into World War One,

women are employed at Angus Shops ...
'til the boys come home ...
then the typical post-war female employee purge will occur.

Angus Shops : The Location

This 1915 map shows the location of Angus Shops in the east end of Montreal. The blue lines represent streetcar tracks.

Before the construction of Windsor Station to the west, the CPR's main Montreal passenger station was at Place Viger - beyond the lower left corner of this map. Leaving Viger Station, a departing passenger train would first pass the CPR's original shops (Delorimier) ... then the car shop and roundhouse at Hochelaga (shown) ... before passing the location of Angus Shops as it headed west. As you can see by the map, it would make a horseshoe-shaped passage through eastern Montreal before leaving Montreal Island.

The railway line shown heading to the east between Ernest and Ontario streets is that of the Canadian Northern Railway. At the time, CNoR's Montreal station was at the foot of Moreau Street ... beside Hochelaga.


Ile Ronde is now forms the downstream tip of the artificial islands created for Expo 67 from Montreal's subway tailings.

Angus Shops : The Layout in 1907

Below, you can see the main line along the left edge of this map. Here are a few of the main features from a 1907 map :
  • The plot of land is about 1 mile long and 1/2 mile wide. It contains about 50 miles of track.
  • The "midway" (yay, rides!) was an all-purpose through-way served by high-capacity overhead crane(s). It appears here as the vertical passageway above the office.
  • Freight cars were built and renewed at the top left corner. Below the freight car shop is the "truck shop" where the wheelsets were built and maintained.
  • Passenger cars were built and renewed at the right side - notice the 75 foot long transfer table ... whose pit marked on the map (the wide, white rectangle)
  • The shop interior frequently shown in books is the locomotive shop at the lower left.

Some obscure points:

  • Railway shops often used a transfer table as the central transportation axis of the shops - i.e. at the midway. However, by building at the Montreal city limits, the CPR obtained enough land for a spacious layout. Consequently, most rolling stock could travel normally (longitudinally) on rails into the various shops - including the steam locomotives. You can see the two gentle curves giving access to the only transfer table in the place ... at the passenger car shop. Why is this such a big deal? ... The transfer table usually runs in a transfer table pit which makes other surface movement across the pit difficult. With no huge "trench" running down the midway, the CPR was able to send pedestrians, teams of horses pulling loads, and the overhead crane(s) down the midway.
  • In addition, a series of standard gauge rail-ways ran perpendicular to the main rail axis of the complex, allowing pushcarts of materials or components to roll from building to building. To turn the railed loads 90 degrees, 8 foot diameter turntables were used at strategic locations.
  • There was plenty of storage space for raw materials, parts inventory, and scrap management.
  • Tributary shops were close to their "customers" ... e.g. wheel foundry > freight car shop ; grey iron foundry > locomotive shop; kiln > planing mill > cabinet shop > passenger car shop.
  • The linear rolling stock shops usually worked on a "first in, first out" basis with individual cars or locomotives moving along in "assembly line" fashion.
  • The frog shop at the centre left was used to build the specialized rail assemblies and other pieces used in switches, and railway-crossing-railway track "diamonds".

"Have you seen my pipe wrench? I left it under that car ... "

Taken in 1948 after extensive facility development, this photo shows the orderly but cluttered west end of Angus.
This is the car shop area and the midway and overhead crane track can be seen in the top right corner.

Inside Angus Shops

Angus is best remembered for its locomotive building and rebuilding, so views of other operations are generally not common.
Here are a few typical scenes in the car shops.

Shortly after World War Two, some cast steel wheels are being harvested at the wheel foundry.
At its peak, over 70,000 cast steel wheels were being produced annually at Angus.

This view is from earlier, probably around 1910 in the wooden car shop.
Tidiness and fire protection were essential.
I guess they let people work when there were no cameras around.

At the passenger car works of the London and North Eastern Railway in England around 1930,
you can see the type of work done at Angus with passenger car interior wood.

For easier reading of the following "documentary" CPR text, I'll write in green for this section.

The following text, describing locomotive reconditioning comes from a 1946 CPR publication. 
It gives an interesting account of the processes used at that point. Angus worked on steam locomotives for half a century so practices, tools, and rolling stock evolved over time. As no one in 1904 planned to slap together a webpage on early Angus processes a century later, most of the good documents and stuff were probably all destroyed.

Canadian railways were often supervised by experienced British-born railway managers, using equipment which was continually interchanged (mainly freight cars) with American railroads. Heavy machine tools manufactured in the US or Britain were common. Good steam locomotive maintenance techniques (with some company idiosyncrasies) were often as "universal" as jet turbine maintenance is today ...

... well ... anyway ... this is how I rationalize the use of interesting "foreign" photographs to illustrate some of the work at Angus.

I have used some illustrations from the UK and US to give you an idea of the type of work involved -
particularly if there are workers shown in the photographs.

To get things started, here is the "textbook" photograph of Angus at work after World War Two ... the photo beloved and used by all.
But ... do you see any workers ?
One did get into the photo by accident.

(Play that "Shoot Waldo" game the kids love so much, and see if you can hunt him down!)


The steam locomotive has a working life of from 30 to 40 years. This span of life is determined by the boiler as all other parts are renewable, and through periodical inspections and general repairs locomotives are maintained in safe and serviceable condition for the life of the boiler. The longevity of the active period of a locomotive contrasts remarkably with the comparatively brief life of some other forms of motive power.

Even in the early stages of the design of a locomotive, careful attention is given to the arrangement, location and construction of each detail, to the end that accessibility and facilities for renewal of wearing parts may be provided.

It is the purpose of this article to outline the procedure by which the reconditioning of a locomotive is effected.
Selection of Locomotive for Shopping
The selection of a locomotive for shopping is determined by, several considerations, of which the factors are the mileage accumulated since previous general repairs, condition of boiler and firebox, date of next internal inspection and tests, condition of machinery, and operating requirements which may demand specific classes of power. Accumulated mileage since the previous general repair may be varied in the case of individual locomotives but in general a passenger locomotive would average, between shoppings, 125,000 miles; a freight locomotive 80,000 miles; a switching locomotive 65,000 miles.

The locomotive foreman of the roundhouse at which an engine is maintained, has a record of the mileage made by each locomotive, with a general summary of its condition, particularly as regards boiler tubes and firebox, machinery and tires. His recommendations, being transmitted to the division and district master mechanics, are used as a basis for the preparation of shopping lists, covering the engines which it is proposed to shop. These lists, made up each month, cover a period of three months in advance. They are then forwarded to the Superintendent of Motive Power, who makes the final decision as to which engines will be recommended for shopping.
Assuming the repairs will be made at Angus Shops for Eastern Lines locomotives. A work report is submitted to cover the necessary visible repairs required and authority is given by the Chief of Motive Power and Rolling Stock for the movement of the locomotive to the shop. Upon arrival at Angus examination of locomotive is made and an estimate is submitted to the Chief of Motive Power and Rolling Stock, giving particulars of the necessary repairs and the estimated cost to complete same.

Preparation of Locomotives and Repair Operations

The first operation is to place the locomotive on a coaling pit. Any coal remaining in the tender is removed, grates cleaned, ashes dumped, fire brick arch removed from firebox and all water drained from the boiler and tender.

From the coaling pit the engine is moved to the shotblast house, where any pitted and scaled paint surfaces are thoroughly cleaned by means of air-pressured shotblast. This cleaning includes wheels, cab and tender when necessary, smokebox and jacket and any other parts which require complete removal of old paint before the surface is suitable for refinishing. For protection against rusting, surfaces which have been shotblasted are given a priming coat of black paint, after which the engine is taken to the erecting shop for stripping.
Upon arrival at the erecting shop, it is placed upon a stripping track and stripping operations commenced. The tender is uncoupled from the engine and taken to the tender shop.

The preparation of the locomotive for lifting from the wheels, requires the removal of all guard stays, main and side rods and brake gear. While this is in progress, smokebox front, grates, headlight, handrails, dynamo, steam and safety valve casings and automatic fire door are removed by the erecting shop gang. The jacket shop removes firebox and cylinder jackets; the tank shop removes the netting and plates from the front end and commences to strip the ash pan. The carpenter shop removes firebox lagging, so that firebox may be properly examined, when being tested, and cab seats, sashes and arm rests are removed. The steamfitter shop strips the pipes for test. The engine is lifted off the wheels by two cranes and is carried down the shop and placed upon the pit where repairs are to be made.

This hazy photo is a good impressionistic interpretation of Angus.
While neat and tidy shots from an overhead crane at Angus are often seen in books,
this photo brings the viewer a little closer to the worker's experience on the rebuilding "assembly line".

The machines being worked on are generally ... greasy and dirty,
harbouring little pools of mucky water, and all the components are extremely heavy.
On the closest locomotive, rough old boiler lagging is patched up with fresh white lagging pads.
Boiler lagging insulates the hot ugly riveted boiler shell ... from the outer cosmetic painted sheet metal.
Both the rough and fresh boiler lagging you see are are primarily made of asbestos ... the insulation of choice for steam locomotives.

At the far end, centre track, you can see an engine with its smoke deflectors (elephant ears) still attached before component stripping.
Two engines along down this line, you can see a couple of workers toiling atop one of the locomotive boilers.

To ensure complete repairs, and that all details will be reconditioned and returned to the erecting shop at the proper time for assembly, a definite system of scheduling is in effect at Angus.

When removed from the locomotive, all parts are sent to the various shops responsible for them, each of which has a definite date for the return of the parts, ready for application.
Assuming, for example, that it is desired to repair the locomotive on an 18-day schedule, the progress of the principal work would be as follows:
1st day : Stripping.
2nd day : Stripping, hydro test of boiler.


Not at Angus : An American locomotive undergoing a hydrotest.
This process finds boiler leaks using water under high pressure.
Steam - a high-temperature compressed gas holding great potential energy inside a boiler ...
is too hot and dangerous to use inside a shop.
The T-shaped device attached to the backhead (cab area) of the boiler fills the boiler with water.
Water spurting out like a World War Two submarine movie ... shows the boiler defect locations.

3rd day :
Stripping completed and all parts cleaned and delivered; tube removal commenced.
4th day : Tube removal completed; driving box brasses and wearing faces removed; valves and valve motion cleaned and tested; main and side rods tested.

Not at Angus : At the London Midland and Scottish railway's Belfast [sic] shop
a driving wheel/axle assembly is "turned" in a special double-ended lathe.
The slotted outer wheels rotate the driving wheels/axle assembly.
You can see the metal shaved off the wheels on the shop floor.

Even to me, two things seem obvious :
During the process, the lifting device would not be attached.
The worker wouldn't stand there while the lathe was turning.

Special note : The British were generally into showier machinery often including steam locomotives with traditional inside (between the wheels) valve gear.
While most  modern North American driving axles would go straight across, here you can see the inside cranks for the inside driving rods.

5th day : Old cylinder and valve bushings removed; boiler scaled and smokebox cleaned; new driving box brasses in; superheater header examined; frames repaired.

6th day : Cylinders repaired; driving boxes drilled; superheater pipes examined; motion work repairs commenced; dynamo cleaned.

Not at Angus: An American piston rod is being machined smooth.
By the worker's left hand you can see the grooves in the silver piston head for the piston rings.

7th day : Cylinders bored; boiler patches applied; tank, tender frame, engine truck and cab repairs commenced; dynamo repairs commenced; cab cleaned and primed.


Not at Angus: The piston (previous photo) would be inserted in this tube, with the piston rod pointing out toward the workers.
The piston bushing - a hard-wearing liner inserted between the piston and the cylinder casting - is being inserted with a "bushing puller" tool.

8th day : Frame repairs completed; stay bolts applied and tubes welded; numerous frame castings completed; superheater pipes finished; tender cleaned and primed.
9th day : Guard stays up and shoes and wedges lined up; tubes cut to length and tested; pumps repaired; superheater pipes fitted; cab doors and sashes completed; first coat of black engine surfacer applied.

10th day : Boiler mountings applied; tubes rolled and beaded; arch tubes, crossheads, guide bars, dry pipe, etc.applied; spring gear delivered; inside of cab painted.

11th day : Dry pipe tested; tubing completed and boiler tested; wheels and motion parts delivered; headlight repaired; dynamo tested; paint rubbed down on tender and cab.

Not at Angus : The stripped boiler is separate from the stripped running gear in an American shop.
Instead of the British inside cranks, outside pins provide an eccentric connection for the rods.
Notice the cable slings behind the cylinders and at the cab.
While all the running gear was at other shops being worked on,
the stripped boiler assembly could be deposited on a rollable shop frame,
or sturdy blocks of wood (previous photo), by the travelling crane.

12th day : Engine wheeled and trucked; dry pipe and superheater headers applied; valves, steam chest covers and cylinder covers applied; tender brake details cleaned and tested; boiler and cylinders lagged; coat of black engine finish applied to cab and tender.

13th day : Main and eccentric rods delivered; stand pipe applied; superheater pipes applied and tested; jacketing commenced; lettering, numbering and striping on cab and tender completed.

Not at Angus: Hammer and tong at WG Bagnall's at Stafford, England.
A steel billet for a connecting rod is manipulated with the tong and chains.
The hammer operator and the steam hammer itself are at the right.

Angus in the 1940s.
Workers are currently milling main rods.
Nice, eh?

14th day : Valves set; steam and exhaust pipes applied; varnish cab and tender.

15th day : Engine blown through; pistons, etc. delivered; tender and tender truck repairs completed; brake gear delivered.

16th day : Grates, fire brick, arch, pistons, brake gear, ash pan and cab doors applied; tender mounted; 2nd coat of varnish on tank.


Phew! ... Fresh air! Time for a smoke.

At the south Rachel (ex Nolan) Street Gate ... the police and fire station.
The two men are starting to walk north along the Midway.
The worker is walking out with a lunch pail under his left arm.

Legend, Forgotten History ... and Bureaucracy

Angus lives in history as the home of CPR's distinctive steam locomotives. Consistent with a common railway practice at the time, the CPR's motive power department did design its own steam locomotives.

However, after 1921 only 5 CPR locomotives were built from scratch at Angus - out of  a total of 1057 locomotives erected by the railway - first at Delorimier, and later at Angus. In the modern era, contract builders Montreal Locomotive Works and the Canadian Locomotive Company at Kingston, among others, built the CPR's steamers.

As described in the 1946 procedures above, Angus had the capacity to perform heavy locomotive "backshopping". However, contracting out the work of new construction was probably cheaper and less disruptive to all the other duties performed by Angus and CPR Motive Power. After the last engines were constructed at Angus Shops in 1944, a particular class of 65 steam locomotives was completely overhauled and rebuilt to a new wheel arrangement there between 1946 and 1949.

"The longevity of the active period of a locomotive contrasts remarkably with the comparatively brief life of some other forms of motive power."

... so stated the 1946 CPR article above. Maybe this official is not "buying in" to the new diesel technology ...
... hmm ... could be a problem ... "re-education" or "extreme prejudice" ? ...

As diesels invaded the railway, Angus Shops staff butchered great herds of the silent steam mastodons with acetylene torches on the outdoor tracks - from the mid-1950s until 1966.

A few decades later, Angus itself ended with diesel maintenance and a whimper - a shadow of its former self.

Today, the old heavy industry "remediated brownfield" has disappeared under new residential development and is largely forgotten.

At the former site, Rue du Canadien-Pacifique, Rue de la Forge and Rue de la Fonderie - as well as some of the reincarnated buildings - today suggest the previous industrial use of this land.

And Avenue du Midway is the old midway of the facility.

Rue Omer-Lavallee commemorates the late CPR corporate historian who preserved and interpreted much of the CPR's steam power history ... his published 1960 salute to CPR steam was :

"In articulo mortis, Vale!"

Sometimes, the Canadian Pacific Railway had a passion,
but it also had quite a bureaucracy to protect the stock and the dividend ...

"You want that when ?!"

Bureaucracy is usually synonymous with inefficiency and intellectual ossification.

Today, we value "24/7 decisiveness" ... ACT NOW ! ... if you make a mistake ... SOLVE IT LATER !

Bureaucracy is seldom understood to embody the finest traditions of an organization - its enduring "institutional memory"

... which lives on after the latest "leader's" mission statement and "messaging" has melted away like so much bumwipe flushed down on the ties.

Below is one of two similar locomotives actually erected at Angus : road numbers 1200 and 1201.
"Pacific" is a standardized North American name for a steam locomotive with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement
 ... or Class "G" on the CPR ... or "the 1200s" to working road crews.

Anyway, one hundred additional G5's of the same basic pattern followed ... but built by Montreal Locomotive Works, and CLC at Kingston - not Angus.

The legend goes that CPR financial managers officially consigned 1201 to the acetyline torch in 1962,
but due to CPR "bureaucracy" the work had still not been done in 1966 when the locomotive was passed on to the federal government.

The story continues that the particular locomotive, 1201, had been
lost ... forgotten ... repeatedly shuffled to the back of the dead line ...
by shop staff because it was the very last locomotive built at Angus.

  When it operated out of Canada's technology museum,
we rode behind
restored locomotive 1201 ...
Ottawa to Wakefield, Quebec and back - in July 1982.

Below, 1201's turbogenerator sings as it simmers on the main track at Wakefield - just before our return to Ottawa.

Of course, it's builder's plate was on proud display and demanded to be photographed that day ...
  151 years after the birth of Richard Bladworth Angus in Scotland.

Known for his clear-eyed financial analysis ...
it would be interesting to know the thoughts of  RB Angus on the CPR's bureaucracy in 1962 ...
and its failure to scrap this locomotive in a timely manner.