I thought I would re-post this article by this former Verdun resident, E.G. Montgomery:
ARTICLE IN THE VERDUN GUARDIAN OCTOBER 21ST 1959
VERDUN RESIDENT RECALLS VERDUN'S EARLY YEARS
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.