Tuesday, January 30, 2018

How'd I ever miss this. The Cows Are Back

Wow we spoke of these cows often on the original VC site ,and followed the mystery of "what happened to the cows" Well it seems they have been refurbished (or new ones) and now proudly sit on the Elmhurst Dairy Bldg in NDG ,this was a very familiar landmark in Montreal as we all grew up. I don't know how I missed this story from the Gazette almost 11 months ago Yikes almost a year ago.Oh well as they say "better late than never" the following is that story from the Montreal Gazette     Cheers ! Les


Iconic Elmhurst Dairy cow heads back on display in Montreal's N.D.G. area

By Isaac Olson
Special to the Montreal Gazette
For many west end Montrealers, the iconic bovines that have long overlooked St-Jacques St. are a stepping stone into fond memories of ice cream, milkshakes, family and community.
After disappearing from public view in 1997, the cows are now fully restored and back on display at Parmalat Canada’s dairy plant at 7470 St-Jacques St. near Elmhurst Ave. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
The massive cow heads hung near the Elmhurst Dairy’s ice cream shop entrance for as long as anyone can recollect. Growing up in Lachine, Marcelle Gagné remembers her father taking her and her brother to visit the cows and eat ice cream as far back as 1949. The ice cream was good, she recounted, but it was the cows that got the kids excited. Back in her day, the ice cream shop had an all-male staff that wore white aprons and hats. The cows, she said, were called “Elsie and her boyfriend Beauregard.”
By the time the ’60s rolled in, Milton Epps knew them as “Bessie and Viola.” The cows looked right in his living room window as he grew up across the street. He remembers sitting on his porch with his family, eating ice cream and watching sweet-toothed customers line up all the way down the sidewalk to get a cone.
“I grew up with those two cows my whole life, from about (age) 9 to my mid-20s,” said Epps. He even worked in the Elmhurst Dairy when he got older. “I remember when I was younger, my mother closing the drapes in the living room after dark and saying, ‘Goodnight Bessie. Goodnight Viola.’ ”
When notified by the Montreal Gazette that the cows were back up on display, Epps was ecstatic. He said he planned to head straight down to the factory so he could gaze upon the restored statues while reminiscing about days gone by.
“Signs are lightning rods for all those stacked up, invisible memories,” said Matt Soar, a Concordia University associate professor and founder of the Montréal Signs Project aimed at collecting and displaying antique signs in the school’s Communication Studies and Journalism building. “I am delighted that the Signs Project could play a very small part in a bigger story about all those memories people in Montreal’s west end have of the Elmhurst Dairy.”
Soar first learned the cows were being stored in the closed Eventide Home on St-Jacques St. when photos of the vandalized heads, captured by urban explorers, surfaced online in 2008. The Eventide Home belongs to Parmalat, but Soar tracked down Lynda Trenholme, the great-granddaughter of Thomas Anderson Trenholme and, from there, an effort to save the cows was set in motion.
Thomas Trenholme’s Montreal-based dairy farming career began when N.D.G. was still largely farmland. Known for caring greatly about the purity of his milk and the cleanliness of his herd, Trenholme founded the Elmhurst Dairy in the late 1800s. Lynda Trenholme adds, “He won an award for pasteurizing milk and he used to sell it to the hospitals.”
Lynda Trenholme’s father, Harry Trenholme, is 95 years old. His father, Wilfred Trenholme, ultimately sold the dairy company and, today, the property houses the Parmalat plant.
“They’re an icon,” said Lynda Trenholme, a Hudson resident. “Everybody knows the cows of Elmhurst Dairy. It was an institution to go over on the weekends and have ice cream and milkshakes.”
When she learned the cows were at risk, Lynda Trenholme decided to take action because she considered “Elsie and Elmer” an important part of her family’s history. She was ready to “put the cows in my backyard if I had to.”
She contacted Parmalat and was soon connected to the company’s spokesperson, Anita Jarjour. With Jarjour on the case, the cows were properly stored, refurbished and eventually re-hung.
Lynda Trenholme, along with her husband, father and daughter, were invited to a private ceremony this winter to celebrate the unveiling of the historic signage. The cow heads are now high on a wall over a back parking lot, safe from any vandals but visible to passersby wishing to remember the Elmhurst dairy bar before it closed in 1978.
“They have been restored by a professional who did a wonderful job and we put them up on December 23,” said Jarjour, who estimated the heads to be some 80 years old. “We had a very small ceremony because we wanted Mr. Trenholme to see the cows. In the spring, we are going to have an official ceremony.”

1 comment:

BobB said...

I'm watching Fiddler on the Roof.....I know what does that have in common with this Story? Well ...."Tradition" is the link. The story of the Dairy and the family. I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't know the story. The restoration of the bovines echoes Tradition. A great story. And something for a boy from Verdun to ponder.

Thank you Les.