The rural West Island: Montreal’s lost patrimony by George Vassiadis

Below is a brief analysis of the article with comments from Mr. Guy Billard of Roxboro:

Paragraph 1
Dozens of wealthy Montrealers acquired summer residences along the Rivièrre-des-Praries
– As you are aware, by coincidence I have recently recorded the following 5 magnificient houses that still stand today on the eastern end of our sector and which are posted on the APRPR site (In links under the History section):
Ogilvie House (chauffeur) Note: I am concerned that this house may disappear in the near future as it has been boarded up for years and I have seen construction activity in the area.
MacDougall Manor
Pitfield House and also see this picture here
MacMaster Manor (College Beaubois)
Meighen House and also see this picture here
– Note: As you can see, there are 5 historical houses in the eastern sector alone of the West Island. This seems to be a secret well kept from the general public. APRPR is working to bring facts such as these to the attention of the general public.

Paragraph 2
The nineteenth century stone farmhouse almost directly opposite, later Dollard’s first town hall still survives.
– Note: This would be the DDO police station near Sunnydale The origins of this historical house needs to be determined.

Paragraph 3
Further south on Sources Boulevard, an imposing stone-built dwelling survives as a Greek restaurant.
– Note: The origins of this historical house also needs to be determined.
-Bourlon House, the imposing early twentieth century stone mansion of the Meighen family.
-Note: This is the first time I hear of this house been called Bourlon House. This needs to be confirmed.

Paragraph 5
The woods were part of the Pitfield estate.
– Note: see APRP site, History section here.
It is sad to think that the future fo the older stone-built Pitfield mansion set in river front ground facing Gouin, which has been the property of a religious order for several decades, is now uncertain.
– Note: This would be on the north of Gouin. I have never seen this house and I don’t know if the public is allowed on the property. I will have to investigate.

Paragraph 8
In 1965, the Montreal Lawyer and future prime minister John Abbott purchased a large estate at Senneville. There he built an imposing stone mansion called Boisbriant.
– Note: This is a very important property in the West Island and deserves more scrutiny, first of all because it was the residence of the first PM, thus the importance of the historical house.
– Also, it is on this property that was situated the old fort and the circular tower. Again these buildings are posted in APRPR. I have always wondered why the old fort wasn’t rebuilt. What a tourist attraction that would be for the West Island.

Paragraph 9
In 1880. Grace Brydges, wife of the Montreal stockbroker George Campbell MacDougall, purchased a plot of land on the shore of Rivière-des-Prairies (the Back River) near Cartierville. Soon afterwards the MacDougalls, who were the grandparents of the Mrs Pitfield mentioned above built a substantial frame house on their property.
– Note: Both the MacDougall and the Pitfield houses are posted on APRPR.

Paragraph 10
In the interwar period, Cartierville Airport was established near the private POLO grounds maintained by the inhabitants of Saraguay.
– Note: The grounds would have been situated between Gouin Boulevard and Bois-de-Liesse, and possibly on both sides of Pitfield Boulevard which became route 13. Isn’t it fascinating to visualize that POLO was played in that area in the 30s and where the Ogilvie’s, the McDonalds, the Pitfields, the McMasters and the Meighen families would have competed, and no doubt others.

These are only a few highlights from this article and I highly recommend residents should take the time to read it.