Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Goose Village RIP

This part of town was demolished by Jean Drapeau in 1964. The city report cites bad living conditions, but others speculate that Drapeau didn't want cars coming into Expo '67 seeing a slum from the Victoria Bridge and he also wanted to give opposition councilor Frank Hanley a blast of cold air. By '64 it had become a landing ground for Italian immigrants, who didn't offer much resistance to the demolitions. The area was sorta across from the Club Price on Bridge street. Here's an article about the place.
Mothers Win Hide and Skin War
Ultimatum to be given factories
The Gazette Tuesday, August 1, 1961
By Bruce Garvey

The angry housewives of Forfar Street went to war with the hide and skin business last week – and won.

The women in Point St. Charles claimed the hide and skin warehouses made their homes fly-ridden and the whole district rat infested and "stinking."

Executive Committee Chairman Lucien Saulnier, who pitched in on the side of the housewives once he smelled the none-too-fragrant district air, said yesterday the health department now is looking for a way to carry out the ultimatum within existing health regulations.

"If it isn't possible, we'll soon make an amendment," he promised.

Playground Enlargement is planned
Eventually the two warehouses at Forfar and Riverside Sts. And university and St. Paul Sts. will be expropriated to enlarge children's playgrounds. The Forfar St. Building adjoins a playground
and the warehouse on University is just the width of St. Paul St. from another.

But although the women in Point St. Charles are smiling at their success, those indelicate odours are still around.

The hopping mad housewives decided to do something about the smell that "makes life unbearable" when Mayor Jean Drapeau and executive committee members toured the district on a hot and sticky afternoon.

They ran out to besiege the mayor and lodged their complaints in no uncertain terms.

Mrs. Alexander Allardyce and Mrs. Stella Santucci, mother of eight, whose home face the warehouses across Forfar St., were among the crowd of 50 who angrily demanded action from the city officials.

"The smell is terrible – so bad that you can't keep the windows open at night, " said Mrs. Allardyce.

"I just don't know how men can work there and go home to their families with that smell. Our homes are full of big flies all through he summer and the smell doesn't go away in the winter."

There are house behind and opposite the warehouse and a narrow alley separates it from the playground.

"Blood runs out into the street and people can't pass and it stinks badly," complained Playground Caretaker Arthur Diorio. "Americans hold their noses when they pass over Victoria Bridge."

"It's bad for the children, too," he added.

More than 100 suntanned youngsters romp around the playground all day, every day.

Across the canal, complaints about the University St. building and its piles of hides and waste are the same.

In a neighbouring office, Mrs. Ivy Hand calls it "wicked, horrible, awful."

"There's blood in the street and the smell is wicked. These places should be out of town," she said.

Pleading anonymity, the superintendent of the second playground agreed: ":It gets darned bad."

Do the owners, Martin and Stewart Ltd., consider their warehouse odours offensive?

"Absolutely not," said an indignant employee.

But from the President's office comes: "No comment."

One thing is certain, something smells in Point St. Charles- and you don't have to have been reared in a rose garden to notice it.


Neath said...

Basically it became the Autostade, which itself turned out to be the model for how to not build stadiums, which we so eloquently would perfect in the 70's.

Kristian said...

Wasn't there a small landing strip there for a while? That would be quite ahead of its time for one, cuz we're all going to be fetching our groceries and going out for dinner in flying cars within a few years anyway. Remind me to write something on the shocking fact that there's no helicopter landing pads on the island. That seems ultra weird.

Wayne Dayton said...

The Autostade was squeezed in between the Bonaventure Expressway and Bridge Street.
The Victoria Auto Park, on the opposite side of Bridge Street, was briefly used to fly De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters to/from Ottawa as an experimental STOLPort.

Anonymous said...

There was indeed a landing strip there. It was used by Air Transit, a small airline that ran STOL flights to Toronto and Ottawa using Twin Otters. The first time I ever flew in an airplane was on one of those flights. I was 12 and the year was 1975.

The aiport used the land that was originally used for the parking lots for Expo 67.

Neath said...

I recall the planes from there being red, very distinctive.

Anonymous said...

Having lived there, and with relatives moved out for the demolition, it was really depressing to see the end of Goose Village. I attended a concert at the stadium during Expo 67, and hated the venue. It was personal

Iris Mary Shestowsky said...

You can't go back in time, you can only move on. My family is from the Point and the Griff and trust me who would want to go back to those cold water flats, freezing in the winter. What you are fondly remembering are the people and I am sure most of them have passed on too. Montreal,like any great city, has to move on and so should you.

tom said...

Airtransit never flew to Toronto...only from the Victoria parking lot in montreal to Rockcliffe air force base in Ottawa ...was a trial service only and it was funded for and lasted for two years.

Anonymous said...


Would it be possible to know where those pictures are from?

Thank you


Kristian said...

Hi, I found them somewhere on the internet. I can't remember now. Kate might know.

robert hennecke said...

The destruction of Goosevillage is a slap in the face to those that sacrificed in terms of risking their lives and moreover those that gave their lives in the great wars. How would they have thought of their sacrifices if they knew that their tiny village would be destroyed by a mayor eager to stick it to the tete carre and the immigrants and eager to make things look uppity to the visiting Americans on their way to Expo '67. To think that part of that area is currently a parking lot for a casino which the wiping out of things like casinos in Montreal was the very reason for Drapeau's getting elected in the first place. Drapeau was a megalomaniacal mayor that ultimately saddled the city and province with massive debts with his olympic fiasco. The representative of St. Ann's district Frank Hanley was being punished for being an independant and a frequent critic of the mayor and Frank hanley stated that the olympic village was unnecessary as university dorms could have sufficed as well as the ridiculous cost of the project at 200 to 300 million $. That was in the early '70's so the idea of a 1,2 billion $ debt was too outrageous for anyone to get their head around as well as the same truck bringing the same cement to the site over and over and over all the while charging the project. Looks like the Italians may have figured a way to get revenge for losing Goosevillage, stiff the olympic project. Robert Hennecke.

robert hennecke said...

Those building look relatively decent and compared to those in the Point circa 1978 or so, they compare rather favourably. hey could have been upgraded and insulated as well. There is also the issue that Martin and Stewart is way up on St. Patrick street above the entrance to the 20 or 15. That occured in the 70's and a lot of the industry that I see in the area are not too smelly, you have the trains going by but you have that in the Point too and yet how many condo conversions there. The goosevillage is actually better as it has access to both the canal AND the river and there are all kinds of grain elevators, shipping cranes, moving bridges etc.. and a better view of the skyline, in other words a more interesting area once a little back away from Bridge st. For some reason there wasn't a big fight and maybe that's because the Italians and Ukrainians didn't want to draw too much attention to themselves as both parties HAD been carefully monitored as potential enemy aliens only 18 years prior during WW-2.