Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Jürgen Vogt's never-before-seen photos of early 1970s Crescent Street shine light on joyous era of bar patronage

   Certain Montreal bars were once magnets for bright people who formed lifelong bonds and great memories over stubbies. Those include the Boiler Room, on Crescent which lasted from about 1969 to 1973 and was later taken over by an expanded Sir Winston Churchill Pub.
   The great portrait photographer Jürgen Vogt, who lived in Montreal from 1967 to 1973, recently shared these photos with well-loved journalist and longtime Montreal bartender and actor Terry Haig.
Photo taken at The Boiler Room Feb 13, 1973
  Joseph Mark Glazner writes: The Boiler Room and the Pub from 1969 to 1973 was one of the most interesting places I had ever been. I say was because they often seemed like two different worlds--a Manhattan-like bar alive with celebrities, money, and hopefuls on one side, and a gritty mix of young artists, writers, musicians, dancers, actors, students, and gangsters--two different worlds but connected by a passage way in back that let anyone move freely between these two worlds. I am sure that Johnny Vago went on to greater success but to me these two rooms were like magic anytime or the day or night. The crowds changed from day to day but there would always be people I knew whenever I passed through.

 Peter MacNeill



 left to right back row, Donald Monson, Larry Lusko, Daniel Couvreur
Lynne McKinley better known by her married name at the time, Lynne Charney

 Ty - remembered as a gentle spirit. Died living in Le Havre Nova Scotia.The Great Boilerr Room Christmas Pageant Dec. 18, 1971
 Gine Dines Holness, a lawyer in Boston. Smart and sweet, according to Haig.

The Great Boiler Room Christmas Pageant Dec. 18, 1971

The Great Boiler Room Christmas Pageant Dec. 18, 1971

The Great Boiler Room Christmas Pageant Dec. 18, 1971

The Great Boiler Room Christmas Pageant Dec. 18, 1971
The Great Boiler Room Christmas Pageant Dec. 18, 1971

The Great Boiler Room Christmas Pageant Dec. 18, 1971


John Lord was the accountant for John Vago, the Pub, Boiler Room, Don Juan’s and other personal and business operations of Vago Dec. 18, 1971

 Mike Foster in St. Armand Quebec April 20, 1971. His sister Pat Foster acted a little in Hollywood and was as model living on Columbia in Montreal, working for the Connie Brown modeling agency.


Alan Altimus

 Barbara Vesay or Barbara Vise.


 Boiler Room - Daniel Couvreur on the left. (possible Helene De Montigny Alan Altimas, passed away many years ago as a cfhef in Toronto, )

Patty Learn from the Sir Winston's Pub

Daniel Couvreur


Peter MacNeill at left

Stephen Borsuk

 Pat Foster at Vogt's apartment in Old Montreal January 18, 1970

Terry Haig, June 22, 1970 in Montreal
 Unknown Aug. 1969 Morin Heights
  Unknown Aug. 1969 Morin Heights

  Unknown Aug. 1969 Morin Heights
  Unknown Aug. 1969 Morin Heights

 Joyce Leavitt Jan 23 1971
 Peter MacNeill Feb 23 1973
 Randy Dec. 18 1971 Boiler Room
 Ricky Blue, then known as Ricky Elger
Vlasta Vrana May 22, 1972


others shared by others

John Ford smoking at the priests pool in the seminary on Sherbrooke near Atwater. 


Barbeau and Tiggy Black at Boiler room. Said to be a good guy who later ran into hard times.


Stephen Borsuk


 Benn Apfelbaum on pedestral photo courtesy Tiggy Black

 David Kerr on left, became subeditor at Hong Kong stanard and died a few year ago. Vicky Davies, Barbara Vise, Terry Heffernan, Donigan Cummings.

 Poet Raymond Fraser, now in NB. Ran a literary magazine. Gave a poetry reading at the Boiler Room. Othres: Bryan McCarthyur, Ron Lee, Willie Dunn, Graham McKeen and Manuel Betanzos,-Santos. Others: Richard Hess, Alan Altimas, Helene De Montigny, sculpr Daniel Couvreur who turned old movie theatre into his studio, then moved on to the main he shared with randy made sculptures out ofgreen garbage bags, 71, then had an issue using his hands.  Artist Robert John, did kids drawings later.


Heather Black at Sir Winston Churchilll public photo by Taylor Smith.

Rick Blue notes that "most of the Boiler Room regulars eventually migrated to The Rainbow Bar and Grill on Stanley Street. Names that I remember are Ian "Tif" Ferguson, Bobby Gavaric, Nicky Barker and Elaine Pigeon."

Stories like this fill the must-read Montreal: 375 Tales of Eating, Drinking, Living and Loving, order your paper copy here now or buy it at Indigo or Paragraph.

More from Joseph Mark Glazner:
The Boiler Room Bust-Up
Excerpt from unpublished manuscript McLuhan’s Bastards and the Last Secret of the Vietnam War

A few nights after I returned to Montreal and to my usual haunts on Crescent Street, I found myself in the Boiler Room on a standing-room-only night, nudging my way through the crowd, looking for familiar faces when I heard a woman calling my name.
   Turning in the direction of a voice I didn’t recognize, I was astonished to see it was Sandy—astonished because it was the first time I had ever heard her speak and even more astounded because she knew my name. [Not her real name]
   She was wearing a beaded cloth headband and beaming at me like we were best friends.
   She was at the table near the back of the bar on a bench against the wall. Boyd, the drug dealer, was sitting beside her with his arm draped over her shoulder leaning against her as if trying to physically restrain her from moving away. She sat straight in her seat. Opposite them, another couple was just leaving the table. [Boyd, not his real name, was a draft resister and wannabe writer]
   Sandy invited me to sit down. The waiter arrived, and I ordered a Molson's.
“I was hoping I'd see you. You haven’t been around in weeks,” Sandy told me, words spilling out in a soft pleasant voice, eyes sparkling.
   Pleasantly surprised that she had even noticed me, I told her about my trip to Vancouver.
   Boyd seemed uncomfortable that Sandy was paying any attention to me.
   “I know all about Vancouver,” Boyd cut in, giving me the evil eye and giving her a big cocky grin.     “I'll take you there if you want. We could go right now.”
   Sandy smiled politely.
   At the same time a very annoying, loud brassy, short, often angry, often drunk dark-haired woman named Rose [not her real name] wandered over with a beer glass in her hand and sat down in the seat beside me and across from Boyd. She immediately started talking loudly and angrily to the guy on her other side of the space between our table and the next table to her right. The waiter returned then and placed my bottle and glass down on the table between Rose and me, and took Rose's order, also a Molson's, before scampering off.
   The beer in the Boiler Room was only served by the quart in big brown bowling-pin-sized bottles with glasses on the side.
   I was glad the waiter had left my bottle and glass on my right between Rose and me. It set up a mini-wall between us, which was good since I had once accidentally sat down next to Rose in the Pub and had been snarled and snapped at for no reason.
   I turned my attention again to Sandy to continue our conversation.
   Boyd gave me a narrow-eyed, cold look, and tightened his arm around her, whispering things in her ear while she and I talked. He pretended to be completely oblivious to the attention she was giving me, but I sensed he was seething.
   Boyd finally got tired of trying to distract Sandy and instead began to talk to the guy on the other side of Rose, giving me a chance to ask Sandy, “How long have you been going with Boyd?”
   “I’m not going with him. We're just on a date,” she said in a voice low enough so only I could hear.
   Everything about her body language told me she didn't want to be there with him. But did that mean she wanted to be with me? Or was I just a convenient and momentary escape?
   To my right, I could hear Rose arguing heatedly with Boyd and the guy on the other side of her.
   I caught a few words here and there like “phony” and “pretending” and “up tight” being thrown back and forth among the three. By then, Rose had finished off her quart bottle of beer, and the waiter had taken the empty away, leaving only my three-quarters-full bottle on the table between Rose and me.
   Sandy was telling me about her nursing training when I heard Rose for the second time telling Boyd he was a “damned phony,” and he told her, “Go fuck yourself.”
   With a grin, Boyd turned to Sandy and made his near fatal mistake. He pretended to whisper but said loud enough to be heard by everyone around us, “I hate dogs.” Boyd then faced Rose and made barking sounds before turning away toward Sandy, hoping for a laugh. Sandy looked horrified.
Rose just sat there for a second or two staring through half-lidded eyes at Boyd.
   Then, in a movement so quick that I could do nothing to stop it, she reached with her right hand across her chest, grabbed the neck of my beer bottle, lifted it over her head, and smashed it down on top of Boyd's head.
   The bottle literally exploded against Boyd's skull with a loud boom that made me think of a cherry bomb or shotgun exploding. For a second a giant whitish-yellow cloud of beer and foam the size of a watermelon enveloped Boyd's head, before showering down a torrent of suds and broken glass on his shoulders, the table, and everything and everyone around us.
   For a second, I wasn’t sure if the bottle or Boyd's head had exploded.
   Everyone in the bar heard the explosion. It was that loud. Everyone except Rose froze. She jumped to her feet and ran out the door before anyone could even take it all in.
   The Boiler Room fell dead quiet—something that I had never heard before.
   Remarkably, Boyd didn't seem to be hurt. But he was definitely shaken.
   Waiters converged on the table. Sandy checked for early signs of a concussion. He seemed to be all right. Nevertheless she insisted on taking him by cab to the hospital’s emergency room. They insisted on going alone.
   I left by myself, wondering how the evening might have ended if Rose hadn’t intervened.

1 comment:

  1. Love Coolopolis!
    Love the underground stories and pics!
    Lived in Montreal from '62 to '91


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