Additional comments from Graeme Decarie – regarding Saraguay, Cartierville School, and Marlborough Golf Club

1907 map, which includes an image of Raimbault Creek as it existed at the time. The early map, Tim Hewlings (MCHS

Below are edited excerpts from recent email discussions with Graeme Decarie.

St. Hubert

Jaan Pill: Do you have any interesting archival photos from Cartierville, from your own childhood and school days, including any photos of the creek, that you could scan in high resolution?

Graeme Decarie: Oh, my childhood wasn’t in Cartierville or anything as grand as St. Laurent. I grew up between St. Denis and St. Hubert, just north of Jarry on a street called St. Gerard. Cartierville was a hike in the country. I don’t recall ever seeing buildings until somewhere near the old, Belmont Park.

And beyond that was the suburb Mr. Leroy lived in (I’ve forgotten the name of of it, but lots of our students came from there.) Except there was no suburb there when I was a kid. It was a forest – which had a creek through it. My father used to take his scouts camping there. And I would go with them as young as six.

My father showed me a big field there that had been a polo field for rich Montrealers. And I used to caddy near there at a golf course called Marlborough. The big, family thrill for the summer way out in the country was a rented place in St. Rose.

By the way, St. Hubert has it’s name – NOT after a saint. The farmer who sold the land to the city about 1900 or so sold it on condition the city name one of the streets after him. His name was Hubert.

Cartierville School

Jaan Pill: I also remember a child in my class in Grade 4 at Cartierville School who lived in a very nice house by the Back River, a huge house with a big lot. I learned quite recently that his grandfather was the local physician, and learned a bit about what he did in the course of the subsequent years.

Bob Carswell provided a great update for me:

“Jaan, You mentioned a school friend. You are talking about Allan MacDougall, cousin to Jamie Duncan, and part of the old Saraguay family there. It was his grandfather Dr. Duncan that delivered my own father into this world. Allan moved out to Vancouver, set up a book distribution firm and ended up the North American distributor for the Harry Potter books. He is also a on the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Library System along with a good friend of my youngest brother, also in Vancouver.”

Crystal Springs

Graeme Decarie: Great to hear from Bob Carswell. I remember him and his brother very well. I even remember Cartierville school. It was a larger version of the first school I attended, a four-roomer called Crystal Springs. (At the turn of the century, there was something called Crystal Springs at the North end of Jarry Park. I guess the school was named after it, as was the mission church just up the street that we attended – Crystal Springs United.)

The district I was trying to think of that was a thick forest and had a polo field was what is now called Saraguay.

Marlborough Golf Club

Jaan Pill: These are stories that are part of Montreal history. I used to caddy at the Marlborough golf club as well. I think it was $1.25 for a day’s work, including the tip.

Graeme Decarie: I got close to that. I think mine was 75 cents for a “caddy in training”, and a buck for an experienced one.

Jaan Pill: Possibly a kid made a little more money if they carried a bag instead of just pulling it along on wheels.

I don’t know if this is my imagination, or if it’s something that happened in reality. I picture that sometimes a caddy would carry two bags and get double the money. Or maybe would carry one bag and pull another on wheels.

I spent a lot of time in the caddy shack, waiting. There was a man who was in charge of sending out caddies. There didn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to his selection method.

Graeme Decarie: You got double the money for carrying two bags. I did it only once.

Elmer Lach was a member of that golf club.

[End of excerpts]

For additional posts regarding Graeme Decarie and MCHS please do a Google search for “Graeme Decarie Preserved Stories.”

If anybody can locate archival photos – aerial photos or other photos – to share regarding the locations discussed above, please let us know.

Updates

A Feb. 3, 2015 Golf Digest article is entitled: “Caddies file class-action lawsuit against PGA Tour over sponsored bibs.”

An Aug. 4, 2015 mesquartiers.wordpress.com article is entitled: “TOP 15 DES PLUS BEAUX PARCS RIVERAINS À MONTRÉAL!”

A Sept. 18, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Golf reaching out to younger generation — but is it trying too hard? Bikinis, beats and beers: Stodgy sport tries to reinvent itself in face of changing consumer demand.”

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17 replies
  1. klaas Vander Baaren
    klaas Vander Baaren says:

    OK guys,

    Now you are hitting my sweet spot. In 1960 we moved to Barnes St at the top of Somerset. Our back yard touched the 5th green of the Ladies course on Marlborough Golf and Country Club. I was a caddy from 1960 to 1964. And you are right, double rate for 2 bags. I wish I could remember the name of the caddy master. We used to sit in the caddy shack waiting for a bag. Once you were a senior caddy, you got the premium clients. And a higher rate. The worse job was shagging balls on the practice range. And don’t forget the coke machine. I’m sure the caddy master got a cut of the sales. We drank a lot of the stuff. Elmer Lach was only one of the many hockey players and coaches. I caddied for Milt Schmith (sp) one summer. I made enough money to spend my summer in Europe when I was 16. Hopped a freighter in Montreal on June 25th, 1963, got off 3 weeks later in Rotterdam, and got back to MCHS on Oct. 1st, 1963 to finish grade 11.

    Reply
    • Bob Carswell
      Bob Carswell says:

      To Eric et al,

      These were posted a few weeks ago so I have been reading these entries only today and it has prompted me to make a general statement. What we all seem to miss on this one is that we all caddied in different years or decades so there had to be changes over time. Yes there was a section by the the pro shop where the caddies initially started from but eventually, they were relocated to an old rain shack that had been moved (or torn down and reassembled) from somewhere on the course to the area right beside the walk through from Bruton Road on the 9th hole.

      My Irish great uncle Charlie Brown, a WWI tank Sergeant (eventually Chairman of the Mercantile Bank) and Ottawa born great aunt Lois Brown (nee McKinley) built the house that bordered the 8th hole about 1938 and lived out their lives there. He never drove a car after the war but commuted by train or taxi. The family home is still there and one of his 4 granddaughters from Guelph and her family still lives in it I believe. It was not uncommon to find golfers on the 8th hole walking around in their backyard looking for an overshot golf ball.

      The Lefebvre brothers lived in the big house behind the hedge across from the caddy shack and you could see their backyard from the Cartierville paved school yard out behind the last section added (original 4 room school house had one addition while I was there and finally a second extension was added to provide an indoor gym downstairs.

      Another question someone wanted an answer for….was the caddy master by the pro shop named RANKIN by chance?

      Reply
    • Gary Lambertz
      Gary Lambertz says:

      Klaas! It was either the 3rd or 4th that touched our backyards. I believe it was the 4th. Jimmy Schwarvrick was the golf pro and the caddy master was Mr. Rolls. I remember playing cards waiting for members that wanted caddys and really liked carrying the bags of guests of members as I used to get money from them and from the shack.They were not sure if they paid or the course paid us, so I always told them that they were the ones to pay! LOL!

      Reply
  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    I guess that would be Milt Schmidt that you are referring to, Klaas.

    I was wondering, after I uploaded this blog post, if anybody would remember the Marlborough Golf and Country Club. I’m pleased that you’ve written this comment.

    In all the time I worked at Marlborough, I made a little over $20, but never saved it up. I spent the money as it came in. Relatively, speaking, $20 was a lot of money during an era when a newspaper cost 5 cents and $20 could buy groceries to feed a family of four for a week (as my mother once explained to me at the time). I’m delighted that you made enough for a trip to Europe!

    I decided in those years that I would travel across Canada, and really get to know the country, rather than travelling to Europe. Later in my life I travelled in Europe, where I had been born, but first I got to know Canada. I’ve written a post about time that I spent in the interior of British Columbia in the early 1970s, as part of a work/travel project, while taking a year off to pay off a $1,000 credit card balance when I was completing my BA at Simon Fraser University. Every year, at least once, I spent at least a short period of time in the wilderness miles from “anywhere,” at some random location in Canada.

    In the early 1970s as part of my wilderness project, the six weeks that I spent living in the roots of a big hemlock tree at the edge of a rainforest at the outskirts of Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii were among the formative experiences of my life. What I learned on Haida Gwaii has stayed with me and I’m very pleased I had that experience.

    I recall one time walking for a long distance on a sunny day along the shoreline of the east coast of Haida Gwaii, absolutely astounded at the beauty that I encountered. That experience in particular so strongly took hold of my imagination; it’s something that has stayed with me ever since. The experience has made it easy for me to imagine what the rest of the world – such as False Creek in Vancouver or the mouth of Etobicoke Creek in Toronto, by way of example – used to look like.

    It’s good to know about how the system worked – how the senior caddies got the premium clients. I don’t remember the coke machine at the caddy shack but I can imagine it. The caddy shack was a bit like the places where people would stop and chat in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which I read when I was in Grade12 at the High School of Montreal. So many stories were told, about so many different topics and experiences in life.

    Reply
  3. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Here’s a comment as well from Gary Lambertz, from a discussion about this post at Facebook:

    I used to live on Barnes street and we bordered the 4th hole at the golf course. As caddies, we were allowed to play on the course before the Members started and they used to use a long bamboo whip to clear the dew off of the greens. Not like today! The card games in the caddy shack were also a learning experience for a kid that was only 8 at the time. Always lost my earnings there. Mr Rolls was the mans name that sent us out as A, B, or C class caddies. Jimmy Swarvrick [Swarbrick?] was the Pro back in those days. Not sure about the spelling of his name. Allan Wade, Dereck Makinson, and many more of us used to be on or around the course all the time.Great memories and was a shame to see it sold and built upon.

    Reply
  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Gary, this is a valuable overview. This is a great detail for me to know about – that there were A, B, and C class caddies. It’s also of interest to know that the club was eventually sold and built upon.

    Your mention of the fact caddies could play on the course before the members started is also of interest. I’m reminded – the memory would not have returned otherwise – that I used to practise hitting golf balls on the course, at times. That was enjoyable – giving the ball a whack and watching it go.

    I read an article recently about how golf courses have in recent decades been overbuilt in Canada, in part because often the presence of a golf course is a marketing bonus when new tracts of houses are bring sold. With demographic changes, however, and changes in tastes, less people are playing golf than in the past and fewer young people are taking up the sport.

    I’m also reminded of a book called Golf in the Kingdom that was popular when I was in my high school years. I’m reminded, when I think about sports, of a film review that I wrote in the late 1970s about competitive swimming. The review reminds me of the tremendously important role that sports and physical activity can play in our lives, at all ages.

    I’m also reminded of what a beautiful golf course it was. I also like the fact, as I look back, that it was a game for women as well as for men.

    I’m reminded as well of the presence of the Cartierville Boating Club at the Back River not far from Cartierville School. If I remember correctly, I once tried out what it was like to try to paddle one of the competitive canoes. I could see that, as with golf, if a person really gets into such a sport, they will have a great time competing in all manner of enjoyable events.

    There is so much to be said for sports and recreational physical activities. It’s a wonderful thing, I’ve found over the years, to keep the body/mind active and engaged. I speak of the body/mind because I’m so very much interested in research in recent years that underlies the fact that it’s not a matter of mind and body, as separate entities, but of the mind and body as an integrated unit.

    Reply
  5. Eric Karbin
    Eric Karbin says:

    What caddy shack at Marlborough Golf & Country Club? Someone once told me it was somewhere near the ninth hole but I have no recall of that. I caddied at Marlborough from 1954 thru 1958. Caddies would wait to get called in a yard near the pro shop. The yard had a low stone wall around it. The pro’s name was Jim Swarbrick. He and his family lived on my street in Cartierville during the summer. He had two sons. They spent winters in Florida

    I can’t imagine what a class “C” caddy was. That’s really low on the totem pole! Marlborough was a very nice course. It had a big impressive clubhouse, with a large patio which the pro shop was located under. One of my favorite memories of being a caddy was getting a free lunch at the snack bar at the end of the 4th hole (a par 5 called “Indian Grave”).

    Reply
    • Graeme Decarie
      Graeme Decarie says:

      The caddy shack was less than a hundred feet from the clubhouse. From the outside, it looked much like an outhouse – but wider, and with a very wide opening (almost the whole length of the building) for an entrance. And it had, as Jaan says, a bench seat that ran along the back and two sides.

      Reply
  6. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    I can’t picture, at this point, exactly where the caddy shack was located, in relation to the layout of the golf course. Possibly there’s an archival aerial photo available online, that shows the location of the shack.

    I do remember that it wasn’t all that big, and that there were benches where would-be caddies would sit, waiting to be called. Sometimes people would spend time standing outside the shack as well, shooting the breeze. The shack was at the edge of an open space.

    Close to the shack was maybe a row of trees or bushes running parallel to the little building. When you were called as the next person to caddy, you went somewhere where you picked up the golf cart, or just the bag of golf clubs, if you were just carrying the bag on your shoulders, met the golfer you were working with, and off you went.

    Reply
  7. Eric Karbin
    Eric Karbin says:

    I once was told by a guy who caddied at Marborough that the caddy shack there (which I denied even existed) was located near the ninth hole. That hole was located at the north-east corner of the golf club property, near Bruton Road. The ninth hole green was about a hundred yards east of the tenth hole tee near the clubhouse. I don’t remember any caddy shack around the ninth hole or the club house. I do remember an open area, less than 25 feet from the sloping walkway to the front entrance of pro shop [located under the patio of the clubhouse], where caddies waited to get called. This open area was rectangular (about 30 feet x 60 feet, partially enclosed by a low stone/concrete wall), adjacent to the fairway for the first hole (on the west) and to the driveway for cars (on the north). When I got called to caddy, I went into the pro shop and then out the rear entrance where I would pick up the bag or cart of the guy (sometimes a lady) I was caddying for (unless I already got it in the pro shop). From there I went to the first tee (about a one minute walk away ) and then met the guy (or lady) I was caddying for.

    Reply
  8. Donald lortie
    Donald lortie says:

    I caddied at Marlborough in the early 60’s – I remember the Lawrence Brothers – Robert Cotton and Paul Harrop – At the boating club Barcley Allen was the superstar of the day as well as the Bossy family
    I also had Mr. Decarie as a teacher at Malcolm Campbell

    Reply
  9. graeme decarie
    graeme decarie says:

    I have to say that my caddy days led me to detest golf. I used to take my money to a shop across the street from Belmont Park. And I’d get some fries. Then to the shooting range at Belmont park to use the rest of my money proving I couldn’t hit anything.
    Actually, women were forbidden on most golf courses well into the 20th century – as they were forbidden in most sports. In a sort of thinking going back to the days of knights in armour, most sports were seen as developing character and leadership among the men (usually wealthy) who were born to be our leaders. Usually, women were allowed on the course only one day a year – ladies’ day. After all, there was no point in giving them ideas above their station.

    I was in Britain for the summer of 1962, and came back with a tiny beard. George Allan said to Alan Talbot, “Guess who has a beard and who’s teaching here this year.” Talbot replied, “Guess who has a beard and ISN’T teaching here this year.”

    In Sept of 1963, I think it was, I told Jack Leroy I was quitting, immediately. He was furious. But I was determined. It was now or never to get more education. Later, he forgave me. In fact, many years later, there was a knock on my door. I opened it, and Jack smiled at me. At a glance, I knew he was dying. And I took him to the hospital. He died a few days later. After he retired, he had become a priest at an odd, breakaway Anglican church in Niagara Falls.

    I once met the Bishop of the church who was dating a young woman I taught at Concordia. Apparently, he felt bound to tell my student he was breaking off with her because he really felt he should get a divorce from his wife, and marry his other girlfriend who was pregnant.

    Reply
  10. Iris Church
    Iris Church says:

    Graeme (or, as your former student at Concordia, perhaps I should say Professor), I am always amazed at the coincidences and linkages that pop up in life. I was idly browsing Marlborough Golf Club, when I saw your name, and was surprised to learn you had caddied there. My sister-in-law worked there for one summer when she first came to Canada from England, as the Club secretary I believe. She lived in at the Club house, and was able to take golf lessons which she continued throughout her life. She was Joyce Church, now in her nineties and living in Vero Beach. I think she would have been at the Club before you, in the mid-fifties, so I doubt that your paths crossed. But imagine if you, my future professor, had met my sister-in-law, long before I had any idea I’d be going to university. By the way, I graduated in November 2013 at the age of 84, with a B.A. In English, with honours.

    Reply
  11. Bob Carswell
    Bob Carswell says:

    I always note the coincidences. My 70th birthday was on November 18th when Jaan first wrote this. I took myself out for a steak expected to die by age 70 due to all of my disabilities. It is now mid-2019 and I am headed for 75. Who knew? Anyway, to answer a few points, I caddied for Elmer Lach at Marlborough. His face was full of scars as were many of those who played without defensive masks in those days. Also there were two caddy shacks, one as Eric Karbin described (an oipen air one right outside the pro shop and then the other at the end of Bruton Road’s walkthrough. They made a switch to the old shelter set up opposite the clubhouse on the east side of the 9th hole to clean up the image outside the pro shop. I worked out of both as a C then a B caddy. Marlborough was a source of income for most of us and no doubt was the first place I met a lot of you as caddying was in my blood with my great uncle building his house at the end of the 8th hole. It was located on Bruton Road, a place we regularly visited as his wife was the only living relative of my deceased grandmother (McKInleys of Ottawa) who survived beyond their 50s. She died at 56 and lost 3 siblings between 33 & 51. I have outlived all by their father so far. He lasted to 87.

    Reply
    • Jaan Pill
      Jaan Pill says:

      Good to read your comment, Bob. We are doing well.

      Your comment prompted me to bring this post up to date, by way of reconfiguring it so that it functions as part of the newly designed website. This is a process that I’m working at gradually, with the aim of reconfiguring all of the posts, at this site.

      Reply
  12. André Vaillancourt
    André Vaillancourt says:

    I played at the Marlborough in the early 60’s when I was in my teens and the club was past its prime. I lived on Jean Bourdon street which ran along the fairway of the first hole and I can remember going to church at Notre-Dame-du-Bel-Amour on Sunday morning and watching the golfers putt out on the first green which was located just across from the church entrance on Jean Bourdon. The area has changed a lot now. The short street running up from Gouin Boulevard to what used to be the clubhouse is still named the Chemin du Golf, but few people remember why. Bruton Road is still there and Somerset Street looks pretty much the way it did in the 60’s, but all the club’s grounds have been replaced by duplexes, townhouses and single family dwellings. The Cartierville School has been boarded up for well over a decade, and the Cartierville train station, Belmont Park, the Hotel de Cartierville and the Pot au Feu restaurant have made way for new developments many years ago. The Cartierville Boating Club, which is still located at the bottom of Cousineau street, has been devastated by the great floods of 2017 and 2019 but still maintains a sporting tradition that goes back more than a 100 years.Does anyone have pictures of the Marlborough? I am associated with a local newspaper and would love try to run a feature of the club.

    Reply
  13. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Good to read your comment, André.

    It’s most interesting to know about all the changes that have occurred in the area, which I would have last visited in the early or mid 1960s. It’s really interesting for me to know about the changes, as I did a bit of caddying at the Marlborough Golf Club I guess around the late 1950s and attended Cartierville School for Grade 4. My memories have been like a time capsule; the memories have been as Cartierville was in the years of my own childhood. Until recently, I had not thought about how much the neighbourhood has changed in over a half-century.

    We have some photos of Marlborough Golf Club at previous posts, including this one:

    https://preservedstories.com/2017/07/08/klaas-vander-baaren-adds-a-comment-to-a-previous-post-about-the-caddy-shack-at-the-marlborough-golf-club-in-cartierville/

    I have checked with Klaas Vander Baaren, who has shared some previous Marlborough photos (such was at the link above) in case he has any more of them.

    As well, Archives Canada may have photos:

    https://archivescanada.accesstomemory.ca/marlborough-golf-country-club-montreal-quebec

    Jaan

    Reply

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