I’m pleased to share with you the following text from Mr. Decarie, who taught history at Malcolm Campbell High School in the early 1960s before he returned to graduate school:
Don`t underestimate the impact of street cars and railways.
Westmount exists because of the CPR. Ditto for Montreal West. I know that because some of my ancestors made a bundle out of it.
The railway created TMR as a railway suburb for the well off (if not really rich.)
As well, when the wealthy moved up the hill from the old city to the area from Rene Levesque to Pine, it was the streetcar that make that possible. (Yes, the very wealthy had carriages. But those were a little pricey for even lots of the well off.)
Generally, the working class of the nineteenth and early twentieth century tried to live close to work. A streetcar was too pricey for them. An exception was Rosemount which was founded to attract the working class.
Plummer didn`t live in the house on the lake. But he frequently mentions in his autobiography how much he enjoyed his visits. Mostly, he lived on Pine. That`s why he went to Montreal High. The Montreal Repertory Theatre was commonly called The Mountain Playhouse. It still stands (I think) on a hill overlooking Beaver Lake.
Originally, it was a clubhouse for clubs of the wealthy like the Montreal Snowshoe Club.
(Amateur athletics was an important feature of upper class life. That`s why the Stanley Cup and the Grey Cup were originally for amateurs only. That kept out the riff-raff who could play only if they were paid to. And that`s why there was a Polo Club – it was a status symbol. that`s also why the rich did NOT play baseball. It did not have the character-building qualities of Hockey and football.)
Invention of modern hockey
The church also played a role in this. The Pastor in the Anglican church on Ste. Catherine behind Concordia, (then a residential area of the wealthy) founded the first golf club – on Fletcher`s Field. He had been raised on the British tradition of select sports to build character for the wealthy only. Women, as usual, were excluded – I guess because women don`t need character..
In, roughly, the same period the park in front of the Sun Life building was a cemetery, and the area was home largely to the well-off English. On Rene Levesque, roughly behind the old, Windsor hotel, was the sporting club of the wealthy where they built their own character by inventing modern hockey. (P.S. playing a game with a stick and a ball or a rock goes back to cave men. variations existed all over Europe. The original word for hockey was hoque. (French). But the modern game was invented in Montreal.
That club that invented it was the Winged Wheelers, so – called because it was originally a bicycle club. And in those early days, bicycling built character. Their crest was a wheel with wings. about 1938, the owner of the Detroit team got permission to adopt the winged wheel, making it a car wheel because Detroit was then the world car building champion.
Thus endeth the day`s trivia.
PS Ever wondered why the entry age for Boy Scouts and Girl guides was 12
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Additional comment from Graeme Decarie, Sept. 28, 2019
Jaan Pill: Can you let me know answer to question raised in 2016: “Ever wondered why the entry age for Boy Scouts and Girl guides was 12?”
Graeme Decarie: The age for Boy Scouts varied from country to country – from 10 to 14 or so. There was nothing magical about it. There was a limit to how young you could run an organization that called for building fires, cooking meals on them, a limit to how wide an range of ages one could manage when setting group activities…… Powell set it at 12. Other countries set it anywhere from 10 to 14.
Baden Powell, incidentally, was no military hero. He became a media hero for defending Mafeking. But he wasn’t supposed to be defending it. He was supposed to be roaming the countryside and striking down various groups of Boers. Getting himself bottled up in Mafeking was his idea – and the army was furious with him because it had to divert a large number of troops to get him out when the reality was he could have got himself out. However, the news media had played him as a hero. So the army had to promote him. But it never again trusted him with a command.
Oh yes, When he left his office to walk around Mafeking. smiling and whistling to boost morale. Later, scouts were expected to smile and whistle.
He also enjoyed seeing his boy scouts taking their normal (naked) morning dip at camp. Indeed, he made it his point to watch them. And he wrote how “amusing” it was to watch them.
My own local history interests are highlighted at the following recent post: