Snowdon discoveries

On my snowy walk from Hampstead to Snowdon today, I stopped to check in on one of my favourite urban oddities. The only sign of its existence is a non-descript staircase located at 5257 Queen Mary, in between a drycleaner and a Chinese restaurant. Climb up the stairs and you’ll enter a small second-floor courtyard containing a few shops and an apartment building entrance. There’s a tailor, a driving school and a Korean hair salon; a couple of other retail spaces seem as if they’ve been converted into apartments.

According to the city’s property records, this courtyard belongs to a building that was built in 1929. At the time, Snowdon was just beginning to emerge as a middle-class suburb; by the 1940s, it had become especially popular with Jewish families, who were moving west from the Main. Around World War II, Snowdon became a retail hub that drew people from across the west end to the shops on Queen Mary Road and Décarie Boulevard. The Snowdon Theatre, an art moderne landmark on Décarie, was built in 1937; it was joined in 1947 by a Reitman’s department store, at the corner of Queen Mary and Décarie.

Unfortunately, Snowdon’s history is woefully underdocumented. An ex-Montrealer in Ottawa recently wrote a book on mid-century life in the neighbourhood, but it is self-published and I have yet to get my hands on a copy. (I would offer the title, but I can’t seem to find mention of it anywhere.) It would appear that the origin of the strange second-storey courtyard on Queen Mary Road is not the only mystery about Snowdon. I’d like to know more about this part of town. Do you live in Snowdon? Did you grow up there? Share your stories!


  1. Once again an interesting find. Really weird how any business would isntall themselves there. I ain,t from Snowdon but just thinking about it now make me realise how you are right.

    It’s not a neighborhood that is in peoples mind like the Plateaux, St-Henri or Hochelaga that have a strong history of storytelling.

    thank for making me look at this place a little bit further.


    This was written in June 2006 – the book is done:

    “Bill Conrod, S BSc (biol.), is a retired college administrator. He and his wife of 43 years, Jill Foote, have four children and nine grandchildren. “I occasionally go to Garnet Key gatherings. Recently, I was elected as a member of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program’s Board of Directors. I am a retired VP of Algonquin College in Ottawa, and presently am writing a book, Memories of Snowdon in the 50s. Contributions are most welcome.”

  3. I grew up in Snowdon,thought it was the best place in the world,lived there from ’45 to ’68. I have read Bill Conrod’s book and it was a real trip down memory lane,loved it.Read it if you can. The only way to get it is through him,so email him and send him a cheque.It’s worth it if you lived there then.

  4. My wife Dianne (Davies) Rourke, just received a copy of Bill Conrod’s book yesterday – Tues. Dec. 10/08…. I sat down last night and this morning and completely read Bill’s book.
    My family’s home was on Queen Mary Rd. a few blocks west of the shopping area and if I recall, the last store on the north side of QMR, was Rosen’s Drug Store.
    My father was transfered to Montreal in 1957. I spent one year at Daniel O’Connell and one year at D’Arcy Mcgee, before returning to London, ON to complete my education, and returning to Montreal and started my career in broadcasting, with CKGM/CHOM-FM
    My memories of Snowdon are like yesterday and Bill’s book was certainly a walk down memory lane.
    My wife lived on Beaconsfield Ave. in N.D.G. and along with many of her friends from Westhill High School, had a habit of spending a fair amount of after-school time ‘hanging-out’ at Franklins, on QMR. My best friend, Bill Schricker, also from Westhill High, was among the crowd – along with Mike Hart, John Tedford, Michael Sarrazine(?), Ronnie Vincelli (?), Wyatt Crotty, Margie Crooks, later to become Mrs. Bill Schricker, Gerry Beazley, Diane Edgar, her sister Lynn – married to Gerry Beazley.
    Margie and Bill moved to Fla. about the same time we moved to Toronto (1972), Bill has since passed away and Margie still lives in St. Pete, Fla.
    I spent my summer during my high school years, working at O’Keefe Breweries, slugging cases of beer around the Island of Montreal to stores and drinking establishments. A fantastic summer job. I was pretty well in shape for football when I return to school in the Fall.
    I could go on for a few more pages,as well as mention another 55-60 names, and still barely scratch the surface. Perhaps more for another time.
    I’d like to hear from some of the other friends from the 50’s, like Edgar Noel,
    Shelia Baird, Paul Cantwell, Dave Allen, Danielle Adam ….. etc.
    John Rourke

  5. How can I order a copy of this book?

    Grew up in Snowdon and would love to read it.

  6. There was a streetcar,later a bus line that ran down a corridor between Cote St. Luc Road and Queen Mary Road. I rented a studio apartment at the QMR end of it in 1966. A crazy woman with a parrot lived next door.
    QMR had a Morgan’s (later the Bay) department store. It had 3 floors. My first job was working in the basement mens/boys department. A few stores over was a Woolworth’s that had a long lunch counter and really good chocoalte donuts.
    Around 1960 they dug up the entrenchment that was to become the Decarie Expressway. Before this happened there was a pool hall on Decarie called Val’s above a grocery store. The test at the time was to convince Val that your pimply face was all of 16 years of age. It was hardly a test as 12 year olds with cues bigger than they were was common. Val later opened Rosebowl Lanes on Cavendish. The old place also had bowling alleys.
    Manny’s Deli was on the east side of Decarie Blvd. on QMR. Manny was supposedly in possession of only one leg although the specimen was never exhibited. I was barred once from the establishment for being drunk and bending a metal coatrack. I remember taunting a meatcutter at the front door knowing it was highly unlikely that he could leap over the counter.
    The Snowden Tavern was also on Decarie Blvd. and had a brick sized window that worrried wives and abandoned children could peer through to see if the breadwinner of the family was going to make an appearance any time soon at home.
    A friend of mine in high school (West Hill High), Paul St Pierre, was the assistant manager of the Snowden Theatre. I saw “Withering Heights” there with Lawrence Olivier. Rather long. Paul gave me a tour of the cavernous basement of this art deco edifice and I was amazed at how huge the place was.
    Miss Snowden restaurant was almost next door where Jewish ladies ordered diet Tab with lemon.
    Further north on Decarie was Blue Bonnets Racetrack (horses) and a wooden streetcar trestle. I can still vision the Cott Beverage sign by the Decarie underpass.
    Still further north on Decarie were the drive-in curb service reataurants. The Bonfire, Miss Montreal, Orange Julip. Also Piazza Tomasso where Uncle Tom did his magic tricks and Ruby Foos where you could have your picture taken and have it appear on match covers. This was a watering hole for the 3 martini business types during the day and at night a gathering place for mostly Jewsish folks who wanted to see and be seen.
    Still further north was the Garland (#17?) streetcar junction that would lead to every kid’s fantasy. A day at Belmont Park with the Magic Carpet Ride, the Wild Mouse and the Salt and Pepper. I can still hear the mechanical laughing lady with a turban.

  7. Very much liked Colin Paterson’s preceding meaty description of aspects of the Snowdon neighbourhood. I too still have preserved in my mind’s eye the views of the art deco Snowdon Theater; the Cott sign on Decarie Blvd, etc. . It’s interesting to read how non-Jewish people saw Snowdon as opposed to us Jews who experienced it as a Jewish ghetto. Certainly we experienced certain neighbourhood sites, and entertainment and commercial establishments in the very same way.

    For us Jews, however, we felt especially warmed and protected by a common culture bolstered by our synagogues, our Y, our schools, our bakeries, and our eating establishments.

    What for a non Jewish person may have passed for a novel and quaint eating experience, a Jewish deli represented for us a warming and radiant link and continuity with our common and communal past.

    Although a fair percentage of Jews living in Snowdon in the post war 1950s were Holocaust survivors having lived through horrific times, it was a tribute to Jewish verve that all that really counted was to become a mover and shaker, be it in business or in the professions, or anywhere else. Forward looking was in the air. The ethos of drive and persistence of Mordecai Richler’s ghetto of The Main was still very much alive. I doubt that that get-up-and-go impetus and vitality still exists. A pity.

    It can be said that non Jews experienced Snowdon through their “glasses” and we experienced it through ours, while living, in large part, in coexistence and tolerance, which is a wonderful tribute to the Canadian way of life.

  8. I grew up in Snowdon from 1944-1956 until much to my dismay my parents moved to St. Laurent.
    My Mother was Anna Globus Hill and she had a lingerie store in three location on Queen Mary Road, so I spent most of my time there until 1968 when I moved to Los Angeles with my sister.
    I knew every single store and most of the owners as well.
    Bill Conrod’s book which I read from cover to cover gives a more gentil view of Snowdon.
    The Jews moved in to Snowdon in 1946 when Jewish builders bought land just North of Queen Mary on streets such as Dornal, Futon, Isabella (I lived on Fulton) and every single person on my street was Jewish. I had the best childhood in the world where you knew your neighbors and could walk to the stores by yourself and “charge it” and your parents could pay later.
    I went to Iona Avenue School and it had to close for the Jewish Holidays because 99 percent of the students were Jewish.
    I still visit Montreal and always go to Snowdon and visit Snowdon Deli. Unfortunately most of the stores of my childhood are now gone such as the Black and White, Levine’s Bakery and I miss them.
    March 2009
    Shari Hill

  9. I lived in Snowdown from 2005-08. Queen-Mary felt like such a busy, cosmopolitan street. The side-streets were quiet and tree-lined, with large, evenly spaced apartment buildings. It’s less densely packed than Montreal’s older neighborhoods; it feels like there’s more breathing space. The slope of Mont-Royal was oddly comforting, if slightly aggravating.

    Snowdon’s diversity was really striking, and something that I miss. The Jewish community is obviously still strong, and now there are immigrants from all over populating Snowdon’s apartment blocks. It felt like I was at the hub of the global community.

  10. To order the Snowdon book:

    Bill Conrod, BSc 62, has published Memories of Snowdon in the 50’s ($25), a collection of reminiscences and photos of the Montreal neighbourhood from 90 contributors. To order: 613- 236-5472.

    From Concordia 45th reunion news page:

  11. This is all so fascinating to me! I am a doctoral student conducting research on Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives in Canada,and their relationships to the organized and lay Jewish communities. If anybody (survivor or Canadian-born Jew) could share their recollections of this period with me, please email me at


  12. I grew up in Snowdon from 1943 till 1961. I knew most of the people A. John Rourke mentioned…Wyatt Crotty, Edgar Noel, Mike Hart, Ronnie Vicelli and on…!!! There was also Terry Graham, Blair Donnelly, Larry Staffieri, Mike O’Brien. We all hung around the bowling alley (above the A&P on Queen Mary) and the Snowdon Tavern (next to Robitaille Motors on Decarie). What a great time we all had. It’s probably a good thing that I moved to the states and got away from all the good food and booze in Montreal.
    I went to St. Antonin’s and then to D’Arcy McGee.
    I moved to the states in 1961 and joined the U.S. Air Force.
    I have to say that I have great memories of Snowdon
    and wouldn’t trade those days for anything.

  13. My family lived in Snowdon from around 1948 to the late 1970’s (mostly on Clanranald Ave between QMR and Isabella but also for a while on Coolbrook between QMR and Cote St Luc)with a short time spent in Hampstead (on the corner of Dufferin and Queen Mary Roads). I went to St. Malachy’s and Marymount. Although I personally left in 1972, I loved my time in Snowdon — spent much time at MacDonald Park as a child playing on the swings and mondey bars in summer and tobogganing and skating in the winter. As an adolescent, I spent much time there getting into mischief. My friends and I wasted much of our youth at Manny’s deli and Gerry’s as well, a little further west on the south side of QMR. Cherry cokes and french fries, listening to the juke box for hours(you remember those little ones that were at every table.) We got thrown out of thoses restaurants I don’t know how many times for being too noisy — just having fun. I remember Franklins (Dad used to take us there for hot chocolate after tobogganing at the park) and Rosen’s. I also remember go-carting on the second floor of some building on the corner of Decarie and QMR. I remember the McGuire’s, the McIntosh’s, the MacLeod’s, the Scanlan’s, the Phelan’s, the Bradley’s, the Duguay’s, the Luck’s, etc.

  14. Going through Internet I encounter your website, which call my attention and I would like to comment as follows:
    1. On December 18th 2007 you have an article about “Snowdon Discoveries”, which made me remember my old times, back in 1967, when I was working in Snowdon in a lingerie store called “Anna Globus Hill “. I’m Portuguese and returned to my country in 1975. I love Montréal and I still have quite a few friends back there, and I speak via Skype many times a week.
    2. Going though all the comments I have detected that Shari Hill, daughter of Mrs. Anna G. Hill place a comment also, back in March 9, 2009 and I would love to be able get in contact with her again as we do not have any contact since 1968. If possible kindly give my e-mail. Thank you in advance.
    November 2009
    Sissi Valadas

  15. I also grew up on Clanranald Avenue – in a house that my Dad had lived in basically from the 30’s. I played at Macdonald park as a kid and went to Royal Vale and West Hill. There was a grocery store on QMR where I bought beer with my friend Margaret one Friday night – we were slightly underage at the time. The grocer said to us as we were leaving “I know you girls are buying that beer to put your hair in rollers!” (Of course we were!) He was hilarious! Manny’s was a popular spot with my friends – always opened late – at a time when we could eat smoked meat and fries at 1.00 AM without any ill effects next day! There was a teen clothing shop on QM as well that had very cool clothes as I recall. Great trip down memory lane!

  16. This is so much fun reading comments about a place and a time that is still dear to my heart. My book,”Memories of Snowdon in the 50’s” has been a hit with those that grew up in the area. I am still getting requests for copies….down to a trickle nowdays. What has been so rewarding for me is hearing from people who have their own stories to share.
    I’m still collecting Snowdon memories and still looking for photos,stories and other memorability from those who have some. Bill Conrod 613 236 5472.

    Reading these comments has been rewarding. If you want a copy of the book contact me or go to Bibliophile (Corner of Queen Mary and Clanranald)

  17. A reflection about the 50’s in snowdon .I spent a good part of my youth in Snowdon from about 1948 to 1958 when I joined the army. I made most of my spending money by doing one of three things 1. delivering the gazette at 5:30 in the morning 2.shovelling snow in the winter and when I was old enough setting pins in the bowling alley above the A&p grocery store. For awhile I even cleaned stalls at Blue Bonnets.Today at 69 I tried to find someone to shovel my snow in my driveway and could find not a youth to do so.And of course the commercial snow removers will only take on large job I went to Hampstead school,Monklands and Westhill until I joined the army in 1958.I miss the good years in Snowdon.

  18. I wrote several short articles for the Conrod book about Snowdon.The Black and White, the Snowdon Fastball League, and Larry’s Shoe Store. Now I’m looking for pictures of the street, Queen Mary, that show the Black and White store as I paint old store fronts in the pseudo-naive style. Please contact me if you have pictures of the area. You can see my works at, Monklands 1962.

  19. I am also looking for a picture of the corner of Queen Mary and Little Decarie that shows the Nuway (?) Tobacco store, and the hat store, or the other side viewing Queen Mary, with Peggy’s Nut Shoppe.Fine Art America

  20. Plan to be in Montreal the beginning of August so I can get some smoked meat and Chalet Bar B Que and pastries (mustn’t forget french fries). There’s nothing like those things in Sacramento, CA. Also want to go to Snowdon Ave (where I grew up) and Queen Mary Rd. to visit the old neighbourhood.

  21. Does anybody remember where this comes from????

    The horse and mule live 30 years.

    And never know of wines and beers.

    The goat and sheep at 20 die.

    Without a taste of scotch and rye.

    The cow drinks water by the ton.

    And at 18 is mostly done.

    The dog at 15 cashes in.

    Without the aid of rum or gin.

    The modest, sober,bone-dry hen.

    Lays eggs for noggs and dies at 10.

    But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men

    Survive three-score years and 10.

    And some of us…though might few.

    Stay pickled’ til we’re 92

    Think about it……….LOL

  22. Growing up gay in the 50’s and 60’s was pretty tough. But Snowdon wasn’t too bad for me, compared to other places I’ve heard and read about.  The “annex” steps and courtyard in this photo were always interesting to me as a child.  Recently, however, I’ve recovered an upsetting memory about that exact spot.

    One pleasant evening when I was about aged 6 I was with my father on Queen Mary, for some reason.  On our way home we stopped in front of the annex steps and he said, “Stand right here and wait for me; I’ll be back soon.”  I waited and waited — a very long time — but he never returned. I wasn’t sure what to do.  But then I remembered that I’d been to Steinberg’s with my mom, and it was just across the street (where Metro is now).  I told myself, “You know how to walk home from here. It’s not far.”  And I did just that.  When I arrived home, Dad was already there.  “What happened to you?” I yelled.  He just stared back blankly at me.  I told my mom what had happened, and she said, “Oh, he probably just got to talking with someone, you know your dad, and he forgot.”  I accepted her explanation and put the event behind me.  

    Thinking this over as a grey-haired, middle-aged man now, I’d still like to give my dad the benefit of the doubt.  He was a good father.  He was always kind, generous and loving toward me.  But he was a man’s man. He loved hockey — all sports, really — and I guess I was a disappointment to him, since I wasn’t much interested in that.  So, I can’t help but wonder about it all, and I suppose some questions will haunt me for the rest of my life: Who would leave a little kid standing in a doorway on a very public street at night? And, should I change the word “leave” to “abandon?”

  23. I lived in Hampstead in 40s & 50s Snowden was the city for us. Could take the bus for 2 cents from the 83 or 65 streetcar stop to ny stop at Queen Mary & Ellerdale. A walk thru the park & I was home.

  24. That poem comes from the match book at the New Snowdon Tavern.
    Still have the matches somewhere.

  25. I grew up in the Snowdon areain the 40s and early 50s in an apartment called The Cosy Castle (I kid you not) on Cote Ste Catherine Road one block east of Decarie. I remember riding the Garland streetcar down Decarie towards Queen Mary Road. There were interesting signs in the cars, such as the one that said “defense de cracher”. I had to ask my father what that meant. I think in those days the authorities were worried about the spread of TB from spit. School-age boys used to get on the streetcar and sit in the back, where they sometimes succeeded in dislodging the trolley from the wire. The conductor would come storming back and throw the boys off the tram – it was quite exciting. In the winter, some of the streetcars sported snowploughs on the front. The rest of the year the grills on the front were called cow-catchers, though I never saw any cows scooped up. The seats of the yellow streetcars were woven rattan material. The green streetcars had a motorman at the front and a conductor at the back and there were leather straps to hold onto if you had to stand (and were tall enough to reach them). On the 29 route to Outremont, the streamlined cream and red cars had leather seats and wonderful suspension systems that swayed as the car made turns. I had a friend who couldn’t ride on them because they made her throw up. I thought they were cool.

  26. My family lived in Snowden on Lacombe Ave at the corner of Westbury from 1952 and 1969. Great times. Great ‘hood. I attended Iona and stopped in at the Black and White everyday to buy my sweets from Mr. and Mrs Lou on the way home from school. Recently I have been thinking about Joe, the wonderful old crossing guard at Queen Mary and Westbury. I loved that guy. I believe he was a retired policeman, or at any rate, one of advanced age. My memories of him are of Winter. He wore a heavy greatcoat of black or navy wool, a fur hat with ear flaps, and huge white mittens. He would hold a child’s hand in each of his as he safely delivered a gang of us across Queen Mary, and I was often that child. I loved holding his hand, and the feeling of doing so is almost palpable as I think back. All my memories of him are silent as I can’t remember him ever saying a word to us. Some of the parents used to bring him coffee on the particularly cold days and I wished that mine would, but they never did. And then one day Joe stopped showing up to work and a substitute was sent, and eventually we learned that that sweet old guy had died. Does anyone else ever think of Joe? I’d love to hear from you if you do.
    Charlottesville, VA

  27. I just came across this website while looking for info on my Great Great Grandfather Wyatt Crotty and saw his name here and would love to hear from anyone that could tell me something about him for my family tree.
    Thanks in advance


  28. HI Anna. I don’t think the Wyatt Crotty mentioned here was your great-great grandfather. The Wyatt I knew lived a couple of flats from me on Snowdon Ave. in the 40’s and 50’s and he was in his late teens or early twenties when he died in a motorcycle accident ( I think it happened on Monkland the late fifties). I have a picture of him if you think that may help.

  29. Hi, all: We lived in Snowdon all through the 1960s and 70s, much of the time right on Queen Mary Rd, first at 5260, right across the street from the weird retail space in the photos above. There was once a record store on the second level — I remember buying Cat Stevens’ Tea For The Tillerman LP there (in the early 1970s). Right next door to that was the House of Wong Chinese restaurant (owned by journalist Jan Wong’s family), which shone its big green and yellow sign right into my bedroom window all night long. At 5260, we lived on the third floor; Cape’s Drug Store was at street level and there was a ladies’ hair salon on the second floor. Manny’s deli was next door: I recall that around 1962 a smoked meat sandwich was 35 cents, hot dogs 15 cents, fries a dime, cheeseburgers cost a whole quarter. Most of my friends were Jewish kids living in fancy houses in the Circle Rd area, so, somewhat down on our luck financially at the time, we felt a bit like peasants by comparison, but I sure did have my horizons broadened. We then moved to 5180, an apartment bulding that had a large women’s dress or lingerie shop (was that Anna Globus Hill? Can’t remember) on the ground floor. Finally, to Coolbrooke just north of Isabella. In the early 1970s, my buddies and I used to hang out at the A&W where the Dawson College building was later erected. BTW, I don’t think the big dig for the Decarie Expressway started as early as 1960, as suggested by a previous post: we moved onto QMR in 1961, and the construction of the new highway didn’t start until a couple of years later, it seems to me. I still remember they had to knock down a whole load of buildings on the east side of Decarie to make way for the new road, including a big new Royal Bank building right on the corner of Decarie & QMR. Next to that was a Dionne’s supermarket (where everybody seemed French to me; we usually shopped in the Steinberg’s across the street from where we lived and where I later got a job while at Sir George). And next to the Dionne’s was a barber shop — I went in there one day for a haircut (I must have been about 12) and saw none other than Gump Worseley sitting there getting his; he had just been traded to the Habs from New York and it was quite a thrill for a brand-new hockey fan just come over from England, as I had. Such a lot of memories: Iona, West Hill, Sir George, then 10 years working downtown but still living in the Snowdon/Cote des Neiges area, then fleeing the separatists for 20 years in Toronto. Now I’m living in New Brunswick and it all seems so “long ago and far away” (as the song goes). John K, that verse comes, of course, from a matchbook from the Snowdon Tavern, one of which I still have, believe it or not.

  30. I too grew up in Snowdon, on Westbury, near the corner of Queen Mary Rd. Across the street was a large apartment building which eventually was torn down for shops – Brown’s Shoe Store went in on the corner and a Royal Bank. On the corner of QMR and Westbury was a children’s clothing store – I think it was called Jack and Jill’s. They had a little rocking chair in the store and I would go in just to sit in it and the owner would tell me he heard my mother calling just to get me to leave! There was a cleaners close to that and then Black and White. I knew everyone in the store and they knew me and my sister. I would go buy the Montreal Star every evening for 5 cents. The men would all be congregated at the counter reading various papers. My sister’s name was Gloria and Mr. Lew would ask them – Do you know Gloria, Gloria Swanson? If I asked for an Eatmore candy bar Mr. Lew would say… Eat more??? Eat less!! He kept an icecream scoop in water and the ice cream was kept in a freezer at the back of the store – a popular flavour was chocolate ripple and when ordered you asked for a Davey Crockett (popular Disney tv show at the time). Comic books in back of store rather hidden and boys would be reading them and Mr. Lew would tell them no looking, buying. Steinberg’s and Zellers were side by side; I went to Iona Avenue School and High School for Girls downtown before the boundary changed; my sister went to Westhill. My father grew up in the same house on Westbury and he also attended Iona as a boy and would tell us how there were apple orchards before all the houses were built. Iceskating at Ponsard Park, making the seemingly long, hot trek to MacDonald Park in summer to swing and wade in pool and to sled in winter, walking to Queen Mary Road United Church on Sunday mornings are just a few memories. My husband lived on Carlton Ave after moving from Holland and eventually moved to Coolbrook Ave. I also remember streetcars on QMR and Clove’s grocery store at the top of the street before the apartment buildings – my best friend’s father owned an upholstery store on Queen Mary across Black and White’s alleyway. Loved Nello’s pizza; my sister’s friend’s father owned Miss Snowdon – we had a surprise 13th birthday party for my sister there. Many cherished memories of growing up in Snowdon.

  31. The author of Memories of Snowdon in the 50s, Bill Conrod, directed me to this site and it’s heartwarming to reminisce about the good times growing up there (1941 – 1965). I saw a few postings by Jack McLellan of Snowdon Avenue. We lived at 4809 Coolbrook, at the northeast corner of Snowdon Avenue, kitty-corner to St. Antonin’s Church. Although I don’t remember Jack too well (he was younger than I), I definitely remember his yellow short-haired dog “Patsy.” As all dogs did in those days, Patsy roamed the neighbourhood mooching food off everyone and chasing cars and trucks. One afternoon after school, Patsy was run over by a big truck right in front of my eyes. Miraculously, she was not too badly injured and I remember crying my heart out and half-carrying her to Jack’s home, onto the back verandah, but no one was in. Patsy was shivering from shock so I grabbed a tablecloth off their clothesline, and wrapped her in it, waiting until the McLellan’s arrived home. I forget Jack’s older sister’s name, but she found us huddled together on the verandah and they took Patsy off to see the vet, Doctor Leatherdale, I think it was, on Decarie Blvd. I was about 9 years old at the time and remember the incident as though it were last year. Patsy recovered quickly and resumed her bad habit of chasing cars. I moved from Snowdon in 1965 and now live in Ottawa.

  32. I just discovered this. I also grew up in Snowdon we lived on Decarie and then on Coolbrook. I read that John Rourke was asking about my sister Sheila sadly she passed away in 2010. She lived in Florida and had one daughter and one granddaughter. Growing up in Snowdon was fun. My Mom worked at Henry Morgans and I got one of my first jobs at Woolworths at the candy counter. I remember wearing all the latest clothes like the Jimmy Dean jackets and the white bucks. etc. Great place and lots of wonderful memories. When I go to visit my other sister Ronni we always take a ride and see the old place we lived. Lots of fun times at McDonald park too. I certainly will look for the book by Bill Conrad.

  33.    Growing up in Snowdon 1943-1963.Great memories.We first lived at the corner of Decarie and Snowdon Ave.I remember little about that house except that Michael Sarrazin hung upside down from our balcony and scared the heck out of us.Who knew he would go on to become a famous actor.Sadly he recently passed away.Most of my memories are from our next house on Coolbrook near QMR.I went to St.Malachy’s school and my sisters Sheila and Bunny loved to ice skate till we near froze.We still had streetcars then but soon enough Decarie was gutted to make the Expressway.We hung out at Franklin’s soda bar and would pick up the latest movie magazines from Black and White.There were Fri. nite dances and if we were lucky we wore a new dress from Elizabeth Hager’s boutique.Peggy’s Nut Shop was great for fresh roasted cashews and I remember my first movie ‘Gigi’ at the Snowdon theater.Although Schwartz’s has become legendary for it’s smoked meat,at that time Manny’s was the place to go,or fish and chips from Decarie.We were lucky kids.I rode on Wyatt Crotty’s motorcycle and thought he was so cool.I was sorry to read that he passed away at such a young age.My son and his girls love the Orange Julep and we always stop there when they are in town.The Oratory has always been my favorite landmark.I still love when we have the occasion to pass by it.In our travels we always say when we return home that Montreal is the best..especially because of our memories of Snowdon.

  34. Kudos to all those who shared on Snowdon discoveries, I would only be repeating what already has been written, Conrod’s book is a must , such great memories, Manny’s deli, Franklin’s drugs, Decarie Fish and chips was also a great great spot, great article CHRIS DEWOLF, and greetings from a Snowdon boy who is still in love with this great city that I still call home

  35. I grew up in Snowdon in the 50″s. We lived on Circle Rd. My mom had a beauty salon on Queen Mary just opposite Mr. Lou’s Black&White Stationery store. It was called Tina & Manon and had a pretty select clientele. My mom bought a lot of stuff from Mr. Lou, so she was a favourite of his. Because of that I was allowed a lot of leeway snuggling in a back corner to read comics and Hardy Boys books. But Mr. Lou was no patsy. I’d drop a few bits of candy in front of him and ask, “How much, Mr. Lou.” He’d look around mysteriously, and whisper to me. Josie, he’d say, for anyone else, 25 cents. For you, a quarta.”

  36. My oldest memory is when they tore down the bank on Queen Mary to make way for the Décarie hole (who else remembers that when it opened, the hole had a gravel bottom, with only two 2-lane strips of asphalt — it was then closed after Expo-67 to be rebuilt with the current 3+3 lanes configuration).

    We lived in one of the little semi-detached houses between the streetcar private right-of-way and Clanranald avenue between 1965 and 1970, which we rented from a very sweet rabbi who, very much unlike the typical jews of the time, was from France (and a Résistance hero; at the time, he was judge at the rabbinical court of Montréal). The house had an immense backyard, bordered by a huge appartment building. From those days, I made the notion that living in a huge appartment building must be awesome… (When, decades later, I made it to a huge appartment building, I did not dislike it…)

    I recall the Kiddie Kobbler, the Morrie Heft, and the Arcade (that series of stores on the second floor near Trans-Island avenue). I never worked the nerve to look up there until maybe 10 years ago. As a kid, I always had expected something wonderful would be there, only to be disappointted at the mundaneness… The small Morgan’s store puzzled me, because my mother would spurn it and rather go downtown. Such escapades were a total delight, because we took the bus to Guy Métro, then the Métro, a real treat for someone who despised being sat in the back of the godawful Volkswagen in which both our parents gassed us with their cigarettes (you could not open the windows in the back of those sorry excuse for cars, probably the only Adolf Hitler legacy that was not stamped out by the war). From there I gained my total abhorrence for cars & cigarettes — nearly 50 years later, I have yet to light up one and to get a driver’s licence. By comparison, the bus & Métro was heaven! Smoking was forbidden and you could blissfully OPEN THE WINDOW!!!

    I recall the A&P, which I found lousy compared to the Steinberg further up the road, because the Steinberg did not have the sawdust on the floor, nor the big air-conditionning units hanging from the ceiling. The Steinberg occupied only one half of the current Métro store; the other half was a Zellers. Then, one day, my mother came back really pissed-off from the A&P, her turn in the line was stolen by some “maudite câlisse d’épaisse”, so she let her caddie there and from now on, we only went to Steinberg, which was much nicer because it was all modern and nice and streamlined. We also went to the Dominion on Décarie (south of Snowdon), but for some reason, much less often.

    Yes, we were french, smack in the middle of the english ghetto of Montréal. We had moved to Queen Mary road from Montclair street, past Cavendish; my father worked at the Sun Life Insurance and commuted by train to Montréal Ouest; my mother would drive with my sister and I to pick him up at the train station. When we moved, we followed that routine for a bit until my father discovered that the 65 bus, which conveniently passed right in front of the house (my mother often ಠ_ಠed away the people who would wait for the bus on our porch) went right to the Sun Life building on Dorchester. That was the last time my father ever commuted by bus until he got a job at the Université de Montréal where he had his own parking spot (from now on, he had to have his own car — my mother’s Volkswagen would not do anymore, and so started our series of Peugeots 404 – at least, you could open the rear windows).

    When my sister started school, my mother got herself a job in St-Laurent, on Décarie near Côte-Vertu, to which she could commute with the 17 bus. So she decided not to have a car anymore. And having two cars was a nightmare, because there was no parking in front due to the bus stop, nor in the back (no lane). So, from then on, the question would be “Earnscliffe or Clanranald”??? I liked Clanranald better because it had those big appartment buildings instead of those nondescript duplexes which were considerably duller than the semi-detached townhouse we had…

    We went to school in a private school in the Manoir, in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, to which our father drove us before going to work. Everything there was from France: the teachers, the school books and the classmates. That’s the only place that would keep us for lunch, as the public schools of the time sent the kids at home for lunch, which was a no-no because both our parents worked (a rarity 45 years ago). This is how I managed to grow french despite living in the english ghetto of Montréal, because the english were certainly above learning french. Thank god that most of those godawful people have been driven out of Québec by the Parti-Québécois!!!

    In school, one of my best friends lived on Ponsard avenue, right within the “Circle” road, right accross the school, near Meridian avenue. It was always a treat to walk there after school and play in a very big house full of strange things like a dishwasher or recessed lights and things that were hot in the 1960’s… 45 years later, it’s my father’s turn to hang at one of his friends who lives near the Maurice Cullen park… (I always wondered about that little island of suburbia, camped between the Décarieish & Victoria duplexes and the Queen-Mary & Côte-Saint-Luc appartment buildings; how it came to be, who developped that so and when…). Nowadays that I often have business meetings on Grosvenor street, I take a shortcut from the Métro to there via Circle Road and the passage between Victoria & Grosvenor…

    Then the unthinkable happenned. The sweet rabbi came one day to see my father, and after apologizing profusely, he asked to have his house back. So we found a duplex in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and so ended our years in Snowdon. 6 years later, we moved to Outremont, and it was a real cultural shock to walk into a store and be served in french…

    A legacy of growing up in Snowdon (and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce) is a slightly different sense of geography. The first job I ever got was running errands for a travel agency on Sherbrooke & Papineau (but in reality, at the end of the world) where whenever I went downtown, I was told that I was “going west”. I did not understand, because for me, downtown is pretty far east. Heck! even Westmount is in the East for me!!! Now, I live in St-Henri, much further down, so I can keep the same sense of geography, and I make a point of going through Snowdon most of the times I make my bike ride around the Mountain.

  37. Thanks so much for all of these wonderful comments. It may have taken four years, but this is exactly what I hoped to see when I first wrote this post in 2007. Keep them coming!

  38. It’s great to see all the different points of views of REAL PEOPLE who remember the past. Snowdon was not our home area but we hung out at Robitaille Motors because we were sponsored by them with a team in the Snowdon Fastball League. My father coached and later started the Molson 4 man team with American – Ace Holden . I got a lot of freebie comic books from Joe Black’s newstand while my father did business with him. Joe also had summer cottages he and his wife rented in the St Lin area. My mother rented from him for the summer in 1959. In 1960 I made my first real estate investment thanks to being in that area . I bought four lots with morgage and later moved to the Rawdon area and have been buying for over 50 yrs. Thanks to Joe Black’s cottages bringing me to that area. In those days hardly anyone had backyard pools so we spent summers by a lake in a re nted cottage.

    What’s really fun is seeing all the names and updates where everyone is today from all the previous 37 comments. We do the same thing for our ghetto’s of Outremont and Park Extension. Some of the oldtimers (70 – 90 yrs old) from Park and Bernard get together every three months. The Park Ex gang holds golf weekends every three or four years with well known people like Dickie Moore and Bob Mcdevitt. And the Snowdon Fastball Old Timers get together often as well. A lot of good memories out there and thanks to Christopher Dewolf and Bill Conrod who emailed me about this site , gives us all a chance to Speak Out .

    A hangout that still is fun today on Queen Mary is – Finnegan’s Pub and they feature Bluegrass music on the first friday of every month. Keep the comments coming. Sure is fun reading.

  39. John K.’s quote of that old chestnut startled me. My father was a regular at the Snowdon Tavern and those matchbooks were always around the house. My family lived in the area from 1967 to the 1980s (I left for other neighbourhoods in 1976): Dad worked for Kane & Fetterly and we lived upstairs of the funeral home.

    Living on the Decarie service road had its moments. I remember the huge noise and shock when a driver lost control and his car piled right into the corner of the building. Luckily he did not need my father’s boss’s services quite yet. Another time, my little sister was hit by a car just as she set out for school one morning (I wasn’t with her, being chronically late). She was shaken up but, luckily, not badly hurt.

    I also remember the excitement one day when a truckload of live pigs got out onto the highway and we all stood watching and laughing as guys tried to round them up below.

  40. Hi,

    I lived and owned a house on Dalou Street, just off Decarie Blvd from 1952 until 1996. My house ended up being on the corner, after the City expropriated and tore down houses and businesses on Dalou and along Decarie for construction of the Decarie Expressway.

    I still remember Sterlin’s grocery on the corner of Dalou and Decarie, run by the Trapido couple. Potato chips were 5 cents a bag, and chocolate bars cost the same. Next to “Trapido’s” was Friendly Fruit Store which sold only groceries and no beer. There’s was also Snowdon Bicycle Shop, Victor The Tailor, and Fish and Chips, Reg’d. Fish and Chips was run by a lovely couple and their kids. They lived above the restaurant. Fish and chips was 30 cents, and was the best I’ve ever had. Cop cars would park in the laneway behind the store every week after the fresh fish was delivered. The cops would enter the kitchen through the back door, pick out the fresh fish orders, and watch as it was prepared.

    Lots of great memories of the old neighbourhood. I went to Iona School, then Westhill High, and McGill. Ended up working for the Montreal PD for 30+ years. Knew Bumbray–never knew he was a Snowdon boy, though.

    I started a photo blog of old Dalou Street pictures, showing us as kids in the 1950’s and later. Check it out, you might recognize some of the faces, and feel free to send any pics of the old neighbourhood, especially Decarie, (remember Burn’s Stationary Store corner Snowdon?) the dead-end side streets on the east side, and Queen Mary.

  41. Hi,I am new to this area. I’ve lived in Ahuntsic all my life. I am looking at an apartment on decarie and snowdon, is it a safe place should I be worried to rent a unit there?

  42. I too lived in Snowdon until i got married in 1963. I lived on Fulton, 2 blocks north of Queen Mary Rd, near Lemieux. (which wasnt even paved yet) My favorite haunt when I was a kid was Black and White,,a stationary/comic/candy store on the corner of Westbury. And I remeber when the field between Mountain Sights and Trans Island was used to build a Zeller’s and a Steinberg store. In those days, we would walk to Snowdon Deli and get a smoked meat sandwhich for 35 cents..and a stuffed chicken sandwhich for 25cents. You got a double feature at the Snowdon Theatre for 50 cents.
    There was no Decarie expressway. The 17 bus took you along Decarie all the way to Belmont Park (which we thought was almost the end of the earth). And the 29 streetcar was a fancy gold filagree affair that went to Outremont.

    I went to Iona School and we crossed Queen Mary with a crossing guard named Joe.

    Those were fun days!!

  43. My parents and I lived in an apartment on Queen Mary, north of Lemieux, from 1943 until 1953 when we moved to Fulton Street. By then my brother was born and we lived there until I married and moved to Schenectady, NY in 1965. I have fond memories of Manny’s Deli – where Suzan (see above) and I used to get smoked meat and stuffed chicken sandwiches after school. Then I would go home and my mother would wonder why I never wanted dinner. We also went to th House of Wong which had the absolute best eggrolls with burnt edges – never found those anywhere again, and a pizza place on Decarie whose name I can’t remember. I shopped at Reitmans, Zellers, Woolworth, Lou’s – which was formally called The Black and White – and where all the “big” kids used to hang our after school. Mr. Lou used to come out and try to chase us away because we were blocking the enrance. I used to buy Cherry Blossoms in a square box (can’t find them here either) and I went to Iona and Northmount. I hated the winters (I now live in Florida). I went back for my 50th high school reunion about 18 months ago and saw my old neighborhood again. How did my duplex on Fulton get so small and so close to the other houses? It was sad to see how everything has changed and how Snowdon “grew up”. I missed the good old days.

  44. the more I think about it, the many more memories come back. I’d love to hear from people who remember me at
    here are some other fond memories: IONA SCHOOL…didnt want to get Miss Brown…………DAPPER DAN…had to have the red crew neck………..WOOLWORTH’S…you could get 1/2 a cake iced all around……….the YMYWHA……….social dancing Sunday afternoon…. I later met my future husband there when we both were councellors at day camp…….BESSIE’S…..all the girls got their clothes there……………LARRY’S SHOE STORE…….went there to get your “oxfords” for school…………MR LOU (Black and White)..wax lips……DALFEN’S….got my first record there (Sh-boom by the Crewcuts in 1954) When I grew up (sort of) I taught at Royal Vale School on Dupuis. I remember practically all my students..who are probably grandparents by now. If any read this, please email me. I’d love to hear what’s up with you ..We shopped at Reitman’s, Oslind’s, Zeller’s and Steinberg’s. We also shopped at Clove;s (which is being turned into a condo now), Dunmore
    cleaners, A&P, Miss Snowdon, Snowdon Deli, Manny’s Deli, Mr Malleck’s, Black and Orange, and Sunset Fruit.
    Iona School had a very steep back yard, and we played Stando there…and school would start after someone rang a bell..a real bell that you shook with your hand. And milk was delivered by horse and wagon. Before I moved to Fulton, I lived at 4810 Queen Mary Rd. My father used to take me outside to pat the horse And let’s not forget the Brown Derby!
    so many good memories!!!!!

  45. I also lived in the Snowdon area from 1960 – 1974 and remember all these “haunts” fondly. I lived a few blocks west from The bank of Montreal, Woolworths, etc. There is (or was) a Murray’s there too but much later on. My best friend and I spent a LOT of time at a place we called “Queens” at the corner of Earncliffe and Q.M. south side, near the 48 bus stop. (They later moved acorss the street near a jewellry store) We bought candy and soft drinks and collected 7-up bottle caps which Issie and Joe, the owners sons, kindly gave us from the soft drink machine. We were desperatley trying to win Beatle tickets from Dave Boxer (cfcf I think) We never won! The other place where we hung out was called The Play Pen (I think????) on the south side also maybe near Gerry’s Pizza??? Bought all our Beatle records there. Might have been a toy store catering to pre-teens? Nights (after dances) were spent at Manny’s and after church we went to House of Wong for those great “crispy-at-the-end” egg rolls, and no, I can’t find them anywhere either!!! I was at a play recently where the main character was talking about her mother dragging her off to “Anna Globus Hill” to get her first bra. My very loud gasp was quite embarrassing and the actress said to the audience, adding to my embarrassment “Aha, so you were initiated there too??” I could go on, but, there are too many memories. Last one: Standing at the corner of Decarie and Q.M. (near Export store) waiting and waiting cuz’ we thought those “Beatles” might drive by on the way to the Sept. 8 concert. (The one we never won tickets for!!)

  46. These are great memories. I lived on Mira Rd 1951 to 1978. My greatest thrill as a kid was riding my bike to Black & White’s ( also called “Lou’s”) It seems like yesterday that Mrs Lou would try and sell me a little Iona Ave School green Beenie. I would buy all my comics there and the best candy after school.

    Wasn’t there also a Honey Dew coffee shop on Queen Mary?

  47. Where was “Black & White’s” I think I’m getting it mixed up with Black & Orange and I’m thinking of a stationary store???? Yes, I also think there was a Honey Dew near Elizabeth Hager, not sure. There was a little orange cafe-type place, not sure if that was the Honey Dew or called something like “Cafe something????’

  48. I lived at 5530 Queen Mary Rd from 1941 (when I was born) until 1967. I have many fond memories of attending Royal Vale, Hampstead and Westhill High School through 1958.

  49. I just launched a blog that includes a number of stories about growing up in Montreal.
    Google…Colin T. Paterson to view.

  50. Most of us who lived in the Snowdon area in the 1960s and 1970s attended Iona Avenue School (elementary 1-7), where during recess and lunch we walked down to Black & White
    (local candy atore). Most kids from Snowdon who graduated from Iona went on to West Hill High school.

    The main recreation at Iona was soccer baseball and pee wee touch football in the school yard. We also played a game where we threw a tennis ball in between the top of the screens that covered the ground floor windows. In the summer, we played baseball at Ponsard Park (off of Circle Road) and in the winters we skated on played hockey on one of the two outdoor rinks.

    Those of us who were into movies would walk up to the Monkland theater, or to Westmount to watch movies at the Picadilly. I don’t recall there being a movie theater in Snowdon. The main bus lines that ran on Queen Mary Road were the 62, 65 and 51. At some point an Ice Cream shop opened near the bicycle/sports shop on QMR, which became a popular spot for ice cream and chocolate sundays.

    Snowdon was a combination of middle class (the Circle Road area) and working class (Queen Mary Road and corresponding side streets). For the most part, there was not a whole lot to do in Snowdon and most kids took the bus downtown or went to Westmount where they had outdoor concerts and more activities. There was a community hall in NDG with an indoor swimming pool. For those of us who went swimming in the summer, we went to Kensington pool off of Somerled Ave., also in NDG.

    The main stores were Zeller’s, Steinburg’s and Woolworth’s. All in all, not a bad neighborhood to live with a nice mix of people.

  51. Hello Christopher, I hope you are well. I am writing just to tell you and any of your readers who are interested that I am still selling copies of “Memories of Snowdon in the 50s” from my home here in Ottawa. e-mail   I still get very fond replys from readers. I am thinking of a sequel, i.e. “More Memories of Snowdon”.  Bill Conrod

  52. I lived on Ponsard Ave from 1944 to 1953′ after which we moved to Town of Mt. Royal.  There were a lot of kids in our wonderful, close  and populous
    neighborhood on Ponsard, with all of us going to Iona School. Mr. Gulliver was the principal at the time. Among my friends were Ronnie Blumer, Harvey Weinstein, David Stein, Michael Mindel, Brian Stein, Stevie Segal, and Douglas Leopold, who later gained some notoriety as Coco, a TV personality.  At the time, there was a store at the corner of Ponsard and Decarie called Speiser’s or something like that, where we bought our ice creams, cokes and trading cards.  It’s gone now due to the Decarie expressway expansion. My Mom took me to her beauty shop on Quenn Mary, which was one flight up called, Queen Elizabeth Beauty Shop. Steinberg’s grocery was across the street with a small store called The Black and Orange, where all the kids bought their wax lips, sponge candy and trading cards. They also sold a kit containing a straw and some plastic goo, with which you could blow up huge balloon-like bubbles. I remember that around the time, you could see sky writers advertising almost every weekend. Many of us rented TVs for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1952.
    We watched it in black and white of course, on a 12 1/2 inch TV set.  I remember everything about my childhood on Ponsard and could literally write a book on the things we did. We used to ride on the steps of the horse-drawn wagon that delivered our milk.  Ww played Monopoly a lot and especially liked the old wood hockey games that used a a marble a puck and pulling a lever, made all the men move.  A popular TV show that played on Friday nights on CBC was Space Command. we all loved it. 

  53. Snowdon and Iona Avenue School Memories March 2013

    What a treat to find this blog! I’ve been luxuriating in memories that were long gone – thanks everyone. Apologies for this very long entry.

    My family rented the second floor of a duplex Victoria Avenue between QMR and Mira Road. I went to Iona Avenue School for the years 1953-1958, i.e. K through 5th grade.. Did anyone have Mrs. Gameroff in second grade or Miss Mazur in 4th? I’d love to hear their experiences. I remember learning 10 words of French in third grade (I could tell you which ones even now!) and 40 French words in 4th grade! Imagine!!

    I also remember the first grade teacher sending me to the back of the room when Barry (don’t know last name) pulled my pig-tails and I yelped. In second grade, the teacher didn’t let one of the girls go to the bathroom after she raised her hand and asked, and had a very embarrassing accident on those hard wood floors at her bolted desk.
    Do I remember separate entrances for boys and girls? I think so.
    Recess was a gaggle of noisy people cooped up in the concrete school yard that was surrounded by a chain link fence . I do remember the girls playing ball games against the wall, maybe spud? I had a best friend who has disappeared if anyone knows her named Sharon Feldgaire. She also lived on Victoria Avenue.

    We used to go to Manny’s Deli (Kosher) every Thursday on ‘maids’ night out as it was called and eat ‘lean’ hot smoked meat sandwiches which nonetheless still dripped with juiciness. I remember the long pieces of salami with big round white spots (fat) in it that my mother would buy from there and slice and fry up at home with two eggs. We also got tongue from Manny’s. Seems in those days, Manny delivered to the house as well, not to mention Steinberg’s. Steinberg’s had sawdust on the floors in front of the store so I guess people wouldn’t slip from the wet melted snow in the winter months.
    Lou’s Black and White of course was the best – penny candy choices galore – long strips of paper candy with little multicolored buttons to peel off, wax lips. Being allowed to go there on one’s own with the crowds of kids after school was exhilarating.

    I just looked at the glorious interior photos I found on-line of the Snowdon Theater. I think I saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs there as well as other Disney films. I was a little cowed by the huge bronzy-gold art deco figures, or at the minimum, didn’t pay attention to the glorious design of the theater.

    Larry’s shoe store – remember the x-ray machine he had in order to take a picture of your feet? We went there twice a year: once for oxfords in black, navy or dark brown (we’d rotate every year for a change!) and then the summer deep red sandals with two straps and little holes and a cut out design in the front and later on white buck shoes instead of white saddle shoes.

    Two other places come to mind – no one has mentioned the Camp Store! I still have their red wool blankets with black stripes at the top. It was on the second floor just up the block from Lou’s candy. What a mob scene of kids with pushy mom’s camp lists of clothes and other necessities, trying to get waited on. Seems the camps only let you know what they required late in the spring. I think there was a drug store next door? Also, across the street I believe was the beauty parlor my mom went to.

    Last but not least, the visit to Anna Globus Hill for the first brassiere fitting. I must say, Mrs. Hill was a bit scary in her white uniform as she came outside and greeted us. She then took me into a room by myself and measured me. When I was dress again and out of the room she said to my mom with deep sympathy, I’m afraid she’ll never be more than an A!

    A quick mention of the other places that people have mentioned that rang bells: Elizabeth Hager – very expensive though I think we bought my high school graduation dress there; Jack and Jill, though I only remember the name, Reitman’s, Zellers, the Royal Bank on the corner of Decarie and QMR; Morgan’s, Ponsard Park where we skated on their big rink, Blue Bonnets where my father had me steer the car sitting on his lap(!), Miss Montreal and A &W drive-ins.…

    A couple of decades later my Mom and I would always eat at Miss Snowdon Delicatessen – I guess Manny’s had gone out of business.

    I now live in Pittsburgh PA and go to Montreal every summer to at least get several dozen Montreal Bagels.

  54. Does anyone remember the name of the hospital in snowdon . world War 11 .. I think it has since become a senior home not sure ???

  55. The hospital was the Queen Mary Veterans Hospital.

  56. I was thrilled to come upon this site as it came up when I googled “St. Malachys School in Snowdon”teachers 1964/65 – I also grew up in Snowdon from 1958 to 1965 and remember the elementary school and in particular one teacher I’d ove to thank


  58. Was there a Northmount YMCA or Northmount highschool that had a pool there back in the early/middle sixties. My father Neil O’Sullivan took my brother and I there for swimming lessons but he has no recollection of it.

  59. Terry, that would have been the WMHA . Great pool and gym.

  60. Uhm. Snowdon is now a dump. The metro run its course and brought degenerate life to that area. Its filthy, smells bad, full of bums, oldbrun down business, bums, blscks, people on social assistance, and crime.

  61. I was there last year and it looked a lot better than it did in the 40’s and 50’s! Things change but Snowdon will always have a special place in my heart no matter what!

  62. recently my mom passed away,her name was micheline decarie.She came from the family decarie who first immigrated to montreal and owned part of west mount and n.d.g .I grew up in snowdon on cool brook in front of the french school st-antonai,this was in the late 60,s till the 90,s .I remember woolworth,sellers,stein burg,jack and jill and just at the corner of cool brook and queen mary there was a small grocery store called grostern,and a few stores away a store called tops where i would get a bag of candy for a quarter or i would go to woolworth and spend my quarter on taking pictures of myself in the photo booth. In the store tops was a women that worked there that had a number tatooed on her arm and that was when i first learned about the consentration camps during the war ,i was around 8 and my mom who was reading all sorts of books on the subject explained to me that she had been in one of those camps,On decarie was 2 bars my dad would go regularly (the snowdon tavern and le bievre)although now le bievre is now a rough place, higher up decarie was a grocery store called dominion.although being french canadien ,my father wanted my brother and myself to be bilingual so he sent us to st-malachy,s and then mary-mount high school on C.S.L . From what my mom told me ,my great great grandfather build many of the buildings and duplexes in the area, i have at home two pictures of decarie before it was the BLV .maybe most people do not realize this but it used to be watermelon fields and the decarie,s were know around the world for there watermelons(you can google for this imfo ) and the other picture i have is of the first house in west mount build in 1856 ,build by the decarie family.because of my mom,s passing my daughter and i had a sudden interest to find the house and a few weeks ago we found it,there it was an historical house still with the barn for horses and bugys,it is located on st-antoine and victoria.Well that,s it for going down memory lane,i am still in the process of finding out more about this family of mine,unfortunately my mom never really wanted to talk much about it,not sure why

  63. I lived in an upper duplex on Carlton Ave. between Westbury and Lemieux for two memorable years of my childhood, when my dad was involved with Expo 67 and its aftermath. I have more vivid memories of Snowdon than I do of anywhere else we lived, and my family moved a number of times in my first decade (after which we settled down in the WASPish West Island, which was nowhere near as interesting). I was a Protestant kid, and one of my friends up the street was a Catholic convent-school girl, and all our other friends and playmates were Jewish (my Catholic friend later converted to Judaism). I remember going to synagogue (the one on Westbury) with two of my friends, and sneaking to the back of the yeshiva at sundown to watch a wedding, and badly wanting to be Jewish. I remember all the grandfathers, many of them Holocaust survivors, sitting in benches in Van Horne Park, reading their Yiddish newspapers. I remember the Brown Derby Restaurant, and the YWHA, and the Hebrew school on Van Horne Avenue. I also remember second and third grade at Van Horne Elementary School, and my poor beleaguered Jewish teacher forced to lead us, after the singing of “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen”, in a rendition of “Onward Christian Soldiers” (this was the 60s, after all, and Van Horne School fell under the jurisdiction of the Protestant School Board, and Protestants sang hymns, even in school). I remember the street-front balconies, where gossiping ladies sat on summer evenings to observe the goings-on in the neighbourhood – – all us kids playing hopscotch and Double Dutch and Kick the Can, in penny loafers. (I got my penny loafers a year too late, when they were going out of style.) I remember walking with my mother and brother and baby sister to get groceries at Steinberg’s, two blocks away, and going into the Brown Derby for chocolate milk, and sometimes getting a taxi home. I remember walking with friends up to a store on Victoria Avenue (which seemed miles away when I was seven) and spending all our pocket money on candy and chips (chocolate bars were a dime). I thought of all these things when we moved to the suburban West Island, where there were big patches of lawn and no front balconies, unless you hopped on a bike and rode down to mostly-francophone Pointe Claire Village.

    A few years ago I was back in Montreal (I live in Victoria, now) and had a reunion with the two sisters who’d lived several doors up from me on Carlton Ave and taken me to see the canopied wedding at the yeshiva. It was by pure internet fluke that we’d reconnected, and our walk down memory lane (as we physically walked around our old neighbourhood) was a highlight of that trip back east. A year later I also reconnected with my convent school friend, the one who later converted. Her memories of Carlton Ave are perhaps less vivid than mine, as she used to come home from school only on weekends. But for me, 1966-1968 Snowdon remains a place frozen in time. If I could go back again, for a day or a month, and this time put everything in writing, I would.

  64. I recently (courtesy of this site: came across a series of quite detailed aerial photographs of Montreal from 1947. These cover the entire island, in close to 4000 overlapping photos.

    Here is one of part of Snowdon:
    To move the viewpoint further east or west, change the number 18 in the URL above to 17 or 19. To move the view north or south, change the 12 in the URL to 11 or 13.
    For example: gets you right atop the whole of Circle Road. Many of the lots were still empty, and you can see vegetable patches where houses will soon be, especially between Circle Road and the corner of Victoria and QM.

    I grew up at 5015 Glencairn, living there from 1964 to 1987. At that point, roughly half the families in the Circle Road neighborhood were Jewish, but there were a fair number of French Canadians as well, and french speakers from various other countries, including Haiti. The times they were a-changin’.

    We weren’t Jewish, but at least half of our friends in the neighborhood were (“you’re serving a cake made of cheese at your birthday party?!”), or had one Jewish parent. We went to the YMYWHA often, including for summer camps, guitar lessons, swimming lessons, and just to hang around.

    I remember most peoples’ dogs spending the day outside without any supervision, going wherever they pleased, often in groups, in and out of people’s yards (Afghans and German Shepherds were the most popular breeds at the time). This of course had two unpleasant consequences, one of which was piles everywhere, that you often as not ran over with your mower, the other being that they would sometimes get run over. In an episode reminiscent of Stephen King, we were fascinated, probably at the age of seven or so, by a dead dog we found once, hit by a car most likely, in the woods between Circle Place and Bonavista (“Rat Pile Woods” to us); it was the first encounter we had ever had with death, and we kept coming back to look at it, day after day.

    In the late 60s we still received our milk every morning at the door, though not by horse-drawn cart. A knife sharpener, with a motorized whetstone, came down the street about twice a year ringing a bell.

    The A&W was still there on Decarie, roughly where the Wendy’s is now; going there with allowance money at the age of six or so was a major excursion.

    The Black and White store was still there, old and dusty and cluttered, smelling of soggy wooden floorboards. We bought cap-guns there, and Mr Freezes, and various plastic junk that was a delight to us at the time. Even some small fire works, or at least firecrackers and cherry bombs. Imagine being able to play with such things now; we’ve gotten almost too careful with our kids. There was also a small branch of the municipal library above the liquor store just east of Black and White on the same side of the street. The ice cream shop just next to it was bought at some point by a retired American couple, who would put Polaroids of the customers all over the walls. On the other side of QM, and just a few doors east, was a (pretty lousy) men’s barber shop, where the bagel shop is now situated. I remember an older Jewish man driving up in a Rolls Royce to get his (probably $3) haircut. I don’t remember if they gave him a lollipop.

    Enjoy the 1947 photos.

  65. Thanks, Chris Knaack, for the link to the 1947 aerial photos. Very interesting material. I’m wondering if there are any ground-level pics around of Decarie/Queen Mary area, before the expressway was built. Anyone remember Mary Beetle’s Nursery School on the west side of Decarie, next to the post office? Or Dave’s Barbershop, in the rear of Topp’s variety store on the south side of Queen Mary, near Coolbrook?

  66. If anyone finds out about that book that was published on life in Snowdon, I would love to know.
    I am not even sure if Snowdon was an actual place or whether or not the neighbourhood took on that name because of the Snowdon theatre that was on Decarie.
    I have only the fondest of memories growing up there on Fulton Street. Many of my friends lived either in Hampstead or Cote St Luc and used to venture out to meet me on Queen Mary Road which was the hub of great shopping and eateries. Elizabeth Hager was where my mother and her friends shopped for more elegant wear whereas the younger generation frequented Jean Junction, Pant City and the Camp Shop for our summer wear and camp uniforms. Pinky the Baker at Richstone Bakery, Joe Ronci the shoemaker, the Harvey family who tuned up all of our bicycles and sold us the latest in two wheel transportation. Eating at Pumperniks , House of Wong, Le Chef,etc….. Snowdon truly was a really wonderful place to be! Before the subway was built, people came from far and wide to congregate at Black and White, or Blackie’s as we used to call it. A tiny family owned store that was filled with its cast of characters who managed to stock everything that you could possibly imagine. From thimbles and batteries to comics and penny candy. Remember being able to purchase 3 blackballs for one penny? I wouldn’t have traded growing up in Snowdon for anywhere else. It was a community where you really got to know everyone and where everyone really shared in each other’s lives. It saddens me to return there now to see how much it has changed. What was once a lovely middle class neighbourhood, now is somewhat run-down. It might not be quite what I remember but the memories that I have will always be wonderful!

  67. The book, “memories of Snowdon in the 50s” can be purchased at Bibliophile on Queen Mary Rd. and Clanranald. Or from me at I am writing a sequel and presently looking for stories, memories, photos, etc. from people who grew up in that area in the late 40s to the early 60s

  68. Would you remember the name of the ski shop on Queen Mary west of Decarie in the 80′.
    Thank you. Really enjoying all this.

  69. Some of my earliest memories were of Pendelis Pizzeria on Côte-Saint-Luc & Somerlea, 1973 or 74′. On Saturday’s, the pizza maker use to let me help him make the middle buns for the pizza’s, I’d be covered in flour. I remember drinking coke from these “green” bottles. My mother worked at Shari’s next door – I’d like to know if anyone remembers Shari’s or might be kind enough to post pictures of the place if you have.

  70. How well I remember Snowden.
    My pre-teen years were spent growing up on Lacombe Avenue.
    I went to Iona Avenue School. My kindergarten teacher was Miss Vibert. Was subsequently taught by Miss Raymond, Miss Archibald, Mrs. White, and in grade seven, Mrs. Lewthwaite, who had recently lost her husband towards the end of World War 11. On Remembrance Day, we recited ‘In Flanders Field’ and I saw her crying. Mr. Cochrane was the only male teacher at the school.
    Our principal was Mr. Gulliver, who as a child, contracted polio, and walked with a very severe limp. He always used a cane.
    We had air-raid drills once a month, before the war’s end. We would go single-file into the hallways, sit down on the floor, and cover our heads.

    Mr. and Mrs. Lew ran the corner store ‘Black and White’ on Queen Mary Road. She would always be yelling at him. He would always tell the kids not to touch anything.

    The Snowdon movie theatre on Decarie Blvd. was a masterpiece in ‘art deco’ design. They showed first run films, unlike The Monkland Theatre, which ran older ‘double features’.

    We bought our bread at Levine Bros Bakery, and ate ‘deli’ at Chenoy Boys. We bought our shoes at Larry’s, where they had an x-ray machine. We could see the bones of our feet.

    Our parents went to Blue Bonnets race track on Decarie Boulevard.

    I remember street lamps that were tended to by the City of Montreal. Something shiny and metallic, about three or four inches, was always left behind on the front lawns of Lacombe Avenue. We all scrambled to pick it up. Probably lethal stuff!!

  71. “More Memories of Snowdon in the 50s”, a sequel to Bill Conrod’s successful collection of Snowdon Memories has now been published. It is available at Bibliophile on Queen Mary Road or through the author at 613 236 5472 The new book is a response to many readers of the first book who said they would like to relate their memories. Over 90 have and sent photos as well.

  72. I lived on Cote St. Luc Road for a couple of years when we first moved to Montreal and then up on Bonavista Road from, I think, 1964 to 1969. I went to the aforementioned Mary Beetles School when I was 4, and then to Iona from kindergarten to Grade 4. (After that, I went to LCC, which was a totally different experience altogether.)

    It’s fascinating to read these reminiscences. Black & White (a/k/a Blackie’s) loomed large for anyone who went to Iona. I was once with a group of boys who deputized one of our number to go in and buy a copy of Playboy on the pretext that it was for his father. When Mr. Lew saw us gawking at the pictures right outside his store, he came running out and took it right back.

    I was interested in Chris Knaack’s mention of what he called “Rat Pile Hill” between Bonavista and Ponsard Park. It was a densely overgrown vacant hill that I guess must have been commonly thought to be full of rats. My brother and I called it the “Rat Hill” after our mother warned us not to go there. But it was too tempting a shortcut, and I would rush through it, in terror of encountering a rat. The only wildlife I ever actually saw there were grass snakes.

    I’m still in touch with a couple of friends from those days. And there’s an Iona School group on Facebook, for anyone who’s interested.

  73. We moved to Jean Brillant Street in April 1958 when I was nine years old. There was a great gang of kids on our street and we played kids games all day long. I loved hitting a ball more than anything else and pick up games of ball was our main pastime. I was a real shit-disturber in those days and I remember stealing a baseball glove (the most expensive one they had…$35 in 1959) from Gerry Snyder’s and when my mom saw it and asked me where I got it…I told her I had found it. To make a long story short, she didn’t believe me and marched me back to Snyder’s and made me return it. I remember he was very nice about the whole thing. I never stole anything again.

    I went to Iona school for grade 5 and 6 and had a great group of friends…some whom I remember are Hershey Deutsch, Carmy Ghingold, Howard Pashlin. The principal was a Mr. H.H. Cooke and he was a prick. He strapped a whole bunch of us just because we were didn’t hear the bell ending recess. I never let a teacher hit me again although a few tried to strap me in high school. When we heard that Mr. Cooke died a few years later…we cheered!!!!

    I made friends with Mr Lew who owned Black & White which was the busiest store in the neighborhood…he allowed me to read the new comic books as long as I bought some (I bought and saved all the Superman comics (they were 10 cents and I complained when the price was raised to 12 cents in 1961). I convinced him that I knew how to handle comic books and read them in a way so that they still looked like new when I was finished. I got my old comics from Archie’s Record Bar and assembled quite a collection. I became a major comic book dealer when I grew up and made a good enough living at it that I was able to buy a beautiful house right at the very top of Circle Road where I still live today. I never left Snowdon and love living here after nearly 60 years.

  74. Robert, or any one else who happens to know. I’m interested in the history of the Circle Road/ Ponsard area of Snowdon. I have a City of Montreal map which has Hampstead And Circle Rd. well mapped dated 1915. Hampstead has done a great job on its history but Circle Rd. is still a mystery.. Any thoughts? Bill Conrod

  75. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this page, but it has been such a pleasure to read all of the memories about Snowdon in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I currently live in Snowdon and would be happy to answer any of your questions about what is in the area now.
    Thanks for educating me on Snowdon’s rich history!

  76. I am trying to piece together my father, Alek (Alec) Olsen’s, sportslife in Monreal. In the early 50s, he played backcatch for St. Augustine’s in the Snowdon Fastball league, playing with many Montreal Canadiens and winning championships. Does anyone have more information on this league. I would love articles and photos. It seems an amazing but almost forgotten part of Canada’s baseball history. Dad also played for the Lakeshore Flyers football team winning the Canadian Championship, I think in ’58. There was a reunion in 2008 for the team. He played one season with the Allouettes in 1950 but says he liked the level of play with the Flyers better. It is where the better players gravitated to. Does anyone have anymore history of this football league which was better than the CFL? I have some photos and a few articles. Dad was also a Montreal squash champion in the late 60s through the MAA. I can’t find any of that history. Dad’s father, Aleksander Olsen, built the first ski jump in Canada on Mount Royal and the family, especially brothers Rolf and Kaare, was huge in promoting skiing in Quebec. I have lots of information on that but would love more. So, yes, Montreal was a hotspot for athletes in Canada.

  77. Greeting Snowdonites past/present
    I lived at 4930 QMR from 1960-1973. Went to St Malachy’s and Marymount HS. Left in 1973 to join the Cdn Military, spent 39 yrs serving my country and seeing the world. But my best times were of QMR and Snowdon, saw Decarie Expressway built and opened, learned hockey and football thanks to a wonderful man named Gerry Snyder at Ponsard Park, also spent many years in baseball, hockey, football at MacDonald Park. Grew up with so many fine people. I owe so many people a huge thank you for shaping my life. Whenever I visit Montreal I always do a drive down QMR, visit Orange Julius, Oratory, and just think of all the good times. Best area ever.

  78. I grew up at 48 Dufferin Rd. (near the corner of Dufferin Road and QMR). I was born in 1950, but my brother was born in 1942 and my sister in 1939, so they have vivid memories of Snowdon in the 1940s and ’50s, whereas my memories are more late ’50s on. (My parents lived on Dufferin from the late ’40s/early ’50s to the 1990s, but I think lived on Clanranald [spelling?} before that.) My brother remembers riding his tricycle from our house on Dufferin to Blue Bonnets; he must have been about 5 years old and if my mother had ever known, she would have killed him (!!), but those were the days when parents turfed you out of the house and told you not to come home until hours later. I don’t think anyone has mentioned the huge Orange Julep on Decarie – apparently the guy who built and ran it had an apartment inside the building – he raised his family there. I used to beg my parents to take me there – also to Piazza Tomaso, were we could eat real spaghetti and not that revolting canned Libby’s stuff!! (My very WASP-y mother thought Italian food was dreadfully exotic and foreign, so we didn’t get to go there much.) There’s a wonderful book about Montreal in the ’40s and ’50s called “City Unique” – although it deals with all of Montreal, it does mention many of the Snowdon landmarks various posters have included here. Plus there’s a section on Harry Ship, the “gentleman” bookmaker who lived in Hampstead (and who, unfortunately, ended up tangled up with the Montreal Mafia – see I went to Hampstead School with one of Harry Ship’s sons and vaguely remember the two of us winning a Twist contest in 1962. I also seem to remember Harry Ship got shot at one point and there was much quiet, rather horrified muttering in our household about the event. My sister also remembers, as a teenager, going with the son of a sketchy bookie/mobster type to collect the betting money. My poor parents were probably beside themselves that we girls had any connection to these boys, but we just knew them as kids we went to school with. On a completely separate note, the poster above whose family had the Decarie name (they seem to have owned much of the original land in the area) reminded me that, at the corner of Dufferin and Cote St. Luc, there was a still a farm in the 1940s. I believe that a good portion of Hampstead was still forest in the 1930s. Finally, like several posters here, I remember being one of those Christian kids who envied the Jewish kids – I don’t know what it was about their upbringing, but we wanted in!! Of course, at the time, I had no knowledge of how many of the families had been affected by the Holocaust; it only struck me as an adult how challenging life must have been for many of them, growing up in the shadow of that. But they definitely had a strong community feeling, which I wished I could be part of. It drove my mother nuts!

  79. I lived at 5219 TransIsland and went to Iona Ave school.. I moved to TMR in 1958. I now live in Pte Claire.

  80. Delighted to discover this blog!
    I was born at St Mary’s hospital (QMR) in 1957 and lived on Coolbrook in two locations from 1960 to 1971. First near Garland Station. I recall taking 17 and 48?? bus, Tasty Food pizza, Veterinary Clinic with cool mural, Capri Hotel, little Decarie, Montreal Chrysler Plymouth, and when my parents referred to phone numbers using Hunter-8 or Regent-7.

    Later we moved south near Dupuis St.. I attended Royal Vale from ’62 to ’70 (which included Centennial celebrations) , wore grey pants and blazer uniform, had ‘field days’ in MacDonald Park. I also recall QMR Woolworth’s with matchbox toys sold towards back of store, and A&P with sawdust on wooden floor. I remember playing in mounds of dirt along Decarie during building of expressway, and how they buried Trans Island Motors used car lot (our duplex overlooked just north at back of YW/YMHA). Morgans store had massive brass railings down to men’s dept. (curious what I remember). Peggy’s nut shop and City and District Savings bank on Decarie with huge roof mounted sign, from where we received a steel savings bank that weighted a ton.

    At the time, as a kid Montreal seemed the best place in the world to grow up. Life was simpler then as we didn’t really have much, but somehow quality of life seemed very high.


  81. I found this site by accident today (Dec.2015) while googling Shari Hill who had friended me on FB. I wasn’t sure I remembered her, but after I read her comment, she was most certainly my childhood friend Sharon from Fulton St in the 50’s. So very long ago. My family left Montreal and Canada when I was 12, so all my Montreal memories are as blurry as those black and white photographs with the deckled edges in my photo album. I went to Iona and one year at Westmount (they skipped kids a lot in those days). I remember the piles of snow, learning to roller skate, the library at the YMHA, outings for Chinese food to Ruby Foos, Miss Montreal, Miss Snowden, and the Black and Orange bookstore where I got my finger crushed in the glass door when I was 5. Thank you for all these memories. I live across the continent now and have few living connections to Montreal. But I know enough to scoff at what they call a”Montreal bagel” in the Pacific Northwest!

  82. I spent time learning how to shoot pool in the pool room above Franklin’s drug store.Had no trouble getting into the Snowdon Tavern at age 15 (looked old for my age) and won a “draught drinking” bet there. 18 glasses in 30 minutes. Gave it all back in a taxi ride a few minutes later.I remember John Rourke and his “then girlfriend” Sheila Baird. She arranged a wonderful date for me by the name of Jocelyne Pinard from Snowdon. I remember “fastball”games and names like Percy McCracken, Billy Quirk and Doug Harvey.Favorite female from the area was Barb Lapin whom I adored for such a long time. She was beautiful, friendly foxy and the most generous person I ever knew. Also a champion swimmer from the local YMHA. Others I knew who frequented QMR and Franklin’s….Barb Goldie, Mike Guennette, Jacques Fifle, Linda Morrissey (first kiss) and at age 75 I am forgetting many more. Many many fond memories attending the Snowdon Theatre…..good movies and great dates (Monkland & Empress rank 2nd & 3rd). The first place I lived when I got married was at 4949 Queen Mary Rd.

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