1. There used to be a wooden toboggan slide at the Northwest? side of le lac aux castors somewhat like the famous toboggan slide in Quebec City.

    You climbed up to it’s top on stairs while carrying your toboggan, then slid down the ramp onto the ice below.

    The slide was condemned by the early 1950s, but, we still used to take our toboggan up on the Rembrance Road streetcar from Cote de Neiges and then slide down the adjacent slope next to the slide onto the ice of Le lac aux castors.

    One year my Father pulled me on the toboggan down the out-of-service-for-the-winter ‘Mountain’ streetcar line to Parc Avenue.

    We used to ride it in the summer, the cars having electric dynamic regenerative braking for the grades.

    I was scared, even tho’ the tracks were covered with snow, that a streetcar would come along as we went thru the tunnel.

    Bump, bump, bump on the ties as there was no snow in the tunnel.

    We then went home by streetcar aroud by Maplewood and Queen Mary Rd. to Snowdon Jct.

    60 years ago!

    I do not rememeber when the toboggan slide was removed at Le lac aux castors, but, probably before 1960?

  2. Dear Mr. St-Jean,

    Thank YOU for your great before and after photos, they are marvellous!

    I had completely forgotten about the toboggan slide until I saw your post!

    Please keep up the good work!

    Some of my stories are a bit long and convoluted, but there is so much history to recall before it is lost forever.

    Old folks are custodians of the past.

    Once again, Thank You Very Much for the excellent photos, they bring back so many memories.

    If I recall correctly, there was some sort of motorized ski tow by the toboggan slide for skiiers.

  3. Cdnlococo,

    Thank you for this wonderful story. Looking at the flurries outside my window, I can just imagine the thrill of tobogganing down the streetcar tracks… Where was the tunnel? On Camilien-Houde?

    Enjoy the snow today!

  4. Dear SMD,

    Thank you for your comment!

    Its sad to relate that what we onced considered commonplace has now become historically-valuable.

    After the Depression 1929-1939 and World War II automobiles were still uncommon and the Montreal Tramways played a very important part in most peoples’ lives.

    We were actually amazed upon riding our first autobusses.

    If you went intercity, you went by train and Central Station and Windsor Station were great places to see.

    Between 1950 and 1960 transportation changed, losing streetcars and the Lachine Canal in 1959, steam locomotives in 1960.

    More autos arrived, making streetcars obsolete, and both do not mix well on crowded narrow streets, UNLESS the trolleys are on their own private reservation in the middle.

    Look at any photos taken downtown in early fifties, and there are not that many cars. That would soon change!

    Horses still to be found on bread and milk wagons. Where stoves and heaters were still in use, horse wagons would deliver stove coal.

    POM ( Pride of Montreal ) Bakeries next to CPR Westmount Staion had sleek Ford trucks painted a pleasing green with red wheels while most other bakeries still used horses.

    In the Forties the City used horse plows for the sidewalks, BUT the event of the week was when they sent a Sicard Snowblower along, scaring dogs, cats, kids and horses with their unmuffled gas engines.

    The snow was blown onto the lawns, making mountains and forts for kidplay.

    A flagman with a red flag walked ahead of the blower looking for kids, one or two getting ‘eaten’ by a blower every winter, or so they said.

    Prudent mothers called their childern in when the blower appeared, as it could toss ice, pieces of hockey stick or a forgotten sleigh or toboggan a long distance.

    Ice, for home ice boxes, usually, by 1950, came by truck, as it was heavy.

    Ice boxes in use well in to the 1950s, and their drains sometime plumbed into the house’s sewer system.

    If the ice box had it’s own room, thats where the new washer went, taking the drain already in place.

    Laundry hung out to dry on Monday, if not raining, well into the sixties.

    Mothers loved the new Fridge once it arrived!, too.

    Rush Hour was usually from about 7:30 to 9:00 AM and maybe 4:00 to 6:00 PM.

    I was in Montreal for a funeral this fall and we got moving to go to the Laurentians at 5:30 AM.

    By 6 it was HAVOC on the Decarie, Metropolitan AND the Autoroute thru to Ste. Therese where the GM plant once was, then just heavy to St. Jerome!

    Ditto on our excursion to the South Shore via Pont Mercier.

    It USED to be a nice outing to go to the South Shore via Pont Victoria then return by La Prairie and Pont Mercier, stopping to check out the Seaway at Cote Ste Catherine Locks.

    The downstream bridge at Pont Mercier was opened in 1961.

    The downstream bridge on the Lachine Canal at Ville St Pierre was opened in 1959.

    I CANNOT BELIEVE the traffic!

    Direct Distance Dialling c. 1957 on telephones eliminated the Telegram Messenger.

    Getting a Telegram was a BIG EVENT!

    Party-line telephones were common, as two subscribers could then share one pair of wires to the central office.

    Children were NOT ALLOWED to touch THE TELEPHONE unless supervised, under dire punishment.

    Television was just around the corner, as they say, and an outing by streetcar to view the Harbour, the Mountain Tunnel or just go to Sault Au Recollets or Lachine for the day was a major treat.

    A trip on the M&SC over Pont Victoria to Mackayville was heaven!!

    The Elmhurst Dairy mascot was named Major Treat, by the way.

    Yes, the Tramways tunnel was on Camilien-Houde just uphill from the long straight stretch where you can overlook the Northeast end.

    This link at Spacing Montreal shows more.


  5. I don’t remember the slide,but I use to ski up there and it was a tow rope operation that would tow you back up the hill on your skis.You use to grab the rope with one hand and put your back against the rope and grab it wit the other hand.

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