The Turcot Roundhouse

From the 40’s this is the best picture I have found yet.

This was the largest roundhouse in Canada
and would have made an excellent acrchitectural
heritage site in and of itself but was torn down around 1962 to make way for the
Turcot Interchange that would be completed in 1966.

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4 responses to “The Turcot Roundhouse

  1. I actually got to go here-in 1960- a friends steam locomotive (a Canadian Northern)was being retired from regular service…….(and ride on it-also)
    In the 1950s 1970s era-Montreal couldn’t “Modernize” FAST enough……( got rid of the streetcars,Lachine Canal, much of downtown Montreal………the old Dorchester(Boul.Rene Lesvesque) mansions,the old Craig Street terminus(which I wandered into-around 1970-before it was torn down(Interesting to see streetcar tracks-going into a building..).(We-Montreal-had the largest streetcar network-in Canada- all gone in 7 years(1952-1959)

    (Interesting now-that the City of Montreal wants to BRING them back-(streetcars)(when they rejected a proposal to keep HALF of them-back in the 1950s- and burned them-in big bonfires– as streetcar routes ended……
    the Wellington Tunnel streetcar portals-boarded up-with wood-(I first saw this in 1960-as a young kid)
    wandering around downtown Montreal-(1969-1972)I’d see old MTC streetcar tracks- sticking up out of the already worn out pavement(on Craig St.or Bleury-or Atwater or Notre Dame….)Montreal and Southern Counties Railway-a 47 year Light Rail Transit system-basically-
    everywhere they were building expressways………..autoroutes-for CARS-
    they called it ‘progress’
    the eastern end of the Lachine Canal emptied into a drainpipe……
    anything ‘old’ met the wreckers ball-

    I remember the Turcot Yards= and the St.Henri carhouse- Westmount Station-Sealtest Dairies(with its different flavors of Ice creams(predating-Baskin Robbins) on Upper Lachine Road……the cliff…………….the big cliff-
    Decarie-before the Expressway came-

    I met Jean Drapeau-in 1968-(in the elevator at the Chateau Champlain…..by sheer coincidence)
    I thanked him for Expo 67………….. and the Metro….
    (my beloved Expos-came in 1969…….(the Washington Nationals=or Jeffrey Loria(don’t even GO there……….).
    the Oympics- when I read about this -I felt we’d gone TOO far- bitten off-far more than we could chew……….)
    Of all of Drapeau’s projects-the only really surviving one- is the Metro-and the expressways-when you think about it……..

    But back then-Montreal was a different city- our heritage-was something -to be FORGOTTEN-it seemed….to be ashamed of..

    Toronto nearly followed suit(I’ve been here since 1972-I’ve had relatives here my whole life-I’m 52-now-)
    we fought it- here- and I was actively part of it-to a degree-on a number of occasions-

    ALL-of this- got sparked- in part-by what Robert Moses-did in New York City-(1920’s-1961-until Jane Jacobs stood up to him………)

    (I live now in Parkdale-(downtown Toronto)-(much like what happened in new York and in downtown Montreal)we lost the entire southern part of Parkdale-170 historic old homes-many streets- for an Expressway Interchange……in 1957-
    sent this area into a 40 year decline- as a result…..

    they VERY NONCHALANTLY- tried to do that again-here-(2000-2008)THIS time- we STOPPED them-COLD-permanantly-

    But thank God for the Internet-because I haven’t seen a lot of the Spacing Montreal stuff here- for a good 40 plus years-
    (I lived in Cote des Neiges,Cote St Paul(1956-62-on Rue Drake- right down the street from the Crane Building….)Candiac,finally Brossard and Lachine( around 24th ave(in behind the Thruway Restaurant-and the Convent and Lachine Cemetery(my old(Modern) apartment(my apartment balcony(from 1972) is shown in the 1950s era cemetery scenes-in the movie”The Crimes of Ovide Plouffe”(laughs)

    back then I was doing urban exploring-on my own(I still do-here-)- and i got laughed at-told I lived in the past………

    my website address is http://www.geocities.com/northyorker/

    Keep up the good work! Thanks! Enjoy!

    Kerry M Briggs(born at Herbert Reddy in Westmount(that hospital is gone now -too)(progress?)

  2. Thanks for the tour! :P Interesting about the old streetcar tracks is that some of them were still being removed as recently as this summer. Hard to believe really, and, yep, it’s very ironic that every city in the world wants them back. Montreal was once one of the truly great railroad cities of the world, though you would never guess it because, A- we have ripped out and developed over most of it, and B- we have buried our railroad history as though it is something to be ashamed of. There was enough rail infrastructure downtown here up until the late 80’s that could have been the center of solving much of Montreal’s transportation issues today. And it was replaced by what can charitably be called distinctively dull neighborhoods.

    I miss the Expos too! It blows my mind how easily they left. Our current mayor mumbled something about it being too bad, blah blah blah. Drapeau was a madman but he completely understood what having major league baseball in town meant and would not have let the team go even over his dead body. My theory is that the Olympic games did some kind of reality twisting here. Of course the morphine of championship hockey was of extremely high quality still in those days. The Canadiens won the Stanley Cup 4 years in a row after the Olympic Games and that sure buffered the Olympic reality. I think we learned to somehow ignore things and that has finally caught up with us in this time of billion dollar infrastructure projects all over the place, yet only vague ideas of the overall transportation plan. Anyway, that is my sports rant, heh heh.

  3. Terry Mosher(Aislin) did a GREAT cartoon-in the Gazette -(during the 1970s) of the Turcot Interchange-going up over the Cross on Mt .Royal……..
    when you look at the Turcot Interchange- thats PRETTY Believeable-in a way-it seemingly goes-EVERYWHERE-higher and higher-into the sky-(laughs)
    (but then…back then- we ALL were really Excited about life- and being Montrealers- with the Metro-Expo ’67- the Expos(and Le Grand Orange-(Rusty Staub) playing at Parc Jarry-(it was FUN-watching baseball-there- that place_FEELS-like a REAL ballpark-(same as Molson Stadium does for watching the Als-Olympic Stadium-felt WAY TOO BIG-like a TOMB………….)seemingly-for awhile-we forgot about our heritage-(especially after Houde and Duplessis and Paul Sauve died……..)Desormais( from now on)…..
    for awhile…Je Me Souviens(I remember) became like- Je Ne Me Souviens pas-or je Veux T’Oublie(I want to forget) especially during the Quiet revolution -and Lesage(and Daniel Johnson Sr. and Drapeau…..building Place Ville Marie..etc…)
    but 50 plus years ago- you had the streetcars and buses-at the St Henri Yard-the trains of the Westmount Station(Ironically- that main(Windsor-Montreal) railway line-(which I know so well-have travelled so many times in my life-(many times on the old VIA Rapido-or the old Turbo Train) passes less than 100 feet from where I’m sitting typing this-right now-btw)
    Turcot Yards-the Lachine Canal-St Remi Tunnel(what a joy to see that-again-too-just off Laurendeau and D”Eglise-it was pretty BRAND NEW-when I was a kid living in Cote St Paul/Ville Emard(my relatives lived on 6th Avenue in Verdun(in the’Walkups”) back in the 1950s-early 1960s-(and better looking than the Atwater Tunnel-in my view-though both the same age-(1953)
    now-you’ve got the SCTUM buses-cars-……….what an irony-
    that area-always-a transportation based area-
    but then that always was-to me- a really nice part of Montreal- whether you lived -or visited there-
    you NEVER forget the cliffs-seeing them-especially seeing the businesses lining the top of the cliffs-(car dealerships…)as you get into NDG and Montreal West…

    Its great to see-though-(and digital cameras have really made this possible-visually-easily-much easier than using film cameras) people exploring urban heritages….

    I did urban exploring-becuase I was fascinated-by what HAD been there-(like half visible streetcar or train tracks-(or around here-(in Liberty)you’ll see old industrial rail sidings-or railways tracks in parking lots-(to most people-those things aren’t interesting….but when you see rails-disappearing into buildings-or walls- or in the most unlikely places-like between buildings- your curiousity gets aroused-greatly…..especially if the surrounding area offers no clues as to its previous existence-(Turcot’s a GREAT example of that-pretty much-contrast wise-visually-)
    so-doing some exploring-urban exploring-AND posting photos-
    has great value-overall-
    especially about urban landscapes and neighborhoods- tells a very vital valuable story- about urban and human development-

    In 1970-I never dreamed the Lachine Canal-would EVER reopen(or the Soulanges Canal- or the pre Seaway Ontraio canals)………
    or that Montreal would EVER want to bring back streetcars-
    (Toronto kept them- because they DON’T pollute-AND- a streetcar can carry more people-than a bus does……FACT-
    Our streetcars are very heavily used- also-wall to wall people-always-)
    Montreal seemingly prided itself on being a CAR city-post WW2-but when I was little- we had HORSEDRAWN milk wagons etc in Montreal……..up until around 1961……..and NOT uncommon either-

    Montreal had the PCCs(seen mostly in Montreal-on the Outrempnt route) same type we had here- but Ours lasted for close to 60 years- here-
    we had pretty much-same kind Montreal had-(pre 1959)but we kept the PCCs-kept them running-for many years-on all major routes( a lot of people still say they’re better than what we have now(those-are much heavier-and need to be replaced…….)(the PCCS were lighter- apparently easier to repair and maintain……..)

    (Our(Toronto) Roundhouse-you know better- as Steam Whistle Brewery-(they have a website……)they also moved a Canadian Northern locomotive there-recently(that had sat outside since September 8 1960-at Toronto’s Marine Museum)its going to be fully refurbished and restored-maybe put back into(railfan) service……..it needs to be refurbished restored-it apparently had been vandalized also-despite being fenced off)
    (on my website(www.geocities.com/northyorker(which I’m planning to move-in October)-you’ll find the transit stuff- on my Toronto page-(use select a page-to access that).(I can be easily-e mailed-also)

    Physically I have not been back-since 1994- VIA rail is expensive -now-and I’m disabled-(heart attack-in march 2006)-so the Internet-in itself- is a form of travel-now-

    So this has REAL value- the present and future(the digital camera and the Internet) to celelbrate and preserve a proud heritage- the past-forever….

    keep up the excellent work-Enjoy!

    A la prochaine Kerry

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