The City of Montreal recently announced it is changing the name of Richmond street in The Point to rue de la Sucrerie. This will not affect the Little Burgundy stretch of Richmond street. Too bad because the name Richmond does pop up in countless stories involving The Point and this is just another example of “place-name gentrification” that wipes out all that was before, at least in terms of oral histories. Besides that, the preservation of the Redpath sugarhouses into condos and the silos still standing is surely a strong enough signal for sugar and it’s production in Point Saint Charles.
Lots of stories and here is mine.
My dad worked at The Northern in The Point for 36 years. The building in the picture is at the corner of Richmond and Wellington and was home to the Sports Tavern in the 1960′s and my dad told me more than few stories of the goings on in this completely original place. The owner was a Ukrainian man named Ambrose (not sure how to spell the last name but it began with a “K” ) who lived with his mother on the second floor. Ambrose and his mother used to cook the Ukranian specialties that were usually available on the menu and received rave views. Hard to believe today, perhaps, but women were not allowed in taverns until the early 70′s I believe it was.
My dad and his friends on the night shift used to walk along Richmond just after 7 am and Ambrose would unlock the doors so guys from the Northern and the CNR did not have to wait until 8 to get a beer. Richmond is the first street if you are heading east along Centre street that does not get cut off in any way by the railroad. You can see the former Shearer Street Building (known as Le Nordelec today) of The Northern on the left side of the picture. Ambrose was one of those old timey bar owners who was one of the gang, heck, you ate his mother’s cooking!
Ambrose decided to open an ice cream stand around ’62 or ’63. It was a simple booth protruding from the building (red X in picture) but it sold the most awesome ice creme cones in all of Montreal! The soft ice creme cones were about a foot high or basically about as high as you could neatly pile it. We would stop by and have ice creams in the car while dad went in to “use the toilet”. It was incredible. But 25 cents for those huge cones was a lot of money for many kids in those days and, Ambrose, a man with a heart of gold, couldn’t turn back any kid who had no money, especially after seeing how much happiness it brought to their faces. Needless to say the word got out and before long Ambrose had to shut it down – he was losing his shirt.
Ambrose got married a few years later, the mother moved out, wife moved in, and a few years after that,with new twin daughters, he sold it all. In the 70′s it was called The Palamino which had a nasty reputation as a biker/country & western kind of bar. And there was a suspicious fire in the building not long after Ambrose sold it of which I wish I could remember more.
I am slowing working on a project concerning the 21 bars that were in The Point in the 50′s and 60′s. My dad used to play a game called 21 bars which was basically naming all the bars in The Point. It was always surprising how many people who were from The Point couldn’t name them all, and, in fact, I seem to have forgotten a few myself.
If anyone has any stories to tell about bars in The Point, their names and precise locations, you can write me at neathatturcot (at) yahoo (dot) ca. I will be all too happy to respond.
Read Full Post »