In the process of researching various, Westmount related, topics a newspaper a headline “Westmount Will Have One Of The Finest Laid Out Parks on the Continent” caught my attention.
The article that followed was in the Westmount News August 5, 1910. It provided details of a new Park Extension By-Law (221) that was passed by City Council. The City was taking a $300,000 loan to procure 5 additional acres for the purpose of extending the current park. A large portion of this land was from “Dame Margaret Smith et. al.” and the Estate of William Smith. This comprised the area between Western Avenue (now Boulevard De Maisonneuve) and St. Catherine Street, the Glen Road, Lansdowne Avenue and bordering Elgin Avenue (now Melville Avenue).
The City’s landscape architect, R. A. Outhet, proposed two crescent driveways joining Western Avenue: one from Elgin Ave. and the other following the path of Glen Road.
In addition, a boulevard entrance to the park would connect from St. Catherine Street “giving a stately entrance to the park”. Council stated that this would “increase the beautification of the city which so far has been laid out too much of straight lines”.
The By-Law also provided power to Council to sell land fronting St. Catherine St. and Lansdowne Ave. to pay for the park extension.
One can only speculate what the causes were to abandon this 100 year-old vision and create the park’s current landscape and configuration.
On another note, the same 1910 edition of the Westmount News had the following item:
“The council is now considering a proposal to erect a Museum, towards which substantial support has been generously promised by Mr. David Ross McCord, K.C., the well-known antiquarian of Temple Grove, whose collection of historic relics is the best and most complete in the continent.”
For some reason, eleven years later, David McCord donated his entire collection elsewhere forming the McCord National Museum located in a building provided by McGill University. The museum, today, is known as the McCord Museum and located at 690 Sherbrooke Street West.