Mount Royal, A Territory to Discover

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Hurtubise House
561-563 Côte-Saint-Antoine Road, Westmount

Witness to agricultural development

Situated on the southwest slope of Mount Royal, the house was built in 1739 on the family farm of Jean Hurtubise. It is a fine example of rural French-style architecture and is one of the oldest houses in Montréal. Built of fieldstone and larger than the average urban residence of the period, the house attests to the prosperity of the Hurtubise family, who worked their fields, market garden and orchard.

Witness to urban development

In 1839, the property was divided, the first time in half, and then subdivided several more times between 1847 and 1873. In 1880, the Hurtubise family stopped farming. The farm fields of Côte-Ste-Antoine were then transformed into residential areas.
The original parcels of land belonging to the Hurtubise family form the base of the current City of Westmount.

The house was lived in continuously by six generations of the Hurtubise family until its sale in 1955. It is now owned by the Canadian Heritage of Québec organization.

The land and the house were classified as a historic site and historic monument on December 16, 2004 by the Minister of Culture and Communications.

 

Photo credit:

Hurtubise House
Les amis de la montagne Collection 

 

Door detail
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne's Collection

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Standing on the Westmount lookout

From the Westmount lookout, there’s an imposing view and twenty metal arrows along the balustrade to help us discover the scenery.

On the horizon, on a clear day, you can see the Monteregian hills, cousins of Mount Royal, as well as the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Just below, flows the Saint Lawrence River. You can see Montreal’s first bridge, the Victoria Bridge, built in 1859, the Champlain Bridge, built in 1962, and Nuns Island and Heron Island, a bird refuge accessible only by boat.

Closer to you are some remarkable buildings.

The long brick building with the magnificent dome was built in 1908 by Omar Marchand, as the Mother House of the Congregation de Notre-Dame.

Today, this building is home to Dawson College.

The three tall black towers forming Westmount Square were designed by the internationally known architect Mies Van der Rohe and were inaugurated in 1967.

While standing directly in the centre of the lookout you will see Westmount City Hall, designed in the Tudor style by the architect Robert Finlay, and built in 1922.

Just below you, on the side of the hill, extends the city of Westmount.

This territory has developed from ancient trails forged through the woods by the original First Nations people.

The first French settlers cleared the land and built houses along Côte-Saint-Antoine Road. One of them, the stone house built by the Hurtubise family in 1688, still stands today.

In the nineteenth century, Scottish and English businessmen established themselves here and built large mansions on the hillside.

The best way to discover Westmount is by foot.

Go down the stairs from the lookout and observe the imposing Mansion number fourteen. It was built in 1911 by Ross and Macfarlane for Lieutenant-Colonel Charles A. Smart. The outstanding ironwork gates and fence were designed by architect Percy Nobbs.

Continue along Sunnyside Avenue toward Summit Circle. This fifteen minute walk will let you see prestigious homes built at the beginning of the nineteenth century. You will observe a variety of materials used and different architectural styles, from Neo-Medieval, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance, and Neo-Romantic to Victorian, Classical and Modern.

Enjoy your walk!