3. Historic People, Places, & Events

Basin Street Park

Image courtesy of the St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal

(Click image to enlarge)

This photograph, likey taken sometime between 1920 and 1940, shows Basin Street Park as it once existed. Note the bell tower of St. Ann’s Church in the background.

To see what the park looks like today, click here.


RAF Bomber Crash at the Corner of Shannon & Ottawa, 1944

Image courtesy of the St. Patrick’ Society of Montreal

(Click image to enlarge)

On April 25th, 1944, a RAF Liberator Bomber taking off from a supply base in Dorval experienced engine trouble as it approached Mount Royal. Shortly after 10am, it crashed into a block of flats at the corner of Ottawa and Shannon Street. The pilot had desperately tried to reach the river in a heroic bid to save the lives of people on the ground. Sadly, he never made it. The impact killed 15 people, including the 5-man air crew. The photo above shows the aftermath of the impact.

To learn more about this incident, please refer to this entry at the Canadian Encyclopedia.

To see what the corner of Ottawa and Shannon Street looks like today, please click here.


The Griffintown Club

Image courtesy of the St. Patrick’s Society

(Click image to enlarge)

This is a picture of the old Griffintown Club as it appeared around the mid-20th century. The Club was located at the corner of Ottawa and Shannon Street. It was built in 1908 to provide recreational services to the community.

To take a look at this historical intersection as it appears today, click here.


Healy’s General Store

Image courtesy of the St. Patrick’s Society

(Click image to enlarge)

This picture, taken in the 1920s, depicts shopkeeper Edward Healy (far right) standing outside his store at the corner of Ottawa and McCord. Small businesses run by immigrants were common in Griffintown until the mid-20th century. The played an important role in the community, and shopkeepers could usually be counted on to extend credit to poor immigrant families who could not afford groceries.

To what this historic intersection looks like today, click here.


Joe Beef’s Tavern

The building that housed the tavern as it looked circa 1970. Image courtesy of Andre Patry

(Click image to enlarge)

While just outside the traditional bounds of what is considered Griffintown, Joe Beef’s Canteen was a very important focal point for the community during the late 19th century.  For working class Montreal, Beef’s tavern functioned as the centre of social life in Griffintown. At the time, the neighbourhood had no public parks, and gatherings and public celebrations were only occasionally held by national societies and church groups.

To learn more about the life and times of Joe Beef, click here.

To view the building that housed the tavern as it stands today, click here.

The Ghost of Mary Gallagher

Lithograph courtesy of the Montreal Mirror

(Click image to enlarge)

At approximately 12:15 a.m. on June 26 in 1879, Griffintown prostitute Mary Gallagher was murdered by her best friend Susan Kennedy in a drunken rage. Kennedy chopped off her head and tossed into a water pail beside the stove.

According to the story, the two women went to Place Jacques Cartier that Friday afternoon in June, 129 years ago, and drank two bottles of whisky together. Gallagher then picked up a young man by the name of Michael Flanagan, and they all went back to Kennedy’s house at the corner of William and Murray Street.

Sometime during the evening, after Flanagan had passed out, Kennedy became jealous of Gallagher’s success in picking up a trick and went berserk. In a fit of intoxicated rage, she took an axe and chopped off Gallagher’s head.

Initially, both Kennedy and Flanagan were charged with the murder, but it soon became apparent that Kennedy was the only one who could have done it – there was no blood at all on Flanagan.

It’s said Gallagher haunts the streets every seven years looking for the head she lost in 1879.

To view this address as it exists today, click here.

For more information, click here.

William Street, St. Patrick’s Day

Image courtesy of the St. Patrick’s Society

(Click image to enlarge)

This picture depicts a neighbourhood youth, Denis Delaney, dressed up for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Griffintown Parade. The parade was an annual social event for the community and the Church, and was a celebration of Celtic pride . This picture was taken sometime during the 1930s.

To see how this address looks today, click here.



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