Mile End once had its very own country inn. There was a Mile End hotel and tavern as early as 1815, when one of its regulars, an English businessman and landowner named Stanley Bagg, made a number of references to it in some ads he placed in the Gazette.
It’s likely that the hotel you see above is a descendant of that early inn. Built in 1850 at the corner of what is now St. Laurent and Bernard, I like to imagine that it was one of those out-of-town spots where you could hitch your horse, get a beer and find a room for a night. Whoever built it must have been awfully grateful in 1882 when, less than a block from the hotel, the CPR built Mile End Station. Over the next couple of years, every train heading west to the Prairies passed through Mile End.
I know very little about the history of the hotel in the twentieth century, although its ground floor remained a tavern. Alas, as happens all too often, this unassuming but historically remarkable building burned down sometime in the 1990s. The top photo you see was taken around 1985; the bottom one in 2007. It would be nice if a longtime Mile End resident could share some information about this building.
(Incidentally, does anyone know why the lot has remained vacant for so long?)
The before-and-after photo was created, as usual, by Guillaume St-Jean. I’m happy to say that Guillaume has joined Spacing Montreal as a contributor, so be sure to check it out for regular dispatches from Montreal’s past.
Tags: Mile End, Montreal, Then and Now