A version of this article appeared in the Westmount Independent, July 8th. 2014
During the course of browsing digital archive images of Westmount, I keep coming across this picture of a beautiful old fountain next to the park’s current wading pond in the early 1900s.
The image is copyrighted – all I can provide is this link:
The research I have done points to a drinking fountain donated to the City of Westmount by the NWCTU to celebrate Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1898.
“National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the members were urged to erect drinking fountains in their towns so that men could get a drink of water without entering saloons and staying for stronger drinks. Often the drinking fountains that were erected offered a place for horses to drink, another place for dogs, and of course, a place for humans to drink.”
The few fountains, which still exist in North America, show how beautifully they were designed:
Thinking this would be a wonderful historic addition to the park, if restored to its former glory, I contacted City Hall and enquired about its whereabouts.
The City of Westmount Archives and Records Management office kindly did the research, and provided a fascinating insight into this matter.
Apparently, in the 1960s a major redevelopment occurred in the park. During that period, the fountain was removed.
Interestingly, the City’s Archives has a document, with the following photographs, dated 1987, that shows the fountain disassembled, 100 kilometers north of Montreal, in Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon. How the fountain ended up there is a question – one can speculate that it was given to a City employee who moved it to a country property.
(Both photographs are used, with permission, from the City of Westmount Archives)
Hopefully, over the summer months I will delve deeper into this mystery – stay tuned!