The purpose of this guide is to provide a list of the historic sites and heritage buildings to be seen in the southern part of Dorval which was the whole of the original Village. All of the houses featured in this guide are over a hundred years old and a plaque has been placed in front of each site identifying it.
Guide of Heritage Sites
2 Elliott Place
This old fieldstone house, mostly hidden behind the modern garage, was built around 1815 by Jean-Baptiste Meloche on land granted to his ancestor François Meloche in 1708, along with the three islands opposite and with what is today Millennium Park. This part of the property stayed in the family for eight generations, until 1929, when the house was sold to Stanley Elliott, the Mayor of Dorval in 1947. The rest of the land was sold to the Royal Montreal Golf Club in 1895.
The park was established on the former Lautan Grounds to mark the year 2000. The large field, formerly known as the "Prairie de Guillaume" and once part of the Meloche farm, lying between Lakeshore Drive and Lake St. Louis, was once a marsh teeming with wildlife. Dixie Island can be seen with its lighthouse standing 25 meters high which has been a guide to navigation in these waters since 1915. The south shore of Lake St. Louis, which can be seen far behind the island (across 4 km) is part of the Kahnawake Native Reserve. A little further upstream (to the west) are two other islands, the tiny Bushy (or Bouchard) and the much bigger Dorval Island. Under the French Regime these islands were named "Courcelles" in honour of the 17th century Governor of New France.
Maison Charles B. Décary
223 Lakeshore Drive
This is a typical brick farm house built in 1875 by the third member of the pioneer Décary family to settle in Dorval, Charles Borromée. His land extended from Lake St. Louis to Côte de Liesse Road and westward from the Bouchard River to the adjoining Meloche Farm. The Décary family played a big role in the development of Dorval. Charles Décary was an Alderman in 1892 at the time of incorporation of the Village and he was Mayor in 1895. In spite of urbanization in the 1950s, this ancestral home has retained its original appearance.
Magasin (store) Joseph Décary
365 Lakeshore Drive
One of the only two buildings in Dorval to display its date of construction, it was built in 1888 by Joseph Décary and was a grocery store with dwelling-space above. Dorval's first telephone was installed here in 1888, and the following year there were fifteen subscribers. Joseph Décary was the manager of the local telephone company. The building remained a grocery store for nearly one hundred years with a restaurant opening its doors in 1986.
Maison Jean-Baptiste Décary
375 Lakeshore Drive
Jean-Baptiste Décary was the first of this extensive family to settle in Dorval and he built this brick farmhouse in 1846. Later, his son Damase lived here and had a blacksmith's forge across the road and used to shoe horses and oxen. Damase's two daughters, skilled dressmakers, also ran a branch of the Hochelaga Bank here and later the local Post Office. The offices of the Municipal Administration were also here at one time. There have been several occupants since 1925.
435 Lakeshore Drive
This is a typical timber house built sometime before 1900 as its sale is recorded in November of that year. After 1910, it belonged to Louis Lacroix, a wagon-maker, and his daughter continued to live here until 1964. A jeweler has owned it since 1986.
444 Lakeshore Drive
Georges Tardif constructed this building at the corner of Martin Avenue around 1887. It was a corner-store with living space above. He later sold it to Joseph H. Descary who obtained a liquor licence in 1900 and transformed the building into a hotel- the first in Dorval. It was much later that the hotel became a brasserie.
484 Lakeshore Drive
The restaurant here is over a hundred years old, having been built around 1914 on the foundations of the 1880 village school where the Municipal Council met from its inception in 1892 until 1910. The school was demolished in 1912 and a grocery store was erected in its place, which operated until 1990 when it was transformed into a restaurant.
Dorval City Hall
60 Martin Avenue
The foundations of City Hall are over a hundred years old. The central three-storey part, behind the porch, was built in 1912 as the water filtration plant. The Municipal Administration offices moved here into an addition. In 1924 a police and fire station were added followed by the Library in 1967; these services have since been relocated.
35 Martin Avenue
Hormisdas Massie, a stonemason and alderman, and his carpenter brother Francis built this typical village house in 1897, together with the stable/garage and hen-coop/shed, all remaining basically unchanged today. No. 38 across the road bears a strong family resemblance.
18 Martin Avenue
This is another typical village house that has retained its original charm. Joseph Lafrance, and out-of-town blacksmith, built this in 1888. His son Alexandre became the village barber at 465 Lakeshore Drive. His daughters were dress-makers who specialized in wedding dresses for the parish brides.
1 Martin Avenue
“Kilellan”, a large Victorian-style wooden house, was built in 1879 on the shores of beautiful Pointe Picard as a summer home for Dr. Duncan McEachran, Dean of Veterinary Medicine at McGill University. The property was sold in 1908 to a member of the Décary family and again in 1949 to Robert Percy Barnes, a prominent architect who designed St. Mark's Church in 1898, and the Clubhouse of the Royal Montreal Golf Club in 1899 - today the Académie Sant-Anne Academy on Bouchard Avenue.
Maison Paul Picard
2 Martin Avenue
This attractive fieldstone house, hardly visible from the street, is typical of early 19th century rural architecture. It was built in 1802 by Paul Picard on a broad piece of land granted to his ancestor Antoine Picard in 1732. There are several other houses built around it now but the area is still known as Pointe Picard.
4 Martin Avenue
This mansard-roofed wooden house located on Pointe Picard could have been built around 1832 and has been very well maintained by its successive owners. In 1900, its owner was Anthony Haig Sims who was mayor of Dorval in 1907-08, and who likely rented it to summer residents. It later belonged to Dr. John McComb who also owned no. 2 next door.
No traces remain of the early wooden houses built on this strategic location by Jacques Morin (1685), Jean-Baptiste Bouchard Dorval (1691) or Antoine Picard (1732). The first stone house was built by Antoine's son, Jean-Baptiste Picard in 1803. From 1874 on, it was enlarged by the latter's grandson, Désiré Girouard, who was a lawyer, historian, M.P., first Mayor of Dorval in 1892 and a Supreme Court Judge. What is left of this stone manor is now imbedded in the southern part of the modern convent which serves as a retirement home for the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame.
Église de La Présentation
655, de l'Église
After Dorval separated from Lachine and incorporated as an autonomous Village in 1892, the inhabitants needed their own Church. The new parish was constituted in 1895 and put into the care of the Montfortain Fathers (as it is still today). A little wooden chapel was built north of the present presbytery and given the name of La-Présentation-de-la-Sainte-Vierge, the same as the one given to the Chapel in the Gentilly Mission in 1667. The present neo-Roman hewstone church was built in 1900 and consecrated in 1901. Many of the names displayed in the cemetery date from this early time.
Couvent Notre-Dame du Sacré-Coeur
245-249 La Présentation (1912)
In 1912, the religious community known as the Filles de la Sagesse took over the responsibility of teaching the young girls of the parish and built the Couvent Notre-Dame du Sacré Coeur.
In 1913, about twenty girls were registered as day students or boarders. Then in 1925, the central section as well as the chapel were connected to the north wing. Around the end of the thirties, one part of the boarding school was used as a residence of young nuns. In 1964, a new section was added to house the École Normale (a teachers' college). In 1970, this section was turned into a residence for the elderly. The nuns left the convent in 1992 and the entire complex is now the Foyer Dorval which is administered by provincial government authorities.
Maison Jean-Baptiste Monette
Maison Pierre Monet
18 Place Décary
These two adjacent houses fronting on Lake St. Louis were built at different times on the land granted to Pierre Monet in 1774 and they remained in the Monette/Décary family for several generations. Today, the property on 18 Place Décary can hardly be seen from the road. No. 690 was built by Jean-Baptiste Monette about 1850 and except for the addition of a garage, has kept its original appearance particularly on the lake side.
St. Mark's Chapel
865 Lakeshore Drive
This little fieldstone chapel, set well back under the trees, on the east side and at the back of the modern church, was built in 1898 by and for the summer residents of the Anglican faith. Harry Markland Molson, member of the Molson family who lived nearby, was one of the eight founding members and gave the bell that is still rung every Sunday morning. The whole chapel remains almost exactly as when it was originally built.
900 Lakeshore Drive
The Legault dit Deslauriers family built the lower part of the current house on this site no later than 1859, some forty years after building "Le Manoir" to the west. Within the existing deep basement are the remains of a cellar that could have been part of the Fort de La Présentation (17th century). Since this area in general is the highest in Dorval (less prone to flooding), some historians think that the fort could have been built here. Such forts were a means of defence against the Iroquois. The current house remains true to its original architecture and building materials.
940 Lakeshore Drive
This is a magnificent stone manor constructed around 1820 by the Legault dit Deslauriers family in the heart of the probable site of the 17th century Fort de La Présentation. It once belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company and was occupied by Lord Strathcona, senior manager of the Hudson’s Bay Company and one of the main builders of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The various owners of the Manoir have modernized and maintained it with great care to preserve its historic character.
960-962 Lakeshore Drive
The eastern half (960) of this semi-detached house was the rather modest summer home of Harry Markland Molson, member of the Molson family of brewing fame and President of Molson’s Bank. He was more interested in boats than houses and spent much of his leisure time on his beloved yacht Alcyone. He was Mayor of Dorval from 1903 to 1905. He perished in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The other half (962) of the house was also the residence of a Dorval mayor, Robert Fitzgibbon, in office in 1896.
Maison Jacques Lepage dit Roy
2 Terrasse Ballantyne
This old fieldstone waterfront house was built by Jacques Lepage dit Roy around 1790. In spite of building an extension and a garage in the 1950s, it has kept its original 18th century architectural charm.
The park was part of Dosithée Legault dit Deslauriers’ vast property which extended from Lake St. Louis, northward past Dawson Avenue and from Roy to Allard avenues. In 1891, Hartland St. Clair MacDougall (1840-1917) bought the southern part of the domain and built his summer residence which he named “Ashburton” in honour of his wife’s maiden name. John Wilson McConnell (1877-1963) acquired the property in 1946. Mr. McConnell also owned “Ashburton” as a summer residence which burnt to the ground shortly after his death in 1963. The domain was then the object of a large-scale housing project (on the south side of Lakeshore Drive, facing the park). In 1969, the McConnell Foundation gave the land to the City of Dorval who turned it into today’s magnificent Windsor Park for all to enjoy.
1335 Lakeshore Drive
The core of this building was "Elmridge", the summer house of industrialist John Savage who bought farmland from the de Bellefeuille family and built the house in 1895. One of his daughters, Ann, became a renowned painter and was associated with the Group of Seven. After Mr. Savage's death, the property was bought by a group of wealthy businessmen who founded the Elmridge Country Club and built an extensive golf course around it. The Club moved to Île Bizard in 1959 and the City bought and enlarged the Clubhouse. After serving briefly as a school, it was transformed into what is today the Sarto Desnoyers Community Centre.
Maison Jacques Morin
66 Allan Point
This long whitewashed stone house, the oldest in Dorval, was built by Jacques Morin, a 17th century working farmer. He was killed in the Lachine Massacre of 1689 and his house was burnt down but the family returned and re-built it likely after the Great Peace with the Indians in 1701. At the beginning of the 19th century, the house served as a coaching inn and in 1890 became the summer home of James B. Allan, a nephew of Sir Hugh Allan, owner of the Allan Steamship Line. He named it "The Hermitage" with the property then occupying all of Allan Point.
Pine Beach Park
As early as the 19th century, Dorvalers and Montrealers flocked to this prime summer resort. Due to a drop in the water level, the beach lost its appeal and the City of Dorval decided to build a park here, from 1957 to 1977, for the enjoyment of all: picnickers, boaters, walkers, photographers. In 1967, a cenotaph was erected in memory of fallen Dorval WWII soldiers. The park is home to the Frank-Richmond bandstand where free performances are presented during the summer.
Forest and Stream Club
1800 Lakeshore Drive
In 1878, “Bel-Air” was the name of an English-style manor flanked, at a distance, by a caretaker’s lodge to the east and a coach house to the west which is today the Dorval Museum of Local History and Heritage. When Alfred Brown, President of the Grand Trunk Railroad, who had built the manor as his summer residence, died in 1886, the property was sold to the prestigious Forest and Stream Club which still occupies it to this day. The property is no longer called “Bel-Air”, but the land on which the manor was built is still called Brown Point.
Maison Michel ou Allard
2095 Lakeshore Drive
One of six heritage fieldstone houses in Dorval, this early 19th century landmark home was likely built around 1800 by the Legault family on land granted in 1674 to André Michel, a victim of the 1689 Lachine Massacre. It was occupied by the Allard family for over one hundred years.
2120 Lakeshore Drive
This attractive “upright-planked” house, built in 1865 on the shores of Lake St. Louis, was occupied by a number of old Dorval families. Beautifully maintained by its present owners, it has regained its original authenticity and is an example of intelligent architectural conservation.
2205 Lakeshore Drive
This mansard-style house was originally built in 1864 by large-scale market gardener Dosithée Carrière. After a major renovation, the west wing was added in 1990 in the same style as the original “upright-planked” house. Whitehead Point or Valois Point, south of the road, was once part of the farm which is where the Whitehead family has twice built large and comfortable homes and twice in 90 years has had them destroyed by fire.