Saint Henri Fire Station – Then & Now
By Dick Nieuwendyk –mtltimes.ca
The Saint-Henri-des-Tanneries parish was founded in 1867. It became a municipality in 1875, and the first English and French churches and schools were opened. In 1883 the Saint-Henri Town Hall and Fire Station no 1 were built.
Burdened by debts linked to its rapid industrialization, Saint-Henri was annexed to the City of Montreal in 1906. The territory became urbanized, benefiting from public utilities such as street lights, and a water supply system. The old fire station No.1 became Station No.11, a combined fire hall/police station which remained in service until 1930. In 1930 the city demolished Station no.11, and on the same site, in 1931, a new Art Deco style building was constructed according to the plans of architect Ludger Lemieux. The portion used by the fire department was now on Place St-Henri rather than at St-Jacques and du Couvent.
Built of cut stone and brick, Post No. 11 is reinforced with a majestic copper-capped
tower. Brick columns and vertical articulation of a roof dome of Station No. 11 remind
us of another building of Ludger Lemieux – the Atwater Market, built in 1933.
Today, the building is known as Station No.23 and not only houses the police and fire
departments, but also the Historical Society of Saint-Henri. Highlights of this building
are the reliefs on the exterior walls by Joseph Guardo such as the heads of a police
man, a fireman, and two men in the act of a crime with one being jailed. Above a side doorway is a beautiful relief of a fireman’s head surrounded by stylized representations of smoke, fire and water.
Fire Station No. 23 is located at
523, Place Saint-Henri
Sources: Art Deco Architecture in Montreal, Heritage Montreal, Heritage Canada