Then and Now Montreal – The Maison Arthur Dubuc is located in the elite francophone neighbourhood of the time. It was built in 1894 for Arthur Dubuc, a prosperous building contractor, according plans designed by Montreal architect Alphonse Raza.
The three-storey Victorian style building combines an array of shapes from different architectural styles. It features a Château style turret with a conical roof, a facade inspired by Dutch achitecture, a large bay window that rises from the basement to the first floor and an impressive neo-Roman style entrance porch.
Arthur Dubuc died in 1895. The house was sold by his widow Angelina Racicot in 1901. In 1912 it became the property of Ucal-Henri Dandurand, a wealthy clothing salesman and real estate investor, who was also the first person to drive a “horseless carriage”, a two-cylinder steam powered Waltham, in the streets of Montreal. In 1903 he imported a De Dion-Bouton, a water-cooled single-cylinder car with opposite facing seats, built in France. Because of noise-complaints from local residents, and the risk of not being able to drive his car, Dandurand applied for a bicycle license. In 1906 the government issued him a license for $1, making it the first motor vehicle registered in Quebec with the number Q1, painted on the rear. Dandurand’s De Dion-Bouton is now on permant exhibit at the Château Ramezay museum on Notre Dame street in Montreal.
In 1926 the Maison Arthur Dubuc was bought by the Montreal Canadian Club, an elite social club founded in 1874. It was extended in 1927 by architect Lucien Parent to house a bowling alley and a reception room, and again in 1947 by architect Charles Grenier, who built three-story addition in the back of the residence. Over the years the Canadian Club had renowned members such as Lomer Gouin, Premier of Quebec from 1905 to 1920, Rodolphe Forget, a businessman and politician, and Trefflé Berthiaume, owner of the daily La Minerve and La Presse.
The Canadian Club left in 1979, but retained ownership until 1984. The Dubuc house changed hands several times before being purchased by a contractor in 1993 who restored and transformed it into luxury housing.
The Maison Arthur Dubuc was recognized as a Historic Monument by the City of Montreal in 1989.
It is located at 434-438, Sherbrooke Street East.
By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca