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Ekers Brewery



by Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca


In the mid 19th century, Thomas Alfred Ekers, born in Woodbury, Devonshire, England migrated to Canada, where he apprenticed with a brewery in Montreal, founded in 1845 by his uncle George Bowes, and a brewer named Ellis.  Within a few years Thomas replaced Ellis as brewmaster  and the firm became known as Bowes and Ekers.  In 1853 George Bowes transferred ownership of the brewery to his

nephew, and became the Ekers Brewery, a business that would remain in the family for three generations. After the death of Thomas Ekers in 1889, his son Henry Archer Ekers took over as head of one of the most important breweries of Québec at that time.


In 1893, Henry contracted his brother-in-law, architect Alexander Francis Dunlop and his partner John Charles Allison Heriot, to design a new brewery building.

Ekers Brewery ca 1910
Ekers Brewery ca 1910

According to Dunlop, locally quarried stone would be preferred to wood or brick, claiming that it was appropriate to the climate, and that it could be treated in such a way as to present sculpted decorations, as we can see on the facade of the building.


Le St. Dominique (formerly Ekers Brewery) - 2012            (photo: Dick Nieuwendyk)
Le St. Dominique (formerly Ekers Brewery) – 2012 (photo: Dick Nieuwendyk)

From 1898 to 1906, Henry Archer Ekers represented St. Lawrence ward on Montreal’s city council, where he was also a member of the finance committee. In 1906, he was elected the 28th mayor of Montreal. Ekers ran as a Conservative in the federal elections of 1900 and 1908, but was unsuccessful. After his second defeat, he devoted himself full-time to his business concerns. In 1909, he amalgamated 15 different breweries into one under the name National Breweries Ltd.  Ekers died in February 1927 in Montreal.  In 1931, the Ekers Brewery building became the Dawes Draught Beer Brewery and given over to the production of Dawes Black Horse draft beer.


Between 1993 and 2010 the brewery was home to the Just For Laughs museum. Today, with a beautifully restored stone finished façade, abundant windows, and the ancestral design of its entrance, the former Brewery is now the St-Dominique, an exclusive boutique-condo project which offers views of Mount Royal, the historic Bon-Pasteur Monastery and a charming landscaped inner courtyard.


The building is located at 2115 St.Laurent Blvd. in Montreal


Source:   Ville de Montréal / DevMcGill / Alchetron / Ancestry UK

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