By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca
The building on the corner of Rue de la Commune and St. Laurent Blvd is actually a set of two buildings that were built together on land originally owned by the Congregation of Notre- Notre-Dame since 1668. Several buildings had existed on the land before Elizabeth Platt-Mittleberger, the widow of George Platt, bought the property in 1822.
George Platt was a blacksmith who established himself in business in Montreal, where he made his fortune in dealing in hardware and running a foundry. He was also a politician, who represented Montreal East in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada from 1814 to 1816, and a captain in the Montreal Cavalry during the War of 1812.
In 1822 Elizabeth Mittleberger-Platt hired Montreal contractor Isaac Shay to build a stone warehouse overlooking the harbour and a house and store facing St. Paul Street, over the vaulted cellar of a previous house dating from the eighteenth century. Shay, who had built several other buildings in the area, constructed the four story warehouse and the three and a half story house and store around a small courtyard. Both buildings have a small gabled roof with skylights. At the top of the warehouse we can still see a pinion hoist, part of a system used to bring goods up to the top floor of the warehouse. In 1823 Elizabeth signed a lease with Joseph Beckett & Company, chemists, druggists, and apothecaries, the first tenants of the buildings until 1836. John Carter, also a pharmacist and chemist, was the next tenant and occupied the buildings as John Carter & Company, with his partners William McDonaldand John Kerry from 1836 until 1860.
In 1841, a court judgment transferred ownership to Emma Mathilda Platt, daughter of the late
George Platt, and wife of Dr. James Crawford. She had two walls built to connect the warehouse and the house of St. Paul Street. In 1862 Emma sold the buildings to Joseph Tiffin, a wholesale grocer, who occupied the building until 1891, when it was rented by the company of William Middleton, who specialized in the sale of baskets and articles made of wood. The Tiffin family retained ownership of the buildings until 1948.
In 1914, St. Laurent Blvd, which led to Notre Dame street, was extended to Rue de la Commune. The stone wall along the boulevard, was spared during the construction of this lane. In the 1940s a candy making business occupied the warehouse. In 1948, the house on St. Paul was a restaurant. The Quebec Ministry of Cultural Affairs also occupied offices here for a few years.
The building was saved from demolition in 1960, and major renovations were made in 1966 by architect Patrick Blouin. Several owners succeed until 1981 when the building was converted into offices and housed a restaurant. Since 2007, a branch of the Giorgio restaurant chain occupies the ground floor, with offices of the same company on upper floors.
The Elizabeth Platt-Mittleberger store-house has been classified as a historic building in 1968, and is located at 220 Saint-Laurent Blvd.
Source: Ville de Montréal / Parks Canada /