Then and Now Montreal – The building on 2175 de la Montagne is the former residence of Montreal merchant George Wait, his wife Jane Holloway, and their son and two daughters, built in 1893 by Montreal architect Robert Findlay. Then and Now Montreal found this building had many faces over the years.
Mr. Wait was the principal owner of George Wait & Company, wholesalers in food items, with offices and a warehouse (now demolished) on William Street near the Port of Montreal and the Lachine Canal.
In the late 1800s, the rich farmlands in the western provinces made Canada a major exporter of wheat and flour, and with a high demand of dairy products by foreign countries, Canadian provision merchants encouraged the farmers to produce butter and cheese for export, mainly to Great Britain. Among his competitors, George Wait was known as the “egg king” of Canada, shipping extensively to the United States and Great Britain.
After George Wait’s death in 1895 the building had several owners and eventually, in 1930, became an eatery, called Café Martin, one of the city’s finest. On 11 October 1934, more than a hundred people were invited by Leo Dandurand, who organized a farewell banquet at Cafe Martin for Howie Morenz, the biggest NHL star of the time, when he was sold to the Chicago Black Hawks just before the 1934-35 season.
Today the building is home to Maison Cloakroom, a one of a kind establishment located in the heart of the Golden Square Mile, featuring a high-end tailor shop that offers made-to-measure garments made in Japan, with an on-site barber shop offering a classic yet highly personal grooming and relaxation experience. The Cloakroom also harbours a cocktail bar featuring signature drinks from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Source: Mtl Gazette / McCord Museum / The Canadian Album
By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca