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W.W. Ogilvie Building


William Watson Ogilvie was the youngest of three brothers who had taken over ownership of the mills, from their father Alexander and their uncle William Watson Ogilvie and significantly expanded them, using the latest milling technology, which was invented and developed in Hungary. William W. Ogilvy made a personal inspection of the Hungarian patent during his first visit to Europe in 1868. The new technique was to grind wheat using steel rollers instead of millstones, which produced a higher quality flour. By the end of the 1800s, A.W. Ogilvie and Company was the largest miller in the dominion and had earned a worldly reputation for producing flour of the finest quality.


W.W. Ogilvie Bldg - 1900      (Photo: Wm.Notman)
W.W. Ogilvie Bldg – 1900 (Photo: Wm.Notman)

The building located at 224 Place d’Youville was built in 1890 as the head office of A.W. Ogilvie and Company. It was designed by architects Alexander Cowper Hutchison and Alexander Denton Steele.


The building occupies an entire corner lot near the port and the Lachine Canal, and replaced three shops that were built in the mid-1850s. The three-story stone building, is capped with a flat roof, and is distinguished by a conical corner turret. The corner tower, with its main entrance, and its small arched windows and conical roof, gives a medieval Romanesque look to the building.


W.W. Ogilvie Bldg - 2016   (© Dick Nieuwendyk)
W.W. Ogilvie Bldg – 2016 (© Dick Nieuwendyk)

After the sudden death of William Watson in 1900, a Canadian syndicate bought  A.W. Ogilvie and Company and in 1902 renamed it Ogilvie Flour Mills Company, which occupied the building until the 1930s.


William Watson Ogilvie -1888  (Wm. Notman - McCord Museum)
William Watson Ogilvie -1888
(Wm. Notman – McCord Museum)

From 1946 until the 1960s the building was occupied by government agencies and various companies, who rented offices on the upper floors and warehouse space on the ground floor. In 1968, John Labatt Ltd. purchased the Ogilvie building and converted some of the upper floors into housing. A sailors union occupied offices for over 20 years. In 1993, Archer Daniels-Midland Co., a global food processing and commodities trading company, bought the building from John Labatt Ltd. An architectural firm settled in 1994 on the ground floor.


The current use of the premises are reminiscent of the original vocation of the building, as it combines office spaces and reception areas for customers.



Bag of Flour - 1902
Bag of Flour – 1902

Source: Ville de Montréal / Vieux Montréal / Canadian Industrialists / John Alexander Gemmill, The Ogilvies of Montreal. 1904 / ADM


by: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca

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