Francis Robert Redpath House
By Dick Nieuwendyk
The Redpath mansion was designed by architect Sir Andrew Taylor and built in 1886.
The house is one of the last remaining examples of Queen Anne architecture to have been designed by Andrew Taylor, who also designed the Redpath Museum building on the McGill University campus.
This red-brick building, with its slate shingles, turrets, gables, Palladian windows, and its tall chimney, in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile, is historically significant because of its link to Scottish-born John Redpath, a wealthy industrialist and builder of the Lachine Canal, and founder of the Redpath sugar refinery, who owned huge tracts of land on either side of Sherbrooke St.
The Redpath family was one of the most influential Montreal families of the 19th century.
The house on 29 Ontario Avenue (today 3455 – 3457 Du Musée Ave.) was known as ”Inglenook”, the residence of Francis Robert Redpath, vice-president of operations with the sugar refinery.
After Redpath’s death in 1928, Inglenook remained vacant for several decades until 1969, when a non-profit organization took it over as ”Beamish House”, a convalescent hospital
from the Royal Victoria Hospital for patients on dialysis.
Later, it was sold to a religious order, which in turn sold it in 1986 to the current owners, who proposed turning the two adjoining houses into condominums. Demolition began without a permit, and was halted in 1986 by a court injunction obtained by Heritage Montreal and Save Montreal. Demolition was again stopped in February 2002, when
the city’s appeal board reversed an earlier decision by then-mayor Pierre Bourque allowing the owner to tear it down. Since then, the site has continued to deteriorate and the building has become an eyesore.
The city is said to be considering a proposal to have the house demolished and have the facade integrated into a multi-storey tower.
Heritage Montreal has continued to remind municipal authorities of the need to preserve the house and to find a way to integrate it into a development project that would respect the heritage and the urban pattern of the Golden Square Mile.
The Redpath House is located at 3455 – 3457 Avenue du Musée.
(Source: Heritage Montreal – The Gazette – CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc)