Sunday, 27 February 2011

Montreal Horses & History

We're hoping to get to go to Montreal again this summer to see my family (all being well!!) and one of the things I would like to do, is photograph horses and horse related stuff (especially if it's side saddle related stuff!!) like old stable buildings, etc.

One of my favorite tack shops that I used to go to all the time (and still go to when I visit Montreal, is called Lemay Saddlery. They have a Victorian side saddle hanging up from the ceiling by the cash register that has been there ever since I was 14 (that was a long time ago!!). It's havana brown with a fancy stitched safe and a small off-side horn that I have been coveting since they got it over 20 years ago but they won't sell it as they say it's "broken". I'm hoping that they will let me at least take a photo of it this summer.

I also would like to visit the Montreal Cavalry stables on Mount Royal as well. This is another place I used to go to when I was a teenager and annoy all the policemen with questions about their horses. One policeman even let me groom and saddle up his horse once! They used to only have about box stalls in the barn and the rest were nice big standing stalls but it looks as if in the video, that they have renovated the barn made it all box stalls.

You also used to be able to just pop in and visit as the barn was always open but when we went last year, it was closed to public and visits were by appointment only, I guess to stop annoying teenage girls from coming in and pestering the policemen about their horses!! ;) I'll be prepared this year!

I would also like to photograph the Ravenscrag stables as well. The stables are made from beautiful grey stone work and were part of the Ravenscrag estate which was owned by Sir Hugh Allan, a Scottish industrialist, who made Montreal his home.

All the photos are from the turn of the century but the buildings still stand and are now part of the Royal Victoria Hospital's psychiatric unit.

Here are some of the stables...

Front view, there is a stone horse head at the top of the archway. When I visited the stables in the late 90's, the horsehead was still there.

Back view of the stables...

Interior view with a carriage and a sleigh on either side...

Close up of the horses in the standing stalls...

Stall area...

Missie Allan and her pony...

When we went to Montreal in 2008, I was lucky enough to visit my old school, a historic private girl's school called, Villa Maria which was built in 1804 and became a school in 1854 when the Congrégation de Notre-Dame nuns bought it.

The school still has their old stable standing at the back of the main building and I took a sneaky photo of it before one of the caretakers came running out shouting that the nuns would not like it! LOL, I spent 5 years of my life there studying hard and I'll be darned if I didn't get a photo of the stables! ;)

I was the "tour guide" for the stables when I was in my graduating year there as the older girls had to tell the younger girls about the school and show them around. It was last used for horse sin 1949 and the Stucco on outside walls, is original! I'm going to go back and try to get a back view too!

I'm also hoping that I can go around the Pointe St Charles and Griffintown areas of the city and photograph some of the historic stables too where the caleche horses which pull the carriages in Old Montreal, live and speak to Leo Leonard, who owns the Griffintown Horse Palace too.

Until I get to go back to Montreal and get some more horse related history for you all, check out my previous blog posts on my home city...

The Montreal Hunt Club & Equestrian Building History

The Mount Royal Riding Academy and Club

Owen Side Saddles in Museums


  1. I love these posts! I'm hoping to go to Bromont this year, maybe I should try to have a look around for historical horse buildings...

    Can you have a glance at this saddle and reasure me that it's crap, and to forget about it?


  2. Hate to say it but it looks like a cheap one. It's probably not the *worst* cheap one but it's likely not the best. $800 is WAY too much for it IMHO. You can find old name saddles for around that price, maybe a little more, it just takes lots of looking. The completely restored C&W I just got was $800 and it came with everything but a balance strap.

  3. Thanks, that's what I figured. I'm still keeping my eye out, but not really shopping. I wish we had some options like you're amazing store here! Oh well, it'll make the hunt so much sweeter when I find something. I just hope you don't mind me throwing links at you!

  4. It's a cheap Asian import one but not nearly as bad as a Hilason. There was one at Sandon Saddlery when I went and it didn't look too badly made except that the girth straps were set VERY far back, even for a horse without an awkward Hattie conformation!

    Michelle is right, you would be better taking that $800 and save up a little bit more and getting a nice Old Name side saddle.

    No worries Lexie, just keep posting those links!! :)

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