The History of Weredale Park

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The History of Weredale Park

"In the early 1850's, the Honorable George Moffatt bought William Badgley's house and called it "Weredale Lodge."

Weredale Park Street Sign, 1908

At the beginning of the 19th century, the men who had made their fortune in the fur trade, Simon McTavish, the Frobisher brothers and Simon Clarke turned their eyes to the orchards and farms beyond the fortified city of Montreal in search of gracious country living.

In 1806, fur trader William Hallowell chose 100 acres of land on the escarpment below Dorchester between Atwater and Hallowell and built a house there. Several years later Judge William Badgley built a house near the Hallowell estate as his country residence. His property was lined with orchards on the escarpment near Atwater.

In the early 1850's, the Honorable George Moffatt bought William Badgley's house and called it "Weredale Lodge". Looking south from his land, he could see the St. Lawrence River, Moffatt Island and the terminus wharf of Canada's first railroad, the Champlain and St. Lawrence, which he had founded in 1832".

Moffatt's Weredale Lodge had a circular driveway leading to Dorchester Street. This driveway is still the same to this day and is known as Weredale Park.

8 Weredale Park

Many years later, another residence was built next to Weredale Lodge: a Gothic style house built in 1877 by the architect John James Browne, its conical slate roof and pointed arch windows are characteristic of the Gothic style.

In the early 1880's, Lewis James Sergeant, General Manager of the Grand Truck Railway, built a house on the escarpment of Weredale Park near Atwater. The house was eastern side of Weredale Park, the general area of what is now 5 Weredale Park.

St. Stephen's Church was built in 1903 on the corner of Atwater and Dorchester. It stands right at the boundary between Westmount and Montreal where a tollgate once guarded the entry to the south-eastern corner.

Sometime in the 1920's, Weredale Lodge was demolished for the construction of a new building for the Boys Home of Montreal. The first Boys Home was located on Mountain Street but had become too small to serve the growing population of Montreal. A campaign conducted by the Rotary Club of Montreal raised $289,000, and the new Boys Home was built where Weredale Lodge had been. The Boys Home of Montreal would eventually be renamed Weredale House.

The mid twentieth century saw other buildings constructed on Weredale Park including an annex to the Red Feather building on Atwater and several multi-unit residences.

Most traces of 19th century Weredale Park are no longer there. Weredale Lodge was demolished to make way for The Boys Home of Montreal. Hallowell House was demolished to make way for the Ville Marie expressway. The only indication we have of Weredale Park in the 19th century is remarkable gothic style house at 8 Weredale and George Moffatt's circular driveway which we now know as Weredale Park.

N.B. Compiled with information from the Westmount Examiner, the City of Westmount and Wikimedia.

Photos credits:
(1) Weredale Park Street Sign: Ronald Zinn.
(2) 8 Weredale Park: Ronald Zinn.