HaPpy biRThDay DadDY!Posted: October 13, 2009
Oct 13 is the birthday of Gardencourt’s founder and first courtier, Frank McGarrigle. He’d be 110 today. Born and raised in St John NB, Frank came West to Montreal to work in the late 20s. It was around that time that skiing caught on and the city’s young people began riding the ski trains to the Laurentians on week-ends. The CNR stopped in St Sauveur des Monts and for better or for worse marked it as a party town back then. It still is. Frank spent the Winter of 1933 here at the peak of the Great Depression and never felt it’s effects. Depression-proof with over-proof. He’d found his Shangri-la. At the conclusion of WW2 he bought an acre of land, built a house and moved us up there. We were not alone. The Laurentians burgeoned with the arrival of Europeans and city folk who craved the mountain air. In the mid 1970s when the powers that be told us we were in a recession Gaby went around bragging as if to convince herself she liked the place, which she didn’t, “Don’t tell me there’s a recession”, there wasn’t one in St Sauveur. When Frank and Gaby got married they actually wanted a house in Montreal West, in fact it was the most beautiful of houses on Strathearn Ave. N., but her father Arthur wouldn’t loan them the $3000. because he didn’t think MoWest had a future, likewise St Sauveur. The man was an idiot. St-So continues to grow out of control and one of Lily’s friends who visited this past Summer compared it unfavorably to Laval. Frank’s house is still standing despite the best efforts of the squirrels who bite holes in the living-room ceiling when they party too hard. It’s the price we must pay for having the biggest and best pine cones around.*
Happy Birthday Dear Frank.
*In the late 1950s Gaby planted some white pines around the house which she’d brought from Combermere ON where Janie was at boarding school. The pines are everywhere now as are the black Ontario squirrels (the red ones in decline or so it seems) who up until a few years ago did not live in Quebec. The new settlers.
I took this pic in the Summer of 1968, 3 yrs after Frank passed on.