Friday, July 13, 2007

Montreal 50s SKYTOWER woot-woot!!!!

This, of course, is Dorchester Boulevard looking towards the West. The same view now would feature PVM on the right and the IBM Tower on the left. But in the '50s there was a tall, thin tower jauntily sticking up around that same spot. It apparently lit up in green and red. You can see it in this photo (click on it to see it large). It looks like a six story smokestack. Coolopolis' team of seven unpaid summer interns has been ordered to work 20 hours a day throughout the construction holidays until the get an explanation of what this fine symbol was. If anybody can solve this issue, these youngsters will be free to frolic by the pool.

14 comments:

Bob said...

No idea what it is, but I'm loving these old pictures!

Keep it up!

Bill_the_Bear said...

I'm digging back in my memories for this one, but I believe that it was a weather tower sponsored by Canada Life. They used to publicize it in little ads in the masthead of the Gazette and/or the Star.
I believe the green would have indicated good weather and the red poor weather, i.e. precipitation. There were also concentric white rings on the column, which seemed to move up or down, depending on whether the temperature was rising or falling.
By the early 70's, when I moved here, the sign would have been on one of those obscure buildings around City Councillors and Mayor, just east of Morgan's. It's been gone a long time now.
Oh...I seem to remember that there was a similar sign somewhere in downtown Toronto, but I have no idea where.

Anonymous said...

I think Bill the bear is right. I lived in Toronto from 1986 to 1999 and the Canada Life head office had the same kind of weather beacon as Bill the bear describes

Chris said...

Wow, I thought René-Lévesque was ugly now but it looked awful back then!

Kristian said...

We have about six more vintage photos of Dorchester that we'll be putting up soon, some of them will reveal a side of the street that few are aware of.

Thanks for the tip about Toronto's Canada Life weather beacon. I saw it on google images. Wikipedia says that one went up in 1951. The one on Dorchester appears to be higher relative to whatever building it's on.

Neath said...

I can't say I remember the actual tower but the icon in the Gazette or Star I remember for sure. Pretty sure it was the Gazette.

The baron said...

Can't wait for those other photos Kristian! Have any showing the houses on the country lane it used to be?

The baron said...

Can't wait for those other photos Kristian! Have any showing the houses on the country it used to be?

guil3433 said...

We can see on the right of thepicture the ste-marie convent that was on bleury street, next to the church of jesus. today the stone wall is still there but the lot is empty.

Wayne Dayton said...

The Toronto location of the Canada Life beacon was atop their HQ on University Avenue.

This pic seems to have been taken from the central median at the intersection of Bleury, looking up the slight rise in the street, where SNC Group is approximately on the immediate right today. The Beacon would be atop 555 Rene-Levesque, I believe.

guil3433 said...

My explanation is that it was only a ..in french it's a grue, the machine use to build tower ! anyway, here is a then an now view : http://www.flickr.com/photos/guil3433/889121434/in/photostream/

Justin said...

In reply to Wayne Dayton: As guil3433 says, you can see the stone wall and Collège Sainte-Marie (on the NW corner of rue de Bleury), a block in front of the photographer. So it looks like it was taken from the corner of Jeanne-Mance.

The weather beacon atop the Canada Life building on University Avenue in Toronto is still functioning, as far as I know. They used to have a little ad in every day's Globe and Mail, right beside the masthead.

Justin said...

I would agree with guil3433 that the mysterious tower looks like a construction crane. Would the CIBC tower already be under construction at this time? (It opened in 1962, shortly before PVM 1.)

Justin said...

Bill_the_Bear is right. It really is the Canada Life weather beacon.

Here's a Gazette advertisement announcing its inauguration:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=PI0jAAAAIBAJ&sjid=eJkFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3140,4264339

(The Gazette, April 21, 1956, p. 21)

Not attractive at all - no wonder they took it down. The Toronto one is much better integrated into the building and the streetscape.