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108

The Benny Farm Condemned Housing Projects

- EvilGentleman - Tuesday, July 4th, 2006 : goo

[previous] :: [next]

A couple of weeks ago, I visited a friend who was staying in a refurbished apartment block in the old housing project, located in the area of Montreal, along Boulevard. I wound up having some time to kill, and I noticed that most of the surrounding buildings were awaiting , so I embarked on an photo shoot of the old buildings.

image 13228
The back of this building seems to be either partially falling down, or in the earliest stages of demolition.

image 13229
A view of the back of some of the condemned buildings, taken from the balcony of one of the refurbished buildings on Cavendish. You can see another refurbished building on the right. Note the modified version of the traditional Montreal spiral staircases.

image 13230
The old buildings were built in the late 1940's, and the balconies show their age all too well.

image 13231
A view of the Benny Farm area (it used to be an actual farm until just after the second world war), compliments of Google Earth.

image 13232
The projected plan for the area, from the www.bennyfarm.org/en/home.php website. Dark blue buildings are existing buildings that will remain standing. Light blue buildings are already under construction, or soon to go up.

image 13253
Apparently, salesmen are still not welcome.

image 13233
Nature is already reclaiming the area, a little at a time.

image 13234
Delsan Demolition has their work cut out for them.

image 13235
No more bikes will be locked to this fence.

image 13236
Um, I'm not a trespasser, I'm a tourrorist. (try saying that at US Customs, see what happens)

image 13237
It almost looks like people still live here.

image 13238
Some of the buildings enclosing the area around the communal vegetable gardens (on the left).

image 13239
I guess this is either a UFO or an old clothesline rack.

image 13240
The way in... (the back of the NE building on the Google Maps pic).

image 13241
Tenant storage lockers in the basement.

image 13242
A utility room.

image 13244
Perhaps this was a laundry room?

image 13243
Light streams in through the sealed front door as we go upstairs.

image 13245
Some of these mailboxes still have mail in them.

image 13246
These views of a living room of an apartment show how far the buildings deteriorated while vacant.
image 13247

image 13248
In the living room of the apartment across the hall, someone forgot their shovel, most likely some kids messing around here recently. I started thinking about the street gangs that this area is known for, and I wondered when they were last here, and how welcome I would be if we crossed paths in a place where nobody can hear me, and with me holding a camera.

At this point, I heard the very loud sounds of swarming insects. I figured they were most likely houseflies in the windows of the bedrooms, but then I remembered that I had seen some wasps and bees in the area, and that in turned triggered memories of the movie . I suddenly had this urge to head back outside into the warm morning air.

End of exploration.

This article has been viewed 93473 times in the last 8 years


chiamattt: dude, watch out for asbestos!!!

EvilGentleman: 4th Jul 2006 - 13:30 GMT

Thanks for the warning. I'm so used to asbestos, I forget to think about it. PCB's as well.

Chris Erb: 4th Jul 2006 - 15:56 GMT

I'm looking for an apartment in Montreal for the Fall. Maybe I will have to look into these, they look very beautiful (and cheap!)

t@ngent: eg does the urbex!

joey: 4th Jul 2006 - 20:14 GMT

what a long, strange trip to the posturban soul of montreal

GUS BRENNAN: 8th Jul 2006 - 11:59 GMT

great photo shoot, loved the sign above the door, about agents, peddlers, and soliciters, nice to know that soliciters, have never risen in esteem, above agents or peddlers...!!

EvilGentleman: 9th Jul 2006 - 02:53 GMT

Nothing decreases the value of a property more than a never-ending stream of lawyers and prostitutes going in and out. Damn solicitors...

Katy: 9th Jul 2006 - 23:41 GMT

Oh my. I grew up a few blocks from Benny Farm and had lots of friends who lived there. It was actually a pretty cool little community-within-a-community.

Thanks for posting these.

EvilGentleman: 10th Jul 2006 - 04:51 GMT

No problem, Katy. Did you catch the article in today's Gazette about the new buildings being powered by geothermal wells? Pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

Happy Grammie: 12th Jul 2006 - 19:30 GMT

Never heard of this complex, but it sure looks like it used to quite nice with all those beautiful tall trees and green space. Hope they make it affordable rentals.

EvilGentleman: 12th Jul 2006 - 20:20 GMT

The new configuration of the complex, when completed, is supposed to have close to 550 new housing units in it (There are still a number of veterans remaining from the original complex as well, who are now in a new building). Of the new units, 213 are for special housing programs, a little over 130 can be used as low-cost housing, and a little over 200 are supposed to become condos. The breakdown is as follows:

Co-op and non-profit housing:
84 units - Benny Farm Residences (seniors)
45 units - Zoo Co-op (young families)
24 units - Benny Farm Co-op (mixed population)
18 units - Project Tango (people with limited mobility)
18 units - Elizabeth House (single mothers returning to school)
24 units - Chance House (single mothers returning to work)
TOTAL - 213 Units

ALSO:
Over 130 subsidized public rental units
Over 200 condominiums
A medical clinic
A community recreation centre
A daycare
An existing 91-unit seniors residence

Personally, I think the condos are a bit ludicrous, but the rest of it seems to be ok. The developers (a federal government-sponsored agency) claim that the condos will allow some families to own homes that would otherwise not be able to. If that truly is the case, then it might still be ok. I'm not sure if the condos will be subsidized or not. All the information can be found at www.bennyfarm.org/en/pdf/Presentation.pdf and I know there is more detailed information available at the [[www.bennyfarm.org]] website.

Chris Erb: 12th Jul 2006 - 20:55 GMT

It's quite an interesting development. The layout of the changes look like they will be pretty good. I was reading in a Planning magizine about developments much like this in Quebec City. Apparently Quebec City has a lot of these on the outskirts of the city that were all built right after WWII. There are many plans in the works to rehabilitate and up the density on them. Hopefully it all works out for the best.

Whipslinger: Actually, I see rehab potential there.

Canadian-Canadian: 31st Jul 2006 - 16:07 GMT

Wow. There are TONS of vacant apartments in Montreal at low-low rents. Half of NDG is immigrants on welfare already. There was no need to spend taxpayer dollars on this. And i'm sure in 30 years the new project will look just as ugly.

David w.: 31st Jul 2006 - 16:09 GMT

i notice that the No solicitos sign was unilingual english. I guess this part of the city used to be english?

Chris Erb: 31st Jul 2006 - 16:27 GMT

From the information I've been given concerning apartment rental in Montreal, the city only has a 2% vacancy rate for low income apartments (prices that low income families, students, or new immigrants can afford). There is a definite need to increase the number of low income residencies in the city. Much like many cities in North America, there are lots of new condos and luxury apartments going up and forcing the poor residents away. Where do you propose they go?

Also, you say that tax dollars shouldn't go towards fixing the buildings up. What should the city do instead? Let it rot and become more dangerous than it already is? the city is being smart in saving it while some of it is still salvageable and turning it into somewhere decent to live. I'm sure much of the reason it's so ugly and in such bad shape now is probably due to neglect and poor planning. This is a good opportunity to learn from past mistakes and make something good out of the property.

EvilGentleman: 31st Jul 2006 - 20:04 GMT

Canadian-Canadian, why do you say: "Half of NDG is immigrants on welfare already." That seems like a pretty narrow-minded view. Do you have something against immigrants? And I seriously doubt your numbers, since most people born overseas work a hell of a lot harder than Canadian-born people. They have no choice, since they are beginning a new life, and that takes money.

From my vantagepoint as a Mohawk Indian, 96% of Canadians are immigrants, and I really get irritated when second, third, or fourth-generation immigrants think they are superior to first-generation immigrants. Do you think being born on this land gives you ownership of it? I have news for you. Unlike Europe, North America cannot be owned by mere humans. We belong to the land, the land does not belong to us. This is the way it has been here for thousands of years, and you cannot change that. If you want to own land, go to Europe, that land is used to being owned. This land is our master, and if you cannot handle that, LEAVE! Canadian-Canadian, my ass! Canada is nothing more than a mispronounced word in MY language. If you have a right to be here, as the child of immigrants, than the immigrants in NDG have just as much right as you. Sorry for the outburst, but intolerant houseguests are a bit much for my poor eyes to handle.

EvilGentleman: 31st Jul 2006 - 20:09 GMT

David w: Most of the island of Montreal west of Saint-Laurent Boulevard was English until the 1970's, when the language laws (Bill 101) resulted in the mass exodus of over half of English Montrealers.

Chris: I agree entirely.

chiamattt: 31st Jul 2006 - 22:54 GMT

Canadian-Canadian makes a good point. With the bullshit way they make houses these days, I am sure in 30 years they will look like shit. Perhaps the government should use taxpayer money to built high-quality buildings instead of trying to appease canadian-canadians by building cheaper and lower quality buildings.

nancy chartrand: 29th Sep 2006 - 00:25 GMT

wow it is hard to believethat we all lived here at one time,it is so run down.,it is actually hard to see our once lived in homes so lonely looking.this was a great place to grow up and i'm sure everyone will say the same.

Veteran's daughter: 28th Oct 2006 - 01:05 GMT

I lived here from 1963 - 1966 and remember it as being rather nice. Went back to Montreal about 6 years ago, and took a tour around the old neighbourhood. I was shocked to see what it had become. I'm pleased to hear they are refurbishing it.

Susan F: 7th Dec 2006 - 12:31 GMT

I lived in Benny Farm during the 1950's & 60's. Certainly looked a lot better then and it does now. Was a great community to grow up in; tons of kids to play with and a very safe environment. Played many games of touch football, cops & robbers, spotlight etc. A lot has changed over the years - my elementary school is now condos and my high school is a senior citizen home. So sad to see Benny Farm in its present state; hopefully the refurbishment will bring some life back into it.

EvilGentleman: 7th Dec 2006 - 20:23 GMT

I am glad that my pictures are getting viewed by some of the former tenants here. The only parallel I can use to try to imagine how you folks feel is to think back to many of the old military bases I grew up on, and how those areas have changed since the bases shut down. Places that were once thriving housing areas for young military personnel and their families are now senior citizen subdivisions or have been torn down altogether. My memories will always remain, but the world I grew up in is no more. Life goes on, but I think what many people forget is the human connection we have forged with the places we lived. Keep your memories alive. Write them down, tell your kids and grandkids, videotape yourself walking around the area and reminiscing. Don't let people forget the history of where you grew up. When the city finally gets busy revitalizing the N.D.G. area, they should have a decent idea of what it was like when things were better.

Peter: whats NDG mean?

EvilGentleman: 7th Dec 2006 - 21:04 GMT

The old name of the neighbourhood, Notre-Dame-de-Grace (Our Lady of Grace). It was also the name of the area from when it became an independent city in 1906, until it was swallowed up by Montreal in 1910.

It should be noted that N.D.G. also has many unofficial nicknames, such as "No Damn Good", "Notre-Dump-de-Garbage" and a few others that are unmentionable, due to the racist words used for the "N". Many white Montrealers assume that since the area has a large Black population, it is a "bad" area, when in reality, most of the area is quite decent, but in a gradual decline, same as most areas within a couple miles of downtown.

bkzmeridian: 11th Dec 2006 - 01:51 GMT

I grew up on Benny Farm(50-60's)....many fond memories. We considered our apartment home, not a rent. I remember my mother scrubbing the front stoop down to the next landing and so on. We had pride, and it showed. The community thrived within a neighborhood NDG.It is sad to read some of the comments and yes see the photos, but I can remember when...i played sockey, donkey, run sheep run and so on....great place for kids...carnivals, pagents, hockey games, ..endless activities....

waynemoriarty: 18th Dec 2006 - 23:21 GMT

Thank you so much for this. I, too, grew up in Benny Farm. 6530 Monkland, I believe. It was a wonderful place to live in the 60s. An amazing community within a community. There was this security officer named Percy, who we called Percy Kidpester. He used to walk around the grounds giving kids gum. Urban legend of the time was that any animal fed some of Percy's gum would die.

EvilGentleman: 19th Dec 2006 - 18:48 GMT

I am truly touched by how many people have started pouring out the memories of an area now abandoned, how that brings the area back to life in the eyes of those of us who have never seen the place as it used to be. Reminds me of the articles about Cabrini Green and Humboldt Park. Keep it up, I am always glad to hear more from those who called the Farm home.

A Child of Benny Farm: 27th Dec 2006 - 06:47 GMT

My parents moved to Benny Farm in 1961 as newlyweds. I was born on Benny Farm as were my siblings. Over the years, we lived in four different apartments. I have nothing but very fond memories of growing up in this unique little community. Where else could you have hundreds of neighbours who knew your name and where you lived. As kids, we had the interior of almost two city blocks as our backyard with a park and pool across the street on Monkland and a library across the street on Benny Avenue. Trust me, kids growing up on Benny Farm may not have been from rich families but we were rich in many other ways that kids today will never get to experience.
My mom still lives there and yes it is changing but it can be as wonderful as it once was if the new want it to be.

A Child of Benny Farm: 27th Dec 2006 - 06:55 GMT

Oh, while I remember, the photo with the caption about a UFO or clothesline, that is a pictures of the satellite. It was sort of like monkey bars with a modern feel and no sharp corners - everything was rounded. They brought a few of them in and put them in the backyards in the grassy areas. We played on them (and got injured on them). So, no UFO and no clothesline just another playground apparatus.

A Child of Benny Farm: 27th Dec 2006 - 06:59 GMT

There is actually a chat site for Benny Farmers in case anyone is interested. Your site was posted on our site so we might as well post ours on yours.
http://groups.msn.com/Bennyfarm

lynn mcgaraughty: 23rd Feb 2007 - 04:03 GMT

I moved into benny farm nov22 1963,the day john f kennedy was shot.I moved in with my brother Mike and my two parents who were RCAF.It was built for veterans and evebtually other families were able to move in.It was the best time of my life.I loved the parties in the summer in the back 40 and the winter festivals with broom ball.I remember the Aubies the Churchs Webbers and the Laviolettes and the Fogarties.I believe that none of us regret growing up in the 60's and 70's there.I wish my two children who's father grew up on the farm could have ahd the life that i had there.We were so rich in having so many friends and we were never bored,There was always someone to play with.God bless that old place and those who lived and grew up there.The memories I have from there will leave a smile on my face for the rest of my life...Lynn M Coady McGaraughty

Jay: 3rd Apr 2007 - 02:51 GMT

I grew up nearby and walked past Benny Farim on my way to Monklands H.S. (now a Sr Citizens Residence) Had many friends who lived here and remember the community sense that exited. Kids played outdoors and moms handed out cookies. It was a safe and happy neighbourhood (in the 70's) I too have been back a few times to Montreal and much has changed - not just here.

Nicolas: 15th Apr 2007 - 03:35 GMT

It's nice to read those comments, so many memories shared!

Montreal is full of little districts that were condemned or abandonned. Now the situation is reversing, people are "coming back" in the city after the suburban exodus. So now is the time to give our beautiful city a new birth! Green parks, nice and quiet, public transit-oriented new districts hopefully will bloom soon.


L'île de Montréal has grown up, but it still keeps the happiness of a true and kind population.

Gerald Chartrand: 20th Apr 2007 - 07:13 GMT

I am 41 yrs and born on the project, it was the place that I will always keep in my heart.It was a safe and very home type of place to grow up in,everybody knew of each other,but that is not to say thay all got along. Benny Farm was a city in a city. Benny Farm was a family, a community, it was a way of life. (I grew up at 4100 Benny, Apt 22. H4B-2R8.)... WHAT A PLACE TO IT WAS???.

EvilGentleman: 27th May 2007 - 11:18 GMT

Google Earth updated the satellite photo, you can see some of the recent changes.
image 20632
Last time I drove down Monkland a few weeks ago, the buildings in this article all seem to be still standing.

CE: 27th May 2007 - 14:28 GMT

I biked out to Loyola via Sherbrooke the other day and I could see a couple buildings that had been demolished behind the ones that front Sherbrooke.

How new are the new satellite images? I haven't used Google Earth for awhile lately because my computer is giving me a lot of trouble.

EvilGentleman: 27th May 2007 - 17:25 GMT

I'm not sure of the age, but I would guess some time between one and two years ago. The only difference between the way I saw them last year and the way they look in the satpic is I believe the second new building on Cavendish was already built. Or was it? Now I'm wondering... Well, I would say these pics were taken within the last two years sometime, anyways.

Benny Avenue resident: 8th Jun 2007 - 13:44 GMT

I have lived adjacent to the Benny Farm project for 9 years with my husband & two children. A lot of work has gone into these projects and people "in-need" are benefiting already. Much work still needs to be done but it is slowly coming along. The playground at Benny Park has been completely re-done and it is now a very busy park, much busier than when we first arrived. NDG is still an amazing area to live in and I hope to never leave! It is neat to read the old stories, my husband also grew up in NDG.

Glenn Freeman: 15th Jun 2007 - 21:35 GMT

Hi,

Just googling pics of my old neighbourhood. I live in Europe now, and haven't lived in Montreal for 10 years now. IIRC, They were still working on Benny Farm back then.

Grüß aus Deutschland,

Glenn

Gail Purser/ nee Howard: 29th Jun 2007 - 18:59 GMT

My family(The Howards) moved to the Benny Farm in the fall of 1947, I was one year old at the time. We moved to Beloeil in Oct/56. We lived in K block ,3677 Cavendish Blvd. Those 9 years were the best times of my life. We always had so much fun. There was always something going on.We had skating and hockey rinks in the winter, organized sports of all sorts, the annual Carnivals. The best May 24th fireworks in Montreal. It was a safe and fun place to grow up. The weekly Benny Farmer is a hoot to look at now. I have issues from Jan. 1950 to July 1954.It is comment and history of those wonderful times. I would love to go back and see if our building is one of the ones being reno'd.
Would like to see posts from other ex Benny farmers from the fifties.

Angebee: 5th Jul 2007 - 00:37 GMT

I live in one of these buildings. The architects won all sorts of awards for the fact that we have a "green" project. What people don't know is that the architects, engineers, contractors and sub-contractors installed everything wrong. Pipes have exploded causing leaks thus causing mold to form. One of my close friend's husband recently passed from a fungus that developped in his lungs likely caused by some mold spores travelling through the ventilation system (which is not functioning the way it is supposed to). The majority of our members are ill most of the time, complaining of headaches, vomiting and nosebleeds among other things. The winters are freezing as the heating system doesn't function properly either. We didn't have heat until mid December last year!! Babies have been hospitalized for pneumonia etc.... Our board of directors (we are a co-op) has fallen apart, as there are always emergencies happening due to deficiencies that were never corrected thus resulting in the inability to focus on the normal running of the co-op. I am one of the founding members of the project. The dream we had was to address the housing crisis in Montreal, by creating decent affordable housing for 46 families and it has unfortunately turned into a nightmare.

Dan Bertrand: 25th Aug 2007 - 16:40 GMT

If the Nancy Chartrand who posted here is the same person that I was buddies with when I moved away from Montreal in 1991, I'd like to say hello.. I lived on Fielding when I moved..

Is that you Nancy? LOL

Dan Bertrand
dbert999@shaw.ca

CE: 4th Sep 2007 - 15:31 GMT

Benny Farm is in the news today. Angebee isn't the only one in the new buildings facing a rash of problems.

www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=6e84a31f-5e3d-4f1f-8600-93f15ca5666e

Kevin McGrath: 11th Dec 2007 - 23:01 GMT

I also grew up in Benny Farm in the sixties.Went to St Monika's with my brother and sister.We lived in the first complex (A block?).The back 40 was alien territory, but I agree with everyone else that it was a wonderful place to be a kid.
My brother's best friend was Dougie Jarvis-- I wonder if he became the NHL player of the same name.

EvilGentleman: 12th Dec 2007 - 02:56 GMT

Doug Jarvis of the NHL hailed from Brantford, Ontario, according to Wikipedia

anon (cpe-76-91-29-51.socal.res.rr.com): 21st Dec 2007 - 05:59 GMT

I did not know that Canada had projects!!!!!!!! I am from a big city in the U.S. and I had no idea! Wow!

EvilGentleman: 21st Dec 2007 - 08:54 GMT

The four attached buildings closest to Benny Ave are gone now. Since this article is already pretty large, I'll post a new article with the pics whenever I get around to posting articles again. I'll be sure to leave a link here when I do.

Chuck Steak: 3rd Mar 2008 - 06:25 GMT

Hung around the Benny centre and pool quite a bit during the late 70's early 80's. As long as you didn't look for trouble you generally wouldn't find trouble. Anyone remeber the Benny Gang? or the "Belsen Boys" of the Sex Pistols era? Nice to see a re-development provided it doesn't displace people.

Doug in California: 7th Mar 2008 - 02:54 GMT

A native Montrealer, I lived in the building at 4120 Benny Ave. from 1946 to 1952, when my dad got transferred to Ontario. I went to Kensington School up to grade 3 before we moved. What memories these photos brought back, sad as they are to look at. I'm familiar with everything in every photo shown, and remember how Benny Farm looked way back then. It was a great place to be a kid. And it had a terrific community spirit.

It has been a long time since I visited Montreal (I've lived in California since 1980) but I have thought of Benny Farm many times over the years. My curiosity finally led me to do a Google search, where I found this site. Sad to see what has happened to the old place, but I'm glad to see the Benny Farm name will live on in the new development.

Doug in California: 7th Mar 2008 - 03:23 GMT

Whoops, there was a typo in my post. I meant to type "1947." As I recall, we were among the first families to move into Benny Farm after it was built.

EvilGentleman: 7th Mar 2008 - 06:49 GMT

I have posted new articles.

The first is about the demolition of the original buildings facing Benny Avenue. The Destruction of Benny Farm

The second is about the preparations to build condos in the site where the buildings in the first article once stood. Benny Farm - The Future Site of the Benny Square Condos

Jade-en-Ville: 11th Mar 2008 - 15:28 GMT

EvilGentleman,

I have learned a great deal from your pictures and posts over the past few years. This post prompted me to respond, mainly to lend weight to your comments to Canadian-Canadian.

EvilGentleman's perspective is, in my mind, the right one and far too rarely recognized. Canadians _are_ 'immigrants' - every last one of them. First Nations were obviously here first. And if any of us have been here for more than a generation, then out of respect for those forebears' struggles and efforts we should be welcoming newcomers to Canada, not stereotyping and fearing them. Ignorance about the important contributions that newcomers make to Montreal's vibrant culture and economy is just that: ignorance. Thanks for setting the record straight, EG. Thanks also for this record of an important site in transition in Montreal. I love to read the former residents' comments and memories. Too bad that the greening of the project has been such a disaster.

EvilGentleman: 27th Mar 2008 - 18:23 GMT

Thank you Jade. Your support is appreciated. Not really sure what else to say, so I will just leave it at that.

sheila: 2nd Apr 2008 - 03:32 GMT

Very nostalgic to see the photos of Benny Farm. I lived there from 1953 until 1965 and my fondest memories stem from the many friends that I made. there. I would love to be able to communicate with my old buddies.I particularly loved field day, winter carnivals, halloween. and our games of hide and go seek .

terry hindley: 15th May 2008 - 04:02 GMT

"Hung around the Benny centre and pool quite a bit during the late 70's early 80's. As long as you didn't look for trouble you generally wouldn't find trouble. Anyone remeber the Benny Gang? or the "Belsen Boys" of the Sex Pistols era? Nice to see a re-development provided it doesn't displace people."That was me and my buddies!!Being poor white and having the cops on your back all the time meant we had to gang up!! I wasnt in the benny gang (i lived over on belgrave ) But it was probably one of the best places on earth to grow up I know lynn mcg and it was about 400 kids between 8 and 18 from 1967 to about 1980 what a fantastic time to grow up in montreal other than the poor part the belsen boys was just a shock punk thing sonme guys used for a non existent band name unlike THE DISCORDS!! Is it still spray painted on the wall on crescent near st catherine st>>?? lol lol

Skin88: 19th May 2008 - 03:13 GMT

I grew up in the Dorval projects, they look very similar

Mike In Alberta: 19th May 2008 - 08:59 GMT

Too funny..

I grew up in N.D.G. and hung out at Terrebonne Park in the late 70's. Remember it all well. The Discords...lol. Oh man!! There was no gang when I think back. We all thought we were bad but really just a bunch of insecure kids with nothing to do except get into kid trouble...and drink beer and smoke dope in the park.

sue: 26th Jun 2008 - 05:26 GMT

I lived at 4250 Benny ave apt. 12 People in our building were the Robichauds, The Gonczas, The Withers, The Fletchers. (All I can remenber anyway. What a great place. I was an only child and was never lonely. There was always someone out playing. I was there from 1958-1963 and went to Kensington.

Margo-murray: 20th Jul 2008 - 16:52 GMT

How amazing to find this site. We, the Murray Clan, my parents Terry and Denis, and my brothers, David, Brian and Mike (my sister wasn't born yet) lived at 4100 Benny from around 1953 to 1957. As so many have said, it was a fantastic place to be a kid. There were nothing but young families there so there was never a shortage of someone to play with out the back on the monkey bars. The best haloweens ever were in Benny Farm and the neighborhood. We would all fill our pillowcases 2-3 times in the evening - and no parents had to go along with you. Just kids having fun with none of today's worries! I remember the Peace's, the Tobin's and so many friends from St. Monica's. Thanks for this very informative site. It is sad to see what it became and hopefully they will correct some of the problems that have been mentioned here in the newer buildings. I live in Vancouver now and have not been back to Benny for a driveby since the 70's. Such great memories!

Brian Walker: 3rd Aug 2008 - 21:19 GMT

Wow, Margo-murray. I wonder if we knew each other? My family lived in Benny Farm from 1953-1957, we then moved to Texas. I have fond memories of the place, we had a second floor corner apartment with a great view. It was very nice (almost new at the time). I attended Kensington Elementary School at the time. I remember the great open spaces in the back, the skating rink and the community fun days. I won a sack race then. I too visited the site in the early 70's, and all looked as I remembered it. I will be in Montreal in a couple of weeks, and plan to drive by to see if I recognize anything. Thanks for all the pics. Brian ( now 59 years old in Colorado).

Metro301: 10th Aug 2008 - 23:31 GMT

Great pictures and discussion MR. Evilgentleman! Thank you.

Perhaps this is a strange question, but I will ask it anyway. Does anyone happen to remember a man that passed away at 47 years from a heart attack? He was survived by a younger wife. I think she was a Dental Assistant. 3 kids, a teenage boy and girl same age as well as another younger boy? Circa 1965-1969. I really need to find them. (lk4pm3@yahoo.com)

EvilGentleman: 11th Aug 2008 - 00:16 GMT

Well, this definitely predates my time, since I was born in Nova Scotia in 1969. Perhaps this question should be posted at groups.msn.com/Bennyfarm, where many of Benny Farm's old residents keep tabs on one another.

Meltem Yilmaz: 23rd Aug 2008 - 19:10 GMT

I think I am the only Turkish citizen who interests on Benny Farm although I never lived there. I did a research about the green-project for Benny Farm in 2006 under the supervision of a Prof. in McGill University School of Architecture. Now, I am in Turkey and while I was in Montreal, the solar tubes were not installed on the roofs. So, I searched internet in order to see if they were installed and came accross your site. I really surprised to hear that the infrastructure does not work efficiently. The idea of the project which was community driven and the design were successfull but when it comes to application I think problems occurred. Good to have current news from the area, thanks.

Juergen (an immigrant): 29th Aug 2008 - 18:27 GMT

Dear EvilGentleman,
it seems I'm the first one in this blog that MOVED into one of the Benny farm houses ( in the Prince of Wales section) and up until now I can only say it is very nice the neighbors we met are very nice and it is a very nice location.
It is great to read so much memories in this blog.

thanks a lot for this

Neil Sullivan: 20th Sep 2008 - 20:51 GMT

We, the Sullivans, lived at 3910 Cavendish # 16 for over 20 years. My brothers were Andy, Dan, Mark, David and Peter and we have a sister Beth. I have a lot of great memories of growing up in the back yard. There was always enough space and children for games and just hanging out.

Today I was coming back from the library and bumped into a friend who lived upstairs from us. We were bemoaning the lack of photos from "the good old days" and the density of the new construction.

If anyone knows of pictures on the net of the farm as it was, I would love to know about it. nsulliva at total dot net

Heather: 5th Oct 2008 - 16:38 GMT

Thanks for the journey into the past. I grew up close by and I had many friends who lived there. I am glad they are rebuilding and designing special housing there. We had so much fun there.

ndg boy: 13th Oct 2008 - 06:44 GMT

....i remember the bad old days of the benny gang.......when they went around kicking in peoples heads with their steel toe boots and lumberjackets......before the punk thing and the shaved heads kicked in....monkland high school was all graffittied up as 'rock n'roll high school' like the movie......and they were known for being bad but when it came down to it...if one of them started losing they would all jump in......dave valente....frank haight.....ray obie.......tommy arsenault.....little derek coady.......ricky dillon was the big man.....went on to be the editor of 'vice' magazine.......etc etc.......

ndg boy: 13th Oct 2008 - 06:46 GMT

and tommmy arsenault went to jail a few years back for killing a guy on the street with a punch over a traffic dispute........ya they were bad.........but most of them are dead or in jail now.......thats where bad gets u i guess..........

Adrian Dec 6,2008.: 6th Dec 2008 - 15:47 GMT

I grew up in NDG in the 60's and 70's on Montclair between Fielding and Somerled.I remember Dave Valente and Terry Hindley from a great punk rock bar called the "Oxygen" in downtown Montreal on Stanley Street.

Adrian Dec 6,2008.: 6th Dec 2008 - 15:47 GMT

I grew up in NDG in the 60's and 70's on Montclair between Fielding and Somerled.I remember Dave Valente and Terry Hindley from a great punk rock bar called the "Oxygen" in downtown Montreal on Stanley Street.

Bruce Barton: 19th Jan 2009 - 02:05 GMT

In 64/65 went to the Benny Farm apartments a few times hoping to run into a girl that I knew from Gratten Lake (rawdon area). Her name was Susan Crout. I believe she had a cousin named Peter who lived in the same complex. She may have been my first real crush. You know how that feels at 12/13. I'd ride up there on my skate board or bike just hoping to run in to her as I didnt know her address. Thought that I'd mention that this little area was rich in fun with parks near by, football teams and lots of children playing everywhere. I was coming up from "little Burgundy" No parks, playgrounds just a lot of cement and very angry people. Benny Farm seemed cool to me. Anyway, loved the sight

Debra: 3rd Feb 2009 - 01:54 GMT

EvilGentleman: You did a great job with this site. My Mom and I were talking about friends of hers that had lived there in the late 50's / early 60's so I googled Benny Farm and found this. Really interesting and even more so to see how many people are still writing to comment on it 2 1/2 years later.

sue: 3rd Mar 2009 - 03:19 GMT

I lived on Benny Farm 1957-64 and went to Kensington. My best friend then was Susan Crout. I just found out though that she died 2 or 3 years ago. Way too soon.
Peter was her brother.
I also went to Rawdon with the family--beautiful area. Susan's Dad had cottages there then.--About 1958 or 59.
IWe used to love getting change and going to Georgie's store for candy. Later it was Ricki's.

debbie: 4th Mar 2009 - 06:02 GMT

Susan Crout lived at 4200 Benny .Corner of Benny and Monkland facing pool and skating rink. Peter was her brother and David and the baby was Eden.

Yall know me!: 4th Mar 2009 - 16:36 GMT

These are the nicest projects I've ever seen!

susan f: 16th Mar 2009 - 16:52 GMT

Susan Crout was one of my best friends from K-Gr 11. Lost touch with her after we graduated from high school. Reconnected about 5 years ago and it was just like old times. Sadly she passed away a couple of years ago. Such a loss, she was a beautiful lady.

Margaret: 17th Mar 2009 - 03:40 GMT

I heard Susan died too-Was she in an accident? How are her kids doing?

Does anyone remember Margaret Bateman or Maureen Jarvis? They hung out with Susan for awhile too.

terry hindley: 22nd Mar 2009 - 07:03 GMT

hey adrian are any of those valente brothers around?? I know derek coady lives in the east end last I heard.bot I miss walking to and from benny pool on those hot montreal summer days or nights life sure has changed there will never be anything like montreal in the 60s 70s...

ze371: 24th Mar 2009 - 07:36 GMT

benny was mad nice, too bad its condos now, flavour is gone.

Geoff de Gannes: 12th Apr 2009 - 23:25 GMT

I also have fond memories of "The Farm". I lived at 6530 Monkland from the time I was a year old (1948-1970). My parents were there until about 2003. Benny Farm was an early example of the "village raising the child." I look back now and wonder how families managed to survive in such close quarters. Those were memorable times. Remember my hockey buddies Peter Cameron, Phil Ford, Mike Quinn, Rene Gladu and Paul Laffin.

Eden Crout: 25th Apr 2009 - 15:37 GMT

To Margaret, my sister Susan passed away from pancreatic cancer in Mar 2006, she faced it with courage and class, she was inspiring. She left behind two boys, MacGregor and Peter (named after my older brother) and her husband, Doug. She had her family around her when she passed, very peacfully.... To EvilGentlemen thanks for setting up this site, its been fabulous reading all the comments and seeing names from the past. Benny Farm was an excellent placed to grow up. Look forward to hearing more from past residents.

Margaret: 26th Apr 2009 - 21:58 GMT

Sorry to hear about Susan Crout. She was a great friend.
How is Peter doing? He was my first "older guy crush". I used to see him ride his bike but he wouldn't talk to me.
Hope the rest of your family are well.
I lived on Monkland.

EvilGentleman: 27th Apr 2009 - 01:28 GMT

To Eden,

Thank you. Unfortunately, I too have a full understanding of your loss. My common-law wife died of cancer in 1999. Our son is 16 now, and will start college this fall.

My condolences.

Eden: 18th May 2009 - 15:54 GMT

Hi Margaret, sorry to tell you that Peter passed away from an Asthma induced Heart attack in 1983, my Mum died in 1993 and my brother David died from lung cancer in 2001. It's just Andrew,Adam,my Dad and myself left... Does anybody know the whereabouts of Karen McMurtry, Laurie Tulk or Clifford LaRoque love to hear from them.

To EG, Sorry to hear about your wife

Margaret: 2nd Jun 2009 - 05:16 GMT

Hi Eden-Sorry to hear about Peter too- I can still picture him riding his bike.
You've certainly been through a lot in your family. Hope you and your Father and brothers are happy and having a good life now.
I loved Benny Farm and will never forget all the activities we had--There were a lot of parents putting in a lot of time to organize all those things. I really appreciate the hours put in--flooding rinks, organizing field days, tents, ball games etc.(more now than then). Love to you and family and all Benny Farmers xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

ireniej: 4th Jun 2009 - 14:53 GMT

Eden,
Hi. Not sure if you remember me. You were pretty young the last time I saw you. I was friends with Susan and we kept in touch on and off over the years. I spoke to her about a month before she died and was so sorry to learn of her cancer. While I did not grow up on Benny Farms I have such wonderful memories of weekends spent at your house with Susan and wonderful times at the Lake. Take care. Irene Moodie-Johnson

maureen: 9th Jun 2009 - 00:29 GMT

Does anyone remember me--The Jarvis' at 4250 Benny. I played with Barbara Webb, Barbara Ashe, Gail Hawthorne, Margaret Bateman............

Lynn McGaraughty: 29th Jul 2009 - 06:03 GMT

I played with the Aubie's the Church's , Fogarty's, Webbers, Laviolette, Pittman's, Mcenroe,and so many more I can't remember right now.But I assure you, I would do anything to go back in time for another day of tag with the old gang. The happiest time of my life.
Lynn

Bruce Barton: 21st Sep 2009 - 22:38 GMT

Dear Eden, I knew your sister Susan as a summer friend from Gratten Lake. All the kids had so much fun up there. I remember one hot and sunny day we all went down to four chutes and braved the rapids. Susan was not afraid at all and kept up with the boys at every turn. Although I never got to know her as an adult, I'm positive she was a good and caring Mom and friend to many. My heart is very heavy today. God bless.

stewbeedoo: 25th Sep 2009 - 14:50 GMT

I don't know if NDG Boy will see this but I remember Ricky Dillion. We were kidda of friends at Kensington. He was in a grade ahead of me. I grew up on Madision. Some names NDG Boy forgot to include were Tommy Hall and Tommy Larock. They all were part of the same crew. They would cirle the neighborhood on Halloween night and beat up the guys who took the kids candy.
Anybody know John Johnson or the Boyd brother's Reno or Neveda or my first girlfriend Donna Zielinski. Nice to read all the stories. Check NDG on facebook.

stewbeedoo: 28th Sep 2009 - 11:23 GMT

Hi again

Forgot to include my favorite Benny Farm story. I think it was nineteen seventy one when we had the great snow fall. I was just a young child and I remember the paths cut through the snow to get to the front doors and kids standing up high on the walls. Looked like massive forts to a little kid.

Sophie: 9th Oct 2009 - 17:52 GMT

Hey,
it is wonderful to hear about all those stories of people who lived in Benny Farm. There is much memory of the place on this blog. Anybody would be interested to meet in Benny Farm and share on how they used to live there? why they left, or what has changed if they have not left? (this is for informal research purposes).
Anybody interested?

John Smith: 12th Oct 2009 - 06:24 GMT

I lived in the "farm" from 47 to about 55-6. I have nothing but font memories of the old place. Sad to see it's decay. Does anyone remember the family Ross or the family Honeyset? Any info about the whereabouts of these 2 families would be appreciated posted here on this blog.

Patrick Leger: 5th Nov 2009 - 03:41 GMT

We lived there from 1968-1979 (6440 Monkland, right across from the pool). We lived in the building beside the Arsenaults. Tommy was almost like another big brother to me. He and Harold would tease me a little, but if anyone else picked on me, he would step in and defend me. We were quite friendly with the guys in the Benny Gang. It is sad to see how the place has fallen apart. NDG boy - when did you live there? Did you know me or my brother or sister?

Dale McIntosh: 17th Nov 2009 - 22:57 GMT

I lived at 6510 Monkland #13 from 1958 to (my sister still lives there)She is on Benny in a lovely apartment. They have done a great job and totally packed, and moved her.I used to hang out with Danielle Bolduc, Sharon Fletcher, Biddy Wells, Stu Bailey (would love to get in touch with him)Teddy Bridgewater, Jimmie Fielders,Paul Hopkinson, Phil Ford, David Lawrence, Jo-Ann McInerney, Mary Gay McIver, Joanne Ryan to name a few.
Do you remember at Xmas there was a contest for the best front door decoration? We used to have parties in the basement where the washers were and clotheslines. Not to mention kissing in the barrel. MEMORIES.........

EvilGentleman: 26th Nov 2009 - 04:24 GMT

Sigh... Drove by last night. The last of the original unrefurbished buildings, which were along Monkland, are gone. The Farm is no more.

A Child of Benny Farm: 2nd Dec 2009 - 04:50 GMT

True, the Monkland buildings are gone now but soon there will be a CLSC which will serve the old and new Farmers alike. The new recreation centre at Benny Park will be a welcome addition too as will the new library which will be at Monkland near Benny. The buildings may be gone but the memories will linger on forever.
I am amazed at how many ex-farmers found this site and are posting their thoughts.
I was trying to do a mental count the other day of the families who were "shifted" over to the new buildings. I don't know exactly how many are left but my guess is that it is well under 50 (probably closer to 30). Sad to think that these people are the last of the Old Farmers and when they are gone (and a lot of them are up there in years), the people living there will have no clue about what Benny Farm was.

anon (bas1-montreal04-1176423921.dsl.bell.ca): 13th Dec 2009 - 22:14 GMT

To John Smith:
You were asking about the Ross and Honeyset families. The Ross family, Father and Mother passed away in 1973 and 74 respectively. Their 2 children John-David and Janet Ross are still living. John in east-end Montreal and Janet in California. As for the Honeyset family I have not Heard. Gail would be in her 60,s and Gary close to 70 if they are alive. We can only hope all is well with them. Thanks for asking. JR.

rene gladu : 5th Jan 2010 - 05:50 GMT

geoff ; it was nice to read your comments , i hope things are going well for you and your family , Cheers Rene in b/c

Geoff de Gannes: 17th Jan 2010 - 14:51 GMT

Rene ... great to make contact with you through this site after all these years. My mother now lives here in Nova Scotia in an apartment just about 10 minutes away from us. I always wanted to live near the sea and Nova Scotia has been home for 40 years. Left Montreal in 1970.

Jeanne: 30th Jan 2010 - 00:43 GMT

I was the wife of David Crout. We met when he lived in Benny Farm, even though I did not. I always enjoyed going there. We were together 30 years and had two wonderful children. It's ironic that I come to this site for the first time today. Two days ago Eden also passed away, much too young from cancer. This now leaves the remaining two younger brothers. Mr. Crout bought a farm in Victoria, where the family ended up and called the farm 'Benny Farm'. It will always hold the memories for the Crout family.

EvilGentleman: 30th Jan 2010 - 21:38 GMT

Eden, we only spoke briefly in an anonymous online setting, but you will be missed nonetheless.

Rest In Peace.

Jeanne: 4th Feb 2010 - 19:21 GMT

A thought just occurred to me, as I read this forum. The asbetos. As well as the Crout family suffering the loss of family members from cancer, I also know of other 'Benny farmers' who have died, or have cancer. All Montrealers knew Ernie Butler. A famous radio voice, and Benny Farm kid. He recently died of cancer. I also know the Jamieson family, from Benny Farm, stricken with cancer. Do other people who grew up in Benny Farm have a similar tragedies in their family, now as we are aging? I'd be curious to know this, as this was such a huge population of people who spent the majority of their childhood in this complex.

Jeanne: 4th Feb 2010 - 19:57 GMT

Mesothelioma (cancer caused by Asbestos exposure) has been a known hazard since the late 1890's and has been the cause of countless lawsuits and class-action trials since the 1920's!

Scott Oake: 14th Feb 2010 - 23:40 GMT

Benny Farm was a great place to grow up. Where else could you play any sport with 20 of your best friends at any given time. Miss many of the girls I grew up with.Suzy Holdbrook,Christine Coady, RIP. It was a tough place to grow up but made us who we are today. I lived there from 1970-1987. Will always remember the great Moms who kept us in line when we cussed,picked on others,etc..
Thanks to All for the great memories

A Fifties Teenager: 1st Mar 2010 - 21:10 GMT

Great site! Lived on Benny Farm from ’54 to ’62. Being a teenager then was a wonderful experience. Most fathers were ex military or still in the service. A requirement to be a tenant. Monklands High School, Ricky’s after school, working weekends at either the A&P or Steinberg supper market, Christmas decorations over all the doorways and even our own newsletter. Great memories! Readers should check out the Great Ghost of West Hill Avenue at, http://www.education.mcgill.ca/history/highschools/monklands/.Check out the Year Book Project for a wonderful insight to the past!

Bluenose Farmer: 28th Mar 2010 - 21:47 GMT

It is wonderful to read all these heartfelt posts. I google Benny Farm from time to time, but have, until recently, overlooked this blog.

I lived at 3911 Cavendish from about 1954 through to the summer of 1962. I was ten when my family left, and had just finished Grade Four at Kensington School, where I had developed a serious crush on my teacher (Miss Field?), at least until I discovered, late in the school year, that she already had a boyfriend!

My parents were Maritimers, who, in 1962, were leaving Montreal for home. However, I was born in Montreal and viewed the move very differently. Although I have since strongly connected with my Nova Scotia roots and now consider myself a Bluenoser, I will never forget the trauma of leaving Benny Farm. In 1962 Montreal was the centre of the Canadian universe and Benny Farm was a child’s utopia within the city’s Anglo world.

When my family returned to Montreal for Expo, I made a lonely pilgrimage, as a rather petulant teenager, to the farm. It was then all so familiar, but painfully different – and clearly no longer part of my world; all in all, a very disconcerting, jarring experience. (Where would a Canadian teenager rather have been living in 1967: Halifax or Montreal?) In 1985 or thereabouts, I made a second visit with my wife and kids. I tried to convey the magic of the place to them, but I am not sure that I succeeded – in fact, I know I didn’t.

A few, very random memories:

- the larger-than-life Tex, who was, I guess, in charge of the physical plant and would snatch your nose if you got too close;

- expeditions through the tangled jungle behind the garages;

- playing tricks (including the classic bucket-of-water-balanced-on-the-top-of-the-door routine) on the commissionaires, as they dutifully made their rounds;

- deliberately playing football in the mud, emulating our Alouettes heroes, including Sam Etcheverry, who then lived on the farm;

- joining a kid’s choir that, in December 1961, performed on the Magic Tom show on CFCF;

- staying at the rink for just a few minutes too long and walking home with aching, frozen toes that would have to be thawed out in cold water, which seemed (and still does) very counter-intuitive and wrong, not to mention painful;

- boisterous, but very focussed groups of boys at Kensington playing schoolyard games with their hockey, Funny Valentines, and Radisson gum cards;

- taking art classes in the basement of 3911;

- sneaking into the building basements in the summer for a little mayhem until you were chased out by a commissionaire or some other adult;

- learning how to dance the twist from our young female gym teacher at Kensington School;

- reading about my Nova Scotian relatives’ visits in The Benny Farmer;

- awe-inspiring Victoria Day fireworks;

- the wonderful, dazzling carnivals;

- the welcoming neighbourhood library;

- building amazing snow forts;

- hanging out at the popular-culture, junk-food paradise that was Georgie’s (?) store;

- the short-lived trampoline park nearby on Sherbrooke (broken limb, anyone?);

- using gum to fish for lost change dropped through a grating outside Steinberg’s;

- once actually finding 20 bucks just outside the entrance to Steinberg’s;

- a busload of Liberals arriving to hand out Diefenbucks (the shocking 92.5 cent dollar!) for kids to give to their parents during the 1962 election campaign (I’ve still got mine);

- jumping into a snowbank after climbing on the billboard behind the garage and Georgie’s store (particularly dramatic if, like me, you suffered from vertigo);

- Operation Tocsin, which obliged everyone on the farm to turn off their lights, shut their blinds and/or drapes, and tune into an emergency radio broadcast, as Montreal experienced a mock atomic attack (duck and cover, kids!);

- helping my Dad cultivate our garden plot (was that brilliant – or what?);

- the weird old lady who distributed carefully disguised used tea bags on Halloween;

and there’s more, of course, so much more.

A few friends come to mind, at least partly: Norman Ash(e), who might still remember a certain card game that he and I once played with his older sister and her best friend and which resulted in my hastily leaving their apartment by way of a rear window; and Ernie(?) Taillon(?), who had a beer-drinking, talking budgie named Duffy. I should also mention three non-farm friends at Kensington School: Jackie Weiner (he had US cable and could buy any comic book he wanted), Geoffrey Biernoth (?), and Freddy Lever(?). I also remember a classmate named Bonnie MacKenzie.

A lost world, it’s gone with the wind, kids. You had to be there to appreciate just how remarkable and truly unique it really was. I only ever ran into one other Benny Farmer. He told me that things got really crazy on the farm in the mid-to-late sixties. I wasn’t surprised. We were boomers, and on the farm we had certainly achieved critical mass. By 1962 things were already starting to get a little wild. The next year, the sixties really started: Kennedy was shot, and then, a few months later, the Beatles arrived . . .

I get the impression from all these posts that there were, in a sense, many Benny Farms, depending on when you lived there and how old you were at the time. The other thing I note is that a lot of people left after living there for 5-10 years – so many other kids must have experienced wrenching departures. I also have to agree with the person who commented on the extraordinary commitment required on the part of so many parents to create and nourish the community that we thrived in: the unsung heroes who worked on the rink, the carnival, the paper, etc. As kids, we took all this for granted, of course.

In any event, when my parents left that summer in 1962, and we piled into my Dad’s 1961 Plymouth and embarked on the long journey to the Maritimes, this time for keeps, I was only ten, but I knew that I not only was leaving behind my friends and the glorious farm, but also a future that I would never have.

I don’t mean to sound like Fred Savage of the Wonder Years, but I loved the place. Can you tell?

John B.

Michael Borror: 30th Mar 2010 - 20:17 GMT

So just for the heck of it I decided to google Benny Farm and found this. Can't believe I have not seen it before. I lived at 4100 Benny # 12 from 61-75 and like everyone else here, couldn't think of a better place to grow up. Great memories......

Gerald Chartrand: 7th Apr 2010 - 01:23 GMT

Hi Michael, we lived above you in apt 22 my sisters are Nancy & Susan and my brother Ricky,I remember when we were kids you and I were playing grasshopper in the backyard and as I landed I broke my arm, oh the memories. I hope you are doing well and wish you the best. Gerald

Michael Borror: 13th Apr 2010 - 16:08 GMT

Well hello Gerald. It has been a very long time. Nice to hear from you and I do remember you all. I even remember the grasshopper incident. Ohhhh I felt bad about that.......

I am doing well, the usual stuff. Married with one son who turns 19 this month. Give everyone my best and wish you all the same.

Derek Shackell: 13th Apr 2010 - 16:18 GMT

Hey Michael How ya doing ? Its been a long time since I saw you at Joan & Jeff's in Lac Brome , 15 years ? Have an 11 year old boy Zack. Presently I am working in Costa Rica , been here since 02March. I remember Gerald too !!

EvilGentleman: 15th Apr 2010 - 18:15 GMT

As I read the comments here in this article of my own creation, I can only imagine what it must have been like to grow up in such magical times in the oasis known as Benny Farm. I have come to understand that this place had a special magic that one could only experience by being there, and that once someone felt the magic, it was never forgotten.

Interestingly enough, so many of you have left your memories on this page, I swear I can feel the magic, even though I know I never will, as I never had the opportunity to see the Farm in its heyday.

The only experience I had to compare was growing up on Canadian military bases for the majority of my first 19 years of life. Each base was something special, and would have its own secret places, often only known to the kids. We would play our games, tell our secrets, pass on our tall tales and urban legends, and just generally have a ball.

Then would come the inevitable day, when my Dad would come home and tell us he had just gotten his transfer orders, and we would be moving in a month or two. All my friends, soon to be abandoned, all my secret places, gradually forgotten, all my experiences soon to be relegated to nothing but memories.

Life in the remaining time there would be a mad rush to do as much as possible, to cram as many memories as I could in the dwindling time still available. Living life to the fullest with good friends that would soon vanish forever, or at least until the advent of Facebook, a lifetime later.

Then comes the move. The packers arrive, putting my whole world into boxes. Everything gets loaded on the van one by one until the only thing left is us, with a carful of pets and myself, all tucked into the backseat of Dad's Oldsmobile among boxes of our possessions considered to valuable to entrust to the movers.

The obligatory wave goodbye, and my world of wonder vanishes into an ever-shrinking point in the distance, and with a turn of a corner, it becomes just a memory.

The drive itself, which seems so much like any other road trip adventure, except we are not going to the same home at the end. We have left home, so home is getting further away. Yet we are heading home, so we are getting ever-closer. Finally the dawning of the realization that the road itself IS home.

Then the arrival. Looking at the place from the driveway, getting out and taking in the new environment. Spotting the curious stares of the other kids that are soon to be my new friends at the center of my new world. Wondering where the playground is. Exploring the yard, looking for all the little secret details that will make it mine.

Finally, I can call it home.

For a few years...

Marylynn monbourquette: 17th Apr 2010 - 07:25 GMT

I lived on cavendish with my brother as well as my grand parents who lived on benny avenue. I also lived at 4205 cavendish #26 and I found that plumbing was a problem as well as the electricity I just hope that the newer owns are a whole lot safer the when I lived on benny farm and I'm saying way back in the 1980's and even younger then that. I'll always have wonder memories as well as good ones of benny farm.


Sincerely

Marylynn monbourquette (4205 cavendish #26)

Maureen: 18th Apr 2010 - 03:28 GMT

Hi Jeanne- Sorry to hear about Eden. I had only just found her online just before Xmas and she told me she had married. Eden was 3 when I left Benny Farm but my parents were best friends with Helen and Les so we used to meet up at Gratten Lake. We all lost track for awhile and I didn't know about David or Peter until I found Eden again. I'm in shock again after hearing the news.Glad u had a gd 30 years and many memories I'm sure. Take Care

Annie: 5th May 2010 - 02:49 GMT

Hey Marylynn monbourquette, I'm happy I found this article. I currently live at 4205 Cavendish with my daughter. We've been here for over 5 years now and I can tell you although there has been other problems throughout the buildings, I have no complaints about my apartment. And Maureen, is that you from Dr. Goldenberg's office? How are you doing?

Annie
candyannie@live.ca

Gerald Chartrand: 7th May 2010 - 08:25 GMT

Hi Michael Borror, so happy to to hear from you and all the best for your son, Have you seen the change of Benny Farm? if not let me know and I can send you some pix of the demo and of today.

Gerald Chartrand: 7th May 2010 - 08:36 GMT

Hi Derek Shackell I am happy knowing you remember me, it has been a long time. I hope all is well with you in Cost Rica, as we live our lives we all have a link,and that is Benny Farm.

Peggy Carmi: 19th May 2010 - 01:53 GMT

Hi Derek,
Long time...I am in Toronto and thought we could catch up after so many years. I am here for three days. Hope you, Jean and Zack are doing well. From what I read above, you are in Costa Rica - very nice indeed. I can be reached at peggy.carmi@hotmail.com.
Be well.

EvilGentleman: 1st Jun 2010 - 08:57 GMT

Just found a great paper by Erin Silver of Concordia about Benny Farm. It is titled, "Hope. Effort. Family." The Benny Farm Community Then ... and Now?

art-history.concordia.ca/institute_site/conf08_palimpsest/papers/Erin_Silver.pdf

Mitch Spector: 11th Jun 2010 - 19:52 GMT

I live just across the street from Benny farm and been able to watch it slowly redevelop over the years. They recently completed the remaining demolition, and all of the new construction/renovations of existing buildings are done.

Well, all that remains is to build something on the empty land in front of the park (and of course construction completed on the new sports center within the park). Personally I find it rather ugly, the condos and apartments are these ugly cookie-cutter red brick buildings. They removed all the open grassy space that had decade old trees, and congested it with tasteless buildings and a new road cutting through. Wish I had pictures to show what it used to look like. I also think it was in poor taste to remove the outdoor pool in the park and take away what, 50% of the park green space and replace it with an ugly concrete sports complex (why didn't they use the empty space across the street?).

Oh, though I do have an interesting before and after picture to share. The the first one was taken October 2004, the other one just moments ago, June 2010. You can see where they added a road.

image 43000
October 2004 -- early construction


image 43001
June 2010 -- same area, notice the road and buildings where there was once empty land

SEAN BOTSFORD: 21st Jun 2010 - 16:34 GMT

VERY GOOD ARTICLE. THE FARM WAS BUILT FOR MILITARY VETRANS-MY FATHER ENTERED WW2 IN 1939 AND LEFT IN 1946.HE MOVED INTO THE FARM(WITH HIS FAMILY)IN 1959 AND IN 1963 HE SAID THAT NON MILITARY PEOPLE WERE MOVING ON TO THE FARM.HE SAID TO US THAT IN ABOUT THIRTY YEARS THE FARM WILL BE A GHETTO.
THERE ARE A GREAT MANY STORIES AND MEMORIES I HAVE ABOUT LIVING ON THE FARM

Maureen: 22nd Jun 2010 - 04:20 GMT

Hi Sean--The years you lived there are the same as when I lived there. I'd love to hear some of the stories if you have time. What block did you live in ? and did you go to Kensington school?
I googled Kensington and could only recognize the main front door with the plaque on it. I also noticed--no nice big back playing area anymore.

Robert bourgaize: 28th Jun 2010 - 16:41 GMT

Question for Mitch....Were you photos taken from 5550 or St Tropaze on Sherbrook Street...Rob 3740 Benny Ave Apt 27. 64 to74

PS.Evilgentleman Great job. Thanks!!!

John Parry: 7th Jul 2010 - 18:25 GMT

Benny Farm was one of the greatest places I have ever lived. I remember Michael McGarity he was famous for his impersonations of Elton John in Pinball Wizard and I used to hang out alot with his brother David and Ritchie Laviollette. I remember Rob Bourgaise who is still today a very good friend of mine. Brendan Fogarty and so many other friends such as Harold Arsenault and Paul Thornton.Today Im a cab driver in Nunavut which is still an exciting place to live beleive me when I say I live to ride with the path of the eagle where we live to ride,at one time I trained out at Lake Superior College in the United States where I completed an Advanced program in Fire Fighting and Search and Rescue where we evolved to be the elite in Fire fighting Aviation search and rescue where we could stand proud under the Canadian Flag and be Canadians where we could feel proud of all of our achievements in life no matter how trivial pursuits can be. I would like to use this oppurtunity to say hello to my family in Montreal ride hard and be free and I would just like to also say to all my childhood friends Sweet Emotion Love Ya John Parry.

Mitch Spector: 16th Jul 2010 - 04:40 GMT

Robert: They were taken on Sherbrooke Street from several stories up, just near the corner of Cavendish. If you were standing and facing directly in front of the Provigo, the area photographed would be on your LEFT.

I could snap some pictures from much higher up if anyone is interested. :)

Chris Brading: 19th Jul 2010 - 23:36 GMT

In the early 70s, I lived on Godfrey just down from the Farm. Went to Kensington grades 4 - 6, Royal Vale, then WHHS. Sis went to Monklands. Good memories of a neighbourhood full of kids my age and friends on and off the Farm. Thanks for the site.

Robert Bourgaize: 24th Jul 2010 - 01:56 GMT

Mitch : very interested in any pictures you have of Benny Farm old and new...If possible some pictures from the east side Benny Ave.Sherbrooke to monkland...God may forgive them for tearing the pool out of Benny Park but i won't

Rob Iqaluit Nunavut

Robert Bourgaize: Nice Sean....Very nice

EvilGentleman: 25th Jul 2010 - 05:15 GMT

Thanks for the compliment, Robert.

Mitch, we really have to get you into posting your own articles here on citynoise. You have so many wonderful photos to share. Just curious, have you seen the rising monstrosity at the old Ben's Deli site lately?

Jeanne: 30th Jul 2010 - 00:19 GMT

To Robert Bourgaize and John Parry who live in Nunavut, specifically Iqaluit. Do you know the Crout's in Iqaluit, Adam and Andrew? They're Benny Farmers. I lived in Iqaluit from 1966 to 1974 and that is where I met the Crout family and got to share in so many Benny Farm memories. Mr. Crout bought a farm in Victoria and called it Benny Farm.

Robert bourgaize. Iqaluit Nunavut: 30th Jul 2010 - 17:18 GMT

To jeanne...I know them very well they live up the street from me Andrew works for the City and Adam works for the power Corp.Both are alive and well!!!

Al Kehoe: 3rd Aug 2010 - 00:48 GMT

I am an ex Benny Farmer (1962-1984) and grew up on 3700 Benny (Across from the white Church Library).
It was a great place to grow up and there were always tons of kids to play with.
The summer carnivals were so much fun and the back yard was the best for street hockey games.
I lived beside the valentee's and was the same age as Paul.
Not sure where he is today but he was alot of fun.
Also, I am curious to know what happened to David & Paul Thorton (Same Block).

I have not heard the name Dereck Shackell in years and am happy to hear he is doing well.
His Mom and dad were nice folks and I remember the the dobberman dog they used to have.

I am sad to hear about Tommy Arsenault...he was O.K but started hanging out with the wrong group.
I wonder if he is still in prison ??

I now live in a small town (Alliston) -South West of Barrie Ontario and have 2 grown boys (22 & 20).

I would love to hear from any ex-Benny Farmers that remember me or some of the names mentioned above.

Robert bourgaize. Iqaluit Nunavut: 3rd Aug 2010 - 06:57 GMT

Allan keohe.....Hmmm rings a bell !!

Carine: 11th Aug 2010 - 17:37 GMT

I lived in the neighbourhood of Benny farm for 6 years back in 1998-2004 and it was such a sad place because it was abandonned and had broken doors and windows. It is great to hear all the great stories of folks who lived on the farm back in the 50's and 60's It sounds as though it was a great place to live. It is sad that the outside pool as been torned down, however love what they have done with the place. In fact, some of my friends just moved into one of the apartments. I love going to visit them ...it is such a beautiful place now.

corinne peters: 19th Aug 2010 - 03:51 GMT

very interesting article, I was supposed to move into Benny Farm during the early
60's but it never happened unfortunately, I knew many people who lived there and
were happy, they had a good life. it's very nostalgic, I was brought up in the Point and frequently google into a site where I can read all the interesting stories
of days gone by, I feel like I'm in another world, ended up in Lasalle, then to
Vancouver,BC I am now 83 and still loving life. the new "Benny Farm"complex look just
great, I lived in the Vet apts. in New Westminster BC for a year and now there gone.condos were built when they were demolished, time marches on, thanks for the
article. Corinne

Paula: 20th Aug 2010 - 16:13 GMT

Neil Sullivan, I remember your family. We lived at 3860 Cavendish, my older brother is Ken. What a trip down memory lane reading these comments has been. Brought back many great memories.

Paula: 21st Aug 2010 - 19:39 GMT

should have given a little more info about our life in Benny Farm. Dad was posted there in 1956 and we stayed until 1965 when he was posted west. Ken is 6 years older than I am. It was a great place to live. We played hide & seek, kick the can, run sheep run, stand-all, put on plays in the basement, after getting permission from Percy of course. I remember squeezin into that narrow space in the basement where the garbage cans were stored to hide from Percy as well. Anne, Mary-lynn & Cathy were 3 very good friends. Does anyone remember the Spensors, Mrs Fuerstach, the old man (to me at that time) who had the poodle that wore a raincoat & boots & would carry small bags from the store for him? I also remember Ernie Butler, playing on the jungle gym & running up and down the cement block steps in the play are. So many terrific memmories.

lynn mcgaraughty: 5th Sep 2010 - 05:08 GMT

Hi JOhn Parry, and John bourgaise.
I'm in Vancouver BC working for the govenment here.
My son Tim is 23 yrs and my daughter Ashley is 19 yrs old.
Mike is in Toronto and so is Dave. Dave works for OHIP and Mike owns a
Bar.Would love to come home and see everybody some time.
How is your family?
Lynn

heartmontreal: 6th Sep 2010 - 20:34 GMT

Hi, I had some ties to Benny Farm as I went to the "Y" on Hampton, Knew both David and Eden Crout from the Y swim team and David was a great guy, we would talk about Frobisher Bay as it was known back than..
Ernie Butler was the program director at the Y and I remember him singing and strumming his guitar, I always thought Ernie was very "cool". I am so sorry to hear about their deaths as they all went too early in life!
I knew others in Benny Farm Debbie Kelsch and her bro Ray, she hung out with Steven ? and Robert? Lost track of Debbie and Ray after they left Montreal.
I did enjoy hanging out in BF as there was always something going on..Never a dull moment that's for sure!

John Parry: 11th Sep 2010 - 20:49 GMT

Hi LyNN

My son Christopher just got back from the Yukon and he spent a few weeks over there with the 795 Air Cadet Squadron. Christopher is now a second year Cadet. My daughter Jessica has just enrolled in spees skating. I've had a terrific summer I did some hikikng through the wilderness of Baffin Island and I did some Jet Sking on Baffin Bay. Thinking about Benny Farm and all the great times I had with you;re brother David running through the back yards,climbing trees and running over roof tops when our parents would let us stay out late enough we used to live across from Brendan Fogarty. It's nice to talk to you again Lynn say hello to Dave for me Benny Farm was a good part of my life.

jon: 20th Sep 2010 - 02:25 GMT

and what's it like now for a young family with kids to grow up in? safe? you know...it always had a certain reputation....but maybe that was then? good neighbourhood today?

Michael and D'Arcy Quinn: 6th Oct 2010 - 18:23 GMT

Anybody out there have back copies of the Benny Farmer newsletter?

Michael Quinn : quinn_corner88@yahoo.ca

Dave: 7th Oct 2010 - 05:26 GMT

I feel like everyone i grew up with there are family....the place is sacred to me....i brag about growing up there....and as for the poor thing...i never realized we were....it was just all so normal....We learned social skills that money can't buy....

EvilGentleman: 9th Nov 2010 - 02:35 GMT

Amazing what a small world this is. For the Benny Farmers in Iqaluit, if you bump into a gent by the name of Neil Burgess, tell him Sean from Coral Harbour says hello. I used to substitute teach his high school class there from '97 to '99. I'm now currently a single father of two teenagers in Kahnawake, near Montreal.

Robert bourgaize. Iqaluit Nunavut: Will do

maureen jones: 22nd Nov 2010 - 03:57 GMT

This has been a walk down memory lane. Thanks to all of you who have been sharing your memories. I too grew up on the Monkland units in G block, I am amazed that I remember such a small detail of life on the Farm. Anyone remember being on the Sockey team a hockey team for girls, being so delicate we needed a sock on the puck. There are so many families I remember the Gigueres, Butlers, Gravels, Clements, Moynihans and I am still in touch with Joanne OMara and Louise LeBlanc.

Nancy Tapp: 25th Nov 2010 - 04:39 GMT

Wow, what a wonderful site! I came here out of curiosity after speaking with some one today who had lived in Benny Farm as did I. I lived there for only a very short time, from my birth in 1947 to 1950. But believe it or not, I do have some very strong memories of the place. As an ex naval officer, my dad was eligible to rent one of these brand new state of the art residences. The comments about the strong sense of community that existed are so true. Everyone looked out for each other and were always available to lend a hand.
One of my vivid memories was about a spring flood we had that had all the dads out in their "billyboots" trying to do what they could to keep the water from getting down to the basements where all the storage lockers were. We kids watched all the excitement form the safety of the balconies.
I also remember the allotment gardens where cash strapped young families could save a bit of money by growing their own vegetables.
There were always kids to play with and the young mothers found instant friendship which was so important as many were war brides or new to Canada like my own mother.
The families I remember were the Irwins (John, Dorothy & Susan) The Colbys, Smiths (Janie), Brotts.
Thanks for the memories! nancyfeatherstone@hotmail.com

Geoff de Gannes: 17th Dec 2010 - 15:20 GMT

Maureen ... my mother Betty de Gannes helped organize and coached the girls Sockey team. I also remember Louise Leblanc from the St. Monica's Church teen dances.

Condo nightmare: 1st Jan 2011 - 13:37 GMT

I came across this site and have some input on the building.
They offered housing for families who otherwise could not afford new housing and the city gave lots of subsidies. There were so many applicants that they had to have a lottery to decide who would become owners.
We moved in 2009. The place itself is very nice and yes many kids play in the back where they left some green space. However being just under two years of living here some units are left without flooring after the first flood. Unfortunately, the builders took our money and ran. They left us with an insufficient drainage system and everyone that lives on the lower units have been affected by water infaltration.
After 3 months we finally got the condo insurance to pay for our misfortune however we cannot have our flooring back until the drainage system is fixed. For something that seemed too good to be true, well it really was. At this point the only thing left for us to do is wait and see if the builders will return and fix this huge problem or else we will have to dig deep into our own pockets and pay and pay we will, with lawyer fees, construction etc.

Rob...Iqaluit: They don't build them like they used to.

Marg Trethewey, London, ON: 7th Jan 2011 - 19:21 GMT

My family moved to A Block in 1954 where we had the best neighbours anyone could wish for. One detail no one has mentioned in any post --- the architect who designed the complex also was a resident in A Block, Apt 32. I am saddened to learn that the revitalization plans have not been executed better. Kensington was a wonderful school and, co-incidentally, I was in the same grade and even the same class with Peter Crout. We moved after four years but our family remained good friends with some of our Benny Farm neighbours for many years. In fact, during my last two years (1993-95) in Montreal Pip and Ducky Caddell were my neighbours again out in Montreal West.

mc7craig: 8th Jan 2011 - 07:33 GMT

went to school at monklands 1967or so bc or later.cant beleive what became of my youth.but.take them down,new housing,save the suronding homes,punt the shit ,condos? save the pool.new people......

anon (modemcable130.238-177-173.mc.videotron.ca): 17th Jan 2011 - 00:43 GMT

is this place still abbonded?

Larocque: 6th Feb 2011 - 06:49 GMT

Wow, it was funny to read all those names and remember so many people. My Mother still lives a short distance from Benny Farm, in actuality benny cresent. My brother Cliff Larocque still lives in N.D.G and is a personal trainer. Gary Larocque still lives in montreal downtown. My sister Tracy lives in Calgary. Roger lives in Pierrefond. I still have fond memories of Benny Farm. Someone mentioned Percy and it jarred a memory as he used to wear a uniform and give the kids juicy fruit gum, yellow to be precise. Mrs Hancok used to live on the last building just beside the steinbergs ramp and get mad when you hung out around there. So many names come to mind and memories hanging in the back lanes where it was ridden with bottles and cans. I guess the Arsenaults come to mind, St martins (ronny,gill and lulu), Tulks (laurie .john and peter), Holdbrooks , Bellinis, Dillons (robbie rickie and cassie), Edgehills (derek, ricky ),Sheery lunan, Clarks (richie and david.julian). Mumberquettes, (cathy lynn mike), Coadies, Bourgaizes (lori and john), Billy Cryans. likely a ton of names that I cant remember. That Ufo mentioned earlier were monkey bars. As names come, I see them in my head. Kevin Obien,jumping the fence to go to kensington school. The library park, georgies, cantors bakery, Ricky Penny. Certainly brings back memories...ololololo. Who can forget the arsenaults,their parents fed half the neighbourhood, (Pat, mike, helena, susan, joey, mark, tommy, harold).it was certainly a fun place to live and always something to do.Rosebowl, the 104 and 105 bus to atwater. sealtest dairy and the wonderfull icecream shakes,walking along the tracks on de maissoneuve. ololololollool

Larocque: 6th Feb 2011 - 06:54 GMT

Just for reference, my Dad Roger Larocque passed away after a lenghtly illness from cancer on August 24th 2008. He was the greatest man in our eyes who will always be rembered as a stand -up guy.I will always remember the times he watered the rink when it was freezzing cold.May he rest in peace.

Maureen: 11th Feb 2011 - 18:36 GMT

Hi- You just reminded me of a whole lot of things from Benny Days.--My Dad Eric Jarvis from E & F Block along with Stan Tulk & Les Crout used to be out there freezing to water rinks for us too. They were on the entertainment committee for events too (and Broomball) & once had to go & meet Shari Lewis & she stayed at our apartment while her & lambchop appeared.-about 1960 I think. Remember-The best Xmas Displays? I also remember when we moved to the top floor for awhile & could get the US channels with rabbit ears up there.-Our place was always full on weekends.

Craig Bushey: 13th Feb 2011 - 22:26 GMT

I moved to 3900 Benny Avenue, Apt. 36 at the age of 5 in 1953 with my parents who lived there until they died in 1990. I left home in Feb. 1968 to go into the RCMP. As a child living there it was a great place to grow up with plenty of winter house league hockey in the back, lots of ball hockey in the summer, playing softball and football with all the other kids over the years. I went to Kensington School from until 1962 and then Monkland's High from 1962 to 1966. Some years ago, around 2006 I think, I stopped by Benny Avenue when I was on my way back to Ottawa from Richmond, Quebec after my aunt's funeral and I was surprised to see C Block gone and the start of the development in place. I haven't been back since and I've found the photos and information on this blog interesting but somewhat sad in that I have some pretty fond memories for the most part. I remember Jimmy and Joanie Haggarty, Brian Lewis and his sisters Judy and Karen, Charlie Cox, Milton, Jimmy and Cheryl Place, Korty Holder, Roland Iniss, Rusty Allen, Harold "Rocky" Gardner who I believe passed away some time ago, Linda Jette and her brother, and as my memory is failing at 62 I'm sure there are many more whom I've failed to mention with apologies on my part. My parents died in 1990 as I mentioned and are buried at the Mount Royal Cemetary. Roland Iniss lives in Ottawa as well and owned a pharmacy up until a few years ago and he sold it. Roland and I were good friends at Monklands High School as I was with Ron Bankley, Alan Burns, Bill Davidson and Terry Goodwin (deceased in 1975). Like many others who've posted I can tell you there was always lots to do as kids but house league hockey and then city league hockey always stand out as do the winter carnivals and summer fairs. I spent many a summer at Benny Park pool while in high school. Life goes on.

Craig Bushey: 14th Feb 2011 - 11:32 GMT

Correction to above: Should have read, "I went to Kensington School from about 1953 until 1962." Kindergarten to Grade 7 (Grade 7 twice as I enjoyed it so much the first time around LOL).

Craig Bushey: 16th Feb 2011 - 19:06 GMT

Having read some of the other posts, Peter Tulk and I played hockey together and went to Monklands together. Peter Crout was with me at Kensington and for a period of time at Monklands. Some of the families I remember in our building at 3900 Benny (C Block) Aitkens, Tesslers, Zippays, and Kerrs. One thing I remember as a kid was we all loved to play hockey be it on the ice in the winter or on the tarmac in the summer. I remember having bike races starting from behind C Block out and round the boiler room and back. I remember when Preston Taylor and I rode our bikes out to the Dorval Airport and back. I think I was about 12 at the time. Man did I get my ass barked for that!! LOL I guess that's how I became a triathlete.

Larocque: 19th Feb 2011 - 00:24 GMT

Some of the other names I remember now were the blakleys,ida, eden crout, peter gannon.

Brent Duquette: 1st May 2011 - 20:54 GMT

Born in the "Booth" 1952. Brother Stephen still with us. Lived at 3980 and 3860 Cavendish. Left for Ottawa in 60. Great memories Mike Harney, the Sullivan's, Geraldine Barnett, Miss and Mrs. Findley and last but not least the Cleary's.

Aviva: 6th May 2011 - 01:11 GMT

I'm in my late 20's and live in NDG. I still remember the old buildings with the blue and red doors, and the vast grassy areas. I must say, the new park across the street is quite an improvement and the new athetic centre seems to have pumped some life back into a once desolate area. Sad that there is no more Benny pool outdoors, though (there's one inside the complex now). I just took a walk around the new Benny Farm and it does seem pretty nice for low-cost housing. Much better than the eyesore the area became after neglect/abandonment/etc. I'm sorry to hear there have been problems with the infrastructure though. I hope things have improved...?

terry h: 16th May 2011 - 04:39 GMT

did not grow up there but the greatest white ghetto in north am erica (for lack of a better term!!!)

Peter Flemming (Guelph): 6th Jun 2011 - 17:55 GMT

Where is Dereck Cody from 1968 and later years?

Peter Flemming: 20th Jul 2011 - 05:52 GMT

I remember Benny Farm when I was growing up in NDG on Oxford, Harvard & Kensington Aves during the 1940's & mid-50ies, Our family (my parents, me & my siblings) move to the Lakeshore in 1956.

Cloche: 13th August: 13th Aug 2011 - 05:11 GMT


For Peter Flemming: Derek Coady is living on Benny Farm with his mother Veronica in one of the new Veterans' buildings - 3700 Benny Avenue, Apt. 606, Montreal, H4B 3A3.

stewbeedoo: 28th Aug 2011 - 14:40 GMT

To the posting by Larocque, I did not see your first name, by chance would you be Tommy?

anon (h74-214-156-52.mcsnet.ca): 16th Sep 2011 - 08:51 GMT

was born and raised in ndg and been getting a little nostalgic out here in the west lately...........a little sad............just listened to the anthem ndg by the discords.........i see alot of names that i remember......lots of memories........for me some battles too.......the benny boys were feared ............some i liked some not so much.............but the memories are rich...............ndg was an amazing place to grow up...........i ll always be proud to be from ndg..............its just sad whats happened to montreal..............thats all...........

not anon............but dave peacock: 16th Sep 2011 - 08:52 GMT

it was my previous post.............ndg will always rule in my heart..............thats all

Caroline Wickham: 8th Oct 2011 - 04:12 GMT

wow! I haven't the time to read all the comments i'd like ~ but widh to add that my earliest memories are from living/growing up at Benny Farm in the 1940's. My Dad was a bomber pilot in wwII, so I gather, living at Bennie's Farm was kind of a 'natural'. I remember walking to school through a field of wild flowers and trees..which I know do not exist there now ..as I have a daughter attend Concordia & have visited my family in Mtl. But, I live in West Van.BC ~ would love to communicate with anyone fm those ol' days...or if anyone would like to learn what it was in those days..I'd be happy to share recollections.

Dr. Cannie Stark: 22nd Oct 2011 - 09:00 GMT

I lived at 4150 Cavendish (apartment 1) in the late 40s. I think that we moved there in 1947 or maybe it was 1948 when I was 3 years old. My father was in the Navy in WWII so, like you Caroline, we managed to be granted an apartment to rent because he was a veteran. I absolutely LOVED growing up on Benny Farm. It was so safe for children, although crossing Cavendish to the east side, where there were swings and see-saws, required a mother's assistance. Do you remember that there was a very large circle in the middle of the road, covered in grass, so cars (which didn't go very fast anyway in those days) had to slow down to get around it? It of course has been removed so that our fast cars can go faster. I went to Rosedale Elementary--now a police station--and then to Monklands High School on West Hill--now a senior's residence. Did you know that Monklands High School used to be West Hill High School? My mother had grown up further east in NDG and she and my uncle had gone to high school there. The walk to Rosedale Elementary was idyllic. A little boy (Bobby Fisher) who lived in one of the Benny Farm apartments on Monkland, used to walk me to kindergarten at the elementary school, holding my hand (yes, even little kids were safe to walk all that way on their own back then and we played imaginative and very active games outside for hours and hours and hours, without supervision and no matter what the weather). Do you remember the Christmas parties that were held in the basement? I still have a photo of me and my cousin at one of those Christmas parties in the 1940s. (BTW, in reference to a description of one of the photos above, there was no laundry room in the basements back in the 40s.) Do you remember the vegetable plots on the north side of Monkland between Cavendish and Benny? And the pale green tin garages in the lane?

I was visiting family on the West Island (I now live in Regina) a few years ago and that same cousin drove me back to 4150. It was, I believe, in the process of being renovated. We were appalled to see that 90% of the green space now has 'fill-in' new construction! For old time's sake, we took photos of each other where a group photo had been taken when I turned 4. SIGH!

Great to see a post from someone who lived on Benny Farm in the 40s!!! Thank you.

Cannie's sister Mary: 23rd Oct 2011 - 21:11 GMT

We had been living at Benny Farm for several years when I was born in 1951, but I think we moved to Walkley Ave. the year after. But I still have lots and lots of memories of Benny Farm because most of my friends lived there. I didn't realize it was idyllic at the time - who does? - but looking back on it of course it was a wonderful, safe and stimulating place for kids to grow up. And my parents remembered their neighbours there for the rest of their lives - the Greenbergs and many others who created a real neighbourhood space and who cared about each other and each other's kids. It wasn't really one of the a "Projects" in the American sense that I understand the word, it was a vertical and horizontal village where what had once been farmland gave way to a wave of baby boomers and all the hopes and dreams of their parents returning from the War.

Tim Landry: 7th Nov 2011 - 18:34 GMT

I must have been about 3 months old (I am just about to hit 66) when we moved into Benny Farm in early 1946. My first memory is when I was about 3 - being bitten by a dog as my grandmother (I think) brought me home. I believe my Dad was the second "Pater Familias" of the Farm - and I know we moved back in the mid'1970's because I was living there when I got married in 1977. I remember my parents having a fire - and THANK GOD they lived on the first floor because the fire started in the kitchen - blocking both back doors - the one to the balcony and the one to the basement - and spread to the living room - blocking the main door. They were able to get out a bedroom window. I just walked by the buildings a little while ago and saw the new "Benny Farm" Then I visited St. Monica's school - which I had last been inside in June 1958, FABULOUS MEMORIES!

Bruce Bowie: 11th Nov 2011 - 02:32 GMT

I have incredibly fond memories of Benny Farm. I was born in 1948, the Farm was my first home and we lived there until 1957, when my dad, who was working on the Avro Arrow project, was transferred by Avro to the naval missle testing station at Point Mugu, California. We lived in Santa Monica. Then one horrible day in late 1958 my father arrived for work, was met by a couple of FBI agents at the gate, was informed for the first time that the Diefenbaker government had cancelled the project. Accordingly, the US government cancelled his security clearance, the agents escorted him to his office where under their supervision he was allowed to clear out his personal belongings, but in accordance with Canadian government specifications, all of his work-related matters remained. He was later told that everything he had worked on was destroyed. So we were left as a family to make our own way back to Canada; the Benny Farm apartment was sub-let, so we ultimately moved back in, broke again. Some treatment for a man who was horribly wounded flying bombers in WWII.

But Benny Farm was a vibrant, happy community-within-a-community. As many have said, a perfect place for kids to grow up in. All one had to do was to go outside into the "back forty" and there were tons of kids to play with...bike races, cowboys and indians, pick-up baseball, hockey. When I left the house in the morning, my parents really didn't expect to see me until dinner time. And when dinner time came, there was usually a chorus of blasts of whistles from balconies, pretty much all of the whistles were wartime issue I believe, and the unique tone of the whistle meant you'd better get your ass home right away because it was dinner time.

I can't remember the address but we lived in the double building facing Monkland, right across from what became the pool (after the bandstand was torn down), the building that was inset from the others. Neighbours included the Ashes, the Ouimets, the Boromans, in the building just to the east of us was Peter Crout's family and in the building west were the Chamberlains.

I chummed around with Peter Crout, Peter Tulk (I heard from him a few years ago, he was in charge of the lacrosse program at a US university), Norman Ash, Gary Arsenault (his family had one of the first TVs, we used to watch the Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers at his house after school), and so many others that my failing memory cannot recall at this moment. I also mooned after Susan Chamberlain from afar, at the time she was my version of a supermodel, but I never thought I had the attributes to even cause her to notice.

I remember the monthly news letter, the Benny Farmer. Also I remember watching out the window late at night as my dad watered the rink with the hose...as I recall it was a rotating duty that a number of the fathers undertook. When it snowed usually us kids manned the snowplows to clear the ice surface. But most of us didn't have the wherewithal to actually get the snow over the boards, so we would push it to the boards. That caused frequent interruptions in our pick-up hockey games when the puck got lost in the snow piled against the boards.

The winter carnivals were great...I remember that as the day went on more and more hot chocolate got spilled on the snow. Looking back now, perhaps some of the spillage may have due to some of the volunteer parents fortifying their hot chocolate with something else. No matter...they deserved it. The volunteer spirit among the parents was as palpable as the spirit of friendship among the kids.

Ultimately we left Benny Farm and moved into a house. And then I left Montreal and joined the RCMP, and had a very successful careeer. Then on to establishing a number of businesses, all of which have been very successful.

But I will never forget Benny Farm. Throughout the years I have owned a number of homes, and my children as they grew up were accustomed to living in large houses with 3 or 4 bathrooms, quite a contrast to the single bathroom that I shared with brother Ian, sister Sandra and my parents. Looking back, I think that the "Farm" shaped part of my life, and I would not have traded that experience for the most oppulent house in Westmount.

Bruce Bowie: 11th Nov 2011 - 02:46 GMT

I forgot to mention one thing. Another memory I have is our milkman. His name was "Cy". He delivered his milk using a horse-drawn wagon, even though he worked for one of Montreal's major dairies. The horse's name was "Bella". Whenever he appeared, us kids used to grab handfuls of grass to feed Bella, a truly gentle horse.

Whenever I related this story to my children their impression was that I am talking about something during the era of the taming of the west, and I tell them "No...this was Montreal, a major city, in the mid fifties". Heh.

Tim Dalling: 17th Nov 2011 - 18:40 GMT

Benny Farm, lived there back around 1960 to about 1965. Went to Kennington Elementary till grade 3. Lived on Benny Ave side and on Cavindish. I can remember one or two families, the Tulk's my brother Billy and I played with John Tulk. The other family was the Fogarties. Every winter we would play hockey outside. The summer softball. I remember the boiler room and the old guy I think his name was Percy who looked after it. He always had one long hair growing on the tip of his nose. We use to go rat hunting in the basements, we would wrap our sweaters around our necks and have long pointed sticks to kill the rat if we found one. The sweaters was to protect our necks in case the rats jumped at us. The library on Benny, use to skate board down the hill, I think I still have a book from that library. The little store Georgies or something, Stienbergs, saw Johnny Jellybean there, selling Toddy hot chocolate. Throwing snowballs at the other kids from the 3rd floor balconies. It sure was a fun safe place to grow up in.

anon (node-beb94441.scarlet.an): 20th Nov 2011 - 15:28 GMT

hey stewbeedo. Yes thats tommy.

Clive Peachey: 16th Dec 2011 - 14:48 GMT

Hello Everyone Farmers and all
Man I remember the farm the ring The old Boiler room we used to sneek a peek thru the huge doors ,, It was the safest place I have every seen to live in were for the most part everyone helped each other out.I also remember the ring setting in up with all those bolts. I live on Vancouver Island have lived in Toronto But I would return to the old Farm in a heart beat to raise children and grand children in that setting ...And I remember Johney Jellbean and the Magician

Maureen: 18th Dec 2011 - 07:02 GMT

I wonder what Xmas "festivities" they have on the Old Farm now?
Anyone know?
Remember the contest for best decorations on the doorway covers?
And the basement parties we used to sneak downstairs to see what went on at.

butch: 13th Feb 2012 - 00:52 GMT

my nickname is butch. i hung around benny farm for years while i was growing up. i knew tons of people there including sean botsford. i dated Margaret Bateman in the 60's and 70's. Margaret if your out there get a hold of me. same with any body who remembers me. my email is showtimemotorcycles@yahoo.com

butch: 14th Feb 2012 - 02:54 GMT

butch i made a mistake email should be showtimemotorcycles@yahoo.ca

anon (ip67-152-36-66.z36-152-67.customer.algx.net): 1st Mar 2012 - 03:21 GMT

Benny Farm. It was a great place. Didn't grow up there, but my best friend Sylvia McMannis did. We went to Kensington School with Derek Shackell, Tommy LaRocque, Tommy Hall, Brendan McGuire, Charmaine, Debbie Hill, Gunta Vitens, Astrid Spies, Grace Rostig, Martha ..........., Tyrone, Anne Woodburn, Rex? Sarah McChelren, Sandra Guy, So many names, it was a fun place to grow up, those years will never come back. So many have passed, as a matter of fact two of which I have listed. I think we had the best childhood years. My name was Valerie Woolmer.

Janet Marston: 1st Mar 2012 - 05:09 GMT

Hi friends! I lived on Kensington up until the age of sixteen..and have fond memories of The Hooper sisters..Jenny and Susanne..who lived in Benny Farm and went to Monklands! They were always upbeat and so lovely! I also knew Margaret Arsenault..and many years later met her in Beaconsfield working with children at a special project! Loved swimming at the nearby pool too! Benny Farm remains a happy part of my childhood memories..as it was a stable community where people I went to school with lived! Love N.D.G. My brother Donald will coming back to see the area this summer after many many moons. He's a California resident and has been for many many years!!..Hope to hear from someone I don't even imagine I will hear from! Love and God bless!!xx

Marg Trethewey: 1st Mar 2012 - 07:34 GMT

Hello to others of 1948 vintage. Who remembers the A Block wiener roasts? The children's library in B block set up and run by the parents? the winter carnival and the Long Loaf "cross country" ski race for the grown ups --- one part consisted of pushing a baby carriage while wearing skis? (I was one of kids in charge of shuttling the carriages back and forth for the next skiers.) The hot chocolate cart behind D block. Skating on the rinks in the large open area near the maintenance building. The tractor and flatbed wagon that made the rounds of the complex to pick up and deliver the garbage cans. The library opening on Benny in the old St Monica's and the hill south of the building that we went sledding on. The horse drawn Madame Blanche laundry cart. Field day in the spring at Kensington complete with relay races and skinned knees. How large the classes were Grade 1 Miss McVey, Grade 2 Miss Black, Grade 3 Mrs Norton, Grade 4 Miss Katz. (We moved to Montreal West in September of my Grade 5 year and always wished we had stayed in NDG.) Mrs Martin was a much better Phys Ed teacher than I had at any other school as she actually taught us skills. Folk dancing, square dancing, basic apparatus especially climbing the ropes right up to the ceiling of the gym, even the basics of soccer in that small, boxy gym with an asphalt floor. The music teacher (name?) who went from class to class from grade 5 up with her autoharp. The annual skate and ski sale organized by the Home and School.

Tim Reid-Wilkinson: 1st Mar 2012 - 12:32 GMT

John Bourgaize, I saw your name and remembered you from the good old days of Kensington.

See http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150390925920670&set=o.23091278017&type=1&ref=nf

Judy Black: 1st Mar 2012 - 19:58 GMT

Hi, I lived at 3980 Benny Ave. from 1956 to 1971, my parents stayed til 1978 when they retired and moved to the Eastern Townships. I went to Kensington then on to Monklands when I graduated in 1969. Our "gang" was Micheal Jette, Gerry Gilmour, Gerry Taylor, Michael Maloney, Michael Butler (Ernie's brother) Cheryl Place, Cheryl Doherty, Bonnie McKenzie, Gail MacKay, Ellen Wilson etc. Thanks for the great memories - it definitely was a great place to grow up in. Too bad it has gone down so much. I remember when they used to rent the huge circus tents that we would have in the back yard for our summer carnivals. I also played "sockey" and was in Mrs. Gilbert's choir. Boy talk about bring back good memories!! Thanks.

Bruce Bowie: 2nd Mar 2012 - 04:44 GMT

Marg:

You may have been in my clases at Kensington. I don't remember the others you mentioned but I remember Ms. Katz...I adored her for some reason, a great teacher and just a super person. Mrs. Martin, as I recall, constantly wore this somewhat bizarre black outfit that can best be described as bloomers with a skirt and bodice.

And she was persistent in physical fitness... in the early grades she had had us marching around that asphalt-floored gym, and then in later grades, the dreaded rope! And I remember fondly the library at the old St. Monica's, I used to go there after school and read books, especially the Curious George books (hey, I was seven..heh). And that small hill, it was super sledding with a piece of cardboard.

And Judy, if you recall, the circus tents also accomodated a bingo facility, although the Benny Farm executive, given that bingo was illegal at the time, called it "bigno:. Somewhat naive on reflection, but Quebec in the 50's, no-one seemed to care anyway.

A few years ago, when I was an Inspector in the RCMP HQ in Ottawa, in charge of a large enforcement program, a fellow Inspector asked my secretary to make some copies of a number of school photos from his childhood...they were the standard class photos, first line sitting, next line on benches etc. I happened to pass by, noticed the photos, and said "Kensington School..that's where I went". Turned out that I and Bob Lesser (the other Inspector), had been working together for about four years without realizing our common background. And then it got even more weird, when Craig Bushey, then a Sergeant in another unit in the buiding, appeared, and it turned out that we were all Benny Farmers.

Go figure.

Maureen: 3rd Mar 2012 - 05:13 GMT

Hi Marge- I remember that the music teacher's name was Miss Cullen. I went to Kensington from 1958-Grade 1 to Grade 7 before we moved to Pointe Claire. I had Mrs. Norton in grade 1, Mrs. Black grade 2,(a champion skater) Miss Giles who was an artist for 3 & Mrs. Freeman for 4.
My friends were Margaret Bateman, Susan Crout, Barbara Lepage, Barbara Ashe. I lived in E Block first, then F Block.The Robichauds were in our building as well as Whithers & Brian Jones Family.

Marg Trethewey: 15th Mar 2012 - 04:06 GMT

Hello everyone,
Bruce, I think you were in at least one of my classes as were both Craig Bushey and Bob Lesser whose family were our next door neighbours (3740 Benny apt 37, A Block) until they moved to Sherbrooke and the Callahans moved in. Maureen --- thanks for remembering Miss Cullen, music teacher. Peter Crout (Susan's brother) was in our year along with the two sets of twins --- Joanie and Jimmy Haggerty, Wayne and Madeline Risser, Jimmy Anderson and, believe it or not, in grade 3 between the two classes there were seven boys named Robert/Bob/Bobby! Other memories? Other A Block "farmers" whose names I recall included the Tidmarshes, Caddells, MacKinnons, McLaughlans, Newtons, Waits, MacDonalds, Masons, Courtneys, Singers, Forresters, Hansens, Lothians, Greys, Owens, Jarvises ... who have I left out?

Maria Bielinski: 16th Mar 2012 - 15:51 GMT

To you EvilGentleman,
I can't thank you enough for your wonderful article! Accidentally stumbled on it and the smiles and good warm feelings, came along with some scary moments,and all the fun we had! We moved to 3880 Cavendish #13 in 1962. In those days #13 didn't scare people, we were just so lucky to be living in a community like that! Making snow forts! Skating in the back yards and always having someone to skate with! Also every winter we would be able to trade our skates for a pair that fit and no one asked for money!!!!!!!!!! I remember those frozen toes we had, imagine how much longer we could have stayed out if we had the apparels that we have today? Remember those iron radiators we had heating our apartments? you could have killed someone! Summer time was the ultimate! Soft ball, Red Rover, swings on cement, lol! Alamo, a wooden crocodile? not sure if I remember that correctly. Of course the carnivals were the best! Remembers the bands that played at night? OMG some were so good! I do not think any of us felt deprived, we were always playing with someone, always had many mothers (that was not too good) cause in those days mothers were mostly at home. Can honestly say if I had to do it again I would be back there in a second! Have re-connected with some of you on FB, and we have periods of fun reminiscing. I know some of you might still be living there. My brother and I drove by there last year, what a shock! it felt like my very best friend had died!
You (EvilGentleman) really have done a very special thing! Thanks again, Maria

anon (c-24-2-166-222.hsd1.ct.comcast.net): 19th Mar 2012 - 22:39 GMT

I lived at 4250 Benny Avenue as a kid 1947 to about 1950 and then my folks got a bigger apartment at 4000 cavendish - both Benny Farm palces. We moved "up and out" to Ville St.Laurent in 1953. I went to Kensington School up thru a part of Grade 3. I recall my folks saying in later years that they were greatful to "get in" as housing was at a big premium. When I was at Concordia in mid 60's, one afternoon I went to 4250 and went up the stairs to the 2nd foor - funny feeling - it all seemed so small! As a youngster, I recalled the stairs were so muck higher and the halls much bigger! I got the same feeling when I visited Kensington School . . . only to find it was by then a private German School! memories!

Carol A Bombard nee/Black: 21st Mar 2012 - 02:51 GMT

I have read all the conscripts and I can't add anymore to what my sister said - Benny Farm was the best place to bring up children and I lived there until I was 21 years old! - (when my parents finally allowed me to leave home) Benny Farm was definately not the "projects" but a well organized, family oriented safe environment for children) I and my sister, have nothing but fond memories of "The Farm"

maureen stanton: 11th Apr 2012 - 18:48 GMT

Does anyone remember the Stanton's? We lived at Benny in the late 60's.We left in 1968 for Vermont.We lived across the hall from the Cryan's.The St Martin's lived downstairs.My parent's were Dorothy and Patrick.My dad died in 2007 at the age of 81 and my mom's still kicking!Jim,Leo and Paul are my brothers.I was only 7 when we moved but I remember some of these names.I know we had quite a few come to visit us in Vermont through the years.I also remember Johnny Jellybean and Magic Tom!

Leo stanton: 20th Apr 2012 - 02:44 GMT

Hola, like my sis maureen says hi to all the farmers from Benny remember u all very well Tommy larocque the st martins the arsenaults Johnny butler Gail ivany an kitty Robinson grrr! I was too young I live in Santa monica , ca now greet memories !! Stay in touch

Pierre Kitts: 20th Apr 2012 - 23:54 GMT

heartmontreal: 6th Sep 2010 - 20:34 GMT

"I knew others in Benny Farm Debbie Kelsch and her bro Ray, she hung out with Steven ? and Robert? Lost track of Debbie and Ray after they left Montreal.
I did enjoy hanging out in BF as there was always something going on..Never a dull moment that's for sure!"

Heartmontreal,

I went out with Debbie Kelsch during my very early teenage years. She actually was my first serious girlfriend if you could call it serious at that age, but for us it was. I lost touch with her, but recently found out that she went to Calgary around the age of 23. Her cousin Sherry told me that she unfortunately died at the young age of 53 on December 28th , 2011. I only wish I had one more moment with her. She had a hard life, and apparently so did her brother Ray. The coincidence is that heard of cancer causing agents at the Benny Farm complex. Could it plausible that she died of exposure as well as others. May she rest in peace our Dear Debbie, she was a sweet heart.

Wendy Downey: 21st Apr 2012 - 20:38 GMT

My family moved to "The Farm" in an ice truck in 1957. Dad had served in the Air Force in Ontario for the duration of WWII. We were a family of four. My sister was crowned Queen of Rose Bowl! Kindergarden at Kensington School just a few blocks away. Home for lunch with my mom, Dot then a quick run down to Georgie's for candy when I got older. Many wonderful times spent skating, playing ball against the wall, hopscotch, skipping, and Benny park and swimming in the pool on Monkland. Ballet with Miss Milenka and choir with Mrs. Gilbert. Life-changing events. The " commisioner" Percy made sure we were safe. Dads played broomball and shared duties maintaining the ice rinks. Big tents for carnivals, long lofs in winter. Each building had 6 apts. with a story in each family. Judy was my friend, then Jackie, and Cheryl, boyfriends and teachers that taught me so much. Even the girl at the end of the street with cerebral palsy... My dad bought a house on the south shore and after grade 7 we moved away. I left but my heart and mind and body was molded in that wonderful place in NDG.

EvilGentleman: 22nd Apr 2012 - 03:33 GMT

Maria Bielinski: Thank you for your kind compliments. I was just drawn to some empty buildings. It is you and your fellow Benny Farmers who have brought the memories back to life by sharing your stories with us. Thank YOU.

Dave: 25th Apr 2012 - 03:17 GMT

4100#11
Yes indeed EvilGentleman, thank you so much for your work. You have made so many happy.I love reading from people I remember.
I loved my childhood and really appreciate all the work that the parents put into us kids having a great time. And what times they were.

Remember one year the band Simple Simon and the Pieman .They played the summer festival dance on the back forty and we danced on soap flakes on the tar mack....lol My favourite , the band the Haunted played one year. Oddly both are garage band finds all over the world now. A DJ in Philly i met on the net had their records and sent me a mp3. The Haunted 125...it's on you tube now.

I heard somewhere that a red plaid lumberjacket was a Benny Gang Symbol....I bought one and wander around Toronto with it proudly...lol..
Yay!!! show your colours!!!!
I know... I'm still a nut case...lol...

Your all very dear to me. Bumped into Mike Arsenault about twenty years ago and heard about his brother Pat sad motorcycle accident.
An empty field , one rock in the middle of it, he hit hit it head on .Sadly it was just when all was really going well for Pat. Pat an i played army and army men together, he was older and well that was brief. Funny the stuff you remember,the snow forts with the tossed out Christmas Trees.

ok Big Love to everyone
Dave and his dog Lucky the Border Collie

Bruce Bowie: 26th Apr 2012 - 02:31 GMT

EvilGentleman:

I wish to echo the thanks you have received from a couple of commenters. I am 63 now, some would consider me rich, I do have all of the toys including a large house and a large boat, very successful businesses and money in the bank, and no debt. Things that my father, an incredibly honourable man who sacrificed his most productive years by serving in the RAF during WWII, and never managed to achieve what I was fortunate enough to achieve.

But I am convinced that our formative years dictate what we will accomplish in later life. Obviously my dad was important, but the lessons I learned in terms of respect, interraction with others, getting ahead etc. from my Benny Farm experience clearly had a profound influence on my life.

Now I am in the position of being the care-giver for my very ill wife, who may not be with us much longer, and that of course makes me realize that money and possessions, at the end of the day, are meaningless.

What counts is, I suppose, what we have done in life, what we have contributed, and the impact that people have had on us, and the impact we have had on other people.

Your posting of this piece allowed me to reflect on those issues. Because I hadn't thought of Benny Farm for a long time. And I think that you get the drift, from comments, that Benny Farm was not just an address, it was a way of life that was so important to so many people.

So thanks again. I think you now realize that you have made a difference in the lives of a number of good people.

Catherine Crout-Habel- from "Dowunder": 18th May 2012 - 18:54 GMT

G'day everyone. I'm a bit of a "ring in" here. I live in South Australia. Am very involved in researching my Family History and think I may be related to the Crout family that so many have mentioned. I know they settled in Montreal, Quebec before World War 1. Does anyone know anyway I can make contact with any of the family? I'm both excited & nervous at the same time and only came across this group by googling Crout + Montreal (I think) Many thanks, Catherine.

The Dillons: 21st Jun 2012 - 16:32 GMT

My brothers and I lived on the farm (from approx 67-75) and I am delighted to see so many familiar names on this site. RIP Suzie and Christine.
I recently visited some old friends on the new farm and had spaghetti dinner with Lori Doucette, her mom Melanie, Lori's daughter Melinda and Linda Holdbrook. We laughed the whole night, it was just like old times. Cassie

Bruce Bowie: 21st Jun 2012 - 22:31 GMT

Dillon? Is/was your dad Charlie Dillon, who used to operate the Esso station at the corner of Monkland and Grand Blvd? My dad, Colin Bowie, used to swear by him and always took his car to "Charlie" for servicing.

The Dillons: 22nd Jun 2012 - 12:10 GMT

Hello Bruce,

Yes Charlie was my grandfather. After selling the gas station he managed the Wheel Club (a local drinking spot at Sherbrooke and Cavendish). My mom, my grama, my two brothers and I were in a three bedroom on the third floor. I live in a bungalow now - no stairs :).
The new buildings are really fancy - there are elevators !!!

N fleming: 27th Jun 2012 - 19:10 GMT

Happy to have found this site. I lived on Walkey Ave all my friend where from Benny Farm my two school chums were Christine Coady and Suzy. I remember what happened to Suzy ( which still haunts me to this day. How did Christine die? So sad...

Maria Bielinski: 28th Jun 2012 - 23:11 GMT

This is so cool, I keep coming back on to read the new posts....oh it really does feel good! Dam we were so lucky and we didn't even realize! Keep the posts coming! We are alive and lucky too!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Peter Flemming: 30th Jun 2012 - 21:14 GMT

The Leger family lived at 6440 Monkland, Apt 38, from 1968-1979. Patrick lives in Texas, Sandra & Marty live in Guelph. I married their mother Norma and we live in Guelph.
I grew up in NDG,Beaconsfield and Ville St-Pierre before moving to Guelph.
The BIG question what was the name of the older man who lived on the 1st floor at 6440. He might have been Austrian. He might still be there as he wouldn't leave. When we told him we were moving (in 1979) to Guelph he said we were going to God's country. He wss right.

Jeanne Carriere: 5th Jul 2012 - 22:42 GMT

To Catherine Crout-Habel- from "Dowunder".
I was married to David Crout and still have contact with his family. Mr. Les Crout (the patriarch)still lives near me here in Victoria BC. Coincidentally my daughter Drew Crout is presently living in Melbourne, perhaps the two of you could be in contact. You can e-mail me at mightyjc@telus.net for further information. As far as I know Mr. Crout only had another brother. There are two children from that side. I could contact them as well.

Barb Webb (now Boydell): 25th Jul 2012 - 17:01 GMT

I grew up at 4130 Cavendish. 3rd floor. We lived beside the Beames. Below us were the Jettes. My parents (Doug & Penny), my brothers Gary, Ross & Blair - we all lived in this small apartment until we moved to Benny Crescent in the mid 60's. Growing up there was the best life a child could have. I learned to figure skate on the rink behind our apartment building. Vera Groen and I used to balance on the metal bars around the grassy areas. We had the big circus tent on the back 40 every summer with all sorts of events going on. I remember singing a song with Susan Horowitz at one of the winter carnivals. I remember going through the basement of one of the buildings on Benny Avenue to get to Kensington school and being terrified of the dark so I would run through very quickly to get outside. I remember riding my bicycle for endless hours all around the back paths. I remember babysitting the twins, Missy & Mark. I remember dancing to the Beatles in Vera's bedroom when their first song came out. I remember my first crush on Brian Jones who lived on Benny Avenue. My Mom & I visited his parents many years later when I came to visit my parents after moving to Calgary. Brian and I played CCK (chase, catch and kiss) around the back 40. Somehow, he never caught up to me - HA HA HA..... I remember Barbara Ashe who lived on Monklands. She married a race car driver but I lost touch. We used to pretend we were ballerinas in her livingroom. I remember Perry, the security guard. I remember having temper tantrums and stomping my feet on the floor in my bedroom. I'm sure the Jette's thought I was coming through their ceiling. We played dolls on the landings inside the apartment building. We used to set up a tent underneath the bottom floor apartment balcony on the back. What a place to grow up. Unbelievable. I haven't been back to Montreal since my Mom died in 2000. I'd love to see how it looks now. I got married in 1971 and have 2 sons (35 + 33) and a 6 year old granddaughter. We all live in Calgary and have since 1983.

Blair Webb: 26th Jul 2012 - 13:34 GMT

Unlike my sister, Barbara, who doesn't seem to have any memory retrieval issues, I recall very little about Benny Farm but, like all who have commented above, I do remember it as a wonderful place to be a kid. Staying out on the rink in the Back 40 until our father whistled us to come in. In the spring, finding pucks that had been buried in the piles of snow through the winter months. Playing baseball against the wall where there was a box marking the strike zone. Playing tag between the tall trees. Crawling through a huge snow fort out back. Walking on top of the garages and, I think, even making our way from there to the Steinberg's building. Yes, Percy and the boiler room. Climbing up from our third floor balcony door on to the flat roof to retrieve tennis balls. Walking to and from Kensington and coming home for lunch. Eating a whole spanish bar cake from A&P for lunch at Kensington. I guess the names escape me now. I remember Mike Mombourquette, the Robinson's. That's about it! Was born there in '57. Now married with a 9 yr-old daughter, living in Uxbridge, northeast of Toronto. My older brother, Gary, now living outside Philadelphia with his family.

Bruce Bowie: 10th Aug 2012 - 02:14 GMT

Barb Webb:

Your family probably saved the life my brother, Ian Bowie. He was having conflicts with my father and ultimately you folks took him in for a time, introduced him to the Church, and he managed to get off the destructive path he was on. He later went of college, became a Pastor, was responsible for the development of several churches across Canada and almost single-handedly created a 14 story senior citizens' residence in Maple Ridge, BC. Unfortunatly Ian died suddenly on New Years Eve in 2002. Attending his funeral were over a thousand persons, which indicates the mark he made during his life.

Your family played a part in getting Ian back on the right track...for that I will be forever grateful, and so will a ton of people that Ian was able to help in his lifetime.

Dave Pellerino: 12th Aug 2012 - 15:59 GMT

My mom died july 27th /2012
Ethel. from complications of hospital acquired pneumonia, she was 88.

she was a great mom, I remember her feeding Pat Arsenault out the back door when he was hungry and living rough.
she was like that.
Dad had a taxi and always left the door unlocked so kids that lived rough could sleep in it.

i think i already posted that.

oh well..sad times right now for me..

Brian Jones was older but for awhile we made and flew model airplanes ..then he got older and into those Cooper S cars...lol..

great guy...always hip to the latest on the radio...

cheers everyone..
d

Dave McGaraughty: 14th Aug 2012 - 03:23 GMT

The best time off my life. I came to Benny farm in Feb 1966. My brother was Mike and sister was Lynn.
I loved it when we would play base.30 plus kids running all over the block,Running,hiding and trying to free everyone with out being touched and put in base.I see a lot of old names.Hi to JOHN PERRY i hope you are well.Hi also to the Fords,Quinns,Derek Normand, Ricky.L.,Pete and lenny Pompeos.
There were so many that i miss. All of you and more made my childhood the best i kid could ask for.
I think of benny farm and park and center as the best time of my life.

Catherine Crout-Habel- from "Downunder" : 14th Aug 2012 - 17:02 GMT

Dear Jeanne,
Thankyou SO much for your message re: Mr Les Crout and the Crout family. I've emailed you... and am so looking forward to a reply. How wonderful it will be if I've found our Canadian Crout family :-) Thanks again... Catherine

Mark Thornton : 23rd Aug 2012 - 01:47 GMT

Thanks for continuing this blog. My family lived on the farm @ 26-4200 Cavendish as well as 18-3740 Benny during the 60's and early 70's. I have many fond memories and made many friends over my childhood years. It tears me apart seeing the shape of these buildings before they were demolished /renovated. It would be nice to see pictures of the good old days from the farm!

Maureen: 25th Aug 2012 - 20:05 GMT

I found these old pics of Kensington. Anybody recognize anybody?

You're in there Barbara.

Maureen: sorry didn't work.

Michael Borror: 12th Sep 2012 - 17:57 GMT

Dave Pellerino, I am sorry to hear about your mother. She was a wonderful lady and one of my sad memories (though I don't have many of Benny Farm) was when your family moved.

Dave Pellerino: 17th Sep 2012 - 15:37 GMT

Hi Michael, thanks for the kind words.
If truth be known your family is ingrained in my being.
Your dad , whom i still know only as Mr. Borror, was a good friend of mine all through my youth. When you were really small i hung with him and watched saturday cartoons and he helped me with model building and so many other things. he let me hold his war stuff...heh heh....an honour...

Your mom was like secound mom to me. she was good to me.
as for you..well you were allowed to care for Lucky, I recall how much you wanted to walk her and were trusted with her...thats actually a big deal....

all the best Michael...
I just came back from Montreal and drove around the Farm...sort of looks like some of it was renovated or something..very weird....13 years ago it was still all intact but empty...

Any way had the best chicken in years at Chalet Bar B Q....My wife admits it was the best as well...heh heh heh....did the orange julius thing as well...heh heh...


cheers Michael
d

Dave Pellerino: 17th Sep 2012 - 15:39 GMT

make that Orange Julip ...orange julius is the ripped off version in toronto

anon (70.49.251.161): 9th Oct 2012 - 00:20 GMT

Hello Dave, you're welcome. Sorry I haven't posted sooner. We recently went away for 9 days. I can say the same things about your parents as well. I remember your mom looking after me after school, your Dad bringing me Expos souvenirs. We left the farm in 1975 and my dad passed away the next year. My mother passed away in 1988.

I returned to the Farm 3 years ago. Our building was recently demolished as all that was left was rubble and the foundation. It was actually the first time I had been to NDG since 1979. I took my wife to Chalet Bar B Q and she also agrees they are the best. Nice to see that Chalet hasn't really changed. Orange Julip is still open?

Lucky - truth be told, I let Lucky live in your apartment. :)

I have a picture of Lucky and I when she was just a pup and I was about 2.

Are you in Ontario also?

John Parry: Those were the days

Perry Giguere : 28th Oct 2012 - 09:50 GMT

Man Oh man I just read all these entries and I am glad to add a few words. I lived on the farm from 1956 to 1970. I was born in 1950, so these years were important developing times.We, the Gigueres lived in K-not=rth, #3951 Cavendih, apt 60{ I happen to have the iron square and wooden numbers from that building and the brass #60 from the apt upstairs] Our neighbours over the years were the Robinsons[steve,janice kitty billy and delores].also the Lebruns, Gordons, oops I forget at the moment, other neighbours.. next door and environs were the Lords, Johnstons, Kevins' Starkys, Campbells.... Thanks to the person who set this up.. I too brag to friends and foks I meet about the place I "grew up" in.. A big thanks to the parents who put it all together for us to play and explore and develop our instincts on the farm..Over the years I've had the honour to be back and stay on the farm as my sister lived there until her recent passing. She, Pauline, lived there for 56 years from 56 to 2012. so I was still connected to the place even though I've lived in Vancouver since 1973... Many names I've read tonight ring bells for me.. friends of Susan Crout, Susan Omara, great lady, I remember your dark haired beauty and smile. Judy Black, we were never close buds but you know all my friends, Gilmore, butler, Maloney etc
the references to the 'back forty' and the monkey bars and sandbox and alamo and crocodiles[wooden] and the barrels... ahh yes they became jungles and different environments in our imaginations..It is all so close and clear as a memory it's like I never left..[ I havent really] and I'll be there again as I still have folks I know living there..
I went to St. Monicas, grade1 to 7 and then to Marymount.
memories ofd waiting for the bus in the apt at the corner of Monkland and Cavendish, when it was cold.. Al Giffin, asking us to buy his book of bus tickets for him because it was too confusing for him.. hah..
We were all allowed to have our own quirks and we all had them.. made life rich and full, to navigate this lush humanity at our disposal..
I could go on for hours remembering loves and fears and discoveries of Benny Farm
the film Stand By me " comes close to showing the intense diversity and adventure we lived with being a part of it all.
long live the farm and lets bless each other for remembering and sharing
some highlights. the winter and summer carnivals, all the leagues of all the sports that were available to us...trick or treating with pillowcases..the lazy days of summer, the pool and the diving boards..okay okay stop me now.. I am still friends with Carl Hodge, Steve Robinson, Al and Pete Smith, Joey MacLean, Darcy and Michael Quinn and still connected to friends who came to Benny Farm to enjoy the bounty there.. we all know what we shared and we can be pleased that some people who were not there can get a sense of what it meant.. thanks for this. smiles all round. Perry

Steve Cox: 30th Oct 2012 - 22:09 GMT

I know someone must have mentioned Milton, Cheryl and Jimmy Place in one of the posts. I'd like to be able to get some information on any of them,especially Milton, since he lived with our family for a few years back in 1966 to 1968 approximately. He dated my sister Lyn and we lived on the corner of Beaconsfield and Terrebonne but I hung out with a lot of Benny Farmers, including Milton's brother Jimmy and always thought Cheryl was 'hot'. So if anyone has any information on how to contact them, let me know. Does anybody know me? I know a lot of you guys!

Gloria Smilovitch: 1st Nov 2012 - 01:17 GMT

I lived on Wakley Street when I was around 11 years old. Over 40 years ago.
I remember my mom bringing me and my siblings to visit her childhood friend that had kids of her own. It seemed to be a fun place, all us kids were running around the open outside and having a great time. My mother passed
almost 2 years ago, but lived on Benny Cresent, not far from the Farms.
I have lived in California for over 30 years but will never forget Walkley Street, the Farms, or Ville St. Laurent. Miss you Montreal.. xo

Gerry Smith: 3rd Nov 2012 - 23:08 GMT

So many names, so many memories. Hello Perry Giguere, I have often wondered what happened to you I don't know if you remember me.We lived in the next building to you, my sisters were Ellen, Carol, Linda, and Tanya. We lived on the Farm from 1953 to 1961, and then again from 1962 to 1964 I have fond memories of Mrs Starkey and the incredible snow sculptures created by her sons. Benny Farm was truly a special place. I played hockey with Carl Hodge, I remember Joey Maclean, the Gilmores particularly Mr Gilmore he was my first hockey coach, and many memories of the Sinclairs. The Maloneys, the Butlers, the Arsenaults, the McNultys. Playing endless hours of hockey in the back forty, cold cold nights with the rink lights swaying in the dark, walking down those back stairs with our skates on and back up again, toes frozen. I remember butter and sugar sandwiches made by Mrs. Ectheverry. I remember the smell of home made bread made by Mrs. Arsenault.The first time I ever heard the Beatles was from someones record player playing in a window on the third floor "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Even when I hear that song today I am transported back to that time.Somerled Billiard Academy. the Somerled Deli, The "Hideout" at the Y. I often tell my grand kids about all the candy we would collect in pillow cases filled to the top and as someone else mentioned , going back for more.I remember independance as a child, leaving the apartment, our home, and going out for hours on end exploring. My memory is not the best, I have forgotten much, but the memories I have of the farm are happy ones.

Best wishes to all

Dave Pellerino: 4th Nov 2012 - 00:34 GMT

Gerry Smith, I think I dated your sister Tanya. But she lived on Fielding at the time, her girlfriend was Louise.
If this is you!!!! man what a small world. And odd I never knew you lived on the Farm.

So I'm in my lobby in Mississauga and talking about Montreal and this guy says he is from there and one thing leads to another from me talking about Benny Farm and somehow his aunt is from there. Tanya Smith, I'm like impossible, this was my first real true steady girlfriend at 13 and she was 12. lol!!!! I know we Montrealers eh!!!!! We just are more advanced ....hahahahahaha

So it gets weirder.
Around about 1986 I meet this girl from Marymount, my locker mate actually, in Mississauga and she recalls i went out with Tanya and gives me this picture.
It was one of those Woolworth's 25 cent photo strips.

I freaked for I recall the day Tanya, Marilyn and Louise took it.
So i emailed to the guy in my building and he said "Yes it's her" after he forwarded it on to Tanya.

I never knew she lived on the Farm nor you...

Small world eh.

ok anon you posted this a few posts ago and now i am worried ...a lil worried. I realize things get lost in type on this medium...but erm uh...please explain.
/////////////////////////////////////////////
anon (70.49.251.161): 9th Oct 2012 - 00:20 GMT

Hello Dave, you're welcome. Sorry I haven't posted sooner.
Lucky - TRUTH BE TOLD, I LET LUCKY LIVE IN YOUR APARTMENT. :)

I have a picture of Lucky and I when she was just a pup and I was about 2.

Are you in Ontario also?
//////////////////////

what do you mean?????
" TRUTH BE TOLD, I LET LUCKY LIVE IN YOUR APARTMENT. :)"


like i said things do get scrambled in this medium..

so you are michael right....
and yeah ..ontario

Dave Pellerino: 4th Nov 2012 - 01:21 GMT

Gerry Smith, the whole emailing to the guy in my building happened just a few months ago.

When he said Tanya Smith was his aunt, this was a year ago, I am slow and did not get around to emailing him the pic till recently.

Not too many Tanyas back then and I asked if she had a brother Gerry. that was the ticket that tied it all together!

We were all so innocent back then, and holding her hand skating at Benny park,and that good night kiss was a huge deal.

She was in my books the prettiest girl in NDG.

She broke my heart and after years of therapy I can finally speak to people again.

heh heh !!!!

nice hearing from ya!
d


David Pellerino: 4th Nov 2012 - 05:48 GMT

Michael, after hours of pondering what you wrote I've come to the conclusion you meant it as an endearment as to how you loved Lucky as much as I did and looked at her as family as well. This medium does not afford certain things unless it's typed out precisely. For me anyway.

Me growing up on a steady diet of LSD and Amphetamines doesn't help....lol....

Sorry for not getting it.


Also, It through me off and I would like to take this time to give you solace at hearing the sad news of your Dad and Mom.

I mean it when i say they were very close to me . Everyday your mom was in my kitchen and she had a good sense of humour with me.

sorry to hear you lost both of them at a young age.
Too bad i did not get to know you better, age kept us apart.

cheers mate
Dave

Barb Webb (now Boydell): 5th Nov 2012 - 20:49 GMT

Bruce Bowie - Thanks for your kind comments about Ian. I remember him living with us and I remember having a big crush on him. He was such a nice person - salt of the earth. I am very sorry to hear of his passing. He leaves a big gap in all of our lives but great memories.

Barb Webb (Boydell)

perry giguere: 10th Nov 2012 - 00:49 GMT

hey Gerry I do remember you well as a neighbour and a friend. feel free to contact me at myname@hotmail.com and we can catch up great to hear from you.. and barbara webb didnt your brother deliver the paper to us all on the farm??

Michael & D'Arcy Quinn, 6520 Monkland & 3980 Cavendish: 4th Dec 2012 - 04:55 GMT

One of my memories of the Farm was the free flow of hot water courtesy of the Boiler Room. Not only did the Boiler Room provide a free flow of steaming hot water for those long hot baths after a game of pick-up hockey on one of Benny Farm's two natural ice rinks but it also provided the hot water for the radiators which kept our apartments overheated in the winter.It might be below zero outside but inside your Benny Farm apartment it was the tropics.

Geoff de Gannes 6530 Monkland: 22nd Dec 2012 - 20:17 GMT

Hi Michael and D'Arcy,
We sure had some memorable Christmas's on The Farm Seasons Greetings to you and yours from Nova Scotia where we're likely to be in for another green Christmas.

john wayne peck: 30th Dec 2012 - 19:18 GMT

Hi you all from my past of NDG.. I never grew up in Benny farm
., but didn, t know where to find people from my era from NDG.I grew up on Botreal ave between ndg blvd and cote st antoine.. I was born may 1948. Both my parents and sister were from Cape Britain N.S. But because pf no just in N.S. they moved the big move..to Montteal. Just loking gor other people ftom. Ndg who lived near giroward, marcil, havard, prudumme. Streets..I went to Daniel O Connel grade school back in 1956. And then Marymount high on Cote St Luc rd.

anon (bas2-streetsville39-2925474375.dsl.bell.ca): 28th Jan 2013 - 00:50 GMT

I feel like some sort of buzz kill...

michael...uuuuu whooooooo wassup

anon (bas2-streetsville39-2925474375.dsl.bell.ca): 8th Feb 2013 - 07:33 GMT

that was odd...testing anon and it's

Michael Borror: 5th Mar 2013 - 15:44 GMT

Just realized that months have passed by.....

Dave, I know what you mean about anon. When I posted and saw it changed my name, I wondered what happened. And no worries about the misunderstanding.

Mississauga? We are practically neighbours (again). I live in Milton.

Susan Reed: 21st Mar 2013 - 15:55 GMT

I lived on West Hill and these photos brought back SO many good childhood memories! Thanks!

Tracey: 21st Mar 2013 - 21:36 GMT

I'm in Montreal often and never have the time to poke around at these things but being back in the neighbourhood always makes me feel like I am at home. I lived on Westhill, below Somerled and had many a friend live in those buildings...such a shame but thanks for bringing a little bit of home to all of us!

Patty Sunderland: 20th Apr 2013 - 22:46 GMT

Susan Reed,

I saw this site a couple of years ago, and came on here today to get the URL for someone else. Saw your name! We were friends - I lived the next block up. E-mail me if you like: pattysears@sympatico.ca

Dave: 21st Aug 2014 - 16:54 GMT

Note to self...
think before you post...
egads!!!! my childhood online for all to see....what was I thinking...

still.... the more i think about it...Benny Farm was the best possible place in the western world for a kid to grow up on in the 60's.

I honestly think my Karma brought me there and thank God for allowing me the pleasure.

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