Saturday, 13 September 2014

Postcard Address Mystery

I had a mystery of a postcard sent from my grandfather to my grandmother before they were married. Today I finally found the answer.

In 1907 while in Toronto on business, Tom Seale sent a postcard to his girlfriend Marion Tait addressed to her at 34 St Antoine Street. But that was not the address where the Tait family lived according to the Montreal City Directory...?? Hmmmmmm.

So today I was looking in the street section of the 1913 City Directory, checking out the cross streets where my grandparents (now married) were living at #42 Cazelais, down the street from her parents, and this is what was written:
Cazelais, formerly St Antoine Ave off 92 Chestnut, west to St Remi, St Henri Ward.
 AHA!! So I went back to the 1907 directory, and looking up Cazelais in the street section, this is what I found: 
Cazelais, formerly St Antoine Ave off 92 Chestnut, west to Cote St Paul Rd, St Henri Ward. For names of residents, see end of street directory.

At the end there is a section for "streets received too late for insertion in alphabetical order", and there was Cazelais, with the Taits living at number 34. So the Taits didn't move from St Antoine to Cazelais, the name of the street changed.

Next I went to google maps, searching for 42 Cazelais. Phew!  There is still a Cazelais street.  The marker got plunked down right between Walnut and Desnoyers (which used to be Chestnut). A very pretty tree-lined street.

But now another dilemma - the house numbers have all been changed!  The numbers are in the 4700's. The house numbers at one time started with 1 at the beginning of a street, and at some point in time all this changed to a standardized system in most cities. So I went through all the years street sections until I got to the 1930 city directory, and 34 Cazelais is now 4796 Cazelais, according to the same person living there this year and the year previous.

I found this post by Amber Daugherty on the Spacing Website that explains modern numbering of houses in major Canadian cities...

Ever wonder how a house gets an address number?

There is more explanation at this Wikipedia post of Transportation in Montreal.

Here are some other helpful links:

London, UK street name changes

Street Name Changes in the USA

Darebin, AU Street Name Changes

List of Street Name Changes in Detroit 1891

Old streets, roads, lanes, piers wharves of New York, w/ former and present names 1882

Changes made to street names in Victoria BC, 1900-1914


  1. Wonder if it's the same building I lived in for years! Building was built in 1910 and owned by an Italian family.

  2. May I add, I lived at the top floor at 4790 Cazelais for 12 1/2 years and the ground floor for 3 1/2 years.

    1. Practically next door!!
      That photo is from Google street view... I wonder what the area looked like in 1913?


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