Former fire hall transformed Station No. 28 was built over a century ago

mai 30, 2012

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Robert Galbraith

special to THE GAZETTE

For over a hundred years, Montreal’s old fire station No. 28 has been a witness to the changing face of our city, from its mountain perch at 1500 Cedar Ave., just north of Pine West.

Built in 1909-10, this historic building has undergone a number of key transformations itself.

For over a dozen years, a team of two horses would pull a firehose wagon from the station to nearby fires, where its hoses would be hooked up to fire hydrants, (first installed in 1863) to quench home-consuming flames.

But firefighting technology did evolve, and sometime around 1928, with the advent of gasoline-powered firetrucks, the horses of station No. 28 were sent out to pasture, to pull grass cutters on Île Ste. Hélène.

Here, it was far away from the ring of downtown fire bells that would cause the horses to involuntarily jump into action, champing at the bit to get to the fire scene.

The last of the city’s horse-drawn fire wagons were retired in 1936. It was the end of an era, (see for more historical info).

The fire station itself closed in 1979 and was abandoned and boarded up, then privately purchased in 1984 and renovated into two separate apartments, an upper and lower. Then, from 1987-88, the lower floor apartment was used as a setting for the French TV series, Un homme au foyer” about a family where the father stayed home to look after the kids and household tasks.

In 2004, the upstairs resident (who wishes to remain anonymous) purchased the lower apartment, therefore owning the entire residence outright. In 2005 she had it completely renovated to its present state.

Now, the five-bedroom, 3½-bathroom property has been listed for sale at $3,900,000, by Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec. The three-storey residence encompasses over 3,000 square feet of bright living space on a 10,000 sq. ft landscaped lot, adorned with 100-year-old red oak trees and mature maple and ash.

It includes its own large driveway and parking area, a private hedge-lined, ground floor terrace/patio and extra expansive fenced-in garden area. You are surrounded on three sides by forest, right up to the edge of Mount Royal Park and its network of trails, one of which runs along just outside the property line. Upwards of 100 species of birdlife can be viewed from the property during peak spring bird migration.

The place is so discrete, but close to the attractions of downtown living, such as shopping, museums, schooling and public transport.

You enter the residence from Cedar Ave. into a slate-floored vestibule with a large closet on one side and vibrant fuchsia-coloured walls. This leads onto the first floor with high, 15-foot ceilings in the living room, vivid blue wall tones, natural wood flooring and lots of natural light streaming through the numerous large windows.

A wood-burning fireplace is central on the eastern wall of the living room area and has incorporated into it the white Carrara marble that was reclaimed from original firefighters’ shower stalls that no longer remain. At the south end of the living room is the open dining room, with 10-foot ceilings.

The dining room leads into the vibrant, orchard green kitchen with top-of-the-line, stainless steel appliances and French doors, allowing access to the garden terrace. It has heated ceramic tile flooring and a very functional and attractive dinette, faced by two large windows. There is a neighbouring powder room, located next to the kitchen.

Also from the living room, a beautiful hardwood wood staircase leads up to the second and third levels. The first level of the staircase has recycled wooden columns and, of course, the brass fire pole once used by the firefighters for quick access to their equipment.

The second floor contains three bedrooms (one with a brilliant sunset-shaped window looking onto the mountain), the office with its south-facing windows, a bar and full bathroom. The warm wood tones of hardwood floors and staircase railings blend into a forest-like palate with the blue walls and ivory ceilings.

“It’s very bright and cheerful,” explained the owner of the home. “I’m from the West Coast originally and it shows in my home. It has a lot of West Coast art, like seascapes and panoramas. The vivid tones remind me of the coast. The idea for the blues and greens being that they are reflective of the sea, the forests and wide open ocean off the coast.”

The last storey of the staircase leads to the third floor and its master bedroom with attached ensuite bathroom and the library, comfortable family room, living room and cobalt blue tiled powder room with glass sink.

The basement has storage space and heated indoor parking for two cars. All of the windows in the home are low maintenance, PVC, hand crank windows, so you can retire that horrid putty knife!

The third-floor exterior balcony allows for a 360-degree panoramic view of the city and mountain, and this, along with the main floor of the residence and outside main floor terrace, make this home one heck of a place to entertain, let alone live.


School and municipal taxes total approximately $23,501.00

For more information, contact Sotheby’s realty broker Géraldine Libraty at (514) 962-5563 or, or co-listing partner, Liza Kaufman at (514)-232-5932 or

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