“Beaver Hall Square; Riordan Houses” Montreal 1939

One of the first cityscapes that Tinning painted after he moved to Montreal is a row of four Victorian townhouses on “Beaver Hall Square”. Built in 1863 by James Ferrier  – merchant and a former Mayor of the city – for his four children and named Tamworth Place this row of elegant homes on the east side of Beaver Hall Square had been transformed into residential/commercial properties by 1939. Tinning writes on the lower left of his painting (below) “Riordan Houses” – also spelled as “Riordon” – a name associated with the pulp and paper industry in Canada.  “Riordon Sales Corp Ltd ” is listed in Lovell’s Directory (1937-38) at 1163 Beaver Hall Square. Between 1937 and 1940 Lovell’s lists “F Brandtner” and the “Children’s Art Centre” as tenants at 1154 Beaver Hall Square – the entrance furthest left in this painting. Franz Brandtner – artist and teacher – moved here after one of the founder’s of the Children’s Art Centre, Dr. Norman Bethune, left for Spain. Lovell’s 1936-37 edition lists “Bethune, Herman M.D.” (a typographical error in spelling “Norman”?) as a tenant at this address.

Beaver Hall Square 1939; watercolour on Hi-Art Board, 37×50 cm

In 1982 Beaver Hall Square was renamed Place du Frère-André in honour of the recently beatified Canadian saint, André Bessette (Brother Andre). The Tamworth Place townhouses were subsequently demolished to make way for a highrise office building and the immediate geographic area is currently undergoing a new planning process.

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