“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 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 added a note on the lower left of this painting (below) “Riordan Houses” – a family name associated with the pulp and paper industry in Canada.  “Riordon Sales Corp Ltd ” is listed in Lovell’s Directory (1937-38) as a tenant at 1163 Beaver Hall Square. Of particular interest to art lovers is that between 1937 and 1940 Lovell’s lists “F Brandtner” and the “Children’s Art Centre” as tenants at 1154 Beaver Hall Square – likely the entrance furthest left in this painting seen below. Franz Brandtner – artist and teacher – moved in 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.” as a tenant at 1154 Beaver Hall Square.

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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