McMurchie Supports Park’s Naming of Pointe-Claire’s Sole Mayor

Olive Urquhart, who served from 1954 to 1956 and again from 1958 to 1961, was the first and only mayor of Pointe-Claire.

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Former Pointe-Claire Mayor Bill McMurchie says he fully supports the idea of ​​renaming a park after Olive Urquhart, the city’s first and only mayor.

“I think it would be worthy of any recognition in that regard, without a doubt,” said McMurchie, who served as mayor for 15 years from 1998 to 2013.

He said Urquhart, who was mayor from 1954 to 1956 and again from 1958 to 1961, was a “true pioneer.”

“Olive Urquhart was ahead of her time,” said McMurchie, who got her first summer job in town in 1956 when Urquhart was mayor.


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“She was a very progressive and fluent woman, bilingual fluency,” he added.

Mayor Tim Thomas recently raised the idea of ​​naming a park after Urquhart on his Facebook page. He says the idea of ​​renaming Voyageur Park after Urquhart has been well received by the public. He noted that Voyageur Park in the city’s Oneida district was once called Urquhart, but was later changed.

A street in the area now bears his name, but Thomas was surprised by the number of citizens who did not know that Pointe-Claire ever had a mayor. “It was 60 or 70 years ago, so he was ahead of his time.”

Half of Pointe-Claire’s eight council seats are now represented by women, and Thomas said honoring Urquhart, who died in 1987 at age 79, is long overdue.


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“Given the number of former mayors and councilors who have seen parks and public buildings with their names in our city, it is incomprehensible to me that our first mayor does not receive the same honor.”

Andrew Swidzinski, president of the Pointe-Claire Heritage Preservation Society, also praised the initiative.

He said Urquhart was only the second elected mayor in Quebec, after Elsie Gibbon in Portage-du-Fort in 1953.

Swidzinski said Urquhart was “not only a trailblazer, but also a capable mayor who had a lasting impact on the city.

“Olive Urquhart played an important role in shaping our city today,” he said. In particular, Mayor Urquhart was largely responsible for Pointe-Claire’s northward expansion and the creation of its industrial park, which she ensured would be divided into commercial rather than residential zones to ensure higher revenue for the coffers of the city. town”.


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Swidzinski said Urquhart also turned away developers at Pointe-Claire Village in his day.

“In 1960, after consulting with local merchants, he rejected a developer’s plan to replace much of Pointe-Claire Village with high-rise apartment buildings,” he said.

His accomplishments also included the conversion of Stewart Hall into a cultural center, the acquisition of the Lakeshore General Hospital site, the construction of the water filtration plant, and the fluoridation of the Pointe-Claire water supply in 1955, which has contributed to the dental health of generations of Pointe-Claire residents ”.

McMurchie said Urquhart was a visionary when it came to turning Pointe-Claire into a thriving Montreal suburb. He said that the creation of an industrial park laid the foundation for the future of the city.


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“The creation of the industrial park was a great event in Pointe-Claire because before the annexation of that farmland, that was not an industrial zone.

“So when Pointe-Claire took over that farmland, the foresight they exhibited in zoning that commercial / industrial land ensured that Pointe-Claire for the next 50 years or so would be different from other municipalities.

“An industrial park was a fantastic income base, combined with a growing residential population. The marriage was perfect. “

Olive Louise Urquhart (née Price) was born in Verdun in 1907. She married Thomas (Tom) Urquhart, a school board commissioner and contractor, in 1927 and they moved to the Valois district of Pointe-Claire.

They had a son, Glen, who died in Victoria, BC in 2017 at age 75.

Olive Urquhart was first elected to the city council in 1951. Interestingly, she was hailed as mayor both times in 1954 and in ’58.

“They didn’t dare (to run against her),” McMurchie said with a laugh.

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