The first recorded use of the Gaelic word glen occurred during the fifteenth century. It is defined as a mountain-valley, usually narrow, and forming the course of a stream. On the island of Montreal many such places exist but only one was given the name Glen, located in the area today known as Westmount.
Long before the residential settlements sprung up west of the core of Montreal, streams from this central plateau merged to cut a swath through the escarpment leading to today's St. Henri district. The early Scottish settlers of what is now Westmount named this cut The Glen. By the 1880s, residents of the new west-end village of Cote St. Antoine used a footpath, alongside the stream, to reach the Grand Trunk Railway station in the town of St. Henri, either to go to Montreal or travel west of here.
Eventually this country scene changed. The Canadian Pacific Railway came to the city's east-end at a station inherited through their purchase of the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway in 1882. Yet, it was not until 1889 that the railway operated into their new Windsor Street station. To gain access to this new structure, they had to construct a line from Montreal Jet., now Montreal West, through today's Westmount. Doing so meant that an overpass had to be constructed over the Glen. Originally a wooden trestle, it was rebuilt into an impressive stone arch, still very visible today.
The Glen's original creek and footpath were converted into a road linking Westmount with St. Henri. Streetcars navigated this stretch for a number of years, before being replaced by bus service.
Over the course of the railway's expansion, Canadian Pacific constructed a large passenger locomotive and car facility westward from Glen Road. This, then, is the subject of the research project called The Glen. Canadian Pacific opened The Glen in 1906 and operations shut down ninety-eight years later, in October 2004. The McGill University Health Centre to be built at Glen Yard received provincial government approval on 20 July 2003. With the construction of a super hospital on this site, The Glen is being converted from a railway hospice to a people hospice.
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