This might only be interesting to me.
I’ve always been curious about a faded, painted ad on the side of a building just down the street from me on Jeanne-Mance. It’s a residential block, but there is a business, a laundromat, on the first floor of that building, so whatever the old sign is advertising could have taken place there. It’s hard to make out much more than a bottle of wine and some fruit, painted in a sort of early-20th-century-ish Art-Nouveau-ish style, but I did notice recently a signature of sorts I had somehow missed, at the bottom-right of the picture, that reads “Greene Bros Signs Ltd.”
I decided to look up this “Greene Bros Signs Ltd,” using the fairly miraculous Google Archives, which has a scanned, searchable database of the Montreal Gazette (and maybe Star?) archives.
The first thing I found was a court notice from 1972.
It’s fairly cryptic, though, and didn’t tell me much more than that the business was presumed to be operating as late as the early ’70s.
Digging deeper, I found an ad from 1949, boasting of the company’s involvement with the opening of the latest branch of a restaurant called Walton’s.
This was on a double-page spread of other ads for other Walton’s-affiliated business (a spread that also featured an article about the restaurant’s opening; guess editorial independence was as elusive then as it remains today). The sign business’s address—4259 Rue St-Dominique—is not far from where I live, and the faded sign. It now seems to be a private home. (Walton’s is a Foot Locker.)
And then I found something much more interesting, in the December 15, 1961 edition of the Gazette:
The trail ends there, with that tantalizing true-crime story (I could find no more reference to anyone named in it). I may have roused some mysterious ghosts, but all that remains of that mugging, the once-proud Walton’s restaurant chain, and a business that lasted at least 23 years, is a cryptic painted sign.