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Right in the centre of the Lakeside Heights section of Pointe Claire is Forest Gardens Avenue; the circular road is lined with unique residential homes. The split-level homes have a special history — they were built as low cost housing for veterans returning from World War II. The man behind their construction was Louis B. Magil.

 

Magil — the founder of Magil Construction Corporation — passed away at the age of 103 on March 13. Besides building distinct, quality homes in Pointe Claire, his company also built several Montreal landmarks including the Bell Centre and the Montreal Trust building.

 

Magil’s parents emigrated from Russia in the early 1900s. As the oldest of six children, he was the only one to attend university. Soon after he graduated from

McGill in architecture, he began his own construction company which specialized in residential homes. He took a risk in developing housing in the suburbs of Montreal, working with the returning veterans to allow for lower costs.

 

“In a dirty business, he was known for his ethical ways,” his niece Joni Magil told The Chronicle. “He was known for his generosity, both to his family and to his community. He still went to the office once a week, in his mid-90s, to manage the charitable

donations for the company.”

 

Part of his generosity included adopting two war orphans from Belgium in the 1940s. He raised them as his own children. One of the children of the adopted sons spoke at Magil’s funeral, making reference to the impact his grandfather had on his life.

Pointe Claire resident Gordon Mitchell lives in a Magil home on Walton Ave. He said it was a testament to the quality of the constructions that the homes are still in such great shape today.

 

“I went to Lindsay Place High School and most of the people that I knew who lived in the West Island, lived in a Magil home. Even today, they are still outstanding, structurally-sound homes,” he said. “It’s a testament to the quality that these homes are still all here today.”

 

His niece said Magil was not a man of many words but when he said something, you listened. His legacy will live on in the variety of buildings he constructed and in the families who lived in his homes.

 

(Courtesy of The West Island Chronicle)

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