Hi To Howie, Lunch At Lester’s

It was mostly driving around Montreal today instead of walking, and I have to say, the pavement sucks almost everywhere.

Bumpy streets. I’m hoping my shocks hold up.

I avoided joggers and bike riders at Mount Royal Cemetery, and visited Howie Morenz and his son Donald. As you can see, Donald died when he was only six. Howie and Donald are buried with Mary Morenz’s family members.


I don’t know what caused Donald’s death at six years old, and I’m not sure where Howie’s wife Mary is. She doesn’t seem to be there with the rest of the gang.

If my research is correct, it seems Mary remarried in 1939 (to Georges Pratte), just nine days after young Donald Morenz passed away.

And just for the record, Herbert McKay and Wilhelmina Stewart on the headstone are Mary Morenz’s mom and dad. I’ve no idea who J.R. Stewart or the Boons are. Maybe someone can help me.


After that I drove to the Howie Morenz Arena, which wasn’t far away and I was killing time before Lester’s Deli opened. The arena’s only 35 years old for goodness sakes, with new renovations. I was hoping for something much older with more of a sweaty, tobacco/mildew smell.

But at least Howie has an arena named after him, and rightly so.

Howie arena 1

Howie arena 2

Then I went to Lester’s Deli, just as it was opening. Lester’s, a family-owned business since 1951, was fantastic, and the neighbourhood around it on Rue Bernard has this great Jewish feel to it. Some of the men walking around wore these big round hats which I’ve never seen before. Awesome hats. I want one.

Lester’s smoked meat sandwich is right up there with the best of them, that’s for sure.  I was the only one there and it was fun to watch all the staff, who might be all related, go about getting ready and from time to time bitch at each other.

If I hadn’t have gone to Schwartz’s (which holds a special place in my heart) first, I would say Lester’s is the best. It’s not fancy and it’s not big, but it’s clean and nice, with a lot of funky stuff on the walls.

They didn’t ask me if I wanted lean, medium, or fatty, and I’d say it was medium that I scoffed down. And wow was it good! An awesome smoked meat. Messy as hell. I didn’t order fries and such because I’m tired of that shit.

My one complaint was afterward, when I  looked at the menu on the wall and I saw they have a regular sandwich for $7 bucks and a bigger one for ten, and they brought me the ten buck one automatically. But what’s three bucks, right? And I wasn’t going to say anything because I’m a Canadian.

A cool place on a cool street. On my list to take Luci when she comes back in a month and a half.


Lester's 2

Lester's 1



9 thoughts on “Hi To Howie, Lunch At Lester’s”

  1. So tell me Dennis. Just what was your motivation for moving to Mtl? Was it to be close to your favourite hockey team so you could be first in line for the next vacant stick-boy opening or was it to sample every deli on the island? Just wondering.

  2. D-John. The real answer was to work at Classic Auctions. But it was a difficult decision to make until I realized I could eat a lot of smoked meat. And of course the stick boy job. That goes without saying.

  3. DK, was your response to dishonest john a pun? You now have had so many smoked meat & mustard sandwiches you replied by calling him D-John as in Dijon mustard!!

  4. I think J.R. Stewart is Wilhelmina’s second husband. This shows her marrying a J.A. Stewart, but that’s probably a typo.


    Stewart was probably involved in Mary’s upbringing since she’s referred to as Mary Stewart as well as Mary McKay. Wilhelmina and Herbert were divorced in 1924.


    Poor young Donald died from complications of pneumonia.


  5. Christopher, that’s awesome that you found that. It answers questions. As far as the Boons go, maybe there’s a connection to Dickie Boon, who’s in the HOF and lived in Montreal.

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