STREET VIEWS: The story of Rue William-Marsh

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Photo: Bill Cox

Rue William-Marsh is a very short cul-de-sac leading to a commercial property and a nearby private residence. It runs north of Rue de la Faune, east of Avenue Lapierre in the Saint-Émile district of Quebec City.

This very short street in the Saint-Émile district of Quebec City is named in honour of a successful businessman in the shoe industry. It was around 1888 that William A. Marsh opened a factory to make high quality boots and shoes in the Saint-Roch area of Quebec City. It was located in a large building on Rue Saint-Vallier Est between Rue Dorchester and Rue Narcisse-Belleau.

The William A. Marsh Co. Limited quickly became one of the largest manufacturing firms of its kind in Canada. At its height it employed 550 workers and produced around a half million pairs of footwear annually. 

Marsh and his family lived in a grand house on Grande Allée, one of the most fashionable avenues in Quebec City. The mansion was built according to plans of Toronto architect Charles Gibson in 1899-1900. The walls echo to the many fashionable balls, dinners and high teas reminiscent of life on La Grande Allée during that gracious period. In 1947, a fourth storey was added when the Sisters of Charity took it over for a culinary art school affiliated with Université Laval.

It changed hands over the years until finally, in 1976, it became La Vieille Maison du Spaghetti. The owners have preserved its charm including impressive wood panelling, high ceilings, doors and windows. 

Sources: Ville de Quebec toponymy and La Vieille Maison du Spaghetti websites
This luxurious residence located at 625 Grande-Allée Est was built for William A. Marsh in 1899. It now houses La Vieille Maison du Spaghetti.