Peel Street, Montreal, Quebec

Built in 1865, for Andrew Allan (1822-1901) and his wife Isabella Smith (1826-1881). Their greystone mansion was designed by Montreal's pre-eminent architect of that era, John W. Hopkins, and once dominated Upper Peel Street. It stood where "the largest part" of the old McTavish Mansion had stood, a bit further down the hill and to the west of Braehead (the steep-pitched roof of which is seen in the foreground of one of the pictures) and just opposite the gatehouse to his brother's home, Ravenscrag. Iononteh was noted for its magnificent conservatory but it was demolished by his heirs for development and today McGill's Purvis Hall stands just north of its original site....

This house is best associated with...

Andrew Allan

Chairman of the Allan Line Steamship Company, Montreal


James Bryce Allan

James Bryce Allan K.C., of Montreal & Rome, Italy; died unmarried


Andrew Allan was the fourth of the five sons of Captain Alexander Allan (1780-1854) who in 1819 started what would become the Allan Shipping Line that under his sons became the largest privately-owned shipping empire in the world. Andrew came out to Montreal to work under his brother Sir Hugh Allan. Together, they made an effective team and branched into banking, railways etc. After Sir Hugh died in 1874 leaving an estimated fortune equal to US$48 million, Andrew's steady hand continued their empire.

In about 1862, Allan purchased the land - "a magnificent emplacement" - from Colonel Augustus N. Heward and he built his new home where "the largest part" of the estate that had belonged to the old McTavish Mansion stood. Both Andrew and his brother employed John W. Hopkins to build their homes. Andrew's greystone mansion to which he gave a native Indian name stood on 12-acres off McTavish Street at the top of Peel Street and on the eastern corner of Pine Avenue. He enlarged "Iononteh" in 1873 and in 1888 he gifted a portion of his estate to his youngest daughter, Brenda, on the occasion of her marriage to Sir Vincent Meredith. After Allan died in 1901, Iononteh was the temporary residence of the Governor-General, Lord Minto, and for the following two years it was home to Allan's unmarried son, James Bryce Allan, before he left Canada to live in Europe from 1903.

In the early 20th century, Andrew Allan's heirs created the Ionoteh Estate Company and subdividing its 12-acres into smaller lots they sold it for development. The plot on which Iononteh stood was purchased by Sir Mortimer Barnett Davis and in 1906 he demolished Allan's Victorian home and built his Beaux-Arts mansion - "Purvis Hall" now owned by McGill University - just to the north of where it stood.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 07/11/2018 and last updated on 26/02/2024.


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Tom Bourne's ancestor, Andrew Allan, owned Iononteh