| Armand Courville, born in the early 1910s, was a well known wreslter around Montreal in his younger years. He gave lessons to aspiring young men from the Saint Paul Club in Ville Emard. One of his students was Vic Cotroni, a young Italian immigrant who would later become one of Canada's most legendary criminal figures.
Courville and Cotroni became fast friends and, in 1942, the two bought Le Café Royal, a popular downtown night club. They also allegedly rented a nearby apartment, where they set up a lucrative gambling den. Courville also reportedly opened another gambling den at the cornor of St. Catherine and Amherst streets, this time with Joe Tremblay.
Two years later, Courville and Cotroni opened the Faisan Doré, a night club that became popular for politicians, lawyers, and judges.
As the years passed and Vic Cotroni emerged as the Montreal Mafia's leader, Courville remained one of his most trusted associates and held more influence with the mob boss than most Italian mobsters. Cotroni even became godfather to Courville's son Vincent.
In the 1970s, Courville became a prime target of the Quebec Police Commission's inquiry into organized crime. Courville, the committee claimed, was an influential associate of the Montreal Mafia and involved in gambling dens, clubs, and restaurants.
Courville was summoned to testify before the committee. On the stand, he denied being affiliated with the Mafia, and said that he had only heard of its existance through books and The Godfather hit movie. "If the Mafia exists in Montreal," Courville testified, "it's probably like the Knights of Columbus."
The commission also looked into the activities of Reggio Foods, a company in which Courville, Vic Cotroni, and Paolo Violi own 88% of the shares. The company was the city's number one meat distributor to restaurants and pizzerias, and the offices, according to the committee, were often used as a meeting place by the three reputed mobsters and their associates. The company's meat, the inquiry alleged, was unsuitable for human consumption.
Reggio Foods closed its doors in 1976 because of the allegations brought up by the Quebec Police Commission. Courville, Cotroni, and Violi sold the building, equipment, and recipes for a total of $140,000.
Courville died on February 1, 1991, at the age of 79. Approximately 100 people attended the ceremony at Saint-Viateur church in Saint-Henri. According to a La Presse article, several elderly organized crime figures, both local and from Ontario, paid their lasts respects at the funeral parlor days earlier. Courville had been considered "inactive" by the government for several years.