Friday, August 24, 2018

Week-end à Montréal

August 2018 - Montreal QC

I grew up in Montreal and left in 1991. We go back several times a year for family visits.

This time we stayed downtown rather than in the suburbs. We spent some free time exploring the city. It is funny that I had not paid any attention to the churches or statues when I lived here.

Saturday evening we went to the Old Port to see Cité Mémoire.

Loosely based on the history of Montréal, Cité Mémoire presents a cast of characters offering first-hand accounts of how the city has evolved over the course of history. With a touch of poetry and playfulness, over twenty scenes are brought to life through words, images, and music.

  It is scheduled to last for four years, and features 80 projectors creating images on old buildings. Cité Mémoire has been called the "largest such installation in the world".

 As we strolled along looking for the next installation we came across this gallery with intriguing paintings, it was closed and they had barriers in front of the door.

Click here to visit inside Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel dedicated to Marguerite Bourgeoys.

More projections.
The Birth of the Railway

Moving Day tells the story of Montreal's moving day, called like a hockey game with Maurice Richard and his wife and family racing up and down Montreal staircases with their sofa and kitchen table.

This photo shows you the sheer size of these projections.

The Vieux Palais de Justice, currently known as the Service des Finances building, is one of the most stunning buildings in the area. The huge stone pillars and the grandeur of the edifice are what truly catch the eye, making it one of Montreal’s more awe-inspiring landmarks.

In Place Jacques-Cartier on rue de la Commune, an original piece of the wall of the old fortified city can still be seen in the basement restaurant of the Auberge du Vieux-Port. At the upper end of the Place stands Nelson's Column, built in memory of Admiral Horatio Nelson. The statue was removed in 1997 to preserve it from the weather, and was subsequently replaced with a copy.

The broad, divided street slopes steeply downhill from Montreal City Hall and rue Notre-Dame to the waterfront and rue de la Commune. During the high tourist season, the street hosts many street artists and kiosks. At any time of year, one can find restaurants on both sides of the street and many more on the surrounding streets of Vieux Port, notably on Rue Saint-Paul.

Marché Bonsecours

Completed in 1847, this building was used first as the Parliament of United Canada and then as the City Hall, the central market, a music hall, and then the home of the municipality’s housing and planning offices. It is more of a retail center now, with an eclectic selection of local art shops, clothing boutiques, and sidewalk cafes. When Bonsecours Market was first built, the dome could be seen from everywhere in the city and served as a landmark for seafarers sailing into the harbor. Today, it is lit at night.

In the La Grande Roue de Montréal you can ride in the comfort of a climate-controlled gondola which is air-conditioned in the summer and temperated in the winter.

Heading back to our hotel the city was rocking, it was Pride weekend.

Sunday morning we thought we would just wander and in the process checked out the Pride parade set up.

Across from our hotel.

Eastern Townships Bank was founded in 1859 by Colonel Benjamin Pomroy (1800–1875). It was the first financial institution in the south-east of Quebec, an area known as the Eastern Townships, and issued its own banknotes.

Within a year after its founding, the bank had opened three branches. After consolidating its presence in the Eastern Townships, it opened branches elsewhere in Quebec and in Western Canada (including Grand Forks, British Columbia and Taber, Alberta). By 1911, it had over 100 branches. To increase its presence on a national scale, its shareholders agreed to merge, effective March 1, 1912, with the Canadian Bank of Commerce, which later became Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

The former branch of the Eastern Townships Bank at the corner of Saint Catherine Street and Crescent Street is now the flagship store for Parasuco, a line of denim clothing.

The concentration of nightclubs, bars and restaurants makes Crescent Street one Montreal's most well-known nightlife strips.

Nick Auf der Maur (April 10, 1942 – April 7, 1998) was a journalist, politician and "man about town" boulevardier in Montreal. He was also the father of rock musician Melissa Auf der Maur, through his marriage to Linda Gaboriau.

He was strongly opposed to the practice of renaming streets after illustrious individuals; therefore, after his death when it was desired to honour him with a street name, it was necessary to find a street with no name. A small alley off of Rue Crescent, whose bars he was famous for frequenting, was therefore renamed Ruelle Nick-Auf der Maur.

The first bar to open in 1967 was the Sir Winston Churchill Pub, a pub partly owned by Johnny Vago a Hungarian immigrant who once participated in the Cuban Revolution.

I still call this Dominion Square.

Dorchester Square originally Dominion Square is a large urban square in downtown Montreal. Together with Place du Canada, the area is just over 21,000 m2 (226,042 sq ft) of manicured and protected urban parkland bordered by René Lévesque Boulevard to the south, Peel Street to the west, Metcalfe Street to the east and Dorchester Square Street to the north. Until the creation of Place du Canada in 1967, the name "Dominion Square" had been applied to the entire area.

After the death of René Lévesque in 1987, Dorchester Boulevard was renamed in his honour and Dominion Square was renamed "Dorchester Square", after Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, who was responsible for preserving the French language in British North America.

Land acquisition to build the square began in 1872 and the site was inaugurated in 1878, though it wasn't thoroughly completed until 1892. The square has four statues that were originally arranged in the form of a Union Jack.
The Robert Burns Statue forms the western point in the cross and is placed at the western entrance to the square. Facing west, Burns is a tribute to the industrialists and financiers of Montreal's Scottish community. Burns represents the socially conscious and refined romantic ideal of the community during the High Victorian Era. Additionally, Burns looks out towards the infinite expanse of Western Canada, opened up by the rail and finance managed by the elites of the community.

The Boer War Memorial faces north, towards the cross atop Mount Royal, which would have been visible from the square up until 1929. It is the only equestrian statue in Montreal, and atypically, is not mounted, but restrained. The Boer War was widely unpopular in Quebec society, viewed as an imperial war. Prime Minister Laurier opposed the war, but ultimately compromised with the proposal for militia and volunteers en lieu of conscription. The war was disastrous for most of its first half, and the losses significant enough to anticipate the losses of middle and upper class men during the First World War. Around the base of the statue, there are copper reliefs and the names of each battle. The memorial is in the centre of the square and forms the central point in the cross arrangement of the monuments.

Beginning from the southern side of the square, the first monument is the tribute to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, constructed in 1953 by Joseph-Émile Brunet. Laurier faces south across René Lévesque Boulevard towards the United States. Laurier was a proponent of an early free-trade agreement with the United States and wanted to develop a more continental economic orientation. Also, as Canada's first French-Canadian prime minister, he faces off against the tribute to Sir John A. Macdonald, across the street in what is now Place du Canada. Macdonald is enshrined in a stone baldachin emblazoned with copper reliefs of the various agricultural and industrial trades. Laurier stands with the shelter of the massive trees which characterize the square, a granite relief of the provinces created and united under his administrations opposite a bas-relief of man and woman sharing the harvest. Laurier also stands with his back facing the back of the Boer War Memorial—Laurier had been against the war.

More on this building when I return the next day.

These signs signify the chaos of construction taking place in this city. Everywhere you look all you see is orange.

The Pride parade is getting set up here so we decide to walk west and see the floats before the crowds.

We continued west towards Atwater and encountered people walking towards the parade all decked out.

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA; French: Centre canadien d'architecture) is a museum of architecture and research centre. It is located at 1920 Baile Street, between Fort Street and Saint-Marc Street in what was once part of the Golden Square Mile. Today it is considered to be located in the Shaughnessy Village.

Shaughnessy was born October 6, 1853, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the son of Irish Catholics, Lieutenant Tom Shaughnessy (1818–1903), "one of the shrewdest detectives and patrolmen" in the early Milwaukee Police Department, and his wife Mary Kennedy (1826–1905). His father was born at Ashford, in Killeedy, County Limerick, and like his wife they came to the United States during the Irish Potato Famine, about 1840.
Shaughnessy arrived in Montreal in November 1882 to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Shaughnessy House, was designed by Montreal architect William Thomas in 1876. Though reduced from its original size, it was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1974 and is now part of the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

He married Elizabeth Bridget Nagle in 1880. The Shaughnessys had two sons (William James Shaughnessy served as captain and adjutant of the Duchess of Connaught's Irish-Canadian Rangers, second Baron Shaughnessy; and Alfred Thomas Shaughnessy, killed in action in 1916 while serving as a captain in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France  and three daughters, including Marguerite Kathleen Shaughnessy for whom the CPR coastal liner SS Princess Marguerite was named. Alfred Thomas was the father of the writer and producer Alfred Shaughnessy, best known for serving as the script editor of Upstairs, Downstairs and father of director and voice over actor David Shaughnessy and actor Charles Shaughnessy (Days of Our Lives, The Nanny), who is the fifth and current holder of the title Baron Shaughnessy.

Montreal has had a children's hospital since 1904.

The Montreal Children's Hospital was situated here on Tupper since 1956.

The hospital and its services continue to thrive by achieving firsts, including the first speech clinic in a pediatric hospital in 1933, the first division of medical genetics in 1949 and the first department of psychiatry in 1950. 

The location of the Montreal Children's Hospital at 2300 Tupper Street officially closed at 11:00 on May 24, 2015, after 68 patients were successfully transferred to the new Glen Site at 1001 Décarie Boulevard.

A mural near the demolition site.

Back on St. Catherine at Cabot Square.
Cabot Square between the former Montreal Forum and the former Montreal Children's Hospital. The square is located in the Shaughnessy Village neighbourhood, an area which has been recently re-dubbed the Quartier des Grands Jardins and has been slated for redevelopment.

The square opened in 1870 and the monument to Italian-born English explorer John Cabot, by Italian sculptor Guido Casini (1892–1956), was unveiled on May 25, 1935.

East along St. Catherine and back to hotel.

One of my old hangouts many years ago, still in business.

Mural by Ashop,

The old and new at the corner of St. Catherine and Guy.

New is part of Concordia University's campus.

The classic bank building at Guy and Ste-Catherine opened in 1903 as a branch of the Bank of Toronto. (The Bank became the Toronto-Dominion Bank in 1954 and TD Canada Trust in 2000). The building was one of the first commercial projects of the Montreal architectural firm Ross and MacFarlane. Inspiration for the design came from the Knickerbocker Trust Company Building in New York, which had been conceived four years earlier by architects McKim, Mead and Whyte, and was modeled on the Temple of Zeus in Agrigento (ca 480 BCE).

In 2005 TD Canada Trust donated this heritage bank building to Concordia. The TD Bank Building is adjacent to the John Molson Building, which opened in 2009. The two buildings are not connected. Renovations will eventually refit the four-storey building for university facilities. For the present, the bank continues to lease the space and operate the bank branch.

It is now 12:30 and we need to dress up for a Confirmation.

Finally back downtown and we head out for a walk, eastwards along St. Catherine.

As a teenager, we would go to St. Catherine St. on a Saturday and browse in the stores.

Saint Catherine Street has been home to many of Montreal's prominent department stores, including such former retailers as Eaton's, Morgan's, Simpson's and Dupuis Freres. Today, the Henry Morgan Building is home to Hudson's Bay Company, which acquired Morgan's in 1960.

Dupuis Frères, located further east at Saint Catherine and Saint Hubert, is now a shopping mall and office complex. Dupuis Frères is where I had to buy my high school uniforms.

The Ogilvy's department store remains a fixture on Saint Catherine Street, although it is now a collection of boutiques rather than a single store.
The best couch I ever had came from Ogilvy's, I first got it around 1976 and it came to Toronto with us in 1991 and we probably got rid of it around 1996!

Other major retailers along the street including an Apple Store, AVEDA Experience Centre, Indigo Books and Music, Chapters,  HMV Group, Archambault, La Senza, Best Buy, Roots, Adidas, Puma, Guess, Parasuco (above) , Zara, Mango and an H&M flagship store at the corner of Peel and Saint Catherine. Additionally, many of Montreal's most prominent shopping complexes, including the Eaton Centre, Complexe Les Ailes, Place Montreal Trust, Promenades Cathédrale, les Cours Mont-Royal (a high fashion shopping mall), the Complexe Desjardins, Place Dupuis, Place Alexis Nihon, the Faubourg Sainte-Catherine and Westmount Square are all located along the street.

The Robert Simpson Company Limited, commonly known as Simpsons (previously Simpson's until 1972), was a Canadian department store chain that had its earliest roots in a store opened in 1858 by Robert Simpson.
Until 1972, the operating name of the company was Simpson's. During a time of increased pressure and sensitivity towards French language issues in Quebec, the company dropped the apostrophe. Although not yet law, companies began dropping the English possessive "s" from their names. Competitor Eaton's became "Eaton". However, management did not want the company known as Simpson, so it dropped the apostrophe and changed the name to "Simpsons". After the Hudson's Bay Company acquired the firm, it changed the name of the chain to Simpson for the stores in Quebec, while retaining the Simpsons name in other provinces.

Simpson's austerely handsome edifice on Ste. Catherine Street was built in stages from 1928 to 1930, and expanded in 1954.

It is now a La Maison Simons store and Cinéma Banque Scotia.

Then Fried! French fry chain.

Saint James United Church (French: Église Unie Saint-James) is a heritage church built in 1889. It is a Protestant church affiliated with the United Church of Canada. It was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1996.

The Gothic Revival church was designed by Montreal architect Alexander Francis Dunlop. It is noteworthy for its false apse housing church offices and for its Casavant Frères organ.

Montreal's Place des Arts, the city's primary concert venue, is located on Saint Catherine Jeanne-Mance and Saint-Urbain streets, in the city's Quartier des Spectacles entertainment district.

This was Canada’s first museum devoted strictly to contemporary art. Displaying work by Québec, Canadian and international artists, its collections include contemporary paintings, sculptures, photographs, installation, video and works on paper.

For many, the sign on Ste-Catherine Street announcing club Super Sexe, is a part of Montreal’s cultural heritage for fifty years. But now that the club is closed, it is unclear what will happen to the iconic sign.

The 400-capacity, 10,000 square foot club opened around 1979 at the premises of the old Astor Restaurant,. YIKES I remember the Astor.

John tells tales of colleagues coming on business to Toronto in the late 70s - 80s and the other thing they wanted to visit was the Super Sexe.


John is off to play golf and I am going sight-seeing.

Back on St. Catherine, this is Ogilvy's mentioned above.

La Maison Ogilvy, or Ogilvy in English and French, is a prominent retail establishment. Founded in 1866, the store, at 1307 Saint Catherine Street West, is considered a retail landmark. It began as a dry goods store, and today hosts an array of luxury goods shops, brands and boutiques.

Ogilvy is the only one of Montreal's four major west-end retailers still operating under its original name and is also known as the "Grande dame of St. Catherine Street". In July 2011, the store was purchased by the Selfridges Group Ltd., a subsidiary of Wittington Investments and the owner of the Selfridges and Holt Renfrew retail chains.

Back to Dominion, I mean, Dorchester Square.
Located spitting distance from Dominion Square (now called Dorchester Square), the tavern has quite the history. This edifice was first a hotel/restaurant opened in 1927, at the height of the roaring '20s. Soon after, the hotel wing was destroyed by fire, leaving the narrow building we see today. In the 1970s, the tavern became one of the city's first gay bars and remained a woman-free zone until 1988, when men-only taverns were outlawed.

The Sun Life Building (French: Édifice Sun Life) is a historic 122-metre (400 ft), 24-storey office building.

The building was completed in 1931 after three stages of construction. It was built exclusively for the Sun Life Insurance Company. The Sun Life Building was at the time considered the largest building in square footage anywhere in the British Empire. The Sun Life Building went through three different stages of construction, the first one starting as early as 1913, but it was not until 1931 that its main 24-storey tower was erected, thus completing the project.

During the Second World War, during Operation Fish, Britain's gold reserves and negotiable foreign securities were secretly packed in crates labelled 'Fish' and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada. The securities, arriving at Halifax on July 1, 1940, were locked in an underground vault three stories beneath the Sun Life Building, guarded around the clock by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The gold was shipped on to Ottawa. The extremely secretive United Kingdom Security Deposit, operating in the vault, arranged for the sale of Britain's negotiable securities on the New York Stock Exchange over the next few years to pay for Britain's war expenses. The 5,000 Sun Life employees never knew what was stored away beneath them and not a single piece of the cargo went missing nor was any information about the operation ever leaked

U.S. President Harry S. Truman confided in his memoirs that the "Sun Insurance building in Montreal" was his favourite building in the world.

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral and the tallest building in Montreal, in the background. Lots of photos of the church to come.

Place du Canada was developed along with the present Dorchester Square between 1872 and 1876 and was formally inaugurated that year as Dominion Square. It quickly developed into a prestige address and major transportation hub, with streetcars, cabs, carriages (and by 1889) the Canadian Pacific Railway's Windsor Station at the southwest corner of the plaza. 

Yet another building under renovation.

What had once been an informal meeting place and common green would be formalized as a pedestrian traffic corridor, linking the estates and middle class suburbs to the west and northwest with the commercial sector moving up the hill from the southeast. As an urban square, it satisfied two goals; first to provide a method of diffusing transit nodes, and second as an open manicured natural environment to provide rest, recreation and a healthy respite from the cramped industrial and business core immediately south of the area.

This is John A Macdonald, the first prime minister, scowling across at Wilfred Laurier, as mentioned above.

An anonymous group of “anti-colonial vandals” has taken responsibility for spray-painting a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister and an architect of the residential schools system, in downtown Montreal. Done just a few days ago, you could still see traces of the red paint.

Macdonald, who served as prime minister for nearly two decades until his death in 1891, has long been celebrated by some for his role in brokering the political deal that created Canada in 1867. But his policies were also responsible for the creation of residential schools where he hoped Indigenous children would “acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.”

I haven't moved very far.

Place Ville Marie (PVM for short) is a large office and shopping complex .The main building, 1 Place Ville Marie(formerly Royal Bank Tower from its anchor tenant), built in the International style in 1962 as headquarters for the Royal Bank of Canada, which it still is presently. It is a 188 m (617 ft), 47-storey, cruciform office tower.
The complex is a nexus for Montreal's Underground City, the world's busiest, with indoor access to over 1,600 businesses, several subway stations, a suburban transportation terminal, and tunnels extending throughout downtown. A counter-clockwise rotating beacon on the rooftop lights up at night, illuminating the surrounding sky with up to four white horizontal beams that can be seen as far as 50 km away.

John and I had many a lunch here in the 80s when we worked at Place Bonaventure.
Never mind all the shopping I've done here. And the amount of time I spent here as a teenager!!

In the 1870s, Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral took up its form as a one-fifth replica of St. Peter's Cathedral along De la Cathédrale forming the eastern side of the plaza.

In 1967, when Canada celebrated its centennial anniversary, the southern portion of Dominion Square was renamed and given the name of Place du Canada. From this point, the southern and northern section of the park had different names.

Site of my high school grad dance!

Opened on January 11, 1967, the Château Champlain was constructed by CP Hotels to accommodate the crowds visiting Expo 67. The hotel stands 139 metres (456 ft) high with 40 floors and was designed by Quebec architects Roger D'Astous and Jean-Paul Pothier. The arch-shaped windows were intended by the designers as a visual reference to the Romanesque Revival arches of nearby Windsor Station, another Canadian Pacific property. D'Astous was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Château Champlain's arches have also been cited as similar to those used on Wright's last commission, the Marin County Civic Center. However, the arched openings have led some to nickname the building the "cheese grater".

Canadian Pacific Railways chairman Buck Crump was fascinated with the explorer and founder of Quebec City and New France, Samuel de Champlain, and proposed naming the hotel after him. At the time of its completion it was Canada's tallest hotel. Canadian Pacific sold the hotel in 1995, and it joined the Marriott hotel chain.

Construction on every corner.

In 1869, St. George's Anglican Church was built on the along the western side of the plaza, which was a former Jewish cemetery that had also relocated to Mount Royal, near the entrance of the Mount Royal Cemetery. Soon, many other Protestant denominations would build churches in the same area—beginning the trend that would establish the site as a prestige address.

Speaking of prestigious addresses, you can worship at the church of your choice at this corner. On the right is St. George and on the left, in the background, is the Bell Centre, Canadiens' hockey arena.

De la Gauchetiere Street (officially in French: rue De La Gauchetière) In the block fronting the Bell Centre (between Peel Street and Mountain Street), it has been renamed avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal.

PLACE BONAVENTURE! I worked here from 1971 to 1991, when we transferred to Montreal. Under construction as well,,,


1000 de La Gauchetiere, Montreal's largest building was  built in 1992 and rises 51 floors, the maximum height allowed by the city. It is an example of postmodern architecture, with a distinctive triangular copper roof as well as four copper-capped rotunda entrances at the tower base corners. Those were inspired from the Mary, Queen of the World, Cathedral on the north side of the building, following the trend set by Place de la Cathédrale (Tour KPMG) of Montreal skyscrapers borrowing some of their design from that of the nearest church. Also, the semi-spherical corner caps mirror the shape of the half-circular windows of neighbouring Marriott Château Champlain hotel, which were themselves inspired by the arches of the adjoining Windsor Station.

In addition to its office space and shopping areas, it includes a full-size indoor ice skating rink, a physical fitness centre, a major bus terminal (the Downtown Terminus) serving RTL city and commuter buses to Longueuil, Brossard and other South Shore communities, and links to other underground city buildings, Central Station, Lucien L'Allier Station and the Bonaventure Metro station.

Back outisde you can see Mary Queen of the World again.

I cut through Central Station many a time! This time I wanted a water and realized I had left my wallet (hopefully) back at the hotel, sighs and some bad language.

Wallet in hand, back to St. Catherine St. for lunch at a local sub place, Mike's.

Across from the Hudson Bay (Morgan's) in Phillip's Square is King Edward.

Back in the Quartier des Spectacles entertainment district. where we had walked to last night.

 Behind Christ Church.'s also being repaired.

Up onto Sherbrooke around McGill campus. I was hot and tired by now, otherwise I would have done some museums.

Until September 30, 2018, the McCord Museum's Urban Forest, now in its eighth year, welcomes visitors and downtown workers free of charge for a pleasant break at any time of day. Various activities are offered regularly on Victoria Street, between Sherbrooke Street and President Kennedy Avenue. Decorated in green, blue and purple, Victoria has become a pedestrian mall for the summer furnished with picnic tables, new seats and a piano.


This human tower is composed of 64 brightly coloured and interrelated archetypal figures. The galvanized steel plates are riveted to each other, much like the pixels of our digital age, symbols of universal interconnectedness. For the artist, this organic, modular structure connotes an ongoing process of construction and learning: “We are all constantly in a process of connecting together to build our world ...Humans use structures to build.”

James McGill (October 6, 1744 – December 19, 1813) was a Scottish businessman and philanthropist best known for being the founder of McGill University, Montreal. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada for Montreal West in 1792 and was appointed to the Executive Council of Lower Canada in 1793. He was the honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the 1st Battalion, Montreal Militia, a predecessor unit of The Canadian Grenadier Guards. He was also a prominent member of the Château Clique and one of the original founding members of the Beaver Club. His summer home stood within the Golden Square Mile.

South on Crescent with The Man watching over us.

My feet are tired!

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