Favorite thing: This area of Montreal was known as the Golden Square Mile, for its remarkable concentration of wealth and power, mostly Anglophone. This hall, now part of McGill University, is representative. It was orignally built in 1907 as a private residence for Sir Mortimer Davis (1866-1928), Montreal born businessman, known as "The Tobacco King". (Davis in 1916 was the first Jewish individual to receive a knighthood for services to the Empire.) The Beaux-Arts mansion was designed by Scottish born architect Robert Findlay (1859-1951). It is now the home of the McGill University Department of Epidemiology‚ Biostatistics and Occupational Health.
Favorite thing: The Redpath Museum is the oldest structure in Canada constructed for the purpose of being a museum. It's the Natural History Museum on the campus of McGill University, build in 1882 to a "Greek Revival" design of A.C. Hutchison (1838-1922) and A.D. Steele, prominent Montreal architects in the late 1800s.
Favorite thing: The Arts Building is the oldest surviving building on the McGil University campus. Originally it was constructed in 1839-40, and was designed by John Ostell (1813-1892), prominent Montreal architect also responsible for the plan of the Grande Seminaire down the street. I like the simple Georgian neo-classicism. It can imagine a horse and carriage driving up to the portico. A National Historic Site of Canada.
Favorite thing: James McGill (1744-1813) was the founder of the university which bears his name 180 years afters its creation. The inscription reads "Fur trader, merchant, magistrate, Colonel of the Militia, Defender of Montreal, Member of the Legislative Assembly and Executive Councillor of Lower Canada, Citzen of Montreal and Founder of McGill University." This bronze is the work of noted British artist David Curzon-Roper (b. 1965), and it was unveiled in 1996 on the occasion of 175th anniversary of the university's official charter (which came from King George IV).
Favorite thing: This central Montreal memorial, located in Dorchester Square, is really a very clever piece of public art. It emphasizes the central role of Laurier in bringing about reconciliation between Anglophone and Francophone Canada. I've read that it is significant that the sculpture faces south, because Laurier was an early proponent of a free-trade agreement with the United States - a policy which would undercut Canada's long-standing economic ties to Great Britain. There's also significance in the coming together of the wheat of the prairies and the maple leaves of the forests. The sculpture was the work of Joseph-Emile Brunet (1893-1977), whose work can also be seen in Ottawa.
Favorite thing: Place dYouville is the home of the striking old Hospital of the Sisters of Charity, associated with Montreal pioneer Marguerite d'Youville - their organization popularly known as the Grey Nuns. This is 18th century construction, much renovated but still preserving its traditional facade. A National Historic Site of Canada.
Favorite thing: Interesting "Flamboyant Dutch" style building, originally constructed as a Fire Station, now housing the fascinating Montreal History Center. Architects Joseph Perrault and Simon Lesage. The building dates from 1903.
Favorite thing: Now the Hotel St. Paul, a renovated boutique hotel in Old Montreal, on Rue McGill close to the area known as Multimedia City. This is a vibrant urban neighborhood for the 21st century. The structure was originally constructed as offices for the Grand Trunk Railway Co. It was designed by the architect Alexander Cowper Hutchison, who also designed the beautiful Erskine and American United Church, now part of the Musee des Beaux-Arts.
Favorite thing: Dawson College is an English language institution in Montreal's Westmount neighborhood. After several earlier locations, the college has settled into the impressive buildings that once housed the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, a Roman Catholic priory. The institution occupies a full block between Sherbrooke Street and de Maisonneauve Boulevard. The main builidng, with an impressive dome atop a former chapel, was originally constructed in the first decade of the 20th century. Its architect was Jean-Omer Marchand (1873-1936), Quebec born but professionally educated at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Favorite thing: A detail from the Grand Seminary of Montreal, a 19th century edifice asociated with the Sulpician Order and is now part of the Roman Catholic College de Montréal, a high school run by the Jesuit Order. This staunchly Francophone institution was designed by a London-born and Anglican architect, John Ostell (1813-1892), and as such is a fitting symbol for its city. Ostell emigrated to Quebec in 1834 and married into the French elite of the city. He became city surveyor, and later provincial surveyor for all of Lower Canada.
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