Architectural/Culture (Old and New), Montreal
Favorite thing: (aka Tour de la Bourse). At 48 floors and 636 feet (194 meters), it is the third tallest skyscraper in Montreal. It was designed by Italian modernist Luigi Moretti (1907-1973), who was also the architect for the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. Completed in 1964, it was the site of a terror bombing by radical Quebec nationalists in 1969. No one was killed, but 27 people were injured in the attack. Interestingly, originally there were plans for two idenitical towers to be constructed adjacent to the Stock Exchange tower. but those plans never came to fruition
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.
The Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier is the main music hall/concert stage of the Place des Arts. Capable of accommodating either symphonic music or operas, the hall was dedicated in 1963.
Wilfried Pelletier (1896-1982) was a much-loved conductor the Montreal Symphony, one of the main occupants of the hall - along with the Opera de Montreal.
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.
This is a steeple on the campus of the University of Quebec at Montreal which you'll notice when you exit the Berri-UQAM Metro stop at St-Denis Street.
St-Denis is a great place to grab bite to eat and people-watch and is far less touristy than Old Montreal.
Fondest memory: Montreal is full of churches, monuments and beautiful buildings.
This was something that caught my eye whilst wandering around the Old Port and the pic duly taken without knowing what it was.
I had assumed at the time that it was a very modern apartment building and upon doing some research afterwards was surprised to find that, whilst it is an apartment building, it actually dates back to 1967. This is Habitat67 and was designed and built for Expo 67, housing being one of the main themes of the exhibition.
The architect responsible is the Isreali born Moshe Safdie who studied at McGill University. Habitat67 was in fact his Master's thesis piece which was selected in a competition for construction for the Expo. Safdie has since become one of North America's best know architects and his other Canadian masterpieces include Ottawa'a former City Hall and National Gallery.
The building was certainly ahead of its time with the 60's being better know for many failed residential experiments. Here the concept was to provide (in Safdie's own words) "a fragment of paradise to everyone". The building is constructed of 354 cubes to form 158 residences, stacked so that no two residences has adjoining walls and that each has its own private garden/balcony and views. The residences are made up of varying numbers of building blocks and provide accommodation for singles, couples and families.
It was initially intended as high-density, affordable housing, but the planned development of 900 units was scaled back to the 158 completed due to prohibitive construction costs. Also because of the cachet of the architecture and its riverside location the homes are no longer "affordable" in the sense that the architect intended.
It is however a fascinating structure and made for an interesting little research project.
see www.habitat67.com and www.greatbuildings.com for more info.
Wonderful relic of late 19th century Romanesque Revival architect, Gare Windsor Station was the headquarters of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and was opened in 1889. It's the work of New York architect Bruce Price (1845-1903), who became the "house architect" of CPR stations and hotels, and also happened to be the father of etiquette-writer Emily Post.
Trains no longer come here, although it is still owned by the CPR. Portions of the structure have been redeveloped as an office/shopping/restaurant complex. In the summer 2008, I enjoyed the Mondial de la Biere here!
Molson Bank was founded in Montreal by two brothers who made a fortune in brewing and later diversified into high finance. Their institution became one of the most respected in Canada before being folded into the Bank of Montreal early in the 20th century. The Headquarters of the bank was located in the heart of the city's financial district, in what was known as the Canadian Wall Street, "old St. James Street".
When it was built, it was the first structure in the "French Empire" style in Montreal - and it is still one of the most impressive!
Montreal's attractive City Hall is modelled upon a similarly classic structure in Tours, France. Well proportioned for its site, the structure dominates the square without seeming overwhelmingly bombastic.
It's a historic site, too: in 1967, the French President Charles de Gaulle gave a stirring speech from the balcony which heated up the sentiments of Quebec nationalists.
275 Rue Notre dame est (east)
The main branch of the Bank of Montreal has a commanding place in the Places d'Armes, on Rue St. Jacques (St. James Street), the city's version of Wall Street. The original structure, designed by John Wells, features a Pantheon-like dome and was opened all the way back in 1849.
Subsequent changes at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century were supervised by Stanford White (1853-1906), of the pre-eminent New York firm of Mead, McKim & White.
Favorite thing: Neo-classical architecture runs strong in old Montreal, making this one of the most "traditional" looking big cities in North America. One of the grandest buildings in the city center is the 1926 "Edifice Ernest-Cormier," named after its hard-working architect. The structure was originally a major civic courthouse for the city, was later turned into a music school, and is presently the home of the Quebec Court of Appeals. This massive Doric colonnade is at the intersection of Notre-Dame and Rue St. Gabriel, just a short stroll from Place d'Armes.
Favorite thing: This old stone building on the western end of the Rue St. Paul stands much as it did when it was constructed 170 years ago. Moreover, this spot (Place Royale) was also the location of the first fort in the region, Ville-Marie. Appropriately, perhaps, the Customs House now serves as offices and gift shop for the nearby Archeological Museum "Pointe-a-Calliere".
In planning our trip to Canada I came across this excellent website about Old Montreal:
It has lots of really detailed information about Vieux Montreal and an amazing knowledge base with interactive maps which let you examine detailed information from the city records about every building in the area, including pictures (recent and archive), construction and architectural notes, ownership and current usage etc. and this for every single building in the area. There are even notes on each street and piece of public art.
The direct link to the knowledge base is here:
This is by far the best civic/architectural heritage site that I have seen.
But I will have to wait until November to see if the actual reality lives up to the virtual representation of this website.
We shall see!
These attractive stone building on a prominent quay-side "triangle" was the headquarters of the Edmonstrone - Allan shipping empire. It was one of the their ships which was the first to reach the survivors of the "Titanic" after their little icecube collision in the North Atlantic.
The Building now serves as an information center and tourism center for the Old Port of Montreal.
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.