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.
Fondest memory The rowhouses in the Plateau area are so colourful. Many have detailed carvings, iron staircases, and balconies. This has become an expensive part of Montreal to live in, with so many cafes and restaurants within walking distance.
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.
Favorite thing 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.
Favorite thing 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.
Favorite thing 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.
Favorite thing 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!
Favorite thing 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!
Favorite thing 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)
Favorite thing 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.