Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.
May 17th 2017 marks the 375th anniversary of the foundation of Montreal. The fourth largest francophone city in the world, and one of Canada’s major cities, it has so much history and culture. Both locals and visitors have access to the best of two worlds: Old Montreal and the modern cosmopolitan with a European flair.
There sure is no other city like it in the country, well besides Quebec City which is in a category of its own.
During a recent visit, I decided to see the old part of town with different eyes. Even though I have been a resident and citizen for many decades, it still surprises me to this day and I always find some things that I never noticed before.
Could it be that we, Montrealers, take what we have for granted and don’t see the same things visitors or persons who travel the distance to admire what we don’t take time to?
They say that you must appreciate what you have in your own backyard and explore locally. Well, I followed that advice and did precisely that.
I invite you to join me as I take you on An Architectural Walking Tour of Old Montreal Part 1
(Part 2 will soon follow).
For starters, you can start your tour of this historic area on the island via Rue St-Urbain (next to Place D’Armes Subway Station), head uphill and the imposing Basilique Notre-Dame stands tall.
Hôtel Place D’Armes (to the left)
The church, which was built in Gothic revival style and completed in 1888,
has a stunning interior that leaves anyone speechless and hypnotized with its wood carvings, religious statues, organ and ambient lighting. It is important to mention that there is an admission fee but it’s a small fee to help preserve and maintain this invaluable building.
Right across the basilica, along St-Jacques Street, you will find Bank of Montreal’s head office building that was originally built in 1817.
Its columns remind you of the Pantheon in Rome or Greece. There is an admission-free museum open to the public during business hours.
Down the street, there are hotels such as the Westin,
banks, restaurants and cafés such as Crew Collective & Café housed inside the former Royal Bank of Canada.
If the main entrance is already inviting
Wait until you cross the revolving doors and stand in awe while you admire its splendid vault ceilings, chandeliers, detailed tiles, marble floors and golden tones.
Around the corner is Montreal World Trade Center or Centre du Commerce Mondial on Mc Gill Street.
If you head south, you will find even more restaurants and coffee-chain shops housed in historic buildings such as this Café Starbucks Reserve branch.
Right across is Rue des Récollets where hotels,
offices, production companies, art galleries, exclusive and luxury lots as well as condominiums are housed inside historic buildings.
Further along on Rue De l’Hôpital, there are more eye catching structures such as these
At the end of the street is Rue Saint-François Xavier where you will come across the former Telegraph Chambers building
directly across is the Centaur Theater found inside the renovated Old Stock Exchange Building that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, to 1903 to be more precise.
Today the Centaur is the largest English-speaking theater that accommodates hundreds of theater-goers in the auditorium.
At the corner of St-Jacques and Saint-François Xavier streets is one of the most Instagrammed cafés in Montreal and that is Tommy Café which is inside the historical and stylish former British Empire Building.
Hope you enjoyed this photographic tour.
Stay tuned for part 2 as I head east in Old Montreal.
Now let me know if you’ve been to Montreal or would you like to visit?
Let me know in the comments and if you have written about this part of town, include your links. I love reading and seeing lots of pics 🙂
Until next time, hasta luego!
All the best, todo lo mejor.