As an architect, you design for the present
With an awareness of the past for a future
which is essentially unknown
– Norman Foster
As you saw in Part 1, Old Montreal has so many and unique architectural styles.
Head east on Notre-Dame Street, and you will find another of Montreal’s oldest and most recognized landmarks, City Hall or Hôtel de Ville.
Completed in 1878 and rebuilt after a fire in 1922, it was modeled after the city hall of the French city of Tours.
The current local government, led by Mayor Denis Coderre, occupies the 5-story building which has been designated as a National Historic site in the country.
Free and daily guided visits are available to tour the hall of honor, it’s worth checking out.
Go south on Rue Bonsecours and you will see
This is one of Montreal’s oldest churches and also one of the most attractive.
Built at the request of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first teacher in the new colony, it was a tribute to Our Lady of Good Help for the believers.
It burned to the ground in 1754 and miraculously, the reliquary and statue survived the fire.
The chapel was a pilgrimage site and a place to give thanks for the safe journeys of sailors and those who crossed oceans and came to establish themselves in the new world.
Today it is a place where both visitors and locals can go to recollect their thoughts, say prayers, give thanks and also learn about the history of the city thanks to its museum and also enjoy the view from the top of the spire.
Just across the street, on Rue St-Paul, is Marché Bonsecours.
Inaugurated in 1847, this heritage building was the go to meeting place for citizens who wanted to be entertained and also feed their senses.
Nowadays, it is home to the Quebec Crafts Council and more than a dozen boutiques, from fashion to jewelry to art, offer locally made products “Made in Quebec”.
It is also possible to speak directly to the artisans who create them and share stories behind their inspiration.
Keep walking along and you will reach
Place Jacques Cartier
Photo credit: Jean Gagnon
The space, found between Rue Notre-Dame and Rue de la Commune, was originally designed for the formal gardens of a Marquis.
It was later transformed into a public square where Admiral Nelson’s column was built.
The square was named in honor of Jacques Cartier, an explorer who claimed the country in the name of France.
Many activities take place throughout the year; musicians, public amusers, cartoon artists, jewelry makers, painters and others come to entertain and share their talent.
There are also many restaurants that have terraces overlooking the square and it is a great way to rest, relax and refuel before continuing your marathon walks.
Keep going west on
Art lovers and shopping enthusiasts will love strolling on this artsy street which ends on McGill Street.
Art galleries, souvenir shops, restaurants offering various cuisines from around the world and local, breweries as well as offices have an address or pignon sur rue as we say in French.
It’s very easy to go from one door to the next and go for retail therapy or simply admire original creations and also souvenirs you can get for your family or friends!
When you reach Place Royale street, turn left until you come across Place d’Youville and Rue de la Commune where you will find
Musée Pointe à Callière
Photo credit: Jean Gagnon
Pointe à Callière is a museum of archeology that was opened for Montreal’s 350th anniversary and is part of the National Historic Sites of Canada.
Native Indian artifacts as well as those left by the French and British regimes are exhibited. It allows the visitors to learn and understand about the past and how they influenced the development of the city.
As you can see, Old Montreal is well worth exploring and deserves at least half a day or a day to truly enjoy it!
I hope you enjoyed Go on an Architectural Walk of Old Montreal Part 2
Now I’m turning it over to you.
Have you visited le Vieux-Montréal?
Or would you like to?
Did something catch your eye and want to know more about?
Feel free to ask!
Until next time, hasta la próxima, à la prochaine!
All the best, todo lo mejor