I am presently working on a project in Montreal, a new SieMatic studio across the island from the main city in Brossard. It is a good space with very smart owners and I’m sure the new business will be a success. I will post about the studio as the project comes together. Since I had never been to Montreal before, I was excited to walk around – the flâneur that I am – and experience the fabric of the city. Following are some street views of Vieux Montréal – the old city.
This is a view of the Maisoneuve monument and the old Bank of Montreal building. This space has a lovely scale, and the light was incredible on an early summer’s evening. The ashlar-pattern paving is detailed in a modern fashion, meshed in with older Belgian block paving stones living the vehicle lanes. The trees were young maples; there must be some fantastic color in Montreal in autumn as maples are a favorite street tree throughout the city. Some street scenes:
On the left: this little restaurant reminds me of a place in Barcelona. To the right, a curious little building. A Louer means “for rent”.
There are some very narrow streets in the old city. It is very quiet after work hours (but before the all-night party begins). Some quiet alley scenes:
The care and craftsmanship taken on these old buildings is amazing. Even though this building faces a small little alley, look at this cornice:
I just love old portal, courtyard buildings, carriage houses:
The old city adjoins the lovely waterfront, the old port. The city used to compete with New York City for shipping to the midwest; all ocean cargo headed up the St. Lawrence river needed to disembark at Montreal and go through the Lachine Canal. This era ended when the St. Lawrence seaway opened in the 1950’s, among other factors, and we are now left with an amazing still-life of industrial ruins.
Directly across the waterway are two islands, which were developed around the time of Expo ’67. This is a view of the incredible housing complex Habitat 67, designed by Moshe Safdie.
A view of Lachine Canal:
There is a wonderful feeling of summer outdoor activity in Montreal. There is a great bike path going right through this section of the city – bikers were whizzing by constantly. Lovers strolling, young families having a quiet picnic on the grass. Everything was so civilized. An outdoor bar and two “food trucks” were placed on the quay – I tried a pizza from one of these trucks; it was made fresh right there in front of my eyes – and it was quite good!
It was getting dark pretty quick. I found a roof-top bar and relaxed with a drink among the sound of French conversation. On my way to my hotel – a hip new building in total contrast to old Montreal – I walked through what I would discover is just one of many pedestrian-only streets. This could be mistaken for Quebec City; a bit touristy, and lots of souvenir shops. Still, lovely.
In future installments I will post reports of other walks I took in Montreal; the lovely Beaux Arts-era Golden Mile and my favorite spot I found, St. Louis Square.