5 Well-kept Secrets of Old Montreal’s History

November 19, 2015 / Posted by   Heritage Montreal - Collaborator 

5 Well-kept Secrets of Old Montreal’s History

The next time you go for a walk in the neighborhood, look out for these locations that have beard witness to 5 important events that contributed to the history and the heritage of Old Montreal. It’s a great opportunity to explore your city as you would explore someone else’s!

A Highway in the Very Heart of Old Montreal

Vieux Montreal-3

Yep! You read that right! In 1958, when the automobile became more and more popular, the city of Montreal proposed to build an elevated ‘‘autostrade’’ along de la Comune street. Though this sector was not very popular at the time, the citizens were collectively angered by its construction, and protested the project in order to preserve Old Montreal. This project would have considerably changed the neighborhood; we are happy that it never got the chance to do so.

The Many Realities of the Champ-de-Mars


You have certainly already strolled along the Champ-de-Mars esplanade on a midsummer day. Did you know that this place had many uses over the years? Fortifications of the Old City, a military drill site, a camp for those who suffered during the 1852 fire, an outdoor public market, parking area… Time after time, it has been of the utmost historical importance. In 1992, the city finally undertook important soil stabilization work, in order to truly bring out the historical value of the vestiges of the ancient fortification walls, allowing us to bask in the beautiful view of downtown.

An Elegant Walk alongside the Cours Le Royer

This crosswalk bordered by four age-old warehouse stores is well worth the detour! In the mid-1970s, these buildings, which were built between 1861 and 1872, were added alongside new residences, which proved to be an audacious restoration project for the time. Then, in 1982, a section of Le Royer street was transformed into a charming pedestrian crossing worthy of adventure.

Following the Traces of the Ancient Fortifications


In Old Montreal, historical, archeological, contemporary and exceptional elements flourish – look no further than the World Trade Center Montreal for an example of this. Located on 747 Square Victoria street, this multifunctional building includes a pedestrian crossing with glazed windows called ruelle des Fortifications, a name that refers to a former passage way between buildings on Saint-Jacques street and Craig street. Next time you go there, look up…

A Silo That Inspired Modern Architecture

Do you know about silo n°2? This industrial monument, which was demolished in 1978, inspired the works Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, two pillars of modern architecture. At the time, the impressive size of this structure fueled the imagination of many, and fascinated avant-gardist artists. Today, only a few pictures of silo n°2 have stood the test of time… Another reason to encourage the restoration of silo n°5, the last grain elevator in Old Montreal!

What about you ? What is your Old Montreal ‘‘secret’’ site? Which building intrigues you?

Heritage Montreal - Collaborator

Heritage Montreal has worked to promote and to protect the architectural, historic, natural and cultural heritage of Greater Montreal, its neighbourhoods and communities. This private non-profit organization is at the heart of an extensive network of partners, working through education and representation to celebrate, develop and preserve Montreal’s identity and uniqueness.

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