This next installment is long overdue. After a week in rainy Florida, I am back in sunny Toronto. Yes, you read that correctly, I called it “rainy” Florida because it rained the entire week we were there. It wasn’t light rain either, it was a downpour; just our luck. So, let’s get back to our long weekend in Montreal and Ottawa – this time, we’re in Old Montreal.
Old Quebec City would have been a nice complement to Old Montreal, but for a 3-day long weekend trip, it was too far of a drive. In the meantime, here’s a panoramic view of Old Quebec City from Wikimedia Commons to entice Cousin Mel to visit us again (preferably when the weather is warmer), so we could take her there.
Old Montreal dates back to the 17th century when Samuel de Champlain landed on its shores to set up a fur trading post. It wasn’t until the mid-17th century when it was colonized by the French and was known as New France. New France became a British colony in the mid-18th century. Not only did the French and the British put their stamp on the architecture on the buildings in Old Montreal, but fires also shaped the look of Old Montreal in those early days by changing the way buildings were constructed from using wood to stones. I’ve provided a link above dedicated to Old Montreal. Make sure you take the tour provided. On this post and the next few, I will give you a sample of some of the sites you will see there.
Place Jacques Cartier
One of the places you will end up in when visiting Old Montreal is Place Jacques Cartier and right at the bottom is the entrance to the Old Port which we’ll discuss on another post. Place Jacques Cartier dates back to the mid-19th century and named after the explorer who claimed Canada for France in the mid-16th century. Restaurants line the side of the square and it is a popular gathering place.
Nelson’s column stands in the middle of the square towards to the top. It was erected in 1809 and “dedicated to the honour of Admiral Horatio Nelson following his death at the Battle of Trafalgar. Since the destruction of Dublin’s Nelson’s Pillar (1808-1966), Montreal’s stands as the oldest “Nelson’s Column” in the world, and is also the city’s oldest surviving monument.” I didn’t know much about this column until I did a bit a research. That little bit of info is thanks to Wikipedia.
Let’s look around the square. It was a cold, windy and cloudy day on our first day in Montreal. Just check out the people huddled on the benches in their parkas.
And this is what it looks like when the sky cleared the next day. This was taken early the next morning.
Check out the Cabane à sucre (or sugar house) where you can get a soft maple toffee on a stick (or tire d’érable). It is boiled maple sap, poured on to snow or crushed ice so it solidifies and then twirled around a popsicle stick. Yummy!
Here’s a close up photo of Nelson’s Column on the left and Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Montréal) on the right. There’s a clearer picture of the City Hall below.
In the summer, this square is filled with people sitting at the outdoor patios.
Look towards the left on the photo below. See the banner that reads Rue des Artistes? In the summer, this short, narrow street is lined with artists selling their works. Make sure you stop by, browse and maybe buy a souvenir or two.
This is the view towards the Old Port.
Montreal City Hall
Montreal City Hall is a beautiful structure built in the late 19th century. It is located on Notre-Dame Street in front of Place Jacques Cartier. It is also a designated National Historic Site of Canada.
This is one of three courthouses in Old Montreal. The one in the photo shown below is the oldest and dates back to the mid-19th century. It is now known as Édifice Lucien-Saulnier.
The next two photos are from Wikimedia Commons. The first is home to the Quebec Court of Appeal known as Édifice Ernest Cormier (circa 1922) and the second is the current Palais de justice de Montréal (circa 1971).
Let’s take a walk around the streets of Old Montreal and explore. Enjoy the old buildings, browse the shops, lots of restaurants around for when you get hungry.
You might even run into these ladies – The Whisperers.
We’re not quite finished with Old Montreal so stay tuned.