The first long weekend of the summer is finally here! This is the time when people head to the cottage, start planting in their gardens and hopefully the warm weather is here to stay. I don’t really want to see a repeat of the hail, flurries, cold and windy Sunday we had last weekend. So let’s wrap up our tour of Old Montreal with a look at Bonsecours and the Old Port.
When in Old Montreal, make sure you stop by Marché Bonsecours. It is a stunning building, circa mid-19th century, designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. Inside, you will find boutiques that specialize in Made in Quebec items, galleries and restaurants. The market has an interesting history; other than serving as a public market for over a century, it served as Montreal City Hall for more than 25 years during the mid-19th century, and it hosted Théâtre Royal where Charles Dickens staged a production. For more details, click here.
I think they call this Neo-Classical style with Doric columns. I learned the different types of architectural columns from my brother – Doric for the plain ones, Ionic for the ones with scrolls and Corinthian for the super fancy ones.
But, unlike the exterior of the building, this facility is very modern. Just check out the photo below. And if you need to use the washroom, it’s located in the middle the building just behind the stairs shown in the photo below.
Bonsecours Market actually got its name from the church located right beside it – the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel or chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours or Our Lady of Good Help. It is one of the oldest churches in Montreal dating back to 1771.
See the statue of the Virgin atop the back of the church? It was placed there specifically to overlook the harbour because it was the church visited by sailors after their long voyages.
Today, it houses the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum. It pays homage to Margeurite Bourgeoys, the first teacher and founder of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, and the early history of Montreal. You can climb the tower of the chapel for a view of the Old Port and the St. Lawrence River.
The Old Port
Let’s wrap up our tour of Old Montreal with a walk along the boardwalk of the Old Port which meanders along the St. Lawrence River. See that clock tower in the photo below? That is the Montreal Clock Tower with Jacques Cartier bridge to its left. The Montreal Clock Tower is dedicated as a memorial to Canadian soldiers who died in World War I. It was constructed between October 31, 1919 and 1922. If you visit in the summer, there is an urban beach near the clock tower.
Here’s a view Bonsecours Market from the Old Port.
Some of the old buildings along the Old Port. Not sure if they’re being used anymore.
I never did figure out which building this is. There is a bridge that leads to it. It was too cold to explore when we were there.
As you can see from the photo below, there was still ice in the water when we were there at the end of March.
This is what it looks like there in the summer courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The Pavilion Jacques Cartier at the Old Port.
You’ll also find the Montreal Science Centre at the Old Port. It is located on the King-Edward Quay.
If you’re too tired to walk, you can always take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage.
Old Montreal is a great place to hang out and soak up the atmosphere. Next stop everyone is Canada’s capital – Ottawa.