Introduction to Old Montreal
In North America’s cities, sites rich with history and heritage are usually confined to small pockets within a city-core. Old Montreal, however, is a one-square-kilometre historic district in which half a dozen modern towers are an exception.
Situated more than one thousand kilometres from the Atlantic ocean, the city was founded just below major rapids of the St Lawrence river, thus on the last accessible natural harbour on the river, in 1642.
At Pointe a Calliere, a small site on the shores of St. Lawrence, archaeologists have uncovered a portion of the site where Ville-Marie (the first name of Montreal) was founded, and the remains are now on display in the basement of the museum Pointe a Calliere complex.
This old city centre, while integrated into modern Montreal life, offers a unique blend of heritage in Canada and the US. Architecture occupies a key place in Old Montreal’s heritage. Streets, courtyards, gardens, buildings, squares are often several hundred years old.
The Old Port of Montreal, revitalized as a public space, is integrated to Old Montreal. In fact, historic district is protected and developed as a heritage site. Its historical and architectural treasures are highlighted in brochures, tours, illustrated albums and Web sites. Pieces of public art seen jeer and there throughout the former central business district known as Old Montreal often recall the past, as do commemorative plaques.
Over time, the advantages of the Canadian metropolis gave rise to successive waves of urban development, each leaving its own distinct mark, but Old Montreal stays as the city’s eternal symbol. Present-day downtown Montreal rises to the northwest of Old Montreal, at the foot of Mount Royal.
The new downtown centre was created after the Second World War, when the city was passed over in the construction boom. But we recommend you to read our notes about the city.
Montreal. Photo : © Provincequebec.com
Jacques-Cartier Place. Photo : © Provincequebec.com
St. Paul Street. Photo : © Provincequebec.com
Bon-Secours Chapel. You can see a part of the Troyes staircas, from the family home of Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel and first teacher of Montreal. If you find the place inriguind and if you would like to know more about Marguerite Bourgeoys, you are invited to visit the chapel, and the museum which bears her name. Photo : © Provincequebec.com