Hélène Boullé Signs a Pre-Nup: Ile-Sainte-Hélène (now Jean-Drapeau)

On 27 December 1610, Hélène Boullé unexpectedly signed a pre-nuptial agreement with the explorer and inveterate gardener, Samuel de Champlain. She was twelve and in the confusion following the assassination of Henri IV she and the other Protestants of France were without a royal protector. So too were Champlain’s ventures in Canada. The marriage was completed in […]

Université de Montréal

The tower of the of the Univerisité de Montréal’s Pavillion Roger Gaudry is one of the more imposing structures on the north side of Mount-Royal, an ivory tower in all but substance. This week, thanks to William Ralliant Clark of the university’s press office, and Diane Baillargeon and Monique Voyer, both of the university’s archives, I […]

Mont-Royal

Often assumed to be an extinct volcano, Mount Royal is in fact an attempted volcano formed 125 million years ago when the lava in the earth’s core tried to burst through the Canadian Shield. The resulting bubble is neither part of the Laurentian Mountains to the northwest nor the Adirondacks  to the south, but one of […]

From Lionel Groulx, The Birth of a Race

Of all the stations in the metro system, Lionel-Groulx is the most controversial. Named after the priest and historian, he dominated a strand of French Canadian intellectual culture from the 1920s to his death in 1967. To his admirers, including former students at Université de Montréal, André Laurandeau, a future editor of Le Devoir, and […]

Place des Arts, Montreal Normal and the October Crisis

Much has been made of the student protests that have been taking place here in Montreal. Too much. They do not require the invoking of the (in any case defunct) War Measures Act to bring them to an end, as one commenter suggests here. Nor, indeed, do they need special legislation like Loi 78, which […]