Mont-Royal

Mont-Royal. Opened 1966. Architect: Victor Prus. Artworks: vertical bands by Charles Daudelin and mural by Les Industries perdues. The Time and Place The Archive Summer 1535 – Hochelaga – Jacques Cartier visits the Huron village of Hochelaga and names the mountain nearby “Mont-Royal”  [In] the middle of these fields is situated and stands the village […]

Papineau receives a flawed argument

In 1835, Lord Glenelg, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, offered perhaps the most hilarious argument for not reforming the constitution of Lower Canada. 69. It must be recollected that the form of Provincial Constitution in question is no modern experiment or plan of government, in favor of which nothing better than doubtful theory […]

Montmorency

Quebec’s Catholic heritage is inescapable. As Mark Twain noted when he visited Montreal, “This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window”. Like the censer’s heady fragrances, the contradictions of this heritage fill the air, and if sometimes the odour is repugnant, it […]

Jean Talon, his ambitions and his orders

Jean Talon arrived in Quebec as Intendant of New France on 12 September 1665. His ambitions were to expand the glory of France and as far south as Mexico “to Florida, New Sweden, New Holland and New England”. Louis XIV and his Minister of Finance, Jean Baptiste Colbert, had different ideas about how Talon should […]

From Cartier, Happy Canada Day!

[I’m back from my holidays in Europe, and just in time for Canada’s birthday and Montreal’s moving day too so please excuse the repost, while I unpack, recover, and join the fray. Hope you’re having fun too!]  “Canada,” Pierre Elliott Trudeau is supposed to have said, “is a country built against any common, geographic or […]

From Laurier, A Gilded Age, and Its Unravelling

With the news that in preparation for the G8 summit later this month, the small town of Fermanagh in Northern Ireland has been decked out in the image of a sadly lacking prosperity, it is worth recalling a similar event from the nineteenth century, albeit at a different stage of the economic cycle. The 1897 […]

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 […]

From Laurier, Canada

Canadian Confederation was a marriage of convenience performed under the shotgun of the U.S. Civil War. The country created by Macdonald and Cartier existed on paper but was one dominated by English imperialists often hostile to a suspicious French-speaking minority, themselves more dominated by a local Catholic clergy than their English neighbours. Ten years after […]

From Cartier, Pax Canadiana, or Confederation

“Canada,” Pierre Elliott Trudeau is supposed to have said, “is a country built against any common, geographic or historical sense”. Prime Minister from 1968 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1984, Trudeau was a smart man: he did not to say that it made no political sense. He also had the good sense not […]

At Place d’Armes, An Election and A Massacre

Canada has just now to witness the most foul and barbarous murder of several of her citizens and MONTREAL is about to become no less famous than Manchester, in the annals of Military despotism, outrage and assassination. The Vindicator, 22 May 1832 One of the things that I enjoy most about this project (and the […]

On the Blog, Some Updates; On the Fridge, Some Magnets; On Facebook, a Page

This week I have been fortunate enough to have had a number of conversations with Marian Scott, of the Gazette. She has put me straight on a number points and the posts on Peel and Henri-Bourassa have been updated accordingly. In the case of Peel, I say that the street was opened in 1845. This, […]

Henri Bourassa – Between La Fête Nationale and Canada Day

When Mark Twain visited Montreal he famously remarked that ‘This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window’. The rest of his anecdote is less well known. He was told that a new church was going to be built. Where would the […]

On Sherbrooke, A Cool Head

Some wars end in clear victory for one side and an equally clear defeat for the other. Among these are the Napoleonic Wars and on the clear defeats of Napoleon at Borodino in 1812 and Waterloo in 1815 hang the monster novels of Tolstoy (War and Peace) and Thackeray (Vanity Fair) as well as the […]

Berri-UQÁM – Where protests and history happen

You will have perhaps heard about the student protests which have been dominating Montreal this spring and summer. Each night since February students have been demonstrating against the provincial government’s proposed increase in tuition fees. You may have seen pictures of violence and confrontations with the police downtown and heard that at one point a […]

New Documentary on Jeanne Mance, founder of Montreal

The Gazette has a good story about Jeanne Mance, who founded Montreal on this day in 1647. Less well remembered than Paul Chomedy de Maisonneuve, if only because de Maisonneuve is an unavoidable part of any trip downtown, she was in fact the driving force behind the foundation of a Christian community near the Iroquois […]