Thursday, September 9, 2010

Come for a little walk with me

In a city renowned for its cosmopolitan flare and epicurean delights, one neighborhood in Montreal stands out as a favourite for its old world charm:  Le Vieux Montréal. This historic district of Montréal gives our city its reputation for European sophistication, with its cobblestone streets, stunning Gothic architecture, top-rated boutique hotels and restaurants .  

Old Montreal is nestled by the docks of the St. Lawrence was initially settled and controlled by the French in 1642 until 1760 when control was usurped by the British.  Scottish wealth helped build many of the early institutions of Montreal including McGill University, The Royal Victoria Hospital, the St. James banking district.  The French reclaimed Quebec from the British and have been the dominate culture here since.  (Originally this region of North America was populated by the Iroquois and Mohawk first nations.)


Last weekend I ventured down to Old Montreal to take photographs of the architecture and cobble-stoned streets.  However, while wandering down rue St. Paul art captured the focus of my lens as much as the architecture, which I will feature in a future post.  So stroll along with me - there is a lot to see:

 

The weather was unseasonably cool, but that did not deter tourists intent on sightseeing.


Artwork seemed to just spill out onto the street!


Colourful entrances to old buildings are an artform of their own.


Typical French Canadian crafts are available everywhere.


Art galleries line the crowded rue St. Paul.


Summer greenery will soon give way to the magic of soft, white snow.


Paintings and sculptures by Canadian artists invite you to make a  purchase.


A man contemplates the significance of a piece of art.


This gallery window displaying art and light fixtures also reflects the building across the street.


A grand piece of artwork competes for your attention against the reflections in the glass.


Art is available for all tastes.


Street sculptures allow you to add the sense of touch to your enjoyment.


Street performers attract crowds in Place Jacques Cartier.


Other street performers ask for only a lick of your ice cream to perform for you.


A kiosque of photographs that show architectural styles found in Montreal.


Portrait artists and cartoonists attract some tourists.


The artist's subject is a young girl.


An entire street (alley) devoted to the displays of local artists.


Even old buildings in the midst of renovations are decorated with photographs of how they usually appear.


Let's take a break for an expresso at the Jardin Nelson. Thank you for accompanying me. This walk would not have been the same without you!






52 comments:

  1. Oh... I haven't been in old Montreal for the longest time. I think I recognized a Corno in the paintings. I love her torsos.

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  2. What a wonderful series of photos. It made me feel that I was right beside you as we walked. I recently visited my hometown of Victoria BC and the walks I took there will sustain me through the long months of winter on our Alberta farm - til next time. Your photos have inspired me.

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  3. Very enjoyable. I particularly liked the urn that was laying on it's side on the steps. Is it like that always?

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  4. Thank you, Bonnie, for this lovely stroll through Montreal this morning. I enjoyed every little bit of it. How wonderful it must be, to live in such a beautiful place. . .

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  5. What a vibrant and architecturally interesting city. Add in the culture and art and you have a place that must be ripe with opportunity for something to do. I have never been to Montreal, but as much as I love travel I am sure I would be delighted to visit.

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  6. HI BONNIE

    I SO loved walking with you about historical 'Old Montreal'. Your pictures are gorgeous, detailed and alive. I was back there. We have been to 'Old Montreal' and were thrilled. We ate at an old restaurant that is called "Gibby's", it is an old low carriage house with stalls for horses and the gardens outside were solovely. The food was delicious. We got lost deep in the 'French district' which seemed to have a flavor of, well, brothels etc. !!!!! Would be propositions came right to our car windows.. We quickly got out. :-)
    I really enjoyed this tour today and walking with you. Wonderful.

    Love to you
    Gail
    peace. hope and healing....

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  7. A wonderful walk, Bonnie. I really felt like I was there. And great, sharp photos too (I really must get a decent camera!)

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  8. Jazz: You have moved over to wordpress I think - that must be why you are not showing up on my blog roll of late! Thanks for visiting.

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  9. Ellen: Yes it is a permanent fixture, paired with an obelisk in front of a gallery of modern art.

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  10. Angela: Thank you. Yes, there is much to discover in one's own city and Montreal offers a rich variety of attractions.

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  11. Vicky: Oh yes, you and your boys would love it. Just below the area where I was walking are many interesting physical activities for children - renting roller blades and four-wheel bikes for touring around. Do come!

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  12. Gail: Oh Gibby's is a wonderful high-end steakhouse style restaurant with more of an American style cuisine than French cuisine. We have spent many a happy evening there. The setting is beautiful isn't it?

    Yes in any big city you will find the areas where all sorts of 'vices' are available. It's easy for a tourist to not know and wander into them. There is SO much more to Montreal than that raw look at life however.

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  13. What a wonderful journey, amazing pictures and much to see! Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Sheila: How fortunate you are to have Victoria, B.C. as your hometown. So much beauty there and the buildings of the provincial capital are amazing. I have a brother-in-law that lives there.

    What a contrast from living surrounded by ocean to living inland in prairie country in Alberta!

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  15. Robert (Solitary Walker): I'm glad you came along! Oh yes - you must consider investing in a good camera with the amazing journies you undertake!

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  16. Marie (Lost Aussie): So glad you enjoyed it!

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  17. what a beautiful please. I love everything - especially that door way which would have looked fantastic for my fashion shoot this week !

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  18. Thanks so much for the tour. I was struck by the street sculpture of the three women --- how expressive their faces are (and the hands of the one on the left).

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  19. oh you have quite the eye bonnie...thanks for taking us here...love all the artistry...seems a wonderful place to visit...

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  20. I have a strange feeling that my early morning comments were lost by my failure to type in the little code word before hitting "post comment." In any event, I want you to know how much I enjoyed the lovely tour of Montreal. Your crisp, well-composed photos truly captured the magic of the city.

    In my previous incarnation as a lawyer who often represented Canadian interests in the U.S., i often visited Montreal, but seldom had the time to indulge in its myriad pleasures. Your post is a good reminder that I need to return soon and enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes that I missed previously. Thanks for a great post.

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  21. I truly enjoyed this narrated tour and your pictures have captured the spirit of the city. I especially love the reflection photos!

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  22. Thank you for the lightning tour Bonnie - I love Montreal and have been several times = think I may well have ridden in that cart in the first picture!! I have never been in the snow though and we are at present wondering whether or not to cross Canada on the Rocky Mountaineer in the winter.

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  23. Your photos of art in the reflecting gallery windows were art themselves, Bonnie.

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  24. Ballet News: Thank you. Would I have been allowed to be the photographer? ;0)

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  25. Lorenzo: I had to go back and look at her hands. They are expressive and thank you for pointing it out!

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  26. George: Thank you so much for persisting. I'm afraid that happens to me all the time - occasionally on your blog. It seems that after we click on publish we have to WAIT while blogger takes the screen back up to the beginning of the post. Then we have to scroll all the way back down to see if there might be a word verification. I'm usually doing it so fast that I click and depart. It's very frustrating. Blogger? Are you listening?

    If you ever do come to Montreal George you must contact me and I will give you the names of some great restaurants - if you are into fine dining, which I suspect you are.

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  27. Brian: Thank you. I can only try to imagine the amount of grist for your poetry mill you would take away from a visit here!

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  28. Hey Pat: Thanks - I liked those reflection shots too. Every think of bringing your travelling show to the northeast?

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  29. Pat: Ooooh that would be quite a trip. One of my daughters is a senior marketing manager for VIA RAIL - wonder if Via manages the rockey mountaineer? I'll have to ask her and get her recommendation for you.

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  30. Wanda: How sweet of you to say that. Thank you.

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  31. Hi Bonnie, Thank you for the tour... my husband grew up in Montreal.. and loves it to this very day.. I have never been there but your photos have enticed me.. It feels much warmer(in a human way) than I thought.. I preceived it as a huge city but you have let me see its street life and beauty... it feels more real now...

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  32. I love the eye candy of this tour. I wonder if in your frame it's more beautiful than in person, but that sounds wrong. So I won't say it.

    The two doors grabbed me like two old friends. I would not want to have to choose only one to enter, but on the other hand, if I had to do that, it would force me to sit and stare at them for a good while. And that would be supreme pleasure, because they are GOR GEOUS.

    We need to get to Montreal and Quebec, and even Toronto. Can you believe we are this close to your country, and we have not visited those cities, rich with culture?

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  33. I like the last picture, and building, best.
    You know...I think I have only been in Montreal twice, maybe three times in my life. And I've always lived within 300 miles of the place. Years ago, Husband spent his entire workweeks in Canada, coming home on weekends. I remember his tales of driving on the St Hyacinthe, which I loved to hear just for the name of the route!

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  34. Oh, NOW I'm desperate to visit Montreal!!!! So gorgeous!!!! It looks like just the kind of place where I would want to live!!! Incredible photos, Bonnie...but then, I wouldn't expect anything less from you! You're amazing! Love, Janine XO

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  35. Gwen: Thank you. If you do take into account all the suburban areas, it is a big city. Old Montreal is only a tiny part between what we call 'downtown' and the St. Lawrence River.

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  36. Hi Ruth: Thank you. Yes, I think you would enjoy visiting Toronto and Montreal. I was born in Toronto - it is larger, more sprawling, and more 'driven' in every sense of the word! Montreal is very cosmopolitan, smaller, nestled around a mountain and surrounded by rivers - thus locals call the non-suburban areas 'the island of Montreal'. TO and MTL would make for two great, yet very different vacation destinations.

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  37. June: I live about ten miles from the town of Ste. Hyacinthe. It's a pretty little place.

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  38. Janine, (Sniffles & Smiles): Oh, you are always so sweet ... I think you would like it here. We have 5 universities here! 3 French - 2 English. You would also find great subject matter for your paintings.

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  39. Beautiful! I would love to visit! The sculpture of the three women is so beautiful!

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  40. Hey Missy: I love that statue too!

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  41. Merci for this free trip!

    Ah, young me smiles over Montreal visits, ouzo, vinegar, export' A's.....

    I was a cosmopolitan punk...


    Warm Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

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  42. That was some walk! So much fun - so many many beauties to behold! LOVE the windows and doors. Thank you, Bonnie!

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  43. Cloudia: Oh, I can see you in my mind's eye hanging out on 'Le Plateau'.

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  44. Linda Sue: Thank you. Happy you enjoyed it.

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  45. My favourite is the swirly palette of colour in the tall building's facade.
    A very interesting collection of pictures about one side of a city I would love to explore with you.

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  46. Looks like a perfect way to spend a day!

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  47. It's as if I were there! I could feel the atmosphere and I wanted to reach out and touch every photo, hoping I would be transported there. Like Alice did in the Looking Glass, it felt that magical!

    So much of America is urban sprawl and so unattractive. Your photos reminded me there are still beautiful places that honor art and the art of architecture. So necessary to life.

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  48. Friko: And I with you. Just let me know when.

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  49. Meri: Oh, you would find so much for your photography and poetry 'mill'!

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  50. Gwynnie: I appreciate your enthusiastic response!!!

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  51. OMG! I LOVE your blog!!
    And your photographs are awesome!!
    I'm now one of your "Followers"! :)
    Best,
    gabriele

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  52. Oh my beautiful native Montreal.. how I miss it. Thank you, thank you for taking me along to Old Montréal with you. It's been so long. Your photos are magnificent. I especially love the reflections in art.. particularly the flower. Just beautiful.

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