Tag Archives: Montréal Photography

Instagramming Perspectives on the City

Tour KPMG (Place de la Cathedrale) – Montreal

What can I say, I’m addicted to Instagram.

I’ll admit, when I discovered there was an Instagram-branded digital camera I bemoaned the death of Polaroid, but hey, who am I to tell the free-market what to do?

Personally, I like the filters and the way by which the filters are able to ameliorate otherwise low-quality digital photos, but I’m sure that will change too as the technology improves. Regardless, here are some of my favourite snap-shots of people and places in our fair city.

Saint Henri Bodega

The quintessential Montréal Dépanneur, commerce integrated directly into a residential plan, optimizing convenience while maintaining the link between vital small business and the neighbourhood that supports it. I read somewhere the estimate was that a single Montréal dépanneur typically serves a base of 1,000 regular customers, and as such, these small mom and pop operations tend to cater to specific local needs, not to mention offer some unique treats. One of the finest lunches to be had (on the cheap) in this city involves homemade soups and sandwiches sold by a lovely Polish lady in a dépanneur located at St-Marc and René-Lévesque.

Montreal World Trade Centre

A hidden gem, the Centre du Commerce Mondiale de Montréal (located next to Square-Victoria and a component of the Réso (Underground City), this massive atrium was built over the former Ruelle des Fortifications and as such unites several heritage properties into a single complex. It was conceived of as a horizontal skyscraper, with the Intercontinental Hotel anchoring the ‘base’. The fountain at one end of the reflecting pool was built in France in the early 18th century and, along with a piece of the Berlin Wall also located here, were, together with the complex, part of the city’s numerous 350th anniversary ‘presents’.

Windsor Station & 1250 Boul. René-Lévesque taken from the Place du Canada viaduct

An afterthought – both of these buildings have lost their anchor tenants. The tower was originally jointly owned by IBM and Marathon Realty, another 350th anniversary gift to the city from the private sector. It was built in competition with 1000 de la Gauchetiere West, and though both are icons of the city’s post-modern architecture, both lack anchor tenants. Odd considering how beautiful both are, how centrally located they are. Windsor Station was the corporate head office of Canadian Pacific Railways until 1997 when they consolidated their operations in Calgary. Today I believe CSIS maintains an office there. I wonder if new residential developments in the area will have any effect on their future significance in the urban tapestry.

McGill College Avenue at Dusk from the PVM Belvedere

One of the better achievements of 1980s city-planning, Vincent Ponté’s re-design of McGill College Avenue. Plans to create a showcase street date back to before the Second World War, but didn’t come to fruition until the 1980s. Prior, it was a far narrower street, with much of the space above Boul. de Maisonneuve nothing but parking lots. Redevelopment began when the Capitol Theatre was torn down in the 1970s and replaced with the squat, ugly brown building off to the left (out of frame). A more comprehensive plan came to fruition in the early 1980s that would ultimately lead to the development of several gleaming post-modern office towers and one of the city’s premier ‘show streets’. If I have one complaint, it’s that despite the large number of people who pass through here, work here etc, no one lives in this part of town. I can imagine it would be a rather fetching address. Sometimes I wonder why there isn’t a trend in this city to redevelop old office buildings (such as the aforementioned brown monstrosity) into condos. Seems like a natural evolution.

Hall Building, Concordia University, with Place Norman Bethune in the foreground, on a foggy October night

Avenue du Musée

I like the gradual development of the Quartier des Musées and the new pavilion of the MMFA – this is progressing in the right direction. The city has a plan for economic stimulus in this area, as they want to increase the number of stable local high-end boutiques and galleries. It could use a café and a bistro, and it would be wise for the city to help in the quartier’s branding if they were able to offer various incentives to help concentrate galleries in the area. Also, while I’m a big fan of the outdoor sculptures, they’re overwhelming given how close they’re grouped together. Would it be so bad if they were spaced out a bit? Maybe the presence of art installations could be used to delineate the boundaries of the Quartier?

We have beautiful balconies in this city…

A place where everyone can pass a long summer day thinking about tomorrow, pondering what could be. I think we’re lucky it’s considered an element of good design to include some type of balcony, front porch or rooftop terrace on urban residential construction here. In some places its quite the rarity, considered old-fashioned. Odd no?

The Sun Life Building (1931), PVM 5 (1968) and PVM 1 (1962)

We’ve really got to figure out what to do with this place. How much longer do we let it slowly decompose?

A Snowstorm in the new Place d’Armes

Place d’Armes, Montréal – December 23rd 2011 (renovations recently completed)

Looking North-Northwest from the plaza, with the Place d’Armes Hotel at centre and New York Life Insurance Building (1887) at right.

Montréal’s Notre Dame Basilica (1824-1843)

A focus on the 1948 addition to the Bank of Montreal Head Office, replacing the old Central Post Office. A fascinating minimalist late-Art Deco construction opposite the more elaborate Aldred Building (1927-1931)

As you can see, the recently completed renovations now feature a tile motif on the ground demonstrating the area occupied by the original Notre Dame Church

Kinda like a snow-globe eh?

Scenes from Occupy Montr̩al РPhotographs VI

Occupy Montréal, October 15th 2011

To see a series of photographs from yesterday’s Occupy Montréal demonstration, click here, or click on the photographs tab above and go down to collection VI.

I’ll write up my thoughts on the day later on. Still decompressing from an adventure filled Saturday. Gotta say the SPVM was really acting cool and professional yesterday. Frankly it was impressive and unexpected. I saw a police commander and a little kid making goonie faces at each other. It was hilarious and heart warming. It was a really good demonstration of solidarity, and one of the best protests I’ve ever been fortunate enough to participate in.

More later.

New Photos Page – Montreal in 1900!

Dominion Square and the Windsor Hotel, circa 1900

Check back soon for more pictures of Montreal from the past!

The first series of pictures are from around 1900 and can be accessed on the Montreal, circa 1900 page under “Photographs”. Or you can click here.

I’ll be working on another series of pics from the 60s, 70s and 80s and post soon.

Cheers, hope you enjoy!

Taylor –

Unknown photograph – anyone know who took this?

Ola amigos –

In transferring files a little while back I stumbled upon this gem of a picture. I can’t remember who sent it to me, but I’d love to know so I can blow this up into a poster!

Neat eh?