In Montreal, The Antiquity Meets Modernity

Montreal is one of the largest city in Canada, spread over a number of river islands in the province of Quebec. It is a city of cobbled streets and old mansions, picturesque parks and modern skyscrapers.

You could see the islands of St. Helena and Notre Dame in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. In the area of Old Port, there are many historical monuments.

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit the best museums of the city: Archaeological, Local Lore, Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Modern Art. For those, who prefer to spend time at restaurants and bars, there is Crescent Street, which is the most popular street in the city to find the best of them. If you rent a car in Montreal, you reach every place in the city faster and easily.

Here, each visitor could find a place, which suits him best. The two spots, which are described above, would definitely show you that the modern and the antique world do perfectly coexist in Montreal.

Old Montreal

In Montreal, The Antiquity Meets Modernity

The history of this region, which is the oldest in the city, starts with the founding of the Will-Marie settlement in 1642 on the confluence of two rivers- the St. Lawrence river and the Little River. It is known that the first streets of the colony were laid on the already existing paths. Their original location still could be seen on several streets. Some of the oldest architectural monuments of the district, which could be observed nowadays, belong to the same period. They are the oldest hospital in the city- Hotel-Dieu de Montreal and the old seminary of Saint Sulpice.

There are many interesting attractions, which appeared during the years of British rule in Old Montreal. Though at that time, the city suffered badly from the constant fires, it was enlarged and rebuilt faster, than destroyed. The column of Nelson, which is the oldest city monument, was erected here in 1809 on the square, which was called the New Market square (now it’s name is ‘the square of Jacques Cartier’). Here in 1873, was built the building of the City Hall, which is one of the most outstanding in the city.

In 1721, after several devastating fires, a royal decree came to Montreal from France: “Do not build the wooden houses any more”. However, this decree was never strictly observed.


The second brightest architectural landmark of Old Montreal and the city of Montreal in general, is the marvelous Notre Dame basilica, which was built in 1829. As the city was under the rule of the English at that period of time, the church received not a typical Catholic appearance, but the appearance, which is quite typical for the Gothic revival, and became one of its most majestic and dramatic examples.


The district is also famous for the Champ de Mars, which is a vast area between the Town Hall and the Ville-Marie express trail. This place worth seeing for two reasons: firstly, because of the view over the downtown and Chinatown, and secondly, because of the two parallel lines of the original walls of the city: this is one of the few remaining reminders of the old colonial fort.

In addition, at that time, the construction of the golden square Mile was begun. This square is the region of the largest mansions, which the richest merchants were building for themselves. Commercial prosperity affected the development of St. James Street, which is now the financial part of Montreal. Such remarkable buildings as the oldest in the country bank- the Bank of Montreal, the old customs house and the old court, as well as the Bonsecours market were at that street. The Victorian style of the late 19th century was significantly different from the one, which was at that area during the French rule, and favorably shaded the architectural appearance of Old Montreal.

The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (Montreal Museum of Modern Art)

In Montreal, The Antiquity Meets Modernity

Nevertheless, if you are an amateur of the modernity and you are not interested in the old part of the city – visit the first museum in Canada, dedicated exclusively to contemporary art.

It was founded in 1964 by the Government of Quebec, but in 1983 it became an independent organization. After several relocations, in 1992 the museum occupied eight galleries of the Palace of Arts (Place des Arts). More than 7,000 works of art by 1500 authors are represented on the area of ​​2500 m². You could see the sculptures, paintings, photographs, installations, objects of media art. Some of the works of art, which are exhibited there, were made in 1939. The gem of the collection are the works by Paul-Emile Borduas.

The museum pays special attention to the works of local Quebec artists. In addition, there is a large information base: all kinds of publications about contemporary art, a database of about 5000 artists, and a digitally stored collection of exhibits. The private collections are constantly demonstrated.

The entry ticket costs eight Canadian dollars. On Wednesdays at certain hours, you could pass for free.

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