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An overview of montreals saint laurent boulevard

What began as a country road grew into a route for transporting merchandise, as it became a commercial hub on the outskirts of the walled city, before finally coming to play a central role in a burgeoning urbanisation and industrialisation movement that eventually spread throughout all of Quebec society. Over the years, an exceptional level of cultural, artistic and linguistic diversity has also been drawn to the Boulevard, mostly the result of immigration.

  • The heritage designation applies to 6 kilometres [3;
  • An interior designer with more than a passing crush on Austin Powers must have had a hand in imagining this bar.

As a result of this growing diversity, for many decades the boulevard has come to symbolise the city's growing modernity. Having almost always evolved with Montreal, both on an economic and social level, and having embodied the hope of a better life for thousands of immigrants of various origins The Main, more than any other urban road, has been elevated to legendary status. Creators, writers, and activists have lived along side of each other along its ever-changing avenues.

Boulevard Saint-Laurent

Moreover, as a part of the urban landscape, it has been an unparalleled meeting point between two realities. Surrounded by densely populated districts and a multitude of residents of various professions and trades, Boulevard Saint-Laurent has always been the wellspring of an emerging modernity, as well as the source of the latest trends.

Ever-undergoing sudden transformation, visited by unexpected trends and sometimes even disfigured by change, the Main is always reinventing itself and never fails to indicate the next adventure that Quebec society is about to embark on.

In recognition of the importance the boulevard played in the evolution of Canada's urban landscape and for its contribution to the integration of immigrants during the 20th century, Boulevard Saint-Laurent was designated a National Historic Site by the Government of Canada in 1996.

Although this official status does not impose any restrictions on the management of the thoroughfare's present architecture, it nevertheless commemorates the exceptional quality of boulevard as an entity, as well as its importance in the evolution of Montreal's urban landscape. An overview of montreals saint laurent boulevard heritage designation applies to 6 kilometres [3.

Boulevard Saint-Laurent in Three Parts Today, the Boulevard is subdivided into three distinct parts, each one a world unto itself. The first part of the street, which stretches from De La Commune to Sherbrooke, is home to a wide variety of buildings from a number of different eras and is a testament to Canada's unique eclecticism.

  1. A first date with Mr Big perhaps?
  2. In 1892, the first tramway track is laid on the Boulevard and more and more labourers settle along Saint-Laurent in the heart of the city, thereby creating a densely populated area. For example, it was there that the first movie was shown on the silver screen in 1896.
  3. In 1896, under Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, Canada opened its borders to massive numbers arrivals of newcomers who disembark in Montreal's harbour and, from there, disperse themselves throughout the whole country.
  4. There, heated union struggles took place early in the 20th century.
  5. Fine Cuban Cohibas are on offer, along with an extensive choice of whiskys more than 150 , aged ports, wines and a sophisticated tasting menu.

The second section, an overview of montreals saint laurent boulevard goes from Sherbrooke Street to Mont-Royal Avenue, is famous for its practical grid-layout and for its urban vernacular architecture dating as far back as the 19th century.

The third part extends all the way to rue Jean-Talon, in what used to be one of Montreal's suburbs, formerly called Saint-Louis-du-Mile-End, where the large majority of buildings are commercial.

Victim of an excessive wave demolition projects under Mayor Jean Drapeau's administration and cut in half by the construction of the Ville-Marie Expressway, the lower Main still harbours many extraordinary buildings, each one a architectural treasure. A little further north, the passersby will see buildings such as the L. They will also discover an almost intact Chinatown and a neighbourhood at the corner of Sainte-Catherine that is undergoing metamorphosis.

Important development projects have been announced for this area, notorious for its nightlife and its usually seedy nightclubs and bars. One of the projects is to create a cultural centre that would mirror the future Place des Festivals, which is to be built a little farther west.

North of Sherbrooke Street, Boulevard Saint-Laurent still exhibits visible signs of the presence of the Jewish community, as well as communities built up by the successive waves of Eastern European, Greek and Portuguese immigration. The evidence of this cultural melting pot of are the great number of shops and restaurants that have kept their distinct ethno-cultural flavour and are still very popular.

Witnesses of bygone years, the former Balfour, Vineberg and Cooper factories still stand tall. There, heated union struggles took place early in the 20th century.

There are also a row of shops housed in the Baxter Block, a neo-roman building.

Boulevard Saint-Laurent: the Very Essence of Montreal

The area is also famous for its numerous festivals and cultural events, its exotic nightclubs and its ultramodern interior design. North of the railway that bridges over the Main at Bernard Street is the easily recognisable Little Italy with its restaurants and shops. Near the thoroughfare, on Dante An overview of montreals saint laurent boulevard, is the Madonna de la Difesa church, recently listed as a historic monument.

It owes its position to the Saint-Laurent Gate located on the north face of the city walls, which opened for the first time in 1732. Already, in 1672, authorities had opened Saint-Lambert Street, which ran perpendicular to Notre-Dame, thereby establishing the path Saint-Laurent Street would run nearly fifty years later, as it wended its way through a largely uninhabited part of the Island of Montreal.

During the time of the French rule, the route would still be more than a rural track that would run in a virtually strait line north-south, linking the city with the Saint-Laurent Parish to the north-east. From the very beginning, the Saint-Laurent to be a promising thoroughfare for exceptional development, because, up until the dawn of the 20th century, it would remain the most important route crossing the Island of Montreal from north to south.

The Main under the British Rule In 1792, after about thirty years of British rule, Saint-Laurent Street became the official geographical dividing line between the eastern and western part of the city, making it an even stronger symbol. It is then that people start calling it the "Main".

Street smart: Saint Laurent Boulevard, Montreal

All through the 19th century and at least until the second half of the 20th century, the road separated the French-speaking working-class districts, to the east, from the residential areas on the south side of Mont Royal, where the wealthier English-speaking population had established itself.

The town council decided Saint-Laurent Street would become a Boulevard in 1905. It quickly became the dividing line between a French-Canadian working-class environment gathered around its Catholic parishes, and a more British downtown embellished with institutions such as McGill University, the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral and great department stores servicing the Pan Canadian economic elite.

Industrialisation and Cultural Diversity The linguistic and cultural dichotomy in Montreal would soon be replaced by a phenomenon never before observed; a phenomenon that would forever transform the city: In 1896, under Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, Canada opened its borders to massive numbers arrivals of newcomers who disembark in Montreal's harbour and, from there, disperse themselves throughout the whole country. Within a few years the city became a major immigration hub, welcoming some hundreds of thousands of immigrants on the piers, as the poured out of the transatlantic liners to start their journey in their new country.

From the banks of the river, little by little, they wove themselves into the urban fabric of Montreal following the route of Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Many of them choose to settle on the Boulevard itself. Quickly outnumbering the locals, they transformed the thoroughfare so thoroughly that in the area surrounding the Boulevard, it was possible to hear every European language.

But until the 1950s, a particular group dominated the Boulevard: There, they build their shops, their places of worship and their community centres, giving this immigration hub a distinct flavour for nearly half a century. Ethnocultural diversity goes hand in hand with another important phenomenon that took place as Boulevard Saint-Laurent evolved: In 1870, real estate developers transform the Plateau Mont-Royal, north of Sherbrooke Street, divided the remaining farmlands and built rows of low-income housing.

In the late 19th century, as the Canal Lachine and the Port of Montreal drew large-scale industrial businesses sawmills, an overview of montreals saint laurent boulevard industries, manufacturers, textile mills, and flourmillsthe Main started to draw clothing manufacturers, tobacco factories and breweries. Rapidly, from 1900 on, this immigration hub began to house one of the greatest concentrations of factories in Canada, a trend that grew with the introduction of electricity into the production process and the arrival of foreign labour.

In 1892, the first tramway track is laid on the Boulevard and more and more labourers settle along Saint-Laurent in the heart of the city, thereby creating a densely populated area. At the head of industrialisation in Canada, Boulevard Saint-Laurent is also the scene of a large number of cultural innovations that transformed the life of the citizens of Montreal.

  1. Food purists will applaud the freshness and lack of preservatives in the pastrami, corned beef and smoked turkey. Important development projects have been announced for this area, notorious for its nightlife and its usually seedy nightclubs and bars.
  2. Food purists will applaud the freshness and lack of preservatives in the pastrami, corned beef and smoked turkey. The third part extends all the way to rue Jean-Talon, in what used to be one of Montreal's suburbs, formerly called Saint-Louis-du-Mile-End, where the large majority of buildings are commercial.
  3. The evidence of this cultural melting pot of are the great number of shops and restaurants that have kept their distinct ethno-cultural flavour and are still very popular. Fully renovated to celebrate its 100th birthday, performance spaces include a cabaret-style intimate club and seating for large-scale shows.
  4. An interior designer with more than a passing crush on Austin Powers must have had a hand in imagining this bar. North of the railway that bridges over the Main at Bernard Street is the easily recognisable Little Italy with its restaurants and shops.

For example, it was there that the first movie was shown on the silver screen in 1896. In addition, a large theatre was built there in 1893 in the Monument National and it was there that that some of Canada's earliest sound recording studios were established later in the 20th century.

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Jazz clubs, cabarets, and light comedy theatre, as well as the Yiddish theatre, all which underwent exceptional development in 1897, began to flourish on the Boulevard. The crowds moved freely up and down the Boulevard and it became a place where one could easily frequent seedy joints where illegal gambling, prostitution and organised crime thrived. The Boulevard was the kind of place where people always felt free to add their voice to protest movements and demands of all kinds changes; where many a strike interrupted the regular rhythm of life-such as that of the memorable "Midinettes" strike in 1937.

During the period between the World Wars, the thoroughfare fermented with new ideas, such as cultural diversity, the fight for human dignity and the rights to freedom of speech, ideologies that would eventually spread throughout the province. Then, during the 50s and 60s, the tide turned for the Boulevard, when urban deterioration and demolition projects got the better of the lower Main and when most of the factories south of Bernard Street moved to the suburbs.

For at least a generation, the Boulevard gradually sunk into despair under the crushing weight of marginalisation.

Such was the recurrent theme in many of Michel Tremblay's major plays, particularly in Saint-Carmen de la Main. A New Beginning Fortunately, starting in the 80s, plans to revitalise downtown and many new cultural projects breathed a breath of fresh air into the three hundred year-old thoroughfare. Former factories now deserted have been transformed into dance studios or workshops for sculptors and painters. As a result of the Quartier des Spectacles project, which promises to once again thrust the area into the limelight of the Montreal arts scene, the Lower Main District is now the focus of renewed attention after years of neglect and disregard.