Sunday Strolling in the heart of Downtown
Trip Start Nov 04, 2011
48Trip End Jul 27, 2012
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A place that was not actually on my circuit for the day, but which is directly opposite my temporary accommodation is St. Patrick's Basilica (29). I decided to take a couple of pictures on passing but to have a proper look inside another time.
I walked on down René-Lévesque Blvd until I came accross Mary Queen of the World Cathedral (21)
19th century in the heart of what was then the city's Anglo-Protestant sector. Inside, a superb
gilded neo-Baroque baldachin overlooks the altar. In the transept, paintings by Georges Delfosse illustrate the historic beginnings of Montréal.
I arrived just at the end of a service, so was able to walk around the inside of the church and take some photos. The interior did bring back memories of St Peters Basilica in Rome, on a smaller scale! As I was about to leave another service started and the singing was pretty amazing. I decided it would be nice to come back one Sunday and to sit through a service.
Next to the Church is Dorchester Square - Place du Canada. Once the site of the Montreal Catholic Cemetery, between 1799 and 1854, these parks are lined with magnificent buildings, modern edifices and churches.
There was a guy who I had noticed getting his photo taken a lot of times inside the Church (obviously because he was not happy with the first shot), I assumed the person taking the photos was his travelling companion, however when he hit me up to take his picture in the park next to the Church (I managed to get a shot that was "approved" on the second go), I worked out that he was just not shy in asking for a "good" photo!! I got him to return the favour and then made sure I left in the opposite direction!!
I wandered through the park and down around to St. George's Anglican Church (24). Built in 1870, this church is a jewel of neo-Gothic architecture. Its interior features superb woodwork
as well as a silk damask from Westminster Abbey in honour of the coronation of Queen
After leaving St. George's I followed the map until an interesting building caught my attention. It ended up being Windsor Station. Not listed on my circuit of attractions, but an impressive building nonetheless. Windsor Station was the Canadian Pacific Railway's headquarters built between 1887 and 1889. The historic station was severed from the rail network in 1993 when construction began on the Bell Centre (Hockey Complex and used for Concerts). The building has been developed into an office and hotel complex as well as restaurants. The interior of Windsor Station's main concourse is impressive and the old departure board is still there.
After I left Windsor Station and wandered down to the end of the circuit and saw the Bell Centre. I then backtracked through Dorchester Square to the information centre where I bought some souvineers
Next attraction I spotted was Cours Mont-Royal (11). Built in 1922, the 1,100-room Mount Royal Hotel was the largest in the British Empire. This elegant building is now part of a multipurpose complex housing boutiques, restaurants, apartments and offices.
As I strolled along Sainte-Catherine Street (12) which I have become quite familiar with as I walk to work along it, I managed to score myself some bueno chocolate giveaways, which were very tasty!
Stretching for 15 kilometres across the city from east to west, St Catherine Street is lined with the major department stores, shops and restaurants that have been the pride of Montréal for more than a century. No fewer than nine métro stations (the green line running parallel) serve the street, allowing visitors to discover diverse neighbourhoods as they travel along.
I turned up McGill College Avenue (13) from St Catherine Street. Looking northward from the plaza at Place Ville Marie, visitors can appreciate the striking view showing the main gates of McGill University, and, further north, the breathtaking Mount Royal
I stopped to have a look at the sculpture, which I found very intriguing. Everywhere I looked I spotted a new item of interest, and some somewhat provocative sentiments
The Plaque Reads: "A crowd has gathered, facing a light, an illumination brought about by a fire, an event, an ideology - or an ideal. The strong light casts shadows, and as the light moves toward the back and diminishes, the mood degenerates: rowdiness, disorder and violence occur, showing the fragile nature of man. Illuminiation, hope, involvement, hilarity, irritation, fear, illness, violence, murder and death - the flow of man's emotion through space."
At the top of McGill College Avenue is McGill University (14). Founded following a bequest from James McGill, a Montréal fur trader born in Glasgow, Scotland, McGill University received its charter from King George IV in 1821
There were lots of students milling around on the grounds, and playing games. I made my way to the Redpath Museum (15). This museum of natural history presents its permanent exhibit: History and Diversity of Québec, including fossils, minerals, and zoological specimens. World culture exhibits focus on Egypt, Africa, and Oceania. Highlights include dinosaurs and mummies.
I was having a look around the dinosaur exhibit when I was approached by a student who offered to show me around and proceeded to tell me about the evolution of dinosaurs and the comparisons with today's birds, and a closer relationship than with reptiles. Upstairs they had some interesting Egyptian exhibits and a very interesting exhibit on shrunken human heads!
After the Redpath Museum I made my way back on to Saint Catherine Street on the home stretch. I had passed Christ Church Cathedral (17) numerous times, but decided it was about time to go inside and have a look. There was a sign out the front saying that they were broadcasting live to radio from the Church in half an hour, and when I entered I was delighted to hear the choir practicing some songs
A fine example of neo-Gothic architecture, Christ Church Cathedral was built between 1857 and
1859. The Square between the Cathedral and the office tower is dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg,
Hero of Humanity, who saved thousands of Jews from concentration camps during World War II.
The last church I passed on my way back along St Catherine Street was St. James United Church (36). Built in 1889, this church, originally Methodist, has a Gothic-style exterior and Victorian interior. It is the largest Protestant church in Montréal. I think the church was closed so I didn't get to see inside this time.
The sun was starting to set, and I was pretty stuffed, so back to my temporary accommodation to relax!