I’ve been to Montreal at least a half dozen times in my life, but always seemed to stay in the anglophone enclave of Westmount, and restricted my exploration to that area along with Saint Henri and the downtown. That recently changed thanks to a wedding invite that brought me to Old Montreal, the historic former […]
Our last day provided us with some time to explore Old Montreal, so we strolled the streets and tried to take it all in. Our route took us up Rue Saint Paul to the old city square, Place Jacques-Cartier, which was the former entranceway to the Port of Montreal originally called “Market Square.” At the top of this square is a small fountained-square flanked by Montreal City Hall, and another old building that looks impressive and historically important, but even with a “Google Search” I am still befuddled as to its significance. Of most interest to me in the old city square was “Nelson’s Column,” a columned statue of the famous English Admiral, Horatio Nelson, hero of the Battle of Trafalgar. I was a bit dumbfounded by this statue as it is the second oldest statue of Nelson in the world, Montreal’s oldest monument, and the oldest war monument in Canada. My confusion stemmed from the fact that the English Nelson was so highly honored, in what was even back then a majority francophone population, and that the statue’s creation was a joint French-English Montreal endeavor. However, I have since learned that Montreal’s french population at the time did not support the French revolution nor Napoleon, so riddle solved.
We continued down Rue Saint Paul to the Notre Dame de Bon Secours Chapel, one of Montreal’s oldest churches and home to a museum with exhibits related to Montreal’s founding and early years. This beautiful chapel has a fascinating history, which, given its proximity to the Old Port, includes a significant maritime component to the extent that the chapel was also known as “Sailor’s Church.” My favorite part of the chapel, though, was its spire, as it provided wonderful views of the Old Port and down the Saint Lawrence River.
And speaking of the river, with time growing short, our route back to the hotel was taken via the river walkway known as “Promenade Du Vieux Port,” a lovely walk bordered by the river and parkland. A wonderful way to spend the day.