Art and beauty in downtown Montreal

To say Montreal was not on its best behaviour when I arrived is an understatement. A freak monsoon and thick layer of cloud blighted the city, which is usually reliably sunny throughout June.

It was not the warm, summery welcome I had hoped for, but thus is the nature of travel — the weather doesn’t always behave just because you are on your holidays. The city may not have put all its beauty on show, but I was determined to find some hidden in between the skyscrapers.

Fortunately, I was in luck. An ingenious town-planning scheme means that one percent of all the big buildings erected in Montreal have to reserve one percent of the overall cost to provide some kind of public art, either outside or in the foyer. This means that while strolling up and down I discovered all sorts of interesting statues and works of art.

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I wandered into the museum district and the galleries too were surrounded by sculptures, including this one by Anthony Gormley.

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This one wouldn’t budge, no matter how many times I told her to mooooove.

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Not ashamed to say that this one was my favourite. I don’t know exactly what’s going on here but I love it, but it’s by Barry Flanagan and I love how playful it is.

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It was so wonderful to stumble upon these sculptures (particularly after a morning driving around in the rain). While Montreal has a pretty cool skyline if you examine it from a distance, it quickly becomes apparent that you need to get in amid all the big tall buildings in order to discover these little beauty spots.

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Montreal strikes me as the kind of city you have to work with in order to understand its appeal — something I would say is also true of Brussels in many ways. I lived in Brussels and I grew to love being surrounded every day by its own unique charm, which I feel might be similar to that of Montreal.

I can imagine the city would be a great place to live and once you’ve fully explored all the neighbourhoods. I barely scratched the surface on this trip, but will be sure to talk a little bit more about the architecture of Montreal in another post soon!

 

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Thanks so much to KLM, Air France and Tourisem Quebec for getting me out there and helping me find my bearings.

3 Comments

  1. July 30, 2014 / 2:36 pm

    I was pleasantly surprised with this hotel in Montreal. GREAT location. Close to attractions, transportation hub, walking distance to most anything you want or need. I didn’t know anything about the hotel beforehand. It’s an older, updated structure. Our room was a tad small, but more than functional considering we didn’t spend much time there. The staff was wonderful, especially Carolyn and Nancy. Be prepared to park off site as they have a limited number of parking spaces. You do not need to convert currency if you use US dollars. Inquire about metro passes at the desk. Montreal was the easiest city to move around different district with their transpo system. Make sure to check out Mont-Royal district. Reminded me a little like like Berkeley, CA. pc games

  2. June 19, 2014 / 9:15 am

    It’s a shame about the weather but that’s such a cool rule. It also makes you think about how much the buildings cost, those sculptures can’t have been cheap and they were only 1% of the cost! Mental. xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua : Life in Italy