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  1. La succursale va fermer. C'est incroyable. On dirait presque un canular. Perte immense pour le patrimoine de Montréal... *** Royal Bank abandons historic 360 St. Jacques building June 23, 2010. 1:57 pm • Section: Metropolitan News The Royal Bank of Canada is closing its historic branch in Old Montreal, in what was once the tallest building in the British Empire and the bank’s head office. The image above, from Google Earth, shows the building (in the middle, foreground) and the skyscrapers that followed it. The bank has more on the history of the Montreal landmark here and here. And check out this city of Montreal history. This story appeared in the Granby Leader-Times on March 4, 1927: http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2010/06/23/royal-bank-abandons-historic-360-st-jacques-building/
  2. Intitulé:

    https://britishpathe.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/british-pathe-releases-85000-films-on-youtube/
  3. in Vancouver http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2015/02/national-bank-canada-anchor-exchange-office-tower/ National Bank of Canada to anchor The Exchange office tower he National Bank of Canada will be the anchor tenant of The Exchange building, a new 31-storey office tower under construction at Howe and West Pender streets in downtown Vancouver. According to Business In Vancouver, the Montreal-based banking institution will occupy 45,000 square feet of the building’s 369,000 square feet. This is part of National Bank’s recently implemented business strategy to expand its reach beyond Quebec and Ontario. As of last spring, the bank had 451 branches across the country, with 339 in Quebec, 74 in Ontario, 27 in New Brunswick and only nine branches west of Ontario. While many Western Canadians may be unfamiliar with National Bank, it was founded in 1859 and is Canada’s sixth largest bank. “National is looking at growing from being a super- regional bank to having much more of a national presence,” Kash Pashootan, a portfolio manager with First Avenue Advisory of Raymond James Ltd., told Bloomberg News in March 2014. National Bank’s occupation at The Exchange will not be possible until 2017, when the building is scheduled for completion. Construction on the $240-million building began in January 2014. The Exchange is designed by Swiss architect Harry Gugger and incorporates Vancouver’s 1929-built Old Stock Exchange building with the addition of office tower floors above the historic structure. In addition to restoring the historic facade and old trading floor, project proponents are aiming to achieve a LEED Platinum certification with “seriously green” elements such as rooftop solar panels, integrated geo-exchange thermal regulators, storm water retention and reuse, and hydronic heating and cooling systems. The office tower project is funded by Credit Suisse, one of the largest private real estate investors in the world.
  4. Est-ce que l'article ci-dessous et un avertissement pour la préservation hyperactive de l'architecture Montréalaise? Preservation Follies http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_2_preservation-follies.html New York’s original Pennsylvania Railroad Station opened its doors in November 1910, with its towering Doric columns and a 150-foot-high waiting room based on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. “As the crowd passed through the doors into the vast concourse,” the New York Times reported, “on every hand were heard exclamations of wonder, for none had any idea of the architectural beauty of the new structure.” But in the mid-1960s, the Pennsylvania Railroad tried to make up for falling revenues by razing the Beaux Arts structure—over the protests of architects and editorial boards—and replacing it with today’s drab station, the new Madison Square Garden, and rent-bearing office towers. The beloved old station became a martyr for the preservationist cause. In 1965, Mayor Robert Wagner signed the law establishing the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Initially, the move seemed like a harmless sop to the activist architects. But the commission’s power soon grew, partly because it was charged not only with protecting beautiful old structures but also with establishing large historic districts. Today, New York City contains just 1,200 individually landmarked buildings, far fewer than the 25,000 buildings within its 100 historic districts. And in these districts—1,300 acres’ worth in Manhattan alone—almost every action that affects a building’s exterior must pass muster with the commission, from installing air conditioners in windows to mounting intercom boxes next to front doors. A tree can grow in Brooklyn, but not in SoHo, unless the commission decides that its leaves are no affront to that neighborhood. It is wise and good to protect the most cherished parts of a city’s architectural history. But New York’s vast historic districts, which include thousands of utterly undistinguished structures, don’t accomplish that goal. Worse, they impede new construction, keeping real estate in New York City enormously expensive (despite a housing crash), especially in its most desirable, historically protected areas. It’s time to ask whether New York’s big historic districts make sense. According to a law passed in 1965, to bestow historic-district status on a neighborhood, the Landmarks Preservation Commission must hold public hearings, vote, and then submit its proposal to the city council, which must approve the designation. Once that happens, the commission has enormous powers over the new district: it may “specify the nature of any construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition of any landscape feature which may be performed” within that district. The commission began landmarking speedily after the law was passed. From 1966 to 1981, it created 20 historic districts in southern Manhattan, at a rate of about 38 acres per year. (By “southern Manhattan,” I mean the island below 96th Street—the most expensive land in the city and some of the most expensive in the world.) The largest of these districts was Greenwich Village, which was landmarked in 1969. The plan to submit the Village to the commission’s oversight was embraced by most of its residents, despite their well-known history of fighting the government’s use of eminent domain to seize their property outright. Mayor Wagner said that he was “deeply concerned and sympathetic with the people of the West Village neighborhood in their desire to conserve and build constructively upon a neighborhood life which is an example of city community life at its healthiest.” Mayor-elect John Lindsay and mayor-to-be Ed Koch, a Village resident himself, also favored making the Village a historic district. Two property owners did file a lawsuit against the city, and large property-owning institutions like the New School and Saint Vincent’s Hospital also didn’t want their future building options curtailed. But in the end, the proposal passed, and a similar groundswell helped establish the SoHo Cast Iron District in 1973. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed governments to landmark commercial areas without compensating the owners, giving the Landmarks Preservation Commission a green light to expand farther into areas that had many nonresidential properties. The largest of these was the Upper East Side. Once again, effective organizers, like New Yorker drama critic Brendan Gill, rallied a sophisticated community behind the districting plan. Opponents of the Upper East Side Historic District mounted a spirited defense, challenging the notion that this large swath of Manhattan had any kind of architectural unity, but they were overwhelmed. Paul Goldberger, writing in the Times, noted that the decision put the Koch administration “squarely on the side of preservation, rather than development, of some of the city’s most expensive real estate.” The Upper East Side Historic District was the high-water mark of preservationism in the age of Ed Koch. From May 1981 to May 1989, the commission added just five new districts in southern Manhattan, a rate of 2.82 acres per year. Perhaps the commissioner during much of this period, Gene Norman, didn’t believe in expansion as much as his predecessors did. Perhaps the commission was busy fighting other battles, like landmarking the Broadway theaters and preventing Saint Bartholomew’s on Park Avenue from erecting a tower. Or perhaps it was the spirit of the expansive eighties, when New York’s growth seemed like a pretty good thing. But then Norman resigned, and suddenly, perhaps coincidentally, historic districting soared. Between May 1989 and December 1993, 509 extra acres were added—a pace of over 100 acres per year. Tribeca, Ladies’ Mile, and the Upper West Side—a vast collection of extremely heterogeneous buildings, many of them with little architectural distinction—were just a few of the major districts brought under the commission’s control. The bulk of this districting occurred during the mayoralty of David Dinkins. Again, that may be the result of happenstance, or of Dinkins’s appointments to the commission, or of their sense that their decisions wouldn’t be overruled. But it’s worth noting that the districting explosion stopped as soon as Rudy Giuliani became mayor. Since 1993, the pace of historic districting in southern Manhattan has averaged about seven acres per year. Only one-tenth of the 1,200 acres that are now part of historic districts in southern Manhattan have been added since 1993. The Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, including their commission chairs—Jennifer Raab, Sheridan Hawkins, and Robert Tierney—have shown far more restraint in increasing their sway over Manhattan than most of their predecessors did. Nevertheless, the damage has been done. Not counting parks, southern Manhattan contains about 7,700 acres of potentially buildable area. Today, nearly 16 percent of that land is in historic districts and therefore subject to the commission’s authority. This preservation is freezing large tracts of land, rendering them unable to accommodate the thousands of people who would like to live in Manhattan but can’t afford to. To get an idea of the way that historic districts can freeze a city, consider two recent episodes. In 1999, Citibank sold a one-story branch bank on the corner of 91st and Madison Avenue to a developer who planned a 17-story tower for the site. But the corner was within the prestigious Carnegie Hill Historic District, whose distinguished residents didn’t like the idea of another tower in their neighborhood. Woody Allen made a short video protesting the plan. Kevin Kline recited Richard II: “How sour sweet music is, / When time is broke and no proportion kept!” No New Yorker who grew up hearing Kline play Henry V in Central Park can fault the commission for being swayed by his eloquence. It told the developer to limit the building to nine stories—even though one of the few limits to the commission’s power, explicitly stated in the New York City Administrative Code, is that “nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing the commission, in acting with respect to any historic district or improvement therein, . . . to regulate or limit the height and bulk of buildings.” A few years later, the developer Aby Rosen wanted to erect a 22-story glass tower atop the old Sotheby Parke-Bernet building at 980 Madison Avenue, in the heart of the massive Upper East Side Historic District. Even though the building itself wasn’t landmarked, Rosen and his architect, Lord Norman Foster, proposed keeping the original building’s facade intact and letting the tower rise above it, much as the MetLife building rises above Grand Central Terminal. Once again, well-connected neighbors didn’t like the idea and took their complaints to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Tom Wolfe, the brilliant chronicler of the foibles of New York and the real-estate industry, penned a 1,500-word piece in the New York Times insinuating that if the commission approved the project, it would betray its mission. Wolfe won, and nothing was built. Replying to his critics (of whom I was one), Wolfe wrote in the Village Voice that “to take their theory to its logical conclusion would be to develop Central Park. . . . When you consider the thousands and thousands of people who could be housed in Central Park if they would only allow them to build it up, boy, the problem is on the way to being solved!” But building high-rises in dense neighborhoods means that you don’t have to build in green areas, whether they’re urban parks or undeveloped areas far from the city. In fact, a true preservationist should realize that building up in one area reduces the pressure to take down other buildings. Once the landmarks commission decides that a building can be knocked down—as was the case in the Battle of Carnegie Hill—it should logically demand that its replacement be as tall as possible. Does turning a neighborhood into a historic district actually discourage new construction, as these stories suggest? To find out, I couldn’t simply use data from the U.S. Census to see if regular districts boasted more housing growth than historic districts did, because historic districts don’t match up exactly with census tracts. So I have made comparisons among three kinds of census tracts: those that have no territory within a historic district; those that have some; and those with a majority of land in a historic district. During the 1980s, the mostly historic tracts added an average of 48 housing units apiece—noticeably fewer than the 280 units added in the partly historic tracts and the 258 units added in the nonhistoric tracts. In the 1990s, the mostly historic tracts lost an average of 94 housing units (thanks to unit consolidation or conversion to other uses), while the partly historic tracts lost an average of 46 units and the nonhistoric tracts added an average of 89 units. In short, census data show that there has indeed been less new housing built in historic districts, even though they are some of the most attractive areas in New York. A different approach to measuring new construction is to use consumer websites to look at high-rise buildings, which make the biggest contributions to the city’s housing stock. According to Emporis.com, just five residential buildings with more than 15 stories have been erected in historic districts in southern Manhattan since 1970; that’s an average of 0.004 buildings per acre, less than half the rate in nonhistoric southern Manhattan. Nybits.com, another website, lists 234 over-15-story residential buildings built in southern Manhattan since 1981. Of these, just 6 percent were built in historic districts, even though historic districts cover 16 percent of southern Manhattan. Neither website includes every new building erected in the city, but there’s no reason to suspect that they are disproportionately missing new buildings in historic districts. Again, we see that less new housing is built in historic districts—which shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The laws of supply and demand aren’t usually subject to legislative appeal: when the supply of something desirable is restricted, its price will typically rise. To find out whether prices have risen more quickly in historic districts than elsewhere, I have used data on more than 17,000 Manhattan condominium sales by the First American Corporation. The data cover the years between 1980 and 2002, avoiding the extreme price increases that occurred during the last eight years, and they include the addresses of the condos, making it possible to link them to historic districts. From 1980 through 1991, the average price of a midsize condominium (between 800 and 1,200 square feet) sold in a historic district was $494,043 in today’s dollars. From 1991 through 2002, that price was $582,671—an 18 percent increase. The average price of a midsize condo outside a historic district, meanwhile, barely rose in real dollars, from $581,865 in the first decade to just $583,352 in the second. In other words, even though condos within historic districts were cheaper than those outside historic districts in the 1980s, they had become equally expensive by the 1990s. Over the entire 1980–2002 period, prices each year rose $6,000 more in historic districts than outside them. The results tend to get stronger if you look at price per square foot, use statistical techniques to control for unit size, or expand the sample. For example, if you include units between 500 and 1,500 square feet, you’ll find that price per square foot increased by only about $5.50 outside historic districts from the first decade to the second (again, in real dollars)—but that within historic districts, the price per square foot rose from $530 to $596. The increasing cost of property in historic districts remains even if you control for those districts’ amenities, like proximity to Central Park, and if you allow that proximity to become more valuable over time. Restricting new construction in historic districts drives up the price of housing, then. This, in turn, increasingly makes those districts exclusive enclaves of the well-to-do, educated, and white. Census data about southern Manhattan show that in 2000, average household income in census tracts that were primarily in historic districts was $183,000 (in current dollars), which was 74 percent more than that of households in tracts outside historic districts. Almost three-quarters of the adults in the mostly historic tracts had college degrees, as opposed to 54 percent in tracts outside historic districts. And people in the majority-historic tracts were 20 percent more likely to be white. This alone isn’t surprising: architectural beauty is a luxury good, so one would expect that the prosperous would be willing to pay more to enjoy it. What’s disturbing is that historic-district status itself seems to make areas more exclusive over time, as limits on new development make it more difficult to build for people with lower incomes. In 1970, families in tracts that would eventually be located at least partly within historic districts had incomes 29 percent higher than families living outside such districts. By 2000, that gap had widened to 54 percent. Similarly, in 1970, people living in areas that would become historic districts were 4 percent more likely to be white than those outside these areas, as opposed to 15 percent 30 years later. Tracts in historic districts have also seen their share of residents with college degrees increase significantly faster than that of tracts outside historic districts. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs argued that “cities need old buildings” because “if a city area has only new buildings, the enterprises that can exist there are automatically limited to those that can support the high costs of new construction.” Jacobs was surely correct that cities benefit from having some less expensive real estate—but restricting the construction of new buildings doesn’t achieve that end. Prices stay low not when the building stock is frozen but when it increases to meet demand. Preservation doesn’t make New York accessible to a wider range of people; it turns the city into a preserve of the prosperous. As if it weren’t enough that large historic districts are associated with a reduction in housing supply, higher prices, and increasingly elite residents, there’s also an aesthetic reason to be skeptical about them: they protect an abundance of uninteresting buildings that are less attractive and exciting than new structures that could replace them. Not every city, it’s worth adding, has restricted construction in its most valuable areas. Chicago has allowed an enormous number of high-rise buildings with splendid views of Lake Michigan. The result is a city with a great deal of affordable luxury housing. It’s hard to fault the Landmarks Preservation Commission for stopping development in historic districts. That’s its job: to “safeguard the city’s historic, aesthetic and cultural heritage,” as the city’s administrative code puts it. The real question is whether these vast districts should ever have been created and whether they should remain protected ground in the years ahead. No living city’s future should become a prisoner to its past. Research for this article was supported by the Brunie Fund for New York Journalism. Edward L. Glaeser is a professor of economics at Harvard University, a City Journal contributing editor, and a Manhattan Institute senior fellow. He is grateful to Kristina Tobio for heroic research assistance.
  5. http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/this+architectural/6201759/story.html
  6. Même si notre hôtel de ville actuel est très beau, l'ancien était splendide. Construction on the building began in 1872 and was completed in 1878. The building was gutted by fire in March 1922, leaving only the outer wall and destroying much of the city's historic records. Source : http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/archives/democratie/democratie_en/expo/reformistes-populistes/construction/piece1/index.shtm Source et texte entier : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_City_Hall Après l'incendie : http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/archives/democratie/democratie_en/expo/reformistes-populistes/construction/piece12/index.shtm
  7. Historic Ogilvy's building could fetch $100M

    Historic Ogilvy's building could fetch $100M Groupe Devimco in negotiations to purchase Montreal landmark By Robert Gibbens, The GazetteJanuary 26, 2010 7:29 "Spoonman" Cyrille Esteve performs outside the landmark Ogilvy's building in Montreal. Le Groupe Devimco is reportedly in talks to buy the building for about $100 million.Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, The GazetteMONTREAL – The landmark Ogilvy's building on Ste. Catherine St. will probably be sold for about $100 million to Le Groupe Devimco, one of the backers of the big Quartier Dix30 lifestyle centre in Brossard, and partners. Toronto property developer David Jubb, owner of Pyxis Real Estate Equities, bought the Ogilvy's building from the Standard Life Assurance Co. of Canada in May 2000 for $50 million. His office said he was "out of the country" and unavailable for comment. Devimco president Jean-Francoisn Breton also was not available for comment. But Ogilvy's president Bernard Pare confirmed that sale negotiations are well advanced and in the due diligence stage, though "it's not yet a done deal." Some reports said a trust controlled by the Beaudoin and Bombardier families may be a partner in the Ogilvy's deal. It was one of the original investors in Quartier Dix30 along with a large Toronto-based property trust and two pension funds. Founded in 1866 by James A. Ogilvy at the northwest corner of St. Catherine and de la Montagne, the store was acquired in 1927 for the "modest sum" of $38,500 by James Aird Nesbitt, whose father had founded the brokerage firm of Nesbitt Thompson in Montreal, and was expanded into a full-size department store. A major overhaul in 1986 moved it upscale with 60 individual boutiques, including several leading luxury brands. It kept the famed bohemian crystal chandelier on the ground floor and the bagpiper. Jubb, who owns other commercial properties in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, made further improvements, including a new air-conditioning system.
  8. Visiting the past: Montreal's historic heart Web Exclusive By Chris MillikanChilliwack Times Monday, February 11, 2008 CREDIT: Montreal's old city hall. Chris Millikan photo.History buffs love sauntering along old Montreal's cobbled European-style streets, or wandering her public squares surrounded by grand cathedrals, historic homes and museums. My hubby Rick and I recently joined the curious throng and probed this cosmopolitan city's earliest days. At Musee Pointe-a-Calliere's theatre, a multi-media journey through six centuries kicks off our exploration of Montreal's birthplace between the St. Lawrence and Little St. Pierre Rivers. This innovative three-storey archaeological museum rises sleekly above the original townsite where Paul de Chomedey and 35 French colonists settled in 1642. A stroll through Fort Ville-Marie's subterranean remains reveals traces of the early palisade, first Catholic cemetery, base of the old customs square - even the sights and sounds of a lively market day, circa 1750. And from the third floor open-air lookout, we view panoramic Vieux-Port's busy quayside, nowadays a landscaped 2.5-kilometre linear park complete with flowers, sparkling water fountains and pools. Nearby, Place Royale (now Place d'Youville) developed later atop Little Saint-Pierre River. Here a soaring granite obelisk recalls those plucky settlers beginning new lives on this strategic point of land at the foot of Mount Royal. Two blocks away, an old fire station encloses the Centre d'Histoire de Montreal, a small but charming museum reflecting city history through stories of celebrated personalities. Northward along Rue St-Jacques, the sparkling Trade Centre dwarfs sober financial institutions left from Montreal's early financial Wall Street days, notably the Bank of Montreal, Canada's oldest bank, and the New York Life building, once North America's tallest skyscraper at 10 storeys. Nearby we encounter Cath,drale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, whose unexpected grandeur resembles Saint Peter's in Rome. But here, patron saints of parishes grace the facade. And elaborate interiors reflect new world history, except for the marble altar canopy imitating Bernini's work in St Peter's. In the distance we spot McCord Museum, permanently chronicling Canada's momentous past in McGill University's oldest part. In Place d'Armes, a central monument commemorates Montreal's founders. But the magnificent Basilique de Notre-Dame dominates this historic square, her spectacular interiors sculpted in wood and gold leaf. Inspiring stained glass windows illustrate biblical passages as well as parish history. And for over two centuries, seigneurs resided next door at St-Sulpice Seminary, still topped by a clock from 1701. Stretching from Vieux-Port to Rue Notre-Dame, fine 19th-century townhouses and mansions surround Place-Jacques Cartier. Though Admiral Nelson's monument towers over this cobbled square, it carries the French explorer's name. Once a large public market, Victorian streetlamps, tubs of red and yellow flowers, buskers and artists now create a lively ambience in this hillside square, day and night. Along with locals and hordes of others, we toast Old Port's panoramas from beneath flamboyant red awnings at one of its many sidewalk cafes. At the top of the plaza, Hotel-de-Ville outshines a sombre cluster of early courthouses. From the grand balcony of this City Hall, French President General Charles de Gaulle once shouted, "Vive le Quebec libre!" causing quite a stir during his 1967 visit. Behind, we find remnants of the wall that once stretched three kilometres around old town. Across the street, Chateau de Ramezay awaits; attendants in ruffled blue dresses, white aprons and poke bonnets greet us. Built in 1705 for Montreal's governor, 15 connecting rooms housed his family of 16 children. With remarkable 17th-century artifacts and furnishings this stone, peak-roofed mansion exemplifies the gracious lifestyle of its esteemed residents. Behind the house we wander the French-style Governor's Garden, tranquil and fragrant. Inspired by gardens at Versailles, this spot replicates former seigneurial gardens flourishing with fruit trees, flowers, vegetables and medicinal plants - but on a much smaller scale. "Then, everyone had gardens; large ones like this covered nearly two-thirds of the old fortified town," explains the gardener, harvesting pungent chives, young carrots and emerald sprigs of parsley. Within blocks, dramatized audiotapes guide us through another 19th-century residence. Fashions and authentically restored, lavishly furnished interiors allow peeks into Sir George Etienne-Cartier's influential life and glitzy high society of his day. Fondly remembered as a Father of Canadian Confederation, his considerable achievements also included creation of Quebec's civil code and development of the Grand Trunk Railroad, all documented in his faithfully restored office. Looping back, we pass La Maison Pierre du Calvet from 1725, possibly the most photographed of all the heritage houses. Currently a first rate inn and restaurant, striking wine-red doors and window frames contrast with massive grey rock walls, chimneys and steeply sloped roof. The original homeowner collaborated with rebels during the American Revolution, holding clandestine meetings here with Ben Franklin, an envoy sent in 1775-76. In the same neighborhood - and fondly nicknamed the Sailor's Church - Montreal's oldest chapel is immortalized in Leonard Cohen's Suzanne. Notre-Dame-de-bon-Secours has been a place of pilgrimage since 1665. Mariners believed the 10-metre rooftop Virgin Mary and her glorious angels safeguarded them at sea; some donated tiny ships in appreciation, many of which we notice hanging in the chapel. Up 92 winding steps, we gaze over old town and harbor. Adjacent Ecole Bonsecours school was replaced with a small museum chronicling first teacher Marguerite Bourgeoy's life. A leisurely walk westward takes us past silver-domed Marche Bonsecours, Montreal's major agricultural market for over a century. Restored for its 150th anniversary, her long 100,000-square-foot limestone building has been re-established as a modern marketplace featuring specialty shops, exhibitions and sidewalk cafes. By strolling Montreal's historic streets and acquainting ourselves with early personalities, we traced the development of this little French fur-trading town into today's happening metropolis. Travel Editor Vic Foster's guest this week is freelance travel writer Chris Millikan, who lives in North Delta. Travel the world on the Internet at www.travelingtales.com. http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=94057656-f1c5-4904-ba64-09fcd08d6d56&k=89562
  9. A man with a soft spot for Montreal's seafarers He kept a low profile but he was gregarious, a giant of Old Montreal, with a strong feel for its history ALAN HUSTAKThe Gazette Sunday, January 27, 2008 Grant Townsend, who owned a waterfront maritime supply company, was for more than 30 years involved in the direction of Mariners House, a hostel and social centre for itinerant seafarers in Old Montreal. Much more than an active Mariners House board member, he often contributed directly to sailors in need out of his own pocket. Townsend was 92 when he died at St. Mary's Hospital on Jan. 9. "He was a very good money manager. He was very involved in the welfare of Mariners House," said the institution's manager, Carolyn Osborne. "He never wanted to be board president because he was always bucking the board's considered opinion. "When our original building was put up for sale in the 1970s, the board was ready to take the first measly offer it could get, but he insisted they hold out for a much more substantial offer to guarantee the future of Mariners House." Grant William Townsend, the eldest of six children in a ship's chandler's family, was born in Montreal on Sept. 15, 1915, into a long line of seafarers. One of his ancestors was a British navy officer who took part in the siege of Louisbourg in 1758. His grandfather was the captain of a Nova Scotia windjammer. His father, Dudley Roy Townsend, founded the Montreal shipping supply company in 1917 and was Canada's comptroller for shipping supplies during the Second World War. For his contributions he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. Townsend had hoped to enlist in the Royal Canadian Navy during the war, but was rejected because of poor eyesight. Townsend was raised in Westmount and obtained an engineering degree from McGill University in 1950. He worked for Alcan then started a scaffolding company that he owned with a partner until he joined his father's business in 1961. Encouraged by his father, Townsend took an active interest in sailors' welfare and was a fundraiser for the Sailors' Institute. He helped negotiate its 1968 merger with the Catholic Sailors Club, which had been started in 1893, into the non-denominational Mariners House. A gregarious individual with a soft spot for those who worked the waterfront, he often housed as many or six or seven seamen in the second floor of his warehouse. "The work he did was unbelievable, he was always involved in service clubs, like the Rotary Club, and as vice-president of the Ship Suppliers Association. He kept a very low profile," said his widow, Berna Nardin. "He always could work his way around any problem and find a solution. "He was very determined. More than money, he used his influence to get things done. He was soft. He'd often hire people because they needed a job, not because they were necessarily qualified." Townsend's company warehouse in the Gillespie Moffatt building on Place d'Youville stood on the site of a mansion built in 1691 for Louis-Hector de Callière, who was governor of Montreal from 1684 to 1698 and then governor of New France until he died in 1703. Seven years ago Townsend sold the historic property to the Pointe à Callière archeological museum for well below its market value. It was, he said, his gift to the city. The museum plans to incorporate the foundations of the mansion into an expanded $30-million underground gallery. "He adored Old Montreal and was steeped in its history," Nardin said. "Rather than see the building fall into the hands of a developer who wouldn't respect the historic foundations, he wanted it preserved as an archeological site." His first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, Berna Nardin, a former teacher and translator whom he married in 1982, and by the four children he and his first wife adopted. ahustak@thegazette.canwest.com © The Gazette (Montreal) 2008 http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=d15bfab5-c24f-4c3f-862c-daeb870f75dc
  10. Montreal: Affordable Winter Base for Families The blackboard menu is in French and all around the little cafe, people are chattering in French, nibbling on croissants and sipping cafe au lait. But we're a lot closer to home than Paris. Welcome to Montreal, just a scant hour-long flight or a 370-mile drive from New York, or an hour's drive from the border of Vermont. Most everyone, it seems, speaks English, as well as French, so there's no need for my 16-year-old daughter, Melanie, to practice her French, she says happily. Another plus: Though there are no bargains here for Americans anymore now that the Canadian "loonie" is about the same value as a U.S. dollar, at least we can soak up the foreign ambiance without spending so much in Europe where the dollar is so weak against the Euro. Especially this time of year, you can find hotel rooms starting at $135 a night (http://www.findyourmontreal.com). Mel and I have come to Montreal for a mother-daughter weekend getaway and a look at McGill University, one of four in this oh-so-cosmopolitan city, which visitors can't help but love. Even our taxi drivers wax eloquent about their city - the restaurants! (There are more than 6,000 offering everything from French to Ethiopian to Montreal's famous bagels.) The museums! (There are more than 30. Visit http://www.museemontreal.org for the Montreal Museums Pass.) The theater, dance companies and festivals that go on all year! (There are more than 90, including the popular la Fete des Neiges de Montreal in January.) The shopping! (Simons, http://www.simons.ca, on Montreal's famous Ste-Catherine Street, we discover, is a good bet for young fashionistas on a budget. Such a clean city! So many parks; there are 1,009 of them and scores of green spaces. Let's not forget the 21-mile Underground Pedestrian Network that connects everything from metro stations to restaurants to skating rinks, office buildings, hospitals, libraries and nearly 1,000 retail shops. With ski areas just an hour away, I think, Montreal would prove a good, affordable winter base for families whose members aren't equally passionate about the slopes. Mel and I are ensconced in one of the city's many boutique hotels, the 59-room HotelXIX Siecle (http://www.hotelxixsiecle.com), which was built in a 19th-century bank building just a short walk from the historic cobble-stoned streets of the Old Port on the St. Lawrence River where this city began. And I love that breakfast is included. I promise Mel if she goes with me to the Pointe-a-Calliere, the Montreal museum of Archeology and History that tells the story of this city from its first Native-American settlers - our next stop will be Ste-Catherine Street where she can shop till she drops at street level and at the three interconnected malls underground. She liked the museum more than she expected - thanks to the terrific multimedia show and its excellent introduction to Montreal, from the first North Americans to the arrival of French settlers in 1642 and then later, the British. The museum is actually built atop authentic archeological remains, enabling visitors to take an underground archeological tour. Models set in the floor reveal how Place Royale evolved through the centuries and the exhibits include displays of artifacts found here, including dice, crockery, old combs and beer caps. Virtual historic figures also pop up to chat about their era. Even kids who hate museums can't help but be intrigued - and leave with a much better understanding of the cultures that have melded to make this city what it is today. Last modified: October 07. 2007 9:33AM