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http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/forbidden-montreal-an-ancient-set-of-downtown-tombs-1.1043598 Forbidden Montreal - Other episodes from 2012 Forbidden Montreal: Royal Vic's secret storage Forbidden Montreal: Inside the city's beacon Forbidden Montreal: Inside our sewers This episode Forbidden Montreal: an ancient set of downtown tombs http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/forbidden-montreal-an-ancient-set-of-downtown-tombs-1.1043598 CTV Montreal Published Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 7:01PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 2:14PM EST The ancient stone towers tucked behind the walls of downtown’s Grand Seminaire on Sherbrooke just east of Atwater are among Canada’s most ancient structures. The towers also form part of one of the country's most mysterious places as well. Some of the city’s very earliest European settlers came from France to establish a settlement on the spot in the 1680s. Their aim was to promote what they considered a sacred mission to establish a new creed for the New World. Those missionaries sought to spread their unique vision with First Nations people but they brought most of the details of the plan to their graves. Those tombs, deep underneath the seminary, are off limits to all but the custodians. Among those whose remains lie in the crypt, first established in 1661, is Francois Vachon de Belmont who came from Burgundy, France to fund and operate the mission. The Grand Seminaire has since remained one of the city’s longest-running institutions and is also home to many other architectural treasures, including an alluring chapel, where around 8,000 priests have been trained. If there is any off-limits place you'd like to see, just send us an email at [email protected] Series in 2013. CTV Montreal: Forbidden Montreal Former courthouse Annie DeMelt takes you for a tour of Montreal's former courthouse, a heritage building complete with a dungeon and jail cells below. http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/video?playlistId=1.1202711
Toronto Star, May 19, 2010. By Carol Perehudoff I don’t dare sit down in this glass-encrusted dress. If I break one of the attached silvery rectangles, not only will I damage a piece of art, the splinters would be a serious pain in the you-know-what. “You’re the first person to try it on,” says designer Jessica MacDonald as I twirl around Espace Verre, a glass arts school, studio and exhibition centre housed in a former firehouse in southwest Montreal. I’m not sure how I convinced Jessica to let me try on the dress or how it fit over my hips after the almond croissants this morning at Patisserie Kouign Amann, but it’s a great introduction to “Montreal, City of Glass,” a year-long celebration of the city’s most translucent art form with more than 100 glass-themed events. That’s reason enough to visit, but I’m also on the trail of a mystery: “The Mystery of the Disappearing Windows.” This intriguing headline on the website of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel appealed to my inner Nancy Drew. It’s hard to sleuth in a glass couture outfit, however, so reluctantly — and carefully — I shed the dress and accompany my guide, Marie José, to Old Montreal, where the chapel was founded in 1655 by Canada’s first female saint, Marguerite Bourgeoys. Unfortunately the church doors are locked. “How am I going to solve the Mystery of the Disappearing Windows now?” I ask. “Do you mean the disappearing glass at Notre-Dame Basilica?” Marie José asks. “There’s a mystery there.” Either there’s an awful lot of vanishing glass in Montreal or I’m mixing up the two Notre Dames. To find out, we head down to Notre-Dame Basilica at Place d’Armes Square. Completed in 1829, this towering neo-Gothic basilica is a stained-glass showcase containing windows from three different historical eras. Like celestial skylights, three rose windows are set in the ceiling; in an unusual touch, the side windows depict historical rather than biblical themes. “But what about the mystery?” I ask, gazing up at a scene of Jacques Cartier coming upon the Iroquois village of Hochelaga (today’s Montreal). “It started with arson.” Marie José leads me to the back of the church. “In 1978 someone set fire in a confessional, causing millions in damages. During renovations, five stained glass windows were found behind a brick wall. They’d been walled up and forgotten for more than 80 years.” Two of the windows, St. Peter and St. Louis, now hang in the Basilica’s Sacred Heart Chapel. Masculine and medieval-looking, they glimmer with deep tones of blue, burgundy and gold. “Why would anyone cover them up?” I ask. Marie José offers a solution. “The windows were right behind the altar, so parishioners couldn’t see the priest during services because of the sun shining through.” Well, that’s one mystery solved. It’s not my original mystery, however, so the next morning I return to Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. The current domed church dates to 1771, the foundations of the original chapel now mere stone traces deep in the church cellar. I hunt up Karine St-Louis, head of educational programming, who gives me a rare peek into the cellar’s depths. An eerie-looking room with ancient timber supports, it lay abandoned for decades, filled with dirt and debris. Then, during an archaeological dig here in 1996, two stained-glass angel fragments were found. “They were part of a much-larger window made around 1855,” Karine says. “It was either the Assumption of Mary or the Immaculate Conception.” “Who made them?” “We don’t know.” We visit one of the angels — now on permanent display in the chapel museum. Backlit, the angel glows with a luminous calm, his green wings and golden hair framing an unreadable expression. It’s hard to imagine that before Canada was even officially a country he stood watch in the chapel, then waited more than a century to re-emerge. “Who saved it, I wonder? And what happened to the rest of the window?” Karine smiles. “That’s the mystery.” “Why would anyone remove it?” This is something she can solve. “Like anything, glass goes in and out of fashion.” From stained glass angels to couture cocktail dresses, it certainly does. Evidently it can disappear and reappear, too, carrying with it fragments of history. Montreal may be the City of Glass, but it’s a city of secrets, too, making me wonder what other mysteries lie hidden behind its historical walls. http://www.thestar.com/travel/northamerica/article/811043--montreal-a-city-of-glass-and-secrets Here is a video by Ms. Carol... a little bit funny! http://www.thestar.com/videozone/811042 "In the end, I've come to the conclusion that Montreal is alot like glass. It shimmers its tiny shiny pieces that make up an incredible whole. And if you catch it in the right light, it's iluminating! "
Montreal church stands as mariners' rock A view westward, toward the core of downtown Montreal, from a tower of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel in the Old Montreal district. The Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum is adjoined to the church. (Marcos Townsend for the Boston Globe) By Patricia Harris and David Lyon, Globe Correspondents | May 9, 2007 MONTREAL -- Poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen was hardly the first Montrealer to gaze fondly on the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours when he wrote "the sun pours down like honey / on Our Lady of the Harbour" in his pop hit "Suzanne." While the statue of the "Lady" wasn't erected until 1893, homecoming mariners have watched for the welcoming visage of the Old Port church since the first wooden chapel was erected on the spot in 1655. Although the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is equally a monument to its founder, Marguerite Bourgeoys , who was born in France in 1620 , became known as "the mother of the colony," and was ultimately canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1982 . In an era when most women rarely left their villages, Bourgeoys crossed the Atlantic Ocean seven times in her mission to educate the women of Montreal and raise money in her homeland to support the Congrégation de Notre-Dame , the religious order she founded. Just as Bourgeoys's legend became ever more expansive over the years, so did the church. She persuaded the community to rebuild it in stone in the late 1670s , and when that church burned in 1754 , it was replaced with the stone structure that stands today. In 1893 it sprouted a central tower topped with the nearly 20-foot-high open-armed statue of "Mary, Star of the Sea," flanked by two herald angels. The single-vault chapel's intimacy contrasts sharply with Montreal's more bombastic churches, and ship models suspended from the ceiling as ex-votos for voyages survived identify the church as the mariners' own. With the rapid secularization of Montreal (the Catholic Church dominated education, health care, and social services through the 1960s), public recognition of Bourgeoys has declined. But she remains one of the rocks on which the city was built, and the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum , attached to the chapel, memorializes her accomplishments. The exhibits evoke an intimate vision of the early years of Montreal. Visitors can inspect the original foundations of the early chapels and view artifacts exhumed during archeological work here in the 1990s . Cracked blue and white porcelain cups and plates, discarded belt buckles, and broken pipes seem to conjure up their long-ago owners, who were determined to maintain the veneer of civilization in the distant wilds. They never stopped thinking of themselves as French, as the green glass wine bottles attest. The tour winds up a 69-step staircase to the 19th-century tower. Walls along this level's open walkway are lined with images of the St. Lawrence River and the port of Montreal in 1685 . For a perfect juxtaposition of old and new, turn and look outside to see people strolling and cycling along the modern-day Old Port promenade while the grand geodesic dome of the Biosphère shines in the distance. Another 23 steps lead up to the belvedere, where visitors are suddenly almost face to face with the herald angels and the broad expanse of the modern city extends down the waterfront to the horizon. By 1668 , Bourgeoys had moved her religious order from the center of the town to a rural farm on Pointe St-Charles near the Lachine rapids , a short bike ride or bus trip from Old Montreal. Bourgeoys originally taught the women of the colony to read, but soon expanded her activities to include schools for surrounding First Peoples villages and the care of the "filles du roy," the young women given dowries by Louis XIV and sent to the colony to marry and multiply. The old stone farmstead, Maison St-Gabriel , now functions as a heritage museum of 17th-century rural life with a focus on the filles du roy, who still loom large in Quebecois legend. Often recruited among the urban poor, many of the women lacked even rudimentary skills for colonial life. Tours in English and French by guides in 17th-century garb focus on the transformation of the filles du roy into sturdy colonists. Their re-created period vegetable gardens underline the need for self-sufficiency. The property's 19th-century fieldstone barn holds temporary exhibitions, such as "An Iron in Time," which opens this month. It recounts the evolution of clothes-pressing, lest there be any doubt about the hard work of women in New France. When Marguerite Bourgeoys died in 1700 , she was interred on the farm. But in 2003 , the 350th anniversary of her arrival in Montreal, her remains were placed in the left side altar of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours below the statue she had brought back from France in 1672. Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel 400 rue St-Paul Est, Montreal 514-282-8670 marguerite-bourgeoys.com Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. May-October, 11-3:30 November-mid-January and March-April. Adults $5.10, seniors and students $3.40, family $10.20. Maison St-Gabriel 2146 place Dublin Pointe-St-Charles 514-935-8136 maisonsaint-gabriel.qc.ca Tuesday-Sunday 1-5 p.m. April 15-June 23 and Sept. 4-Dec. 21, 11-6 June 24-Sept. 2. Adults $6.80, seniors $5.10, students $3.40. Patricia Harris and David Lyon, freelance writers in Cambridge and authors of the "Compass American Guide: Montreal," can be reached at [email protected] © Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.