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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
Now, you can catch a wave, then hang 10 with some Montreal smoked meat ... in California MIKE BOONE, The Gazette Published: Monday, June 18, 2007 Surf's up in Redondo Beach - and so is the cholesterol. Thanks to a couple of former Montrealers, hungry diners in the southern California coastal town can tuck into smoked meat and poutine. The Redondo Beach Cafe is about 4,000 kilometres from the lineup at Schwartz's, but Steve Spitzer, another expat, says the smoked meat gap isn't that wide. "I was driving by when I saw their sign," Spitzer adds, "and I thought 'Montreal-style smoked meat' was BS. But it wasn't. "Since I discovered the place, I've gained six pounds in six weeks," says the 50-year-old Spitzer, who describes himself as "an attorney who dabbles in the poker world." Redondo Beach is about a 12-minute drive south of the Los Angeles airport. Spitzer describes its distance from L.A. as approximating Montreal to Dollard. The restaurant is on California's Pacific Coast Highway, about 200 metres from the beach. It is owned and operated by the Tsangaris brothers, 42-year-old Costa and Chris, who's 39. While studying at Vanier College and Concordia University, Costa worked in Montreal restaurants, including high-class joints like Milos, and "learned from the masters on Park Ave., Duluth, Ste. Catherine and St. Lawrence." Chris was a jock who played football at Long Beach State University (where he was coached by the legendary George Allen) in the late 1980s and had a six-year career - including a brief stint with the Alouettes - as a linebacker in the CFL. Hearing a Montreal voice on the phone last week transported Costa back to his boyhood in Park Extension (the family moved to New Bordeaux when he was a teenager). "We grew up on Birnam near Beaumont," he said. "Before we knew there was such a thing as real smoked meat in restaurants, we used to eat it out of those plastic pouches our mother would put in boiling water." The concept of smoked meat in a bag would send shivers down the spine of any Schwartz's/The Main/ Abie's/Smoke Meat Pete habitue accustomed to the hand-carved delight of the real deal. But you eat what you can get. What you could get in the way of spiced meat in southern California, until the launch of the Redondo Beach Cafe, was pastrami or corned beef. My friend Alan Richman, who wrote a superb sports column for the Montreal Star in the mid-1970s and went on to many wonderful gigs, including restaurant writing for GQ magazine, used to insist that Montreal smoked meat was merely a local variation of the pastrami he'd grown up eating in New York. This esoteric debate among east coast foodies is a moot point in sunny California, where - far from the delicacy's origins in eastern Europe - smoked meat is new, different and popular. At the Redondo Beach Cafe, you can get the real deal. Briskets imported from Montreal are carved into sandwiches (including a Speedo-stretching "double-meat" special), served Montreal-style on rye bread with mustard. Then there's the "Rachel" (as opposed to a Reuben) made with smoked meat, Thousand Islands dressing, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese; a smoked meat club; a smoked meat sub that's a variation of the Philly cheese classic; spaghetti marinara with smoked meat and a smoked meat omelet. "We also do a health food item - smoked meat scrambled with egg whites," Costa said. Only in California can smoked meat be marketed as health food. In addition to Ahi Tuna Tacos, the El Paso Grill and low-fat, high-protein ostrich burgers, the Brothers Tsangaris also offer poutine (made with Wisconsin curd cheese and imported St. Hubert BBQ sauce) and Greek specialities, including souvlaki, pastichio, moussaka and two Hellenic hamburgers, the Kojak's Gyro Burger and Big Fat Greek Burger. Chris has a master's degree in sports management from Long Beach State and ended up running the program at the school after an injury ended his CFL career. Costa moved to California seven years ago, and he and his brother began thinking of bringing "Montreal quality and hospitality" to southern California. Two years ago, the brothers bought a 45-year-old beachside restaurant. In addition to renovating and Montrealizing the menu, Costa and Chris decorated with Habs' stuff, including Guy Lafleur and Yvan Cournoyer jerseys. "The first picture we put up," Costa said, "was Rocket Richard." The Cafe's big-screen TVs were tuned to the Stanley Cup playoffs. There will be a Canada Day party on July 1. The Redondo Beach Cafe seats 145 (75 if everyone orders double-meat). Business is good, with a clientele, Costa says, ranging from "surfers to CEOs." Bread is a problem. Costa said the local variety lacks the crustiness of Montreal rye. "The flour here is different," he said. "But we're working on it." [email protected]
Cette citation vient du sénateur démocrate Chris Dodd, président de la commission bancaire du Sénat américain. Pour en lire plus...
J'aime beaucoup le commentaire de Chris Arseneault - directeur de INovia Capital "AMBITION Chris Arsenault est arrivé de Québec à Montréal en 1999. « J'ai vu beaucoup de progrès dans les 10 dernières années que j'ai passées à Montréal. C'est notamment le cas sur le plan de l'esprit entrepreneurial qui est beaucoup plus développé qu'avant », affirme-t-il. Mais les défis restent nombreux. « Il y a plus de chassés que de chasseurs à Montréal », regrette-t-il en faisant référence aux entreprises qui attirent l'attention internationale et se font racheter par des intérêts étrangers. « Il faudrait plus d'acquéreurs locaux, mais aussi plus d'entrepreneurs désireux de construire des entreprises de 300 à 500 millions de chiffres d'affaires », souligne Chris Arsenault. Pour cela, « Montréal manque de dirigeants qui ont l'expérience d'avoir fait grandir à ce niveau-là des entreprises. On a besoin d'attirer ces talents ici et d'amener nos talents à ce stade », avance l'associé directeur du fonds d'investissement. Enfin, Chris Arsenault regrette que, si Montréal a le potentiel de devenir un centre d'innovation d'envergure mondiale, les universités ne soient pas encore suffisamment connectées à l'entreprise privée pour développer ce potentiel. " Confirms the view that Montreal has trouble attracting talent to come and lead our companies.