April 30, 2012 ─ Sculptures, fountains, stained glass and murals… Montréal is a genuine open-air museum. For fans of urban art, here are a few public places worth visiting.
At the heart of downtown, on McGill College Avenue, the famous Foule illuminée (The Illuminated Crowd) by Raymond Mason is probably Montréal’s most-photographed sculpture. Still on McGill College Avenue, Le banc du secret (The Secret Bench), a bronze work by Léa Vivot, depicts a young boy whispering in a young girl’s ear. A little further away, at the corner of Peel and Sherbrooke, is La mère et l’enfant (Tenderness), a splendid marble work by Paul Lancz.
At Place Ville-Marie, you can stop to admire Female, a bronze sculpture by Gerald Gladstone. Continue strolling to the Quartier international where you’ll find Jean-Paul Riopelle’s stunning La Joute (The Joust), a sculpture-fountain encircled by a ring of fire and mist, which never fails to dazzle passersby.
On Île Sainte-Hélène, in the magnificent Parc Jean-Drapeau, don’t miss Alexander Calder’s L’Homme (Man), a magnificent 24-metre-high stainless steel sculpture. Also on the island, make sure to stop by the entrance to La Ronde amusement park to see the impressive Orbite optique no 2 (Optical Orbit No. 2, a.k.a. The Artichoke), an assemblage of concrete ovoid shapes mounted on a steel base by artist Gérald Gladstone.
Some métro stations are also home to works by well-known artists, including Fréderic Back and his splendid stained-glass mural, Histoire de la musique à Montréal, at the Place-des-Arts station or Le Vitrail, by Marcelle Ferron at the Champ-de-Mars station. Happy visiting!