April 30, 2012 ─ With Montréal’s reputation as such an open city, it’s hard to imagine there was a time when it was walled in, literally. But if you’re interested in a peek of the city of old, make sure you visit the Ruelle des Fortifications, part of the World Trade Centre Montréal’s atrium, in the Quartier international (Montréal’s business district).
The Ruelle stands on the former site of the old city’s walled fortifications, which were built in 1717 and demolished between 1804 and 1812. Today, this historic “back alley” is back to being built up, but now it’s nestled between a mix of old greystones and modern buildings and covered by a soaring glass ceiling, which makes for a bright, airy and elegant walkway.
Near the fountain you can see a statue of Poseidon’s wife, Amphitrite, and further along the passageway is a remnant of the Berlin Wall, a gift to Montréal for its 350th anniversary. Most of the Ruelle is lined with restaurants, cafés and many upscale boutiques, so if you’re looking for a special Montréal find, this may just be the right place. You can access the Ruelle des Fortifications by Montréal’s giant interconnected underground pedestrian network.