Sure, Montreal has a lot of free museum opportunities. But museums have totally constraining things like doors and schedules, so if you truly want to experience some art on your own terms, exploring Montreal’s collection of public art is the way to go…
The stories behind the city’s vast collection of public art are often as interesting and varied as the pieces themselves. But let’s be honest: once you’ve seen the thing, then what? Look at it again? For this pragmatic reason, I’ve picked out some my favourites and included something you can do nearby….
Man, Three Disks by Alexander Calder : Calder’s towering stainless steel structure is over 20 meters high and, while entirely crass of me to mention, is worth an estimated 50 million dollars. Its location on Parc Jean-Drapeau is also where the Piknik Elektronik events are held, meaning you and the sprawling sculpture will be able to dance through the afternoon and into the night together.
Monument to Émile Nelligan by Roseline Granet : The bronze bust that sits on a base of limestone and granite was created in large part because of a push by the Fondation Émile-Nelligan, the cultural organization named after the famed Montreal poet. It’s location in St. Louis Square near St-Denis means there are no shortage of things to do nearby, but the incredible Victorian houses that line the park are worth stopping to check out (St. Louis Square, montreal )
Nave For Fourteen Queens by Rose-Marie Goulet : This monument made of granite, steel and grass was created to remember the victims of the 1989 École Polytechnique shooting in Montréal. Located near the school, its purpose is to “forcefully evoke their names, so that everyone who passes by may read them, repeat them and never forget them.” It doesn’t feel appropriate to mention its proximity to a cute coffee shop, so click the link above to read a conversation with Goulet about the shooting and her work.
Revolutions by Michel de Broin : This Escher-like aluminum ode to Montreal’s distinctive curved staircases is one of my favourites in the city.
If you’re interested in finding out some more, click on this round up of Public Art in Montreal