My colleague Brendan Murphy recently posted a blog about Sainte-Catherine Street, as part of his Montreal street profiles series. I have many a fond memory of this vibrant main drag, one in particular includes a time when I flew in from Vancouver (where I used to live) and went to see a Boys to Men concert (they were cool back then) at the Pepsi Forum, which is no longer an arena and hockey home for the Habs but a cinema and retail funhouse. After the show, my girlfriend and I walked from there all the way to Parc Avenue and up to our hotel on Prince Arthur, which is now a dorm for McGill University. At that time there was no Simons department store, Cinéma Banque Scotia was known as the Paramount, and there was no H&M, much less two. In retrospect, it seemed like a really long trek. But that could’ve been in part due to the chunky platform heels I had on. They were cool back then, too – and I guess they’ve finally come back full circle.
Anyhow, this is just a tiny example of how much Sainte-Catherine Street has changed since then, and since I moved here twelve years ago. So, when last week, a new exhibit about Sainte-Catherine Street opened up, of course, I took notice. I love going to Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal’s Museum of Archaeology and History. It’s that flatiron-ish structure in the Old Port that sort of looks like it’s about to set sail. (Coincidentally, when they were digging out the earth to build this museum, they discovered this land contained many artefacts as well.)
The exhibit is called “Sainte-Catherine Street Makes the Headlines.” It’s a short and sweet little show, so I shouldn’t talk too much or else I’ll give away all the details, but I will say it has a lot of fascinating artefacts and vintage photographs that cover the street’s entire history from 1760 when it made its humble beginning as a crossroad at Saint-Laurent. It also covers its complete 11.2-km stretch west to east from Westmount to Hochelaga. History buffs will also be interested in the book by Paul-André Linteau (available in English and French), entitled “Sainte-Catherine Street, at the Heart of Montreal Life,” which is packed with blast-from-the-past images and interesting facts.
Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal’s Museum of Archaeology & History
350, place Royal – Corner of De la Commune
Dec. 7, 2010 to April 24, 2011