by Wendy Foster-DeGroot
Visitors to Montreal will find a culture rich in the creative arts and inspiration for the eyes, the mind and the spirit.
Montreal has long had a reputation for having a thriving arts scene. In the old Montreal quarter, by the river, older buildings in
every street and in many alleys house galleries and shops selling creative and stylish crafts,jewelry, paintings, sculptures and wares. From tourist shops to exclusive art boutiques, there are items to satisfy every price point. There are amazing varieties of artistic styles. Practically every taste is catered for and most galleries carry a good range of artists’ works.
Mimes, jugglers and street performers hold court throughout the open areas in the city. It is possible to become part of an act without knowing it, as some performers incorporate unsuspecting passers-by into their acts, much to the delight of onlookers.
Chalet du Mont-Royal
Built in the French Beaux Art Style in the early 1930s, the chalet sits on top of the mountain in the middle of the Mount Royal park area and provides stunning views of the city of Montreal. The chalet has a large, spacious interior; a popular venue for banquets, parties and events. The surrounding wooded parkland has many trails for walkers, runners or families just wanting a relaxing outing.
Cirque du Soliel
The world famous circus company, Cirque du Soliel, has its headquarters in Montreal and each year has a thrilling
and dramatic performance on show in the city, as well as performances around the world. The artists, costumes, and original and thrilling performances change every year and are a spectacle not to miss.
Spiritual Art in Montreal
The Notre-Dame Basilica is one of the jewels of the city. The present church was built in the mid 19th century but there has been a Roman Catholic church on the site since 1672. The main interior of the church is stunning with vaulting in sculpted wood,
painted in blue and decorated intricately in gold. The baroque style altar is backlit for dramatic display.
Behind the main alter is the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur. A fire in 1978 destroyed the Chapel and the resulting restoration is a wonderful example of modern devotional art.
The altarpiece, designed by award winning Quebec sculptor, Charles Daudelin in 1982, consists of 32 bronze panels. Cubist influences are evident in this magnificent piece which has solid organic forms drawing the eye upwards. Unlike traditional altar depictions of the Crucifixion, this sculpture is an amalgamation of the Easter events from Crucifixion to Resurrection.
Equally impressive is St Joseph’s Oratory, the largest church in Canada. Its dome is the third largest of it’s kind in the world. The church continues to receive pilgrims from all over Canada and the world. The museum has a display of a thousand crutches left by those who believed they were cured by one of the Brothers. Brother André was the founder of St. Joseph’s Oratory. His life has been celebrated for his service to the sick and he is to be canonized in Rome by the Pope in 2010.
There are so many things to see and do in this vibrant city. Visitors will have much to choose from to delight their senses.