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Walking tours

La Grande Promenade de la Main

Sunday 25 May – a full-day exploration of Montreal’s main street, from the Old Port to Jean-Talon Market, with Bernard Vallée, Catherine Browne, Susan Bronson, Luc Bourdon, and other guides with a passion for history

  • Sunday 25 May, from 9:30 am to 5 pm
  • Starting point: Saint-Laurent Boulevard at the corner of rue de la Commune, in the Old Port
  • Arrival point: Jean-Talon Market
  • There will be a break for lunch
  • Cost: $20 (meal not included)
  • Reservations recommended – write to resa@amisboulevardstlaurent.com

In collaboration with MontrealExplorations

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Annual general meeting – À l’aube des restes industriels

Monday 12 May: Annual General Meeting

Join us with a glass of wine and snacks to go over the events of 2013 and discover the plans of Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard for 2014. The business part of the meeting will be very short.

We’ll also hold a discussion on the place of the Main in the memory landscape of Montreal. How can history and heritage contribute to the present vitality of this central boulevard?

  • Monday 12 May, 6 pm
  • MainLine Theatre, 3997 Saint-Laurent Blvd. (above Segal’s, just south of Duluth)


    Saturday 17 May: À l’aube des restes industriels

    The multimedia work À l’aube des restes industriels is an architectural projection about the history and memory of railways and industry in Montréal. Laurence Grandbois Bernard is a master’s student in experimental media at UQAM. At the junction between documentary and art film, this work plays with multiple screens to associate archival images with recent footage.

    Created by Laurence Grandbois Bernard and presented in collaboration with Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard, Mile End Memories and Glen Lemesurier

    • Saturday 17 May
    • every half-hour from 8:30 to 11 pm (duration 15 min)
    • Parc des Crépuscules, Van Horne Av. near Saint-Urbain St., on the west side of the warehouse
    • Facebook event

    Preceded by the walking tour Mile End’s Railway Landscape by Mile End Memories. Meet on Saint-Viateur St. at Waverly, at the end of the «Mile End en fleurs» street fair, just after 4 pm. More information on the web site of Mile End Memories

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    Walking tours

    Jane’s Walk

    The walking tour season has finally arrived! As usual, it starts with the 6th edition of Jane’s Walks coordinated by the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre. There’s a vast choice, 103 walks offered free of charge on 2, 3 and 4 May 2014 by citizens, city councillors or community groups. This annual event is organized in memory of author and urban activist Jane Jacobs.

    Saturday 3 May: La fameuse rue Bagg

    Tour led by Dory Reimer

    Discover the Jewish area and see the typical triplexes of the area, the beautiful view of the mountain, the family history of Bagg Street, the Bagg Street synagogue and the buildings of the businesses of yore and of today, the historical Bain Schubert, the Parc Devonshire, the Hotel-Dieu Hospital and of course a stop if you wish at the mythical Schwartz Smoked Meat.

    Starting point: Corner of Bagg and Saint-Urbain Streets

    In French: Saturday 3 May 2014, from 1 pm to 2:30 pm
    Free, registration required at ecologieurbaine.net

    Sunday 4 May: Le quartier portugais, au cœur de la Main

    Tour led by Miguel Simão Andrade

    Walking tour of the Main from the point of view of Montréal’s Portuguese community that has had its roots here for sixty years.

    In French: Sunday 4 May 2014, from 10 am to 11:30 am
    Starting point: Corner of Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Roy Street
    Free, registration required at ecologieurbaine.net

    Another suggestion of a walk on Saint-Laurent Boulevard (in French):

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    Walking tours

    Nuit blanche: The Main, a legendary cosmopolitan street

    For a second year running, Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard propose a discovery tour of the Main during the Nuit blanche of the Montréal en lumière Festival.

    Saint-Laurent Boulevard, recognised as a National Historic Site of Canada since 1997, is known as the point of arrival for successive waves of immigration. Its history has been marked by people—famous and ordinary—from all over the world. Come and (re)discover the eternally cosmopolitan character of The Main! In both French and English.

    Led by Bernard Vallée and Catherine Browne of Montréal explorations.

    Description on the Nuit blanche web site

    Free – Reservation required by writing to resa@amisboulevardstlaurent.com
    Saturday 1 March, at 10 pm and midnight
    Please specify your preference of time and language.
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    Walking tours

    Cinema on Saint-Laurent Boulevard

    An innovative and original tour to learn about the history of cinema on Saint-Laurent Boulevard!

    Saint-Laurent Boulevard is an iconic street in Montreal, well-known as the point of arrival for successive waves of immigrants and as the bridge between Montreal’s two principal linguistic communities. But did you know that it also plays a role in the history of cinema? The first film screening in North America took place on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in 1896.

    Numerous places on the Main between Sherbrooke Street and Mont-Royal Avenue have been significant for the film industry, such as the Cinema Parallèle, Excentris and the old Cinema Élysée, now demolished.

    Come along on this tour led by Québécois filmmaker Luc Bourdon, and be one of the few to see behind the scenes at the Cinema l’Amour, or to learn more about the history of Excentris…

    Don’t miss the opportunity!

    Walking tour – Saturday, October 12 [FULL] and Sunday, October 13, 2013 – 10 am – 12 am

    Reservation required: info@amisboulevardstlaurent.com or 514-286-0334

    Meeting point: Cinéma l’Amour, 4015 Saint-Laurent Boulevard

    A free activity, offered by the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard, organised with the participation of the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma.

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    Walking tours

    Sunday, August 25, 2013 – Walking Tour During Mix’arts

    Sunday, August 25, 2013

    During Mix’arts, discover the history of the Main!

    Walking tour led by Catherine Browne


    While the street is closed to traffic, come discover or rediscover the historical and architectural heritage of the Main, between Sherbrooke Street and Mont-Royal Avenue.

    Our guide will share her knowledge and passion for one of the most iconic streets of Montreal.

    Walking tour, in French, 9:30 am – noon.

    Meeting point: service station on the northwest corner of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Sherbrooke Street

    Price : $12 non-members / $10 members

    Reservation recommended : culture@boulevardsaintlaurent.com or 514-286-0334

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    Walking tours

    Saturday 20 July – Portuguese district walking tour

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Come visit the Portuguese district, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the arrival of this community in Montreal and Canada!

    Walking tour led by Joaquina Pires and Miguel Simão Andrade

    The Portuguese community, particularly active on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, is celebrating this year the 60th anniversary of the arrival of its first immigrants to Montreal.

    This is a perfect occasion to discover or rediscover the Portuguese district, accompanied by two guides from this community who will share their passion for their culture and their traditions.

    Walking tour, in French, 10:30 am – noon.

    Meeting point: corner of Avenue des Pins and Saint-Laurent Boulevard

    Price: $12 non-members / $10 members

    Reservation recommended: info@amisboulevardstlaurent.com

    Information : 514-286-0334

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    Walking tours

    Historical walking tour during the Mural Festival

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    During the Mural Festival, (re)discover the history of the Main in a different way !

    Walking tour led by Catherine Browne and Bernard Vallée

    On the occasion of the first edition of this public art festival, come to discover or rediscover the historical and architectural heritage of the Main, while also admiring the new artwork being created on buildings along Saint-Laurent Boulevard, between Sherbrooke Street and Mont-Royal Avenue this coming weekend.

    A meeting between the heritage of the past and the heritage of tomorrow, in appreciation of one of the most iconic streets of Montreal.

    Walking tour, in French or English (specify when reserving), 9:30 am – noon.

    Meeting point: service station on the northwest corner of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Sherbrooke Street

    Price : $12 non-members / $10 members

    Reservation recommended : culture@boulevardsaintlaurent.com or 514-286-0334


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    Walking tours

    Walking the Main

    Sunday, June 9, 2013

    Walking the Main: a 6-km guided tour of Saint-Laurent Boulevard on the weekend of the Formula 1 pedestrian zone !

    Tour led by Bernard Vallée, Catherine Browne and Justin Bur

    From the Old Port to Jean-Talon Street, discover the richness and diversity of the neighbourhoods adjoining the six kilometres of Montreal’s historic Main. During this day-long walk, our experienced and enthusiastic guides will tell the stories of the different communities that have shaped the boulevard.

    The Formula 1 weekend may be the occasion to glance at some fancy machinery, but it also implies that much of the boulevard will be closed to traffic, allowing us to walk freely up the street.

    A different sort of guided tour, back for the first time in four years. Not to be missed!

    Walking tour, in French, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.

    Starting point: Rue de la Commune south side, at the foot of Saint-Laurent Boulevard, in the Old Port.

    There will be a one-hour break for lunch.

    Price: $25 non-members / $20 members (lunch not included)

    Reservation recommended: culture@boulevardsaintlaurent.com or 514-286-0334

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    Lecture: Italian Immigration / Annual General Meeting

    The Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard are pleased to invite you to their Annual General Meeting 2013 !

    5:30 :    welcome and registration
    6:00 :    lecture by Bruno Ramirezhistorian specializing in the history of North American immigration, professor at Université de Montréal – History and Evolution of Italian Immigration in Montreal
    7:00 :    opening of the meeting
    8:00 :    cocktail

    Meet us on Tuesday 21 May 2013 –  at 6 pm
    at Café Conca d’Oro – 184 rue Dante

    RSVP by 19 may  at culture@boulevardsaintlaurent.com –  514-286-0334

    Come and get involved with us in promoting the richness and diversity of this historic street.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

    Photo: François Devic