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Happy New Year 2022

Photo : St. Lawrence Street, at the intersection of Pine Avenue, 1904.

At the end of the 19th century, the Baxter Block (3608-3712), as well as the Larivière hardware store (3715) opposite, were elements of a newly created prestigious commercial strip on St. Lawrence Street between Milton Street and Pine Avenue. Starting in 1888, the Main was gradually widened along the western side, incidentally allowing plenty of space for electric streetcars (1893) running in both directions; the rails can be seen in the photo. The new buildings transformed the streetscape by eliminating the old texture of bourgeois villas, gardens and orchards interspersed with small faubourg houses, of which a few examples are still visible on the east side in the centre of the photo.

The Baxter Block and neighboring Préfontaine Building (at right in the photo) were built on the former back garden of Durham House, the villa of the late entrepreneur Stanley Bagg converted into a private school. To the north had lain the site of the Guilbault Gardens, a popular amusement park closed in 1869. The Baxter Block, a row of terrace houses with a Romanesque Revival stone façade, was designed by architect Théodore Daoust in 1892 for developer James Baxter, also known as a diamond merchant and banker. The Préfontaine Building (1890), immediately to its south, was probably designed by the same architect for a certain Napoléon Préfontaine. It is marked by a façade of Romanesque arches decorated with ceramic tiles and bay windows. Originally, both buildings were crowned with onion domes, turrets and fantastical fleurons, unfortunately no longer existing. Their ground floors were occupied by shops and the upper floors housed offices and workshops.

Opposite (at left of the photo), the hardware company Amiot, Lecourt & Larivière constructed in 1895 another prestigious building designed by architect Joseph Perrault. The ground floor served as a showroom and retail space, while the upper floors were used for administration and warehousing. Through its monumental character and its elegant composition, the building – also in the Romanesque Revival style – gave its owners a forceful presence on St. Lawrence Street. The street’s commercial prestige was confirmed when it received the designation of Boulevard in 1905.

This photo is displayed over the entire surface of the shop window at 3660-3662 Saint-Laurent Boulevard as part of the project « La Main en histoire(s) », a collaboration between the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and the Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent, 2020-2021.

(Text by Bernard Vallée. Translated by Justin Bur)

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Happy New Year 2021!

The Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard wish you a happy new year 2021 and invite you to discover with them the history and the oddities of the Main

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Launch event: Little Italy audioguide – AGM 2018

The Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard invite you to the launch event for our new audioguide: 10 Moments on the Main – Petite-Italie.
Tuesday 8 May 2018, 5:30 to 6:30 pm
Casa d’Italia – 505 Jean-Talon Street East, Montreal

Our annual general meeting will follow from 7 to 8 pm. We welcome old and new members with an interest in the Main.

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General Meeting – Talk on Jewish Mile End 1934

The next annual general meeting of the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard will be held on Wednesday evening, 15 March 2017, at the Museum of Jewish Montreal. Come hear Yves Desjardins’s talk on the municipal elections of 1934, have a bite to eat and meet other friends of the Main.

Waiting room of the Seigler (Laurier) Clinic, 1933.
Archives de la Ville de Montréal, VM94-Z97

Mile End Jewish history: the election of 1934 in Laurier Ward
Talk by Yves Desjardins

Spring 1934. The Great Depression of the 1930s is at its worst. Camillien Houde is about to take back the mayoralty of Montreal. His supporters and opponents combat fiercely in the city’s districts.

One of them is exceptional: Laurier Ward, i.e., the southern part of today’s Mile End. A “national unity” candidate, Omer Langlois, is running against the incumbent Jewish councillor, Max Seigler. The campaign is impassionned and violent. A recently opened municipal medical clinic (corner of Mont-Royal and Henri-Julien, now occupied by Jeunesses musicales du Canada) is the focal point of the storm.

Yves Desjardins is an urban history researcher and a member of the board of Mile End Memories. His book Histoire du Mile End will be published by Septentrion in May.

This talk was previously presented by Mile End Memories in April 2016.

  • Wednesday 15 March 2017, from 5:30 pm
  • Talk at 6 pm – followed by the annual general meeting of the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard
  • Museum of Jewish Montreal, 4040 Saint-Laurent Blvd., Montréal (corner of Duluth Av. – 55 bus)
  • Free, no reservation required
  • Presentation in French, discussion in English and in French
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Visit of Saint-Enfant-Jésus Church – AGM

photo Justin Bur, 2015

Saint-Enfant-Jésus was the first Catholic parish along Saint-Laurent Boulevard, outside the old city. The church was inaugurated on Christmas Day, 1858 – in the fields on the side of a country road. It later became the institutional centre of the village of Saint-Louis-du-Mile-End, at the end of the 19th century. Over the course of decades, the parish was subdivided to create many new parishes in Outremont, on the Plateau, and in Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. The church obtained its current appearance at the turn of the 20th century with the addition of a new façade and an enlargement by the architect Joseph Venne.

Kevin Cohalan of the Société d’histoire du Plateau-Mont-Royal will guide us around the church and speak about the return of the great angel statues which surmount the façade, created by sculptor Olindo Gratton. The angels were restored to their places in June 2015, after almost 40 years spent elsewhere. After the church visit, a short illustrated presentation by Justin Bur, president of the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard, will discuss the church in the context of the development of the boulevard.

The presentation will be followed by the annual general meeting of the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard.

  • Thursday 10 December, at 5 pm
  • followed by the AGM from 6 pm
  • Saint-Enfant-Jésus Church, 5039 Saint-Dominique Street
  • Free, no reservation required
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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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    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
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    10 Moments on the Main

    The Friends of St-Laurent Boulevard are proud to present their audioguide “10 Moments on the Main”.
    Discover the rich history of the Boulevard one moment at a time!

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    Annual General Meeting 2012

    Dear Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard,

    It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
    We look forward to seeing you there! 

    Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
    Place: Chez le Portugais, 4134, Saint-Laurent Boulevard (corner Rachel)
    Welcome and registration: 5:30 p.m.
    Assembly: 6  p.m.
    Cocktail: 7 p.m.

    R.S.V.P. In order to help us plan this activity, thank you in advance for confirming your presence before Monday, May 28th, 2012 by calling Chantal Steegmuller at 514-286-0334, or at culture@boulevardsaintlaurent.com

    Registration Form for members with voting rights
    Agenda for Annual General Meeting 2012

    Note: Copies of the bylaws of the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard are available upon request.

    Language: The presentations will be in French, but questions and comments are welcome in both French and English.

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    Annual General Meeting

    Dear Friend of Saint-Laurent Boulevard,

    It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

    Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Place: Divan Orange, 4234, boulevard Saint-Laurent, north of Rachel Street

    Assembly: 5:30 p.m.

    Cocktail: 6:30 p.m.

    R.S.V.P. In order to help us plan this activity, thank you in advance for confirming your presence before Wednesday April 27th, 2011 by calling Laure de La Moussaye at 514-286-0334, or at ldelamoussaye@boulevardsaintlaurent.com.

    Registration form for members with voting rights; Agenda for AGM 2011.

    Note: Copies of the bylaws of the Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard are available upon request.

    (Language: The presentations will be in French, but questions and comments are welcome in both French and English.)