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Date:10/24/2014 5:14:08 AM
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OLD MONTREAL – DAY 2 - part 1
The hotel burned in 1833, and was rebuilt in 1845 at the Bonsecours Market. In 1849, a riot caused a fire with political consequences when, protesting against a law, a Tory crowd burned down the Parliament building in the old Marché Saint-Anne on Place d'Youville. Ironically, the site of the Parliament fire housed Montreal's first fire station in 1903; the building still exists as the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. Colonial authorities decided upon the first radical transformation of the area in 1804, with the destruction of the fortifications surrounding the heart of Montreal. Completed in 1815, this enlarged the perimeter of Old Montreal and improved access to suburban communities. Confinement in a fortified and very dense area prone to fires caused the gradual departure of the richer merchants to what would become known as the Golden Square Mile, where they built spacious estates.The 19th century witnessed the emergence of a bourgeoisie of mostly Scottish merchants. The growing activity of the port changed the urban landscape. Old Montreal became less residential, as the rich Scottish and English merchants built extravagant homes closer to Mont Royal in what would become the Golden Square Mile. Anglophone influence became the dominating force in the areas of banking, manufacturing, commerce, and finance. St. James Street became the financial centre of Montreal, with large banks such as the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank, insurance companies and the stock exchange. Most of the financial buildings on St. James Street were designed by anglophone architects. The same is true for institutional buildings such as the Old Court House (John Ostell), the Customs House(John Ostell), the Bonsecours Market and even the Notre-Dame Basilica (whose façade is the work of an Irish Protestant from New York, James O'Donnell). The only notable exception is the Montreal City Hall, which was inspired by the Hotel de Ville de Rennes. The character of the Victorian style of the late-19th-century buildings was a significant change from the stone masonry used during French era, and affected the appearance of Old Montreal. During the early 20th century the momentum of the district continued to grow, evidenced by construction of prestigious buildings such as the Aldred Building (1929–1931), La Sauvegarde Building (1913) or the first Stock Exchange (1903–1904). Port activities, the financial sector, justice and the municipal government helped maintain activity until the Great Depression began in 1929. The relocation of port facilities further east deprived Old Montreal of many companies related to the maritime trade, leaving many abandoned warehouses and commercial buildings. The downtown-area relocation several blocks north and the nearly-complete absence of residents (there were only a few hundred in 1950) had the effect of emptying the district at the close of business.
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