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Friday, 13 November 2009

The day we went to Montreal

The next day was reasonable when we left Buckingham for Montreal, but by the time we reached the small church of Grande Fresniere,  St Eustache, grande fresniere church a small red brick building pretty much in the middle of nowhere, it was looking like a very grey day indeed. 




grande fresniere Inglis homestead Just across the road was one small house, but otherwise the land all around was farmland. 

The two buildings weren’t just any old buildings, and we weren’t there to go to church – well, we were sort of – or to visit the people in the little homestead by the roadside. 

Grande Fresniere guest house sign The house had once been the home of  Gail’s ancestors John Inglis and his family, who had emigrated from Scotland in 1829. Originally it was a stone house but someone later added the wooden siding/cladding and presumably the veranda. It has quite a history to it too, as just before the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837/8 and the Battle of  St Eustache it  was taken over by the rebel patriots to use as their headquarters.  Gail sent me an account of events, written later by John, which included a list of goods stolen and a description of the treatment her great great great grandmother suffered at the hands of the rebels.  Pretty scary.  All I can say is that Isabella Inglis was one brave tough woman!

The church was built on Inglis land donated by William, son of John and Isabella.  The clay for the bricks also came from the land and William helped to build it.  Unfortunately we could not see inside, but we were able to look around the small cemetery to one side.

grande fresniere Inglis gravestone The red marble Inglis gravestone stood tall near the front of the cemetery, in memory of a family that saw much of the development of the Canada we know today. At least three generations lie here in this now peaceful place among the people they probably grew up with and lived amongst.

montreal station We continued on our way to Montreal, arriving there to find the city high-rises in fog.  This is part of the old railway station, and it was here we had something to eat in a restaurant that took its decor inspiration from an old railway carriage.  It was excellent. 

montreal corner of gare windsor


This is a corner of the same building –La Gare Windsor or Windsor Station.

montreal notre dame and aldred bldng




It was so wet we really didn’t fancy going out and getting soaked, so we just drove around downtown, and I took photos through the window when I had the opportunity.  This is in Place d’Armes with Notre Dame Cathedral on the right and the Art Deco Aldred Tower on the left. The Aldred tower built in 1931 was set to rival the Empire State Building but the stock market crash of 1929 put paid to all that!

montreal ny life bldng aldred bldng

This time the Aldred Building is on the right, dwarfing what was the first skyscraper in the city, the New York Life building.  Place d’Armes was being dug up for some reason, hence all the orange and white striped bollards.

montreal old town



We drove around the old town of Montreal, situated alongside the St Lawrence River, up and down little cobbled streets that no doubt would be fascinating to wander through if the sun was shining!

montreal poss rue de la commune

You can see how wet it was by the reflections on the road at this old town corner.  It just didn’t let up!



montreal entrance to china town 

Same in Chinatown with its beautiful lion gates with their ornamental pagoda roofs.



montreal mcgillThen we  passed part of  the internationally famous McGill University.  It’s a large university with several buildings around the city.  I thought  this one was rather splendid – and look!  The pavement – the sidewalk – is dry!!! for the moment!

montreal oratoire st joseph

Surprisingly, though this huge 20th century basilica dominates the hillside of Mont Royal, it is extremely hard to find a description of it in the guide books.  It is called  the Oratoire St Joseph, and was at first intended to be only a small shrine to St Joseph, but through public donations, like Topsy, it just growed – and growed. 

There’s a viewpoint somewhere on Mont Royal from where you can view the city, but for one thing we couldn’t find it – or didn’t find it, to be more accurate – and for another I don’t think the views would have been too spectacular that day anyway!   So it can be something to do next time!

There really wasn’t much point in staying around in the rain, so we just headed for home again,campbell and spider   where we had a quick visit

with Sonia. Gail’s sister-in-law,



and the kids



katie with coco …and the new kitten.  Coco was so cute.  I warned them that they might have to search my pockets as I left!   I got the spider to take home though!

Talk again soon.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Oh how WONDERFUL to stand on ground where once your Ancestors did...!!!