Centre d’histoire de Montréal

Montreal, Canada | C.1983

Photo Credit: Anthony Proulx

Housed in a former fire station, the Centre d’histoire de Montréal is a museum dedicated to the history of Montreal and its inhabitants. Established in 1983, the Centre was created in part to drive both the cultural development and rehabilitation of Montreal’s historic district.

Originally built in 1904, the Centre’s building – formerly known as Montreal’s Central Fire Station – was designed by architects Joseph Perrault and Simon Lesage. Inspired by several architectural styles, Perrault and Lesage infused Flemish character into the design. The facade consists of buff sandstone, red brick, a mansard roof, and a square tower. The station operated until 1972.

Around the same time, the City of Montreal and the Quebec Ministry of Cultural Affairs were working on a plan to revive the city’s historic district involving archeological excavations, revitalizing abandoned industrial areas, and later on, the Centre. By 1983, the Centre had been established and soon moved into the former fire station.

On the first floor, the Centre’s permanent exhibition titled “Montreal en cinq temps” showcases historical figures, events, and places around the city. Of the museum’s 4,000 artifacts, visitors can view reproductions of old maps, photographs, and various objects unique to Montreal. The Centre’s top two floors also include space for temporary exhibitions.

As with the turning tides of time, so too will the Centre transition into a new era. The museum is currently slated to become the MEM – Montrealers” Memory Centre. Scheduled to be completed in 2022, the MEM will be located in a new building on the corner of Saint Laurent and Sainte Catherine, and will include space and activities that highlight the identities and histories that define.

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