Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Historical Walk Through the Old City

In the two semesters that I have spent in Montreal, I have been able to experience many of the different liberal arts classes that Champlain has to offer. All of my liberal arts classes in Montreal have been great experiences, but there is one that stands out among the rest; Human Rights and Responsibilities, taught by Jim Manson. This was a class with a global scope. We were tasked with researching and exploring the topic of human rights throughout the history of the whole world. And yet, in spite of this lofty scope, professor Manson always found a way to relate the content of the course back to the historical development of Montreal, information that was most relevant to the culture in which we were living and our current study abroad experiences. The course culminated in a historic tour of the old city.

To begin, we all walked down to Le Champ-De-Mars, an old military parade ground. At  Le Champ-De-Mars, the remnants of the defensive wall that served as the city's fortifications is still visible.  Le Champ-De-Mars was also the location at which capital punishment was given to criminal citizens in the form of hangings. It was a wide-open park, clearly able to accommodate thousands people at once. 

 The remnants of the old wall can be seen in the background

Next, we walked closer to the port, passing three flags flying side-by-side along the way and Nelson's Column, and entered Place Jaques-Cartier. At the top of the square is the City Hall, and at the bottom, the old port.

Next we stopped at the Place d'Youville to view the Pioneer's Obelisk. It is a tall structure, bearing the names of Montreal's founders.

The short walk to our final destination brought us up several of the winding and cobble-stoned streets of the old city. We arrived in the Place d'Armes beside the great Notre Dame Basilica. 


The Place d'Armes is bordered on all sides by incredible architecture of many different styles. One building, a post modern structure stands on the left side of the Place d'Armes. On the other side, the Aldred Building stands in the art deco style. 

The Place d'Armes represents a blending of many different historical periods in Montreal's development.

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