History pieces of the weekend

The Centre d’histoire piece this weekend looks at the founding of the Palestre nationale, which still stands on Cherrier and houses the UQÀM dance department. The photo at left is one I found while researching pictures for the 2018 weblog calendar, and shows the Prince of Wales of the era on Cherrier Street in front of the building. The Gazette wrote about the prince’s visit over several days*.

The archival description of that photo reads: “HRH Prince Edward of Wales, at Montreal, opposite the National AAA Club, Cherrier Street, 30th Oct, 1919” and the Lovell street directory of the time says the building was called the National AAA Club. AAA probably stood for Amateur Athletics Association. With due respect to collective memory, I suspect it did not open under the name “Palestre nationale”.

In other historical pieces this week, CBC looked at how a 1930s tourist brochure portrayed Montreal as the “Paris of the New World” for Americans. That’s never stopped, though. This blog started in November 2001, not long after September 11, so it’s not too surprising I’ve seen many U.S. tourism writers proposing Montreal as a safer and cheaper “European” experience.

The Gazette’s ongoing archive series pondered, among other stories, the 1984 visit of Pope John Paul II and his mass at Jarry Park, which was even renamed Parc Jean-Paul II for a year or two, officially if not in fact. The name change never stuck.

Radio-Canada recently had an historian weigh the influence of Maurice Duplessis on Montreal, text and audio. Duplessis, like François Legault, was more concerned with the regions than the city, but inevitably he also left his mark on the metropolis. Radio-Canada also has a video news clip about the repurposing of church buildings.

* The Gazette devoted several pages on October 29, 1919 to the visit of the prince, emphasizing the difficulty of handling the massive crowds that turned out to see him – and not for protest purposes either. Who would’ve believed, etc.