Look Up! The Best Architecture in Montréal

A housing complex constructed of concrete that resembles blocks stacked and overhanging one another.

Habitat 67 by architect Moshe Safdie. Photo © bobistraveling, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Old Montréal’s historic buildings and areas from Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympics stand out as some of the best architecture in the city, but there are a number of other buildings worth a look.

  • Aldred Building: Completed in 1931 in the art deco style, this stands as an ode to the architectural style that once dominated the cityscape (507 Place d’Armes).
  • Château Apartments: Passing this aptly named 14-story apartment block gives you a glimpse of why this section downtown was referred to as the “Golden Mile.” Built in 1925, it was home to author Mordecai Richler until his death in 2001 (1321 rue Sherbrooke W.).
  • Ecole de Musique Schulich: Mc-Gill University’s latest addition is sleek, with black cladding and dark windows. It also has an acoustically perfect auditorium (555 rue Sherbrooke W.).
  • Gare Windsor: Headquarters of the Canadian Pacific Railway, this Romanesque Revival building was completed in 1889, and you can still visit its old arrival terminal (1100 ave. des Canadiens-de-Montréal).
  • Guaranteed Pure Milk Bottle: This 10-meter high water tower/milk bottle has always stood out among the downtown skyline. Built in 1930, it’s such a part of Montréal culture that even T-shirts are emblazoned with its image (1025 Lucien L’Allier).
  • Habitat 67: Architect Moshe Safdie was only 24 years old when his master’s thesis for McGill University was chosen to be constructed as part of Expo 67. An architectural marvel, Habitat 67 is loosely based on the idea of a kibbutz; 158 interlocking concrete forms are the basis of the experimental housing complex—a must-see (2600 ave. Pierre-Dupuy).
  • The Linton: The largest apartment of its kind when it was built in 1906-07, this Beaux-Arts building still retains much of its charm and grandeur (1509 rue Sherbrooke W.).
  • L’ITQ: L’Institut de Tourisme et D’Hotellierie du Québec was once a mass of brown, corrugated siding but is now a glamorous glass building with lots of light and glimmer (3535 rue St-Denis).
  • Palais des Congrès: Mario Saia’s kaleidoscopic extension has put a new, colorful twist on what could have been another concrete slab (159 rue St-Antoine W.).
  • Sun Life Building: This 24-story office building was an imposing figure when it was completed in 1931 and it continues to stand its ground as one of the most impressive sites on the Montréal skyline (1155 Metcalfe).
  • Tour de la Bourse: Erected in 1964, this is the home of the Montréal stock exchange and an example of the international style (800 Place Victoria).
  • Université de Montréal: The main building, designed by Ernest Cormier, was finished in 1943 and is situated on the northern slope of Mont-Royal (2900 blvd. Edouard- Monpetit).
  • Westmount Square: Designed by Mies van de Rohe, this is one of the preeminent examples of international style in the city (1 Square Westmount).
Map of Greater Montréal, Quebec

Greater Montréal


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Montréal & Québec City.

Leave a Reply