Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hometown Memories: Jean-Talon Railway Station

One of the most celebrated and historical buildings in the area I grew up in is Canadian Pacific’s former train station: Jean-Talon Railway Station (also known as Park Avenue Station). Designed by architect, Colin Drewitt, it opened in 1931, and was inaugurated in the presence of Camilien Houde, the mayor of the city at the time.


Jean-Talon Railway Station is among the most attractive ‘Art Deco’ structures in Montreal. Creative but short-lived, Art Deco first appeared in France after World War I, and developed into a major visual arts style internationally. It not only influenced architecture, but also had an impact on furniture, fashion and art. It flourished in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, but its popularity diminished after World War II.


This station was an important stop for railway passengers until the early 1950s when it suffered a swift decline in traffic. It closed in 1984, and in that same year, the city of Montreal acquired the building from Canadian Pacific and granted part of it for the construction of the underground Parc Metro station (subway system), which opened in 1987. The entrance to the station was built within the former men's smoking room.


The central part of the building, which you see in the majority of these photos, became an Indigo Books and Music store for awhile. When it closed, it was replaced by a liquor store that also ended up closing. In 1996, the City of Montreal launched a public call for tenders for the renovation of the station. Loblaw Companies Ltd. (the largest food retailer in Canada), submitted a redevelopment that was accepted, and the building fully was renovated and restored.


The Jean-Talon station reopened to the public in 1999, and it includes a public square, underground parking garage and, of course, a Loblaws grocery store. The central part of the building is now a clothing outlet.

This beautiful building is the central part of what was once a railway station.

And that wraps up another hometown memory. Thanks for coming along on this tour.

Have a great day, everyone.

29 comments:

  1. It's nice to see beautiful old buildings repurposed for a new use instead of just being torn down.

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    1. It sure is, Debra. Many of them go very far back, and have great stories to tell. It's such a shame when they're torn down.

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  2. I know it's not a yellow brick road, but first thing that popped into my head when I saw that stretch of walk-way was, "We're off to see the Wizard ....."

    Now it's stuck in my head.

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    1. Hahaha...that is cute!

      But now I have to stuck in my head...ooof... :)

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    2. Let me tell ya', it was stuck in my head all ding dong morning long.

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  3. Thanks for the tour Martha.

    My wife and I took a train from there in 1978, at the time, I was young and didn't even look at the building... just not enough excitement in it. Getting older, we do appreciate, the history and the design of older building. I thought the train station was converted to a library, I must confuse it with another building.

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    1. When we're young, we're too busy being young. It's when we get older that we truly notice and appreciate these things. I lived in that area for many years, and didn't know the history behind any of those buildings. Now I love finding out!

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  4. Great tour, Martha... as I just wrote on your last post... trying to catch up with you and Richard before Charlie hits the fan! hahaa

    My hometown's beautiful Train Station has been left to just rot... so sad... At one time, they tried to make a restaurant out of a part of it... but soooo expensive with all the high ceilings and such to maintain.

    A small part of it is now Amtrak. Love seeing old buildings restored... yay! for Montreal's restoration! I love the ... men's smoking room ... ha! women were not allowed to smoke... OR drink or do anything much except ... that's another post.. ;)

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    1. Train stations that are converted are beautiful. It's sad when they are neglected, or torn down. But yes, it is quite expensive, and sometimes the funds are just not there.

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  5. Thanks for the tour!
    Didn't Loblaws also buy up Maple Leaf Gardens? And set up shop as well?
    Enjoy the sun......rain tomorrow :o(
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. I'm not sure, Linda, but you could be right. I'll have to check that out!

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  6. at least they found a new use for it.

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    1. Absolutely! It would have been sad if it was torn down.

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  7. Beautiful building! Glad they are able to use it for something and not tear it down.

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    1. Most definitely. These buildings add character to a city.

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  8. My favourite part of visiting Montreal was the buildings. (OK, and the poutine.) There is so much more history in eastern Canada than the west. We are only about 60 years old here and the buildings show that.

    Whenever I here of Loblaws I think of Bob Loblaw Law Blog from Arrested Development.

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    1. You're right, Birdie, there really is more history in the east because it's so much older. But the west has its own charm, and I hope to visit one day.

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  9. It's beautiful. Interesting how buildings become re-purposed.

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    1. It's great when they renovated these beautiful old buildings!

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  10. I like the idea of the structure housing a book and music store. Too bad that didn't last. It's an impressive building.

    Thanks for the tour, Martha.
    Be well.
    xoRobyn

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    1. I used to drop into that book store after work, and was sad that it closed down. It was my kind of place!

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  11. There's much art deco stuff in Chicago. Buildings were built to last then and they are still in full use today. There's very little art deco stuff in the west(prairies) . Development was slow and money was scarce so I appreciate your post. I probably went through the station in 1969 as I took the train from Montreal to Saskatoon.

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    1. You probably did go through that station at that time while it was still functional. Chicago is an incredible city, I hear. I haven't been, but my brother has, and he loves it!

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  12. I wish to visit Canada one day, I keep looking at all the amazing photos you take and everything looks so pretty. And Canadians are so nice!!

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    1. Come on up, Ana! You will love it. Just come when the weather is nice!

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  13. Such a beautiful building.
    It's wonderful that it's still standing and being used.

    I really enjoyed this post, so very interesting as I love old buildings.
    Thanks Martha

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    1. I love those old buildings, too. They have so much character.

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing this Martha, it warms my heart, to see my birth town in all its lovely architecture, I wasn't old enough when left for I to have explored and taken photos of our magical Montreal, thank yo again

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    1. It's an old city, so there is a lot to see - and photograph! As I get older, I appreciate things like this more and more.

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