Thursday Doors – February 4, 2016

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

Maisonneuve Public Library – Bibliothèque Maisonneuve

Over the holidays I picked a mild day to take a photo walk around Montréal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district looking for doors for this recent Thursday Doors post.

One of the unexpected treasures I came across in this densely populated working class neighborhood was this gem:


Located at 4120 rue Ontario East, la Bibliothèque Maisonneuve has a storied history that dates back to the days before the now defunct town of Maisonneuve was annexed by the city of Montréal.

The tourist information billboard out front explains to visitors that before being  incorporated as a municipality in 1883, the village of Maisonneuve was just another quiet farming community on the island of Montréal.

The village was located several miles east of the downtown core, just outside of Montréal’s territorial limits of the day. Thanks in large part to the long stretch of deep water St-Lawrence River shoreline that allowed for the construction of one of Canada’s largest cargo ports, Maisonneuve’s local landowners went on an unprecedented development spree.

Port access to ocean going vessels meant access to raw materials, offered a departure point for finished goods, and gave nearby factories and merchants a doorway to the world. Within two decades the newly incorporated town of Maisonneuve had an industrial output that was second in the province of Québec, (its neighbor Montréal was first), and fifth in all of Canada.

People flocked to Maisonneuve by the thousands to work in the tanneries, textile plants, slaughterhouses, a major tobacco plant, and a sugar refinery, to name but a few of the hundreds of employers that sprung up in those prosperous years.

Of course the new town needed a city hall, so a well-known Montréal architect, Cajetan Dufort was commissioned to design and construct what would be Maisonneuve’s first of several grand civic projects designed to highlight the young boomtown’s coming of age:

Hotel de ville de Maisonneuve 1916 - Public Domain Image - Source: WikiMedia

Hotel de ville de Maisonneuve 1916 – Public Domain Image – Source: WikiMedia

Built between 1910 and 1912 and designed in the Beaux-Arts style this now-protected heritage status building served as the Hotel de ville (City Hall) de Maisonneuve.

Unfortunately, due to the growing public debt from all the spending to finance such rapid expansion, the town ran out of money and was annexed by Montréal in 1918. Many factories closed or moved away and took their jobs with them. The community stagnated and slowly went into a decline that it has never quite recovered from.

Since Montreal already had a grand city hall of its own, it certainly didn’t need another one. Luckily however, someone did see the value of this beautiful structure, so rather than tearing it down in favor of some new development project, the building changed hands several times and served multiple vocations over the years. DSC_0498

I made my way up the front walkway thinking about all of the incarnations this wonderful structure had been through over the last 9 decades.

At first after the annexation the building was used as a milk pasteurization lab and then in 1926 it became the Université de Montréal’s Radium Institute, which was affiliated with the Marie Curie Radium Institute in Paris. Then in 1935 the building was converted into a small cancer hospital.

Finally in 1981 the city decided on its current vocation, converting it yet again; this time into one of the east end’s busiest and most beautiful public libraries.

Oh, and it also has one of the most gorgeous sets of steel and bronze doors I’ve ever seen:


It was closed due to the holiday when I was there but I’m looking forward to going back to explore the interior of this place some time soon.

As always, I thank you for reading 🙂

Don’t forget to click on this blue button to add the link to your own Thursday Doors post to this week’s list:

If you share your posts on Twitter and Instagram remember to use the #ThursdayDoors hashtag and please do take a few minutes to visit the Thursday Door posts shared by others.

About Norm 3.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
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70 Responses to Thursday Doors – February 4, 2016

  1. Very imposing door Norm. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed the doors here and on the other blogs. I posted my first doors, but am too late to join up with the linky tool. Next week, maybe!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Thursday Doors | Something to Ponder About

  4. Love the panels on those doors, Norm, and the snow adds to the beauty of the photograph. Did you photoshop it in ? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lumar1298 says:

    So sorry that I’m always late for the link post and i have to add it as a comment… I have too many things going on and I usually do all my posts for the week on the weekend. Here’s my post for the week…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a real beauty Norm, all the better for the snow covering!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Jane. Believe it or not the snow is almost all melted. In fact the city’s mulling over the idea of trucking in snow from elsewhere for the finale of our winter festival: Fete des Neiges. Crazy winter we've had so far 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue Slaght says:

    What a majestic building Norm! I especially love the perspective of the third photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s probably almost Friday where you are. Fine Example of that style I hope we get images of the interior soon. Here is a humble humors door from the West Coast

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Carol. We’re open for entries from Thursday morning through noon (Eastern) on Saturday each week, so Friday is fine. Thanks for playing 🙂


  9. Pingback: A Lucky Capture for Thursday Doors | Light Words

  10. reocochran says:

    Norm, I really enjoyed this post with the beautiful building which is now a library in Montreal. I loved the one where you had the door itself with the path way shoveled leading up to a gold door. I now know some of the history of the various uses of this gorgeous building. I also was interested in the radium institute and the city hall. Norm, the brass and steel door panels framed in such a lovely way, dark against golden look, just knocked my socks off! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. pommepal says:

    What an amazing set of doors. Thank goodness it was preserved in the past and to be now used as a library is a perfect use for such an impressive building. Here is my contribution for the week.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. jesh stg says:

    Steel and bronze- wow, they were serious in making this a historic building (of course, next to the renaissance front:) ) Am enjoying it every time I come here.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jan says:

    Wow. Gorgeous! So lovely that they’ve preserved the building!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The photos are absolutely wonderful and I loved the fascinating historical background you provided.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Corina says:

    Those doors are amazing. Not a lot of buildings left with that kind of doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Nato says:

    Oh the stories that building could tell. I bet there would be a variety! What interesting facts, and what a glorious door indeed! Thanks for this post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. An absolute gem of architecture indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. dimlamp says:

    Interesting history and decorative doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Helen Jones says:

    Beautiful doors, Norm 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing the photos when you do get to go inside.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love library architecture
    and churches

    Liked by 1 person

  21. joannesisco says:

    I love this old style of building and before you even mentioned the date, I guessed it was turn of the 20th century. Those beautiful bronze and steel doors are likely going to see another century at least 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. trentpmcd says:

    It is beautiful. I can see it in some of those vocations, but it HAS to be a library, nothing else fits it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. marianallen says:

    What a beautiful building! Reminds me of the old main branch of the Louisville Public Library. They expanded with an addition that, to my eyes, is one of the most hideous structures I’ve ever seen, but they kept the old building. I’ll have to get over there and take some pictures. Thanks for the library, Norm! I love ’em!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The fact that it’s a library makes it beautiful in my eyes. The actual beauty is a complete bonus!


    Liked by 2 people

  25. Also – it looks stunning in the snow!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This is so beautiful! What an interesting past it has and the stories this building could tell. I love that it is now a library. Perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Fabulous door and I love the history with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Wonderful architecture with two very handsome doors. It is truly wonderful that it is now a library because I can’t think of another use that could surpass it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Dan Antion says:

    I am so glad this magnificent building survived and made it back into public service. Also glad that along the way, no one decided to replace those doors with the boring glass and aluminum panels that decorate so many public buildings these days. Great find Norm – thanks for the history.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. tgeriatrix says:

    Wonderful door! Makes curious what’s inside.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. RuthsArc says:

    What beautiful doors and an interesting building. The snow is a contrast to my contribution this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. leannenz says:

    Love that last one! Very grand. I headed down to Nicaragua this week.

    Liked by 1 person

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