Thursday Doors – September 8, 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. 

Musée Chateau Dufresne-Nincheri – Montréal

Situated in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, diagonally across from the Botanical Gardens and straight across from the Olympic Stadium lies one of Montréal’s hidden gems.

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Chateau Dufresne

Considering the number of times I’ve attended baseball and football games, as well as concerts and other events at Olympic stadium:

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I’d guess that I’ve gone past this place at least 300 times over the years.

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Through the trees: Olympic Stadium Tower, right across the street!

It really is hard to believe it took me a whole 52 to years to stop and visit, but we finally took care of that earlier this summer.

So what’s so special about this Musée?

It offers visitors a unique glimpse back into the homes and the daily lives of some of the city’s well-to-do business leaders from the first half of the 20th century.

The exterior of the building is modeled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles, but inside it actually contains two separate homes that each had their own entrance.

The Chateau was built by two businessmen brothers Oscar and Marius Dufresne, for their respective families.

By Wm. Notman & Son [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Marius Dufresne – By Wm. Notman & Son [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Montreal, Old and New [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Oscar Dufresne – By Montreal, Old and New [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beaux-Arts style mansion which contains 40 rooms and roughly 20,000 square feet of living space was built between 1915 and 1918 for a reported cost of slightly over 1 million dollars. Yes, that was very much a princely sum in those days.

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Our guide explained that the main reason for the high cost was due to inflated prices for quality construction materials because of shortages caused by World War I.

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Despite the materials shortages, high prices, and longer waits, the Dufresnes spared no expense in building their homes.

I spent the better part of an afternoon with my jaw hanging open. Truly, no one builds opulently decorated homes like this today. Because of the required craftsmanship and the costs of materials and labour, only the super-rich can afford this.

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The Dufresne brothers made their fortune in their nearby family shoe business in the then bustling town of Maisonneuve, which was eventually annexed into the city of Montreal.

At the peak of production the Dufresne & Locke shoe company employed about 400 workers and produced several thousand pairs per week; shipping all over North America and Europe, and as far away as Egypt.

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I’d really love to show you the indoor pictures I took of all the lovely wood moldings and doors (oh the doors!), plus the marble floors, and murals, and frescoes, and mantles, tapestries, and furniture…. Unfortunately in its infinite wisdom the city of Montréal has forbidden all photography inside the building. A little detail not mentioned on their website, that I didn’t discover until arriving camera in hand – so sadly I have no interior pictures to show you – grrrr!

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Many of the paintings, sculptures, mosaics, tapestries, and stained glass windows in both homes were done by Italian-Canadian Florence-trained artist Guido Nincheri.

Nincheri had an interesting arrangement with the brothers over a period of several decades, whereby he provided much of the artwork for their homes and in exchange was given the use of a nearby building owned by the brothers, as his studio. The studio is where he produced his for-profit pieces.

After the death of the brothers, the Chateau changed hands several times before the city took possession of it in the 1950’s. From 1967 it sat abandoned for a number of years. Left to squatters and vandals the building fell into deep disrepair.

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In the early 70’s with the stadium going up across the street for the 1976 Olympics, the city’s mayor had the idea that a refurbed Chateau Dufresne would be a great place to hold banquets and other Olympic related events for visiting dignitaries.

Thanks to generous donations from local philanthropists the Chateau Dufresne was brought back close to its former glory.

After the Olympics it became home to the Montréal Contemporary Art Museum, which later moved into bigger digs downtown. In 1997 the building was turned into its own museum and switched to its current name in 2014.

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With free parking on-site the museum is open Wednesday to Sunday with guided tours on weekends, in French only, at 1:00 and 3:00 pm. Self guided tours including interactive media and narration on i-Pads is included and is available in several languages.

Admission is $14.00 for adults, $13.00 for seniors and students, and $7.00 for children. This also includes access to the nearby Nincheri studios.

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If you ever find yourself at the botanical gardens or the Olympic stadium complex, I suggest you set aside an extra hour or two and take the short walk across the street to visit this place; you won’t regret it.

Please feel free to join us and add the link for your Thursday Doors post to our weekly list, by clicking on the blue button below and following the simple instructions. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s also somewhat addictive:-)

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.

As always I thank you for looking 🙂

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About Norm 2.0

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.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Photography, Thursday Doors and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Thursday Doors – September 8, 2016

  1. badfish says:

    Great exterior shots, love the rounded windows on the doors. I had a similar experience last summer, visited a castle in Romania, you had to purchase a ticket to photograph indoors, but no one told me, and after you’re inside, you can’t buy the ticket…so, no indoor shots for me. And it was the most exquisite craftsmanship I’ve ever seen anywhere.

    Like

  2. reocochran says:

    The whole tour was gorgeous but the gold covered or painted brass filigreed with glass doors was very ornate and lovely, Norm.

    Like

  3. I love all the silhouettes of the trees on the buildings. Your photos are just wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Thanks for the tour of your tour and the historical narrative. Fabulous homes and impressive doors (I hope they were the original and weren’t damaged by the squatters).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynne Ayers says:

    Some duplex! I too have been down to the botanical gardens and biodome and not noticed this magnificent building. Should try to rectify that.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. prior.. says:

    thanks for the wonderful tour – such a beautiful budding -= doors and all ….

    have a nice weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Candy says:

    Impressive doors – and mansion

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for this interesting post about this beautiful building and its beautiful doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That is a stunning building. I’m sure that the interior is just as spectacular! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. jan says:

    Boy, they must have sold a ton of shoes! Quite fancy digs.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. jesh stg says:

    Quite an endeavor! When the details on the outside are so beautiful with many details, it must have been similar on the inside. Places like this should be inherited by family in my opinion. Also, an ugly stadium is the worst thing (me thinks all stadiums are ugly) they could put right across from the castle, although it makes sense to hold banquets. there. I know the feeling not being able to take pics inside:(

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Jesh :-).
      I glossed over that part of the story but originally the homes did stay in the family, but were sold by the heirs because they were too big and upkeep was too difficult.

      Like

  12. Joanne Sisco says:

    I can imagine how *itchy* you were by your inability to take photos indoors … mentally framing shots you couldn’t take!! The horror!!

    These 2 brothers had to have been very close to agree on a joint home like this! If that beautifully ornate door is any indication, the inside must have been stunning.

    I’m assuming that as a museum it is now opened up as one building and no longer 2 separate parts. In the tour, did they indicate whether the 2 homes had been identical in design?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      The two homes were identical in floor plan (mirror image) with a dividing wall up the middle. They had completely different tastes in terms of decor and furnishings though.
      At the time you had to go outside and enter via the front door to go from one home to the other, but the museum did open up the wall in the rear of the building for visitors to go back and forth.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ohh, my, I can only imagine the interior door… I know – why don’t you draw them! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love this! Got mine posted today…a simple creature this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Stunning workmanship. I love that really decorative door. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautiful building and those pillars are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Cee Neuner says:

    Such majestic door you have this week. I went the total opposite.
    https://ceenphotography.com/2016/09/08/thursday-doors-september-8-2016/

    Liked by 1 person

  18. marianallen says:

    What a beautiful building! The graceful curves of the stonework on the windows is unreal!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Nato says:

    Wow! Not that is a house. I cannot even imagine that amount of money back then! They must have had some darn good shoes in the making. I love the craftsmanship and bet the inside is just as magnificent. Too bad they don’t allow photos. I’ve been to places like that and don’t understand the concern for it. I am sure there is one but I can’t think of what it is. If we saw pictures we may not want to go since we saw it? Anyway, it is a grand building with a very classy door. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Aimer Boyz says:

    What a beautiful building. I love that type of tour, seeing how people lived.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Nice doors. We visited the Chateau a few months ago. Very interesting. (Suzanne)

    Liked by 1 person

  22. The metalwork in the one shot is incredible, Norm. I don’t understand the indoor photo ban either, provided no flash is used. I’ve seen or heard of this in other places as well. I guess we’ll all have to go there ourselves to see the indoor glories. I hope all’s going well for you this week.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  23. joey says:

    My what a beautiful building! Pure delight to see 🙂 Fabulous gilded doors. I love those keyhole/ankh windows too — those are sublime!
    I’m bummed I can’t tour along with you inside. It would be nice to get a peek at the details. Thanks for sharing this one, history and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. RuthsArc says:

    A fascinating building. I like the contrasts for the square structure but curves of the windows and doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Sherry Felix says:

    Great classical architecture.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dan Antion says:

    I find these homes to be absolutely amazing, Norm. People spend outrageous amounts of money on mansions today, but I doubt many of those homes will survive 100 years. The craftsmanship required to build a place like this just isn’t commonly found today. It’s a shame that you couldn’t take photos inside. I never quite understand why some museums permit non-flash photography and others don’t. Oh well, I’ll add this to the list of things I should see if I ever get back to Montréal. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos of the building and grounds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Dan. I guess museums are all still trying to figure their modern policies on photography. After all just about everyone walks around with a good quality camera on their cell phones these days and I didn’t see any signs banning these from the museum.

      Liked by 1 person

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