Thursday Doors – November 16, 2017

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. 

St. James United Church – Downtown Montréal

Okay before anyone freaks out and thinks we already have tons of snow, these shots are from my archives from last winter 😀

Yes, some of the ski hills an hour+ drive north of the city are open, but it will be at least a few more weeks (hopefully) before we get any significant dumpings of the white stuff in town.

Located in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles in downtown Montréal, St. James United Church was built between 1887 and 1889.

This Gothic Revival structure was at the time of its construction the largest Methodist Church in Canada with a seating capacity of around 2000.

The oddest fact about this building is that in 1926 due to a need to raise funds the congregation leased the land in the square between the street and the entrance, allowing for commercial buildings to go up in front of the church.

These buildings which contained shops and restaurants with storefronts right on Ste-Catherine Street completely obscured the beautiful facade of St. James for almost eighty years.

For all of my life until 2006, the entrance to St. James from Ste-Catherine St. was only accessible via a corridor within the buildings in front of it.

And this one entrance was identified by a garish neon sign above its door.

For almost 8 decades most Montréalers could see the dual towers but had no idea that such a beautiful building was standing right in front of them, on one of the busiest shopping streets in all of Canada.

Finally in 2006 with the help of funding from the municipal and provincial governments the commercial buildings were torn down exposing the wonderful facade that could now be seen and admired from the street again.

Today having been designated both a Federal and Provincial heritage status building, St. James United has been fully restored to its former glory.

It is a breathtaking sight in a bustling section of downtown.

In fact it kind of sneaks up on unsuspecting pedestrians from its hiding place between the shops and businesses along this part of Ste-Catherine St.

It’s no surprise that when coming across it for the first time many busy shoppers and visitors are compelled to stop and admire.

If you ever visit downtown Montréal you’ll find St. James United squeezed in among the stores and other businesses at 463 Ste-Catherine St. West.

As always, thanks for visiting 🙂

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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.
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58 Responses to Thursday Doors – November 16, 2017

  1. reocochran says:

    I belatedly arrived to tell you this was a beautiful story about this church. It was well worth the efforts to be able to show the world what was there!
    The magnificent carvings and the circular window were lovely, Norm.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We, too, love churches, and this is one to admire. They just don’t make ’em like they used to, do they? Thanks, too, for following Oh, the Places We See. We love traveling and sharing with others what we have seen, just as you do. Best wishes for a marvelous holiday season and a grand new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. marianallen says:

    What a fantastic tale! I love the hidden entrance, but it’s wonderful that such beauty is out of hiding, now. What gorgeous stonework! Thanks, Norm!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Candy says:

    Wow, what a beautiful surprise!
    Hoping to get back to posting pictures soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, Norm!! That is some stunning architecture! Is the stone pink? I tried to look it up, but probably didn’t dive deep enough to find the answer. That window above the entry reminds me of Notre Dame. I need to get on editing those photos. I don’t have many because my daughter was sick that day….always the perfect excuse to return to Paris. 🙂
    I’m still always stunned by the amount of detail on old buildings. There is so much intricacy to the carvings and doors.
    I’m hoping we have a while before the white stuff too! Looking at it for a day or two is wonderful… but then I’m over it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Amy. Yes the stone has a red/pink color to it. Not sure exactly what it’s called though. There are a few building in that area from the same time period like this so I’m thinking it was a trendy material to use at the time. Certainly a quarried stone of some kind which means it’s too expensive to use for most construction projects today.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my goodness, these are fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cee Neuner says:

    Wonderful doors and photos Norm.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jennie says:

    Magnificent! Thank goodness it was fully restored. I can only imagine the thrill of uncovering the facade.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Debbie Smyth says:

    That’s a great looking church and it looks extra special in the snow.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Susi Lovell says:

    Such a surprise when the church emerged from those shopfronts, wasn’t it? So exciting! I still get a thrill when I pass by and see how beautiful it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dan Antion says:

    Wow. I don’t have anything this beautiful in my archives, this is amazing. The story is even more interesting. It’s hard to imagine having this hidden away from view. Looking at the church in the snow reminds me that the white stuff is coming soon. Thanks for hosting, for sharing the doors and for the gentle reminder to get my garage clean.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      I didn’t have my wide-angle lens with me that day so wasn’t able to get a shot of the entire building in one frame. Because of that I put these shots aside intending to go back…eventually.
      Yeah the snow is just around the corner. We’re pretty much ready for it as far as prep goes. Mentally however….
      Have a good weekend Dan 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Exceptional high quality stonework. It does look European, but why not? Architecture in international 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. slfinnell says:

    Glad someone realized its Wow factor and made it so. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. jesh stg says:

    Wow, if I hadn’t read the text I thought this was Europe! Love the features like the big rosette window and the ones above the doors. Wished the city had planned better and give more space to the icons of the past.You already have a lot of snow!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Vicky says:

    Magnificent doors and church. I would stop awhile and admire that frontage, even in the snow!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. JT Twissel says:

    It is a shame that commercial buildings often hide the entrances to these beautiful churches.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. tinahomeblog says:

    Love the photos, especially the first one

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reblogged this on KCJones and commented:
    Great! used to live in area!


  19. Isn’t it great to see such a grand old building standing proud in the middle of modern structures? Lovely photos, Norm. I’m amazed that so much of it was covered up for so long.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Jean It is quite something to consider that front of this beauty was hidden from view for so long. When it was first visible again everyone had the same reaction of disbelief 🙂


  20. dimlamp says:

    Lovely historic edifice.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a positively glorious building, Norm… not just the doors. I especially like the windows. Have a thriving Thursday!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Murphy's Law says:

    Entrance doors are grand, but the building itself is magnificent. What workmanship. The stones give off a soft pinkish hue…just beautiful. Thanks for sharing this treasure.


  23. joey says:

    A garish neon sign, indeed. Interesting change, definitely one for the better. It’s a beautiful building and it deserves to be admired 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Lovely sunlight on the pink stone. That’s an interesting story you tell about the church.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Joanne Sisco says:

    It’s an interesting story about its hidden entrance for so many years. This one quite literally was a hidden treasure.I think the pinkish stone goes a long way to highlighting its beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. dweezer19 says:

    What a magnificent church! Brrrr…..just looking at the ‘white stuff’ gives me the sniffles. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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