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The Old Port in 5 Generations

A self-guided tour of the Old Port of Montreal
Visite autoguidée du Vieux Port près du 21e arrondissement

The Old Port of Montreal has launched a new, free application that allows users to add a historic touch to their strolls along the banks of de la Commune. The App invites you to “explore the river through time” on a self-guided tour beginning at the Quai de l’Horloge (Clock Tower) and ending at the commissioners building, located just a few steps from the 21e arrondissement sales office.

The tour consists of 11 video clips, each about three minutes long. During this time of year, three minutes is the perfect length to watch a clip and proceed on to the next leg of the journey without getting too frozen! 

Your virtual guide, Robert Bordeleau, will explain over two hundred years of Old Port history, using his genealogy as the context. Mr. Bordeleau’s story begins way back in 1810, when farmers from neighboring parishes and travelers from around the world came to the docks of the Old Port to do business. Thanks to the archive footage and sound clips, you can truly relive the atmosphere of a time when the Bonsecours Market was populated by all types of traders, all in competition and yelling loudly to promote and sell their products to passersby.

Also on this self-guided tour is a different narrative, that of the awesome strength of the St. Lawrence River and how it has hindered development throughout the years because of massive flooding. You can also experience the “boom” of the Industrial Revolution, which brought many stores and factories to de la Commune and became the new driving force of Montreal’s economy. Did you know that the Port of Montreal was once the largest port for grain in the entire world? Hundreds of longshoremen went there to break their backs all day before retiring to the first and legendary Joe Beef tavern…with its basement full of wild animals!

How the activity works:

The tour begins at the Clock Tower basin, proceeding then to 11 locations in and around the Port. Hint: grab a map, they offer you one at the Montreal Science Center.

Overall, this is a great activity that is offered for free by the Old Port of Montreal. It’s a wonderful tour that highlights the cities rich history, all while making us appreciate even more the many elements of this great city.

Dress warm and have fun!

The Prével Team

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