2. Aldred Building

The Aldred Building (1931) is the “foremost realization in the city [of Montreal] of the romantic image of the New York skyscraper” according to Canadian architectural historian Susan Wagg. Resembling Art Deco works of Ralph Walker and Raymond Hood, this 23-story story edifice is emphatically vertical, with pilasters extending its full length, interrupted only by a series of setbacks that complied with local building height by-laws modeled on New York’s 1916 Zoning Resolution.

In fact, New York was in the Aldred’s DNA. Its Montreal-based architect Ernest I. Barott was an upstate New York native who was educated at Syracuse University and began his career with McKim, Mead, and White in New York City. His client, John E. Aldred, was based in New York though heavily invested in Quebec. To soften the building’s New York accent, the ornamentation included Montreal-themed flora and fauna motifs.

Located on Place d’Armes, a public square in the heart of Old Montreal, those Big Apple inspired setbacks have the desired effect of contextualizing it with its shorter neighbors which include the New York Life Insurance Building (1889) and Notre Dame Basilica (1829).

Left: NY Life Insurance and Aldred Buildings, Notre Dame Basilica; Right: Aldred Facade Detail