05 Feb 2020

Time 2 minutes

Heritage and Businesses: From Yesterday to Today series - Special restaurant

Heritage and Businesses: From Yesterday to Today series - Special restaurant

Old Montreal’s heritage is far from frozen in time; it is diverse, alive, and can be experienced every day. Discover portraits of timeless buildings, each one a page of history proposed by Heritage Montreal as part of a special collaboration with the SDC Old Montréal.

When it comes to eating out, are you more of an epicurean by nature? In this special restaurant edition, explore two hot spots for fine dining whose premises are as enticing as their menu offerings!

Olive & Gourmando, John Fisher building, 351 Saint-Paul Street West

In 1834, merchant John Fisher had this building put up at 351 Saint-Paul Street West by stonemason contractors William Lauder and William Spiers as well as carpenter Olivier Fréchette. By 1848, the city valuation roll attested to the building’s dual residential and commercial uses. Today, the ample multi-pane shop windows on the ground floor along with the multi-pane casement windows on the upper floors are clues to the building’s former vocation as a store-warehouse.

In 1901, the four-storey structure was partly destroyed by fire. The cut-stone façade with its toothed quoins and part of the east wall were saved, but the rear part of the building had to be rebuilt, and this time the owners chose red brick cladding. The blue-tinged sheet-metal cornice and flat roof, which replaced the original attic, also recall that repair work.

Over the years, the street-level retail space has been occupied by pottery merchants, grocers, clothing manufacturers and stores, and even a navigational instrument company. Today, beneath the black strip that marks the division between the ground floor and upper floors, the Olive & Gourmando foodie emporium serves up breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

Flyjin, Beardmore building, 417 Saint-Pierre Street

Beardmore & Co., a Scottish steel manufacturing and engineering firm that no longer exists, acquired a building at the corner of Saint-Pierre and Le Moyne streets in 1899. It was destroyed in a fire in 1901. The owners wasted no time in hiring the services of architect Howard Colton Stone to build a seven-storey warehouse on the lot. Completed in 1903, the building is notable for its clean lines and repeated use of Ionic columns, recognizable by the volutes (or scrolls) in their capitals. Two years later, Beardmore & Co. bought the vacant lot to the north, expanded the building and topped it with an extra storey. The latter is very easy to pick out thanks to the older dentilled cornice girding the seventh floor.

In years past, the upper floors were mostly home to importers, manufacturers, and leather-goods merchants. The building’s uses evolved during the 1980s and 1990s, with restaurants and firms active in various industries moving in. Today, it houses chi-chi Asian-styled brasserie the Flyjin, a combination restaurant and nightclub.