Saturday, May 30, 2009

Place Ville Marie (47 storey's of stories) as it's put in today's Gazette

In this morning Gazette is a storey about the PVM ,and many letters from Montrealer's who had a story about the well recognized building: One of te stories about halfway down the list, is fom a Verdun gal whose figure skating club from Verdun,were invited to perform at some ceremony,on the rink in the plaza of the PVM ( I can't say I really remember a rink there,but I guess there was.........)

         here's the Gazette story:

Until Oct. 30, Montrealers can take in an exhibit at Place Ville Marie that showcases the local landmark's history, with more than 100 photos and scale models on display. The building was inaugurated on Sept. 13, 1962. The exhibit is the first of a series of events leading to its 50th anniversary in 2012.

Last week, Metropolitan News, The Gazette's blog about Montreal, dipped into The Gazette (and Montreal Star) photo vault and posted some photos of PVM from the 1960s and 1970s. That prompted readers to submit reminiscences. To see the photos and share memories, visit Here are some of the comments we've received:

John Gallop: The day PVM opened, an IBM colleague and I were casual visitors to the site when I spotted an old college friend.

Andrew (Andy) Little was a CBC Television journalist, there to cover the event with a cameraman. He said, "Tag along," and we did. There was no security at all. We entered 1 PVM, rode the elevator to the 47th floor, then climbed two flights of stairs to the roof. The roof was quite flat except for a metal railing around the rim for the window-cleaning equipment. Andy stood perilously close to the edge to have his script recorded. Simultaneously, another CBC crew on the roof of C-I-L House at 630 Dorchester recorded the event. They had a great shot of Andy and the opening festivities on the plaza. I crept to the edge of the roof, looking straight down some 600 feet to the street below. In all, it was an indelible memory of the opening of PVM.

Steven Goodhue: PVM is one of the buildings that says "This is Montreal."

Alison Beck: During the '60s there used to be a lottery, I think it was called the Mayor's Lottery (Jean Drapeau), and my aunt, Jessie Stark, was one of the lucky winners.

We had visitors over from Scotland and to celebrate Aunt Jessie took ALL of her family to the Altitude restaurant, paid for by her winnings. For me it was my first taste of lobster. To this day, each and every time I am able to enjoy lobster, my mind wanders back to that wonderful childhood experience of happy times spent with loved ones that are no longer with us. I now live in Toronto (ugh) but miss my home very much. You can take the girl out of Montreal but you can NEVER take Montreal out of the girl! Go HABS go!

Toni: I worked on the 33rd floor of PVM from 1980 to 1982.

Had a great view of the western part of the city. On paydays, we used to go up to the fancy restaurant on the top floor (I don't remember the name). We ordered whatever was cheapest but we loved sitting there and feeling so worldly. What great memories! I used to spend most of my measly paycheque at the shopping mezzanine downstairs; the clothing stores and the restaurants were fantastic. I haven't been there in many years - are they still there?

Charles Ploem:

I started to work at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in September 1962

as a waiter in the Beaver Club and retired on June 23, 2000, as maitre d'. The hotel also managed the restaurants and bars (21 altogether) in PVM. There are many stories to be told but I will just relate a few:

No. 1: The fabulous buffet at Altitude 737, for less than $10, included fresh New Brunswick lobster. You could eat as many as you wanted, but this lobster fest got a little out of hand - people would put them in their bags and purses to take them home ("doggie bags" were officially not allowed). To solve the problem we put the lobsters out of reach so the guest had to ask a chef to provide him or her with one (maybe two).

No. 2: To a lot of Carrefour guests, PVM did not only mean Place Ville Marie. When they ordered one of the birdbath martinis they would ask for an extra dry PVM, up or on the rocks with a twist or an olive. In this case PVM meant Polish Vodka Martini. The PVM became the most popular drink at the Carrefour and was drunk by many famous guests.

No. 3: Mr. Donald Mumford (his picture was on front page of Tuesday's Gazette), our general manager, gave the order that all drinks were on the house in the Carrefour bar after Team Canada beat Russia in that famous first Canada-Russia series. The game finished at 5 p.m. and we had put a TV in the bar. It was the busiest cocktail hour the Carrefour ever had. I remember it well.

This are a few of my memories; there are many more.

Vardit: I worked around the vicinity of PVM when I graduated from high school.

I remember never being able to save a paycheque because the stores were beckoning. "Enter and spend," they seemed to command, and so I did. PVM was a place where you could get lost in the hustle and bustle and lose track of time. It was, for me at that time, a wonderland. One didn't have to get high. You had that feeling naturally just going from store to store every Thursday and Friday after work and seeing the crowds, meeting friends, buying clothes, then meeting for supper. One felt so grown up, especially if this was done right after finishing high school.

Marilyn Grimes:

I remember being part of the opening ceremonies for the rink on the plaza.

The Verdun Figure Skating Club had been invited to skate a number or two on this rink to officially open it. Our precision team at the time was know as The Verdunettes. I remember it being very cold and very windy that night. The ice wasn't the best, either, but we did our best anyway. It was great being part of history.

Christina: I used to work in the Sun Life building across the street but walked through PVM on my way to work from the train station.

I remember seeing Steve Martin making a documentary of Mont-

real's underground city, starting his "take" in front of Classic (?) Book Store. I later worked in PVM on the 34th floor. While the managers were in offices in the middle parts of the floor, we "lowly secretaries" had our desks in an open area on the northwest corner, with great views of Mount Royal and the west. I've lived in Australia now for many years, but was thrilled to see a shot of PVM when I went to a screening of Jesus of Montreal back in the late '80s.

Michael Elkin: I worked for PVM's developer from 1971 through 1977 in two different PVM buildings.

What an environment. Truly a city within a city, with links to travel, food, entertainment, and more. Yes, Christina, it was Classics Books. My grandson now has the lamp I bought for my new daughter at the long-gone baby store.

Beverley: I went to my first concert on the promenade of PVM.

The groups performing were The Grateful Dead followed by Jefferson Airplane. This unforgettable event took place on a weekend afternoon, the summer of 1966 or 1967. It was free, and a fantastic time was had by all. Peace, Love and Flower Power.

The Strategist: Was there recently - after nearly 20 years -

and while it is still very majestic from the outside, the inside looks like a 48-year-old wearing bell bottoms and a gold chain. The time has come for a major remodernization of the interior. As for the plaza: yes, definitely a skating rink à la Rockefeller Plaza.

Julia: I have worked in PVM for many years and would never wish to work anywhere else in Montreal.

PVM is unique and one of the most beautiful office towers in North America. It's a one-of-a-kind phenomenon where you can work, shop, enjoy a variety of culinary delights. It connects you to the métro and the fascinating underground city of Mont-real. PVM is the ultimate Montreal downtown experience.

Jack Trapp: In the mid-'60s I discovered people could go unchallenged up to the Alcan cafeteria somewhere around the 25th floor.

A cheap Coke and a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city. I had to regularly change seats to take in the view from all points. Anyone with a window office in PVM should pay their firm for the pleasure.


David Flood said...

My two memories of PVM started in 1960-61 of wondering around the huge hole in the ground with a friend whose brother worked for RB of C and would work there when it opened and wondering what it would look like. It was a huge work site to me.

Second was in 1967. I worked at Dorchester & Guy and was able to vote in the upcoming federal elections. Heard a new and interesting politician was speaking at the plaza at PVM. He was running for PM of Canada and so curiously I went down there on my lunch hour to see him. He was standing alone on one of the raised sections on the plaza and we stood on Dorchester looking up a few feet at him After a few minutes of listening I (and maybe a few dozen others) became enthralled and mesmerized by his obvious charisma and speaking acumen. He spoke seamlessly in both languages and made good sense to me. A first for any politician ti that time-(or now).

Yup! you guessed it. It was Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I was a fan of his during his entire life.


Diane Roberts said...

I second that Dave...Pierre Elliot Trudeau was the most charismatic person of our time. I've tried to collect books, dvds' etc. about him over the years...not an easy thing to do from Australia!
I usually order from CHAPTERS and they have a reasonable collection of books about him.
My memories of Place Ville Marie was the beautiful shops that opened there. I remember being mesmerised by the window displays on my first visit and buying a "pale blue pantsuit" with silver studs on the jacket! It was almost Elvis style but I loved it, although it cost me far more than my meagre budget allowed at the time!....Diane