Backstories are always fascinating to a fiction writer. How can you know the characters in your story if you don’t know what’s happened in their past and how that’s affected them?
Is that why I feel so sad when I see yet another of Montreal’s beautiful old mansions bite the dust? Because when we’ve lost Montreal’s old buildings, we won’t know Montreal?
I couldn’t help but wonder what the story was of this building on rue du Musée which is in the process of being gutted before becoming part of a bland upmarket condo complex.
What does the door say about its backstory? Who built the house? Who lived here? Why would they want a door like this – was it the original door? Surely not! So what kind of person would want to replace a possibly lovely old wooden door with one that’s hideous and seems to say ‘keep out’ pretty clearly? Or is it to keep people in?
What I first thought were purely decorative embellishments above the door arch are in fact a cross and two Quebec fleur-de-lys. So did the house have a religious purpose or house a religious community?
Why the blank rectangle immediately above the door? Did the house have a life before the religious order moved in? Was that where the plaque giving its original name was mounted?
Just look at that balcony above the door arch! Looks to me like the perfect writing nook I’m always searching for!
The building directly opposite, the Redpath Mansion, built in 1886 and the only remaining example of Queen Anne style architecture in the city was razed in 2014 after years of neglect. And what a backstory that house had – a sugar magnate, a mystery, a murder never solved…
To enjoy more doors from around the world, visit Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors and click on the blue frog.