The Montreal Barns

In 2013, while you were at the beach getting high and ogling the opposite sex in their skimpy bathing suits, I was getting stuck in Montreal traffic, working my way around an inner city marathon involving thousands of runners, all of whom seemed in slightly better shape than me.

I did this because I wanted to see where the old Habs barns once stood or still stand. And I’m almost sure that not one runner got squished by my tires.

First, the 3,200-seat Jubilee Arena in east-end Montreal, at the corner of St. Catherine and Malborough (now Rue Alphonse – D. Roy.)

The Canadiens played there during their first ever season, 1909-10, and again from 1917 until it burned down in 1919.

What the Jubilee looked like, inside and out –

Jubilee Arena

Jub.

And what it looks like now. Nice, if you like warehouses.

Jubilee 1

Jubilee 2

From 1910 to 1918, the Canadiens played at the Montreal Arena (or Westmount Arena as it was also called), at the corner of St. Catherine and Wood, one block west of what would become the Forum.

The place held 4,000 people seated and another 6,000 standees, and burned down in 1918, forcing the Canadiens to move back to the Jubilee for a very short period.

The Montreal Wanderers played there also, and I kind of feel for this long-gone team. After being a powerhouse in the old ECAHA and NHA, they joined the NHL in 1918 and played just four games before their barn burned down. So they called it quits permanently.

What the Montreal Arena looked like then –

Westmount Arena

And what it looks like now –

Westmount 1

Westmount 2

Next, the 6,000-seat Mount Royal Arena near the corner of Mount Royal and St. Urbain, where the Canadiens, after the Jubilee burned down, played from 1920 to 1926 . After that they would take residence (with the Maroons) in the Forum, which was built two years prior in 1924.

The Mount Royal Arena burned down in 2000.

What it looked like then –

Mount Royal Arena

And what it looks like now. A Provigo supermarket –

Mount Royal 1

The classic Montreal Forum, built and opened in 1924 –

Forum_Montreal

Forum 1

Renovations in 1968 made it look like this –

New Forum

Forum inside

And then, after the team had moved to the Molson (Bell) Centre, the beautiful Forum became this –

Forum 8

Forum 1

Forum 2

Forum corridor

Forum hall

Forum 4

023

003

041

And finally, the Bell Centre, originally named the Molson Centre, which opened in 1996.

Bell

pressbox

seats

The Canadiens’ dressing room, which the tour guy said is the smallest dressing room in the league, partly because they wanted to keep it as similar as possible to the Forum dressing room. and something about moving from the Forum after the season had already started.

dressing room

11 thoughts on “The Montreal Barns”

  1. I remember Richstone Bakeries use to be in the old Arena site back in 60’s…it was only many decades later that i found out about the connection between les Canadiens and the building. Fast forward to the Montreal Forum to 1970….James Brown is appearing at the Forum..and there is a pre-concert prees conference in the Montreal Canadiens dressing room!…as a kid attending games at the Forum…this was sacred ground…you could walk by the door..but not enter!…sorry i digress…anyway i’m sitting on one of the benches in the dressing room soaking in the atmosphere…
    and the headshots of “les glorieux”…and the slogan
    “To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high.”..,,never in my lifetime i thought i would be sitting in that room especially in the presence of James Brown!
    There was about a dozen of us from the media in the room..a pretty small, privileged group…after about a dozen questions or so James Brown looked at me and asked if i had a question….to which i replied…”no Mr. Brown…i’m just very happy to be here!”…..

  2. Lucky coincidence, the Forum is now a movie theatre and I saw The Martian today. Very good feel good movie, but that’s not why I’m writing. For the first half of the movie, “Hab” was displayed on the screen. NASA and Mars must be fans of the Canadiens. I wonder how its star, Matt Damon from Boston, like this.

  3. Hi Dennis, I guess I have been lucky as I was entitled enough to have seen a game in both the Forum and the Bell Center. Both very exciting and both filled with screaming fans.

  4. Nice tour Dennis, thanks. This could be a new career for you, guided tours of Mtl focusing on Hab related locales. I’d pay to see that!

  5. HI Derry. I just wish the Bell Centre wasn’t like so many other newer rinks. It’s very similar to Rogers Arena in Vancouver for instance. I liked the charm of the old ones.

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