The Livart occupies the former premises of the Rosary Shrine of St. Jude, established by Dominican friars in 1954. An institution characterized by the religious matters of this neighborhood and located in one of the liveliest shopping areas of Montreal, you can retrace its historical course.
Located in the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal, the site straddles the former municipal districts of St. John the Baptist and St. Louis who, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, belonged to a few large landowners. This establishment of a few occupied The Livart and formed a farm belonging to a certain Comte and whose subdivision was known by the same name. This roughly corresponds to the area now bounded by Avenue of the City Hall to the west, south Roy Street, Berri Street to the east and Mount Royal Avenue to the north.
In the early 1870s, residential development is initiated in the sector by four visionary entrepreneurs: Ferdinard David, Stern Rivard, Michel Laurent and Gustave S. Drolet. They redeem the Comte farm to proceed with its development.
The first real occupation of the lots occupied by St. Jude Shrine, also known as the Sanctuary of the Rosary, is by the English Catholic parish of St. Agnes (Magnan, 1952). Erected in 1905, it was established in August 10, 1903 when a petition for a new English-speaking parish by the parishioners of St. John the Baptist was delivered to Mgr. Bruchesi Paul, Archbishop of Montreal.
He fulfilled the wishes of the faithful the following year, formalizing the project in April 21, 1904 in the newspaper The Gazette. The site, at the limit of the St. Louis area and the village of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, is then chosen and approved on June 25, 1904, by Bishop Bruchesi. These are the steps that led to the establishment and the early days of the building now occupied by the Livart!
On November 27 of the same year 1904, the neighbour’s house site on Saint-Denis Street is bought to serve as a temporary rectory. The realization of the Church of the Catholic parish is entrusted to the young architect Alphonse Piché (1874-1938), who was very popular at the time, and completed in 1905. The building that results is of late Gothic Revival influence, with a cruciform layout and a flat apse. The composition is similar to that of the Catholic churches of Ireland.
The years go by, and in 1932, still laying in the house next to the church, the parish decides to have a real presbytery. The project is entrusted to architect Edward J. Turcotte (1894 to 1975) on April 25 1932 and is finished in 1933. The building erected as it is known today, a heritage jewel, is a two-storey neo-Tudor inspiration building, with a large bay window (bay curved glass) on the right side of the facade, rectangular windows, and an ornamented gate. The interior is richly decorated with moldings,wood panelings, and false wooden ceiling beams that add character to the room.
Finally, in May 1953, due to an exodus of the English-speaking population to the west of the island, the parish, through its last priest, Father John Edmond Jones (1894-1975), announced its closure. The last offices are celebrated in July of the same year and change of vocation is announced in favor of a chapel that will be entrusted to the Dominicans, whom were established in the country since 1873 and whose order was expanding at the time.
Did you know ? The order of Dominican friars also known as the Order of Preachers or Preacher Brothers is a Catholic order born under the impulse of St. Dominic (1170 - 1221) in 1215. The first in Quebec dates back to October 5, 1873 by the takeover of the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary in Saint-Hyacinthe.
September 18th, 1953, they begin the acquisition of what is now known as the St. Jude Shrine with the purchase of two neighboring houses of the presbytery (3968 and 3676 Saint-Denis). They then proceed to the acquisition of the church and rectory on May 19, 1954. Before buying, they also buy the house north of the church in 1963. This house is demolished in 1970 to make way for the current garage, which officially marks the creation of the sanctuary. At this point the rectory now hosts the offices of the Dominican community, common rooms and bedrooms. Finally, in 1964, they proceed to the construction of a convent to better serve the occupations of the Dominican friars. This is the most modern part of the building complex. Realized according to the plans of the architect Yves Bélanger (1909-1978), it is a concrete three-storey building in modern style with a yellow brick siding and indoor courts.
The buildings occupy their sanctuary function under the blessing of the Dominicans until 2004 when, unable to maintain the premises in good condition, they resign themselves to change of the usage of the site. They propose a demolition in favour of the construction of residential housing. This project however, is denied by the Borough Council and Heritage Montreal, who would rather keep the buildings, concerned by the representation of heritage in the neighborhood.
Listed in autumn 2006, the sanctuary is purchased separately by several investors. The buildings are successively converted for other functions. Under the initiative of Cindy Trudeau and Marc O’Brien Miro, with much perseverance, innovative ideas, and a vision for the heritage and dynamism of the area, The Livart, which occupies the old building of the rectory and the convent, sees the light of day! Its opening is planned for the autumn of 2016.