Complexe Desjardins & Other Quebec Curios

In case you haven’t noticed, or are generally just the reckless type, it’s tax time in Canada, meaning if you haven’t started getting your tax forms, you should probably do so and head over to a Revenu Québec for your provincial tax forms if you’re not into online filing. While you can call them or go to a local branch, our suggestion is to head over to their main location in Ville-Marie, and take a look at the building in which they are located: Complexe Desjardins.

Complexe Desjardins, like the name suggests, has a huge Caisse populaire Desjardins within its walls. The complex is actually a series of three towers totalling ninety-nine floors and is a motley of restaurants, government agencies, office spaces, and health centres. Originally, it was also supposed to be a hotel as well, but this role has since been taken over by the Hyatt Regency hotel, to which Complexe Desjardins provides direct access.

Plans to create an underground oasis as a shelter from cold Montreal winters actually began in the full swing of the Quiet Revolution but were shelved until the 1970s. The government of Quebec and the financial cooperative group Desjardins became partners in the building of this centre, and construction started in 1972. The firm hired to plan out the complex was Jean-Clause La Haye and his associates, who would later go on to form the urban planning firm La Haye-Ouellet. However, politicians of Montreal also had their input: the huge glass windows in the complex were built out of the demand of the mayor. Mayor Jean Drapeau insisted that someone standing in the middle of Complexe Desjardins should be able to see Place-des-Arts and the bell tower of Notre-Dame Basilica. (Drapeau’s vision was possible until other structures were built that would hide the Basilica from view.)

The three towers of Complexe Desjardins are built in the modernist style of architecture. Its tallest tower is the South tower, at 152 m.

Visit Complexe Desjardins (and Revenu Québec) at 150, rue Sainte-Catherine ouest, and visit the building’s website at www.complexedesjardins.com.

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