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Place Ville Marie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Place Ville Marie
Place Ville Marie.jpg
Former names Royal Bank Tower
General information
Type Office
Location 1 Place Ville Marie
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Coordinates 45°30′05″N 73°34′06″W / 45.5015°N 73.5684°W / 45.5015; -73.5684
Construction started 1958
Completed 1962
Owner Ivanhoé Cambridge
Management Ivanhoé Cambridge
Roof 188 m (617 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 47
Floor area 95,922 m2 (1,032,500 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators 32
Design and construction
Architect I.M. Pei & Partners
Dimitri Dimakopoulos
Developer William Zeckendorf
Structural engineer Severud Associates

Place Ville Marie (PVM for short) is a large office and shopping complex in central Montreal, Quebec, Canada, comprising four office buildings and an underground shopping plaza. The main building, 1 Place Ville Marie (formerly Royal Bank Tower from its anchor tenant), built in the International style in 1962 as headquarters for the Royal Bank of Canada, which it still is presently. It is a 188 m (617 ft), 47-storey, cruciform office tower. The complex is a nexus for Montreal's Underground City, the world's busiest, with indoor access to over 1,600 businesses, several subway stations, a suburban transportation terminal, and tunnels extending throughout downtown. A counter-clockwise rotating beacon on the rooftop lights up at night, illuminating the surrounding sky with up to four white horizontal beams that can be seen as far as 50 km away.

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Today’s video is all about our visit to Lviv (Львів). Having come straight from Kiev (Київ), Lviv offered a real change of scenery. The city was much smaller, more walkable, and it looked distinctly Central European. In some ways, it reminded us of a smaller version of Krakow or Prague, though a little rough around the edges. But enough about first impressions; let us actually show you around. In this video we’re going to take you on a grand tour of the city and highlight 20 things to do in Lviv on your next visit. A solid day of sightseeing needs to start with a good breakfast, and after walking around the Old Town a bit, we found a place to eat: a post office-themed cafe! This is so amazing. This is so much more beautiful than I was expecting. So right in front of me I've got these crepes with apple and walnuts. And just look at the way they've like folded them and like twirled them. Like it is so pretty and it has cottage cheese as well. Icing sugar, cinnamon. Like this is a gorgeous work of art. I almost don't want to dig into it. Haha. Aside from crepes, we also ordered pancakes, cappuccinos, and verguny served with cream, so it was a bit of a sugar kick, but what a tasty way to start the morning. Alright guys, I was super excited to visit the Armenian Church (Հայկական տաճար) and it is not open. It looks like it has been undergoing some renovations so we're just going to have to peek through the gates. There is some concrete bags and yeah this is all we can see which is too bad. Okay, so the Armenian Church (Вірменський собор - Katedra ormiańska) may have been closed but there is no shortage of churches in this city so we've come across another one. The Transfiguration Church (Преображенська церква) so we're going to go inside and have a look. Like in Kyiv (Київ), we quickly discovered that Lviv is a city of churches, so our next stop was the Church of the Holy Communion (Домініканський костел і монастир). This was our third church of the day, and it wouldn’t be our last. So we haven't exactly been having the best of luck with churches and cathedrals today. First one was under repair, the second one we weren't supposed to film but we got a few shots very discreetly. And the 3rd one there was a wedding. Sunshine! What have we found here? Well so far we've been just wandering around Lviv (Львів) for a little while and we've found a lot of cool markets. Like there is touristy ones but there is also some more local ones like just behind me here people are selling books and it is a little bit of a flea market going on as well. Yeah. We then visited the Dormition Church (Успенська церква), also known as the Assumption Church, where yes, there was yet another wedding taking place! (Ukrainian signing) Needing a little break from ecclesiastical architecture, we walked over to the Lviv’s Town Hall, where we decided to climb to the top of the Bell Tower for some views of the city. I'm totally out of breathe. That is a lot steeper and higher than I thought. Yeah. And yeah we're almost there though. It is super stuffy there is hardly any air. The views will be worth it. We're not actually done though. Oh, woah. It continues. Made it to the top. Made it to the top. The views are worth it but we've been climbing so many towers I almost feel like we should be getting paid to be going up them instead of paying ourselves. There was like no air in this tower. It was so stuffy. It was kind of gross. It smelled funny. Yeah, as we were going up it started to smell like farts. Haha, Sam. I think someone let a bomb go. I'm not kidding. Maybe it was Sam. No it wasn't me. Or maybe not. It was not me. And after climbing up and down hundreds of rickety stairs, it was time for lunch! So it was like mid-afternoon. This is our first full day of like wandering around the Old town. Yeah. And we walked by this place I saw people eating sushi and it looked so good. And we're like we have this massive craving for that. To be fair we've had a lot of Ukrainian food while we've been here so I feel like it is nice to mix it up a bit. Yeah, and it is good to show like there is really good International Food in Ukraine (Україна) so yeah yeah we've ordered a whole bunch of different uh sushi rolls. Sushi rolls and I have a big beer coming up and so yeah I'm just kind of in my happy place right now. The food is here. I've got my miso. Lots of sushi. I've almost finished my Warcraft beer. And oh my gosh this is our favorite. Philadelphia rolls. Yeah. Cream cheese, avocado, salmon. We basically just got different combinations of that. Basically. Both those are like the main ingredients in all of our sushi. Mmmm. This was such a good idea. His happy place. That is all I'm going to say. And keeping with the theme of churches, after our sushi lunch, we visited the Bernardine Church in the south end of the Old Town; followed by the Latin Cathedral (Лати́нський собо́р - Katedra Łacińska), which sits in the southwest corner of Market Square; and finally the Jesuit Church, where if you can believe it, we stumbled upon yet another wedding! Clearly, it was wedding season. (Church choir) So that was our 6th church of the day. It was the former Jesuit Church. Hi. Sam is just popping in to say hello. Um, it was my favorite church so far. It was under renovations, scaffolding inside, the ceiling looked like it was crumbling down but there was a wedding taking place. Yes. So we were able to like stand there and watch it and it was really cool. They had a beautiful choir. That afternoon, we also came across Lviv’s Souvenir Market, where you can find everything from matryoshka dolls and painted landscapes, to traditional clothes and football gear. The market is located just east of the Lviv Theatre (Львівська оперa - Opera Lwowska), and on that note, here you can get tickets for the ballet and the opera for very affordable prices. Now let’s move on to food. Lest you think all we ate in Lviv (Lwów) was pancakes and sushi, we also made time to visit a traditional restaurant outside the Old Town, called Seven Piggies (Сім поросят). Alright guys, it is lunchtime here in Lviv (Львів) and we tried to find the most traditional Ukrainian restaurant that we could and that is how we ended up at Seven Piggies (Сім поросят) and yeah I can tell you taxidermy is really popular. Lots of stuffed animals. There is like beavers and squirrels and owls. Um, it is very colorful. It is all white walls but is is like decorated with these bright flowers. So yeah, it is super cool. We're the only ones here and our food has arrived. Okay. Banosh (Банош). We ordered dishes like Banosh, a maize porridge prepared with salty sheep cheese, eggs and bacon; black dumplings, which were a little different from the varenyky we’d become used to; a soup served in a ceramic bowl with bread cooked overtop; and a pork leg with the most tender meat ever. This apparently is the house specialty. They have actually named this dish after the restaurant and it is the 7 pigs and it is a huge pork leg (ГОМІЛОЧКА “СІМ ПОРОСЯТ”). It appears like they have like a cheese or melted cheese. Melted cheese sauce and I'm just going to like carve off a huge. That looks good. Look how big that is. Oh man, the meat looks so tender. It does. It looks really tender. So I'm going to get some sauce on that and take a huge bite. Ooh. My gosh that is such nice meat. So tender and actually it is not a cheese sauce it is a mustard sauce. Oh, it has got a kick to it. Yeah. Totally different than what I thought. Alright guys, so this afternoon we are visiting the Lviv Historical Museum. Pretty cool but you have to wear special slippers to get in here. This is one of the oldest and richest museums in Ukraine (Україна) in terms of its artefacts, and if you’re feeling a bit peckish after that, they have a charming cafe right in the Italian Courtyard, which is well worth the visit. And not too far from there, you also have the Lviv Arsenal, which houses the Weaponry Museum featuring items from the Late Middle Ages through to the 20th century. So I spy a little creature over your shoulder. Oh, who could that be? Where could we be? We're at a cat cafe. Cat cafe. It is such a nice surprise. We had no idea this was here. We just kind of found it spontaneously and yeah we both love cats. Well actually I like cats even more than you. I like dogs. No, you actually secretly love cats. No, I like dogs. Audrey secretly loves cats but we're going to go in right now and check it out. Okay. So we made it inside the cat cafe. We're currently being ignored by the cats. Actually there is children running around peaking under our table to see if we're hiding any cats. No, cats anywhere near us. Yeah. So yeah, we're going to dig into the cake and this one is called the cat cafe cake which is their signature dish I guess. So my cheesecake has arrived. Take a look down here. And this is the traditional um Ukrainian kind. It is called Cernik (xxx). I think it may also share the same name in Poland. I remember in Poland it was called Sernik (xxx) too. Maybe very similar names. But it is a very thick type of cheesecake and it is really good. Mmmm. Very dense. Dense cheesecake. I like it. For a more unusual attraction in Lviv (Львів), you have the Yard of Lost Toys, which is a makeshift graveyard and outdoor museum for toys that have been lost of left behind. Apparently, it all started when a resident from one of the apartment blocks along Mukachivska Street found two lost toys and placed them in the shared courtyard, and it kind of grew from there. So, we’ve already shown you views of the Old Town from the Bell Tower, but another free alternative is walking up Castle Hill (Високий замок - Замкова гора - Wysoki Zamek). It’s a pretty easy walk along a defined path, just don’t go expecting a castle at the top because all that remains are a few ruins. Lastly, let’s talk about transportation in the city. The tram (Львівський Трамвай) is hands down the cheapest way to get around Lviv (Львів), and while you can still see a few older ones around, modern trams are slowly taking over, so it’s a fairly reliable way to get around town. And that’s a wrap for our visit to Lviv, Ukraine (Україна). We found this to be a charming city with a completely different look and feel from Kiev (Киев), so we’re glad we added this stop to our itinerary. If you’re short on time, this is a great destination for a weekend escape. Now you know the drill, if you have any other suggestions of cool things to do around Lviv (Львів), feel free to share those with fellow travellers in the comments below. Wishing you happy travels and until next time!



The name "Place Ville Marie" is often used to refer to the cruciform building only, but it also applies to four shorter office buildings which were built around it in 1963 and 1964, and to the urban plaza which lies on top of the largest section of the shopping promenade, and between the buildings. From a postal point of view the cruciform tower is "1, Place Ville Marie" and the lesser buildings around it are "2, Place Ville Marie" and so on. The buildings and the plaza have been given many facelifts over the years. In the latest facelift, much of the grey concrete and terrazzo of the plaza was covered with grass, flowers and shrubs. The complex has 3,384,000 sq ft (314,384 m2) of space and parking for about 900 vehicles. There are about 70 tenants with 3,000 employees. Via Rail has its headquarters in "3, Place Ville Marie".


The location of Place Ville Marie was originally a vast railway trench gouged in the flank of Mount Royal between the southern portal of Canadian National Railway's Mount Royal Tunnel and Central Station. Most of the building was thus built over the tracks, requiring the structure to be more resistant to vibrations than normally required. As a result, it is the most earthquake-resistant office tower in Montreal.[citation needed]

All of the land bounded by Cathcart Street, Dorchester Boulevard (now René Lévesque Boulevard), University Street (now Robert-Bourrassa Street) and Mansfield Street was owned by the CNR, Railways, with the exception of the venerable St. James Club at the corner of Dorchester and University. Developer William Zeckendorf offered the club the top floor of the Place Ville Marie tower in exchange for their property, but was turned down.[5]


Place Ville-Marie in 1967.
Place Ville-Marie in 1967.

Place Ville Marie was one of the first built projects of Henry N. Cobb, a founding partner of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. His design was controversial from the start, given its proximity to many Montreal landmarks and the vast changes it would bring to the downtown core.

According to design historian Mark Pimlott, "The most radical aspect of the Place Ville Marie project was that nearly one-half of its 280,000 square metres area were beneath street level... deriving the obvious benefit of being protected from Montréal’s extreme winter and summer climate." Its vast network and multi-purpose is juxtaposed with a continuous interior "with episodes of civic gravity and monumentality".[6]

At the time of construction, the main tower was known as the tallest skyscraper in the Commonwealth, and was the third tallest skyskraper on earth outside the United States. The equivalent of three floors was added late in the project to ensure that this building would not be topped by the neighboring Tour CIBC which was built at the same time.

Conceived and built at a time when Montreal was the Metropolis of Canada, the structure's largest occupant and anchor tenant was the Head Office of the Royal Bank of Canada, the country's largest bank, which moved from its previous head office at 360 St Jacques in Old Montreal. The second new large corporate tenant was the Aluminum Company of Canada (ALCAN) who established in November 1962 occupying 6 floors of the building.[7] The central plaza became an important new public space in downtown Montreal, hosting an historic election rally for Pierre Elliott Trudeau during the 1968 federal election.[5]

Developer William Zeckendorf founded Trizec Properties in order to build Place Ville Marie.[8] He lost a bet to then Royal Bank President Earle McLaughlin, making payment in full (US$0.10) in an elaborate dime encased in acrylic. Exactly what the bet concerned is unknown.

In 1975 Air Canada's headquarters were at 1 Place Ville Marie.[9]

Mayor Jean Drapeau chose the name himself. Ville-Marie was the name of the Catholic colony founded at what is now Montreal in 1642.[10]


On 12 March 1976 Canada Post issued 'Place Ville Marie and Notre-Dame Church' designed by Jean Mercier & Pierre Mercieron. The $1 stamps are perforated 13.5 x 13 and were printed by British American Bank Note Company.[11]

Other information

The penthouse was home to the Restaurant Club Lounge Altitude 737 restaurant and nightclub, that opened onto a rooftop terrace. The club, which was named for its elevation in feet from sea level, was one of the most famous in the city, and featured one of the most unusual dance floors, which twisted and turned around, and spanned two floors.[12]

Observatoire Place Ville Marie Vue sud .jpg

Is is now an observatory. The Observatoire Place Ville Marie is a stopover to discover Montreal in 360 degrees in a unique experience at 188 meters high. From the 46th floor, the different neighborhoods and symbols of the Metropolis are observable as well as a striking view of its various panoramas: from the St. Lawrence River to Mount Royal through the Quartier des spectacles, the Olympic and the Jacques Bridge Cartier. You can also add a touch of history or fun to your experience by downloading our free audio guides that accompany your visit to the Observatory thematically. In addition, learn more about the history and construction of Place Ville Marie with the Odyssey photo exhibition. Finally, whatever the weather of the year, enjoy the large outdoor terrace located on the 44th floor vibrating with the seasons. The guided tour is offered as an option for groups and provides an overview of anecdotes and facts, led by a guide that dissects the various views from the top of the Observatory. The participants can, thus, locate in the city the places they have already visited or know of reputation and have a nice overview of Montreal from its culminating central point. The Place Ville Marie Observatory visit is offered in several formulas, such as brunch at Les Enfants Terribles restaurant, or tea time, as well as in combination with various tourist attractions offered by Montreal.

During the holiday season, a large artificial Christmas tree is installed in the central court. The plaza has a large fountain with programmed water jets and a big abstract sculpture at its centre: "Feminine Landscape" by Gerald Gladstone.

The complex is currently owned by the Ivanhoé Cambridge, a division of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDP Capital), who bought the building in March 2000 for CA$450 million.

The building can be seen in the film Scanners II: The New Order in a few scenes.


View of the 1 Place Ville-Marie from the bottom.
View of the 1 Place Ville-Marie from the bottom.
The Royal Bank of Canada has various offices in 1 Place Ville-Marie.
The Royal Bank of Canada has various offices in 1 Place Ville-Marie.

1 Place Ville-Marie

2-3 Place Ville-Marie

Sekure Merchant Solutions

4 Place Ville-Marie

5 Place Ville-Marie

See also


  1. ^ "Place Ville Marie". CTBUH Skyscraper Database. 
  2. ^ Place Ville Marie at Emporis
  3. ^ "Place Ville Marie". SkyscraperPage. 
  4. ^ Place Ville Marie at Structurae
  5. ^ a b Drummond, Derek (February 2004). "In Praise of Modernist Civic Spaces in Canadian Cities" (PDF). Policy Options. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  6. ^ Pimlott, Mark (2007.) "Place Ville Marie, Montréal" in Without and within: Essays on territory and the interior (Episode Publishers: Rotterdam) / artdesigncafe. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  7. ^ Nerbas, Don (2015). "William Zeckendorf, Place Ville-Marie, and the Making of Modern Montreal". Urban History Review. 43 (2): 5–25 – via érudit. 
  8. ^ Foran, Max (1982). Calgary, Canada's frontier metropolis : an illustrated history. Windsor Publications. p. 356. ISBN 0-89781-055-4. 
  9. ^ World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 20, 1975. "465.
  10. ^ "Ville-Marie (Colony)" The Canadian Encyclopedia
  11. ^ Canada Post Stamp
  12. ^
  13. ^ Alcoa Canada Headquarters
  14. ^ CIBC Wood Gundy Montreal Le Ville-Marie
  15. ^ Desjardins Securities (DSIA) | Place Ville-Marie
  16. ^ Montreal Law Office|Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
  17. ^ Gowlings - Montreal Law Firm Office
  18. ^ Montreal - Norton Rose Canada LLP
  19. ^ RBC Capital Markets - About RBCCM - Montreal
  20. ^ Canada|RBC Dexia Archived 2012-06-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ RBC Dominion Securities  - 1 Place Ville Marie
  22. ^ Montreal, Quebec Office - RBC Wealth Management
  23. ^ Bioware|GamesIndustry International
  24. ^ "Access to Information Archived 2009-05-10 at the Wayback Machine.." Via Rail. Retrieved on June 9, 2009.
  25. ^ WeWork Place Ville Marie Retrieved on March 1, 2016.
  26. ^ Contact|About COGECO Inc.
  27. ^ Hatch - Contact Us | Montreal, Canada

Further reading

  • Gray, Jeremy. Montreal. Lonely Planet, 2004. p. 31 and p. 67.
  • Frommer, Arthur. Montreal and Quebec City, 2007. p. 139, 153.
  • McKay, Emma ed. Montreal and Quebec City. Colour guide, 2005. p. 34, 106.
  • Ulysses Travel Guides (2007). Montreal. Montreal: Ulysses Travel Guides. p. 103. ISBN 978-2-89464-797-4. 

External links

This page was last edited on 30 June 2018, at 04:02
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