700 St. Catherine Street West
Architect: Jacques Carlu
The 9th floor of the former Eaton’s department store and its restaurant constitute a significant and remarkably intact example of Art Deco interior architecture. Its unique design and decoration is evocative of that of the great ocean liners of the era. In the collective memory of Montrealers, the 9th floor restaurant is remembered as part of the era of the great downtown department stores. Legend has it that this restaurant was modelled after the Île de France ocean liner but the reality is that many architects at the time were inspired by naval structures and forms, creating the Streamlined Moderne style. The transformation of the old Eaton’s department store into a shopping mall included the demolition of the kitchen of the 9th Floor Restaurant, although some of the original equipment was salvaged and placed in storage. Currently, this magnificent space has been mothballed by the owner under the watchful eye of Quebec’s Minister of Culture and Communications, who classified the restaurant as a historic site at Heritage Montreal’s request in 2000. Each passing year, however, means that the memory of the restaurant fades a little more, which could in the medium term threaten the conservation of the site and deprive Montrealers of a very special place.
Text: Émilie Vézina-Doré and Dinu Bumbaru
To help safeguard this site, write to us.