Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Montréal, Quebec — French Canadian Region
 

Immeuble de la Sun Life

 
 
Immeuble de la Sun Life Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., March 18, 2018
1. Immeuble de la Sun Life Marker
Inscription.

Immeuble de la Sun Life
L
ongtemps considéré comme un bastion de la puissance financière au Canada, l'immeuble de la Sun Life était lors de son achèvement en 1933 le plus grand bâtiment de l'Empire britannique, avec une superficie totale de 112 500 mètres carrés. La compagnie d'assurance Sun Life, fondée en 1865 par Matthew H. Gault, fut la première grande société à quitter le quartier des affaires du Vieux-Montréal pour s'établir dans le nouveau centre-ville. Le présence de cet immeuble commercial en face de la cathédrale-basilique Marie-Reine-du-Monde est emblématique de la dualité culturelle de Montréal à l'époque.

La Sun Life avait acheté en 1909 l'immeuble de la Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), qui occupait le côté est du square depuis 1892. En 1913, elle avait commandé les plans de son nouveau siège social à l'agence d'architectes Darling and Pearson de Toronto. Agrandi deux fois (en 1923-1926, et à nouveau en 1927-1933), le bâtiment a conservé une forte unité architecturale. Son ossature d'acier est revêtue de granit gris de Stanstead. La compostion en gradins et les lourdes colonnades corinthiennes sont typiques du style de l'École des Beaux-Arts qui a exercé une grande influence sur l'architecture montréalaise de la fin du xixe siècle. La richesse ordonnée de l'extérieur se retrouve

Immeuble de la Sun Life Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., March 18, 2018
2. Immeuble de la Sun Life Marker
Near southern corner of building
dans les espaces intérieurs décorés de marbres et de dorures.

Lors de la Première Guerre mondiale (1914-1918), de nombreuses femmes furent employées au sein du personnel de bureau de la Sun Life pour remplacer les hommes qui avaient joint les rangs de l'armée. À la fin de la guerre, en 1919, le personnel comptait 250 femmes pour 150 hommes. En 1930, les employés de la Sun Life bénéficiaient déjà de certains services inusités pour l'époque, dont une cafétéria et une clinique médicale. Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale (1939-1945), le troisième sous-sol de l'immeuble fut aménagé pour abriter les fonds du Trésor britannique. Envoyée par bateau en 1940, une partie importante de la richesse de la Grande-Bretagne y fut conservée secrètement sous une garde constante.

Si cet immense demi-continent a un cœur, c'est bien la qu'il se trouve.
Hugh MacLennan
Deux solitudes, 1945

[Légende de photo lit]
Le R-100 naviguant au-dessus de l'immeuble de la Sun Life, 1930
————————————
Sun Life Building
T
he Sun Life Building was for many years considered a financial bastion of Canada. When completed in 1933 it covered 112,500 square metres, making it the largest building in the British Empire. Founded in 1865 by Matthew H. Gault, the Sun Life

Immeuble de la Sun Life Building image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., March 18, 2018
3. Immeuble de la Sun Life Building
Assurance Company was the first financial institution to leave the business district of Old Montreal and move up the hill to the new downtown. The choice of the building's site, opposite the Cathedral-Basilica of Mary Queen of the World, signals a duality central to the culture of Montreal.

In 1909, Sun Life acquired the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) building, which had occupied this corner site since 1892. The Toronto architectural firm of Darling and Pearson received the commission for the Sun Life Building in 1913. Though the building was later extended twice (in 1923-1926 and again in 1927-1933), remarkably, the appearance of a unified whole was retained with each addition. Clad in Stanstead granite on a steel structure, the building's stepped volumes and heavy Corinthian colonnades are typical of the École des Beaux-Arts style that dominated much of Montreal architecture at the end of the 19th century. Equally rich are the entrance lobbies, decorated with marble panelling and stencilled ceilings.

During the First World War (1914-1918) a large female workforce was recruited to replace male staff that had joined the armed forces. By the war's end in 1919, women outnumbered the men 250 to 150. By 1930, employees here enjoyed some advantages that were unusual for the time, such as a cafeteria and a medical clinic on the premises. With the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-1945), the building's lower basement was modified to house the securities of the British Government. Sent overseas at great risk in 1940 and placed under constant guard, much of Britain's wealth was secretly kept here.

If this sprawling half-continent has a heart, here it is.
Hugh MacLennan
Two Solitudes, Macmillan, 1945

[Photo caption reads]
The R-100 flying over the Sun Life Building, 1930.
 
Erected 2004 by La Financière Sun Life/Sun Life Financial. (Marker Number 5.)
 
Location. 45° 29.98′ N, 73° 34.188′ W. Marker is in Montréal, Quebec. Marker is at the intersection of Rue Metalfe and Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, on the left when traveling east on Rue Metalfe. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Rue Metcalfe 1155, Montréal, Quebec H3B 2V6, Canada.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Monuments Macdonald et/and Laurier Monuments (within shouting distance of this marker); Fontaine commémorative (within shouting distance of this marker); Ignace Bourget Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Wilfred Laurier Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Mathew Hamilton Gault (within shouting distance of this marker); Boer War Memorial (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); War Memorial (about 150 meters away); La Basilique Saint-Patrick / Saint Patrick's Basilica (approx. 0.6 kilometers away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Montréal.
 
Also see . . .
1. Sun Life Financial. (Submitted on April 2, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Sun Life Building. (Submitted on April 2, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Hiding British Gold at Library and Archives Canada. (Submitted on April 2, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Notable Buildings

 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 24, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 2, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 2, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Paid Advertisement