19 May 2017
Architect and artist Hugh G. Jones put his creative talent to work to create both structural drawings and works of art, and some of his pieces can be found on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. After training in Minneapolis, Jones worked in Chicago and New York before moving to Montreal. During Montreal’s urban planning and development at the end of the 1920’s, he was involved in the construction of the Île Sainte-Hélène pavilion, which is an annex of the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
What do we know about this mysterious architectural jewel?
Built from 1925 to 1930 at the same time as the Jacques Cartier Bridge, the pavilion was built with two floors that could fit up to 6000 people. Originally designed to hold large social events like exhibits or balls, some people even thought it would be a good place for a museum or a casino.
However, the economic crisis of 1929 changed the pavilion’s fate, as the government ordered a halt to all large-scale projects due to the stock market crash.
The pavilion’s fate was therefore put on permanent hold, and the building never even received an official name. Some called it the Île Sainte-Hélène pavilion, while others referred to it as the Jacques Cartier Bridge pavilion.
Although the building is currently unoccupied, it has great heritage value for Montrealers. JCCBI is currently doing major repairs and is hoping to start upgrades soon so that the pavilion can be put to a long-term use.