“It is doubtful that I’ll get back to Montreal … I miss my friends, my house and my city more acutely than I can describe.” Leonard Cohen – Oct 16, 2016

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Unless I get a second wind, it is doubtful that I’ll get back to Montreal, where I was living before a financial crisis compelled me to deal with matters in Los Angeles. I miss my friends, my house and my city more acutely than I can describe. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Le Dernier Empereur by J.D. Beauvallet and Pierre Siankowski (Les Inrocks: Oct 19, 2016) [from the original English questionnaire forwarded to me on Oct 16, 2016 by Leonard Cohen]

Resources: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal: The best articles about Leonard Cohen’s Montreal homes and haunts as well as videos and a list of pertinent landmarks

Credit Due Department: Photo of Leonard Cohen’s Montreal hometaken by and posted with the permission of Lilian Graziani.

Leonard Cohen’s Montreal: The Montreal Pool Room

Montreal Pool Room at its post-2010 site, across street from the location Leonard Cohen visited

The Montreal Pool Room is another Montreal establishment regularly named as a Leonard Cohen hangout. The following excerpt is from Montreal Pool Room Is Moving On Wednesday by Andy Riga (Montreal Gazette: March 26, 2010)

From a 2009 Gazette story about the lower Main:

One of the most popular night spots in the 1960s and ’70s was the Montreal Pool Room, at 1200 St. Laurent, where you could score a hot dog steamé and rub shoulders with the likes of a young Leonard Cohen or Michel Tremblay.

“Reeking of patates, steamies and lost innocence, this cheap Red Light institution has hands down the best hot dogs and inhale-the-grease fries,” is how one tourist guidebook writer described the Pool Room.

In spite of the date on the door that claims a Bulgarian immigrant, Filipoff Dakov, opened the Montreal Pool Room in 1912, city archives show Dakov obtained his first licence in 1921.

His was one of three billiards rooms on the block.

The Montreal Pool Room lost much of its legendary underground allure after it was gutted by fire in 1989. When it reopened, things weren’t quite the same.

I’m not sure about that. It still has a je-ne-sais-quoi.

“Seedy goodness,” is how one colleague describes it.

“It is a slice of our nightlife, where the world – rich or poor – meets,” says another.

Hot dog steamé from the Montreal Pool Room

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Recommended Reading: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal: Refuge And Escape

 

Of all the articles featuring sites in Montreal with links to Leonard Cohen I’ve reviewed thus far, Leonard Cohen’s Montreal: refuge and escape by Robert Everett-Green (The Globe and Mail: Oct. 14, 2016) offers the best blend of geographical data, background information,and maps. The only disappointment is the lack of photos of the locations. I’ve excerpted a couple of paragraphs to give a sense of the article, which is available in full at the link:

Cohen discovered the romance of Westmount, and its sadness, too, as his friend Irving Layton pointed out. He mythologized the chic women who “float into dress shops or walk their rich dogs in front of the Ritz.” He was of that world; but as a Jew and a poet, was also separate enough to remark that “Westmount is a collection of large stone houses and lush trees arranged on the top of the mountain especially to humiliate the underprivileged.”

There are a couple of large churches on the route Cohen would have walked to the Shaar. He went to school with kids from those churches, at Roslyn Elementary and Westmount High, both imposing buildings where anglophone Christians and Jews mingled as they no longer do in the borough’s more diversified school structure. Cohen biographer Sylvie Simmons says that between one-quarter and one-third of Westmount High students in Cohen’s day were Jewish. He was exposed to Christian pageants at school, and had even gone to church with his Irish Catholic nanny, laying the basis for a lifelong fascination with Christian imagery and rhetoric.

Resources: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal

Leonard Cohen’s Montreal: refuge and escape is part of Resources: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal, a collection of the best articles about Leonard Cohen’s Montreal homes and haunts as well as videos and a list of pertinent landmarks.

“And it’s not even Canada, it’s Montreal. Not even Montreal, it’s a few streets: Belmont and Vendôme. It was wonderful.” Leonard Cohen On His Homeland


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It’s my native land, my homeland, all the feelings one feels for one’s homeland . . . very tender feelings about it. I don’t like hearing it being criticized. I like to hear it praised. I return often and I live there part of every year. It’s the last home I’ve had. And the next home, too. I think we’re very lucky it’s not a first-rate power and that it’s … I don’t know, it’s my homeland, what can I say? And it’s not even Canada, it’s Montreal. Not even Montreal, it’s a few streets: Belmont and Vendôme. It was wonderful.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Famous last words from Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman (Macleans: June 10, 1972). Photo of Belmont Avenue from Google Maps.

More About Leonard Cohen’s Montreal

The best articles about Leonard Cohen’s Montreal homes and haunts as well as videos and a list of pertinent landmarks can be found at Resources: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal.

Video: A Montreal Leonard Cohen Moment By Marc Altheim

Sans commentaire. #leonardcohen

A post shared by LePMR (@lepmr) on

 

Marc Altheim sends this heartfelt video shot in the area near Leonard Cohen’s Montreal home. The Instagram image atop this post focuses on the same street corner featured in the video.

Baby, I’ve Been Here Before – Leonard Cohen Is Back On Crescent Street

 

Leonard Cohen Crescent Street Mural

A good reminder to actually look up from the phone every so often. #leonardcohen #watchingoverMtl #summerdays

A post shared by Emily Shore (@emilylcshore) on

Marie M writes:

As the mural on Crescent Street slowly appears, I thought you might be interested in a serendipitous discovery I made while putting together a map in anticipation of the November Cohen weekend. For the Crescent Street mural, I used Google Map to take a screen shot of the looming blank building. Here’s the photo:

Google Map #1

I happened to turn around on Google street map and looked in the opposite direction down the street and I got this photo:

Google Map #2

Field Commander Cohen Album Cover

This immediately triggered a recollection. Some time ago someone on the Leonard Cohen Forum was asking if anyone knew where the cover of Field Commander Cohen was taken. I actually tried to figure it out using Google. In particular, I studied the background of the photo and the church that sits at the end of the street. Here’s the cover of the Field Commander Cohen album:

Note; The original photo on which the album cover is based, taken by Hazel Field of Montreal about 38 years ago, shows the background unobscured by the album title. That image can be found at Commentary Magazine site.

I started by searching Google for photos of churches in Montreal I came across this church below, Erskine and American United Church. It is located at 1339 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal. If you plug that address into Google Map, you see the church is indeed at the end of Crescent Street.

Leonard Cohen – Back On Crescent Street

Note: Below, I’ve isolated the church shown on the background of the Field Commander Cohen album cover (viewer’s left)  and the Erskine and American United Church (viewer’s right).

The striking similarity between the two church images (especially if one takes into account the different angles at which the photos were taken and the area blocked around Leonard’s hair) strongly supports the notion that it’s the same structure and thus the same street on display in both graphics. Further, both Crescent Street on Google Map #2 and the street in the background of the Field Commander Cohen album cover are one way streets going the same direction.

Anyhow, I’m convinced.  The Bard Of Montreal1 is back on Crescent Street.

More About Leonard Cohen’s Montreal

The best articles about Leonard Cohen’s Montreal homes and haunts as well as videos and a list of pertinent landmarks can be found at Resources: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal.

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  1. Bard of Montreal is one of Leonard Cohen’s nicknames.  I could also have gone with

    • Ageless Troubadour Of Montreal
    • Bard Of Montreal
    • Montreal Maverick
    • Poet Monk Of Montréal
    • Montreal’s Brooding Bard
    • Young Prince Of Montreal
    • Montreal’s Patron Saint Of Songwriting
    • Seer Of Montreal
    • Legendary Bard From Montreal
    • Poet Prince Of Montreal
    • Montreal Mope
    • Ageless Troubadour Of Montreal
    • Legendary Grouchy Bard From Montreal []