“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.

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

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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 []

Leonard Cohen on “what makes [Montreal] a good city for poets”

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Eclecticism is the situation in Montreal continually. It’s because the cultures are distinct. You’re taking something from the English, something from the French, something from the Jews – something from the past, something from the future. That’s what makes it a good city for poets. Things are still distinct. You do know that you’re penetrating into other sensibilities. It isn’t blurred, like in America, where the American idea is so strong.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin. Canadian Forum: August/September 1983. Photo by By Chicoutimi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted Feb 6, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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.

“It’s in what they call a slum, not a fashionable slum like Greenwich Village.” Leonard Cohen Talks About “Our House In Montreal”

How do you live now? What style and mode of luxury do you allow yourself?

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It would be hard to describe our house1 in Montréal without seeming that I was being pretentious, on the side of modesty. We live in an extremely small house… [The neighborhood] is one I always liked. It’s in the East End of town, on a Portuguese working class street. Our house is about the size of this room, I would say. There are one and a half levels. It’s very crowded, and I’ve just given my studio over to the babies. I’ll have to get a little apartment across the street. It’s really a beautiful place, and we have a garden. But you should come up and see it. It’s like living in the country in the middle of the city. It’s in what they call a slum, not a fashionable slum like Greenwich Village. But now there’s another writer on the street… [The neighborhood is] safe, that’s the thing. Like the little child Adam runs on the street and goes into the neighbors’ houses. The doors are open, and the children come into our house. You know, if you can stand that sort of thing, it’s extremely nice… I’ve always lived like that. My own personal style of living has changed very very little. I don’t know what I would do otherwise, what would one do?quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Looks at Himself by Danny Fields. Soho Weekly News, Vol. 1, #9. Dec 5, 1974.

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: This outstanding interview was discovered and contributed by Jugurtha Harchaoui. Photo taken by and posted with the permission of Lilian Graziani.
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  1. “Our” refers to Leonard and Suzanne Elrod along with their children, Adam & Lorca []

“The atmosphere here is romantic, more so than any other city I know” Leonard Cohen on Montreal

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When a guy gets attached to a city, it becomes a city of the mind. I still have this notion of Montreal as the capital of the sentimental world – the atmosphere here is romantic, more so than any other city I know. I was formed by this place, and now I feel obligated to give something back to it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

The Trials Of Leonard Cohen by Jack Kapica (Montreal Gazette: Aug 25, 1973). Accessed at the Google Newspaper Archives. Photo of Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, better known as the Church where “the sun pours down like honey, On our lady of the harbour” by Sally Hunter. See Our Lady Of The Harbour – The Montreal Church Embedded In Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne

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