Video: Growing Up Leonard Cohen


The Geography Of Leonard Cohen’s Childhood

This brief video comprises photos and video clips pertinent to Leonard Cohen’s childhood and adolescent years spent in Montreal, set to a Leonard Cohen  performance of of “Passing Through.”


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.

Note: Originally posted Aug 17, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Explore Leonard Cohen’s Montreal Online On Interactive Map

Leonard Cohen Montreal Landmarks

Leonard Cohen’s Montreal
by Charlotte Fillmore-Handlon (posted on Prezi 15 December 2012) is an interactive map with Montreal landmarks associated with Leonard Cohen marked and described. The sample screenshot below displays part of the Westmount neighborhood where Cohen grew up. Viewers can use the embedded map atop this post or the map on the Prezi site.



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 are found at Resources: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal.

Note: Originally posted Jan 7, 2015 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Read, Download First We Take The Main: A Tour Of Leonard Cohen’s Montreal By Christine Langlois – Reader’s Digest: October 2009


Download Your Own Copy of First We Take the Main

Christine Langlois has made her article, First We Take the Main: A tour of Leonard Cohen’s Montreal through the eyes of his lifelong friend [Mort Rosengarten] (Reader’s Digest: October 2009), available in PDF format. I’ve posted the first page above as a sample. The entire article can be read and downloaded at this link: First We Take The Main

More About Leonard Cohen’s Montreal

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“His Montreal duplex, which he bought for $7,000 in the early ’70s, has its wooden storm windows still in place” Leonard Cohen’s Home Decor


Although [Leonard Cohen] had to mortgage his duplex in Los Angeles to cover his legal costs [dealing with the loss of his retirement savings] and although the suits and countersuits could grind through the courts for years, Cohen says he’s back in the black through royalties. And emotionally, “I haven’t suffered,” he says. Cohen feels he weathered his financial crisis because he has always lived modestly, even monastically. His Montreal duplex, which he bought for $7,000 in the early ’70s, has its wooden storm windows still in place. Painted white throughout, it is graciously but sparely furnished with old pieces, some from his parents’ home in Westmount. He especially likes his ancient kitchen stove because it includes a small built-in gas heater that keeps the whole room warm in winter. An upstairs bedroom with a laptop and small keyboard serves as his studio; his sound equipment amounts to an old CD player. In Montreal, he has no car; in L.A., he drives a ’95 Nissan. When he discovered his money was gone, “I didn’t have to sell the yacht,” he says with a grin.

From Cohen’s Age Of Reason by Christine Langlois (Zoomer: Sept 6, 2006). Photo of Leonard Cohen’s Montreal home by Lilian Graziani.

Also see Cat Stevens Visits Leonard Cohen’s Montreal Home; He Is Not Impressed

Video: Leonard Cohen Talks About His Neighborhood, Un Canadien Errant & More At His Montreal Home – 1979


It’s A Beautiful Day In Leonard Cohen’s Neighborhood

This excerpt from Harry Rasky’s The Song of Leonard Cohen was filmed in 19791 at Cohen’s home in Montreal. Leonard Cohen, seated on his balcony,2 translates the demo tape of Un Canadien Errant3 from French to English and responds to Rasky’s leading questions.

Here’s one exchange:

Rasky: Do you feel like the person in that song [“Un Canadien errant”], wandering around, mariachi music?
Cohen: A little bit.

lctapeMy other favorite exchange in this scene takes place when Rasky, who never pretended to espouse a detached, neutral relationship with his subjects and appears eager to present Cohen in the best possible light, if not deify him outright, lobs this softball question (partially framed as a comment), “Some people might say why do you want to live out over all those shacks and old balconies,”only to have Cohen wryly respond “Not very many people.”

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  1. Various references indicate the movie was first shown in 1980 and an approximately equal number list it first being broadcast in 1981. In  his insightful review, Dick Straub notes that The Song of Leonard Cohen “was first shown on CBC in 1980,” which is good enough for me. []
  2. While this structure (see screenshot) is ubiquitously called, within by the film dialog and in the commentary on the film, the “balcony,” were it transported to Chicago, it would become a “back porch.” (The “back porch” designation would be effective until it collapses, after which it would be known as a “deathtrap.”)



  3. “Un Canadien Errant” aka “The Lost Canadian” is a song written in 1837 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie after the Lower Canada Rebellion of that year in which some convicted rebels were condemned to death or exiled for armed insurrection. The melody is from a Québécois folk tune. To a few, it remains a patriotic song in Canada. Leonard Cohen recorded “Un Canadien errant” on his 1979 Recent Songs album. His original song “The Faith” off his 2004 album Dear Heather is based on the same melody. (Source: Nationmaster Encyclopedia) []