→ The House of Murmurations
- Public Art
Outside at the intersection of Bonsecours Street and Saint-Paul Street East in Old Montreal
Across the street from:
400 Saint-Paul Street E
Montreal, QC H2Y 1H4
Light & Sound Installation*
Sep 20, 2022 → Jan 15, 2023
Monday to Sunday
*In accordance with the City of Montreal, the light experience will be active from sundown to 1 am and the sound experience will be active from 4 pm to 11 pm.
Free outdoor installation
The House of Murmurations is a public activation project where light and sound highlight and celebrate the historical architectural elements of this special site.
Light & Sound
The House of Murmurations is a multi-sensory installation where light, sound, and movement highlight and illuminate the architectural features of the site, sustaining the memories housed within its walls while signalling its change and transformation.
The Old Port's migratory birdlife seeded the poetic language of the installation; symbolically significant to cultures globally, birds have been depicted as mediators between the human and spirit worlds, or as divine messengers. Here, their ebb and flow rewards passersby’s curiosity with a colourful new perspective while opening a window into the buildings’ inspiring future.
As the site of the future PHI Contemporary project, the installation is a celebration of the buildings and their structural splendour, offering locals and visitors to the City of Montreal a unique look at the site before it moves into its next chapter of being.
In addition to the light and sound experience on the exterior of the buildings, be sure to check out The Nest running through October 31, 2022 only.
This magical space gives visitors an opportunity to peek inside the building and be enveloped by the sounds of migratory birds and fantastical objects.
Accessible between 4 pm and 10 pm Thursdays through Sundays accompanied by an animator.
Aerial view of the site
2. Pierre du Calvet House
3. Pierre du Calvet House Annex
4. Louis Viger House
5. Adjacent Lot
The significance of the site dates back to the First Nations' inhabitation of the land. While there is little documentation of this period, archaeological finds suggest that it was a well established site for nomadic dwelling. The forested site was marked by its geographic characteristics - along an escarpment and at the base of a large ‘mound’ formation. It is surmised that this site was highly favorable due to its accessibility and the availability of vital resources, protection and strategic vistas.
The site’s significance within the colonization era is defined by the maverick immigrants that shaped the site as much as they did the evolving character of the city. In the 17th century, Marguerite Bourgeoys, a seminal figure in the history of the city and posthumously named the first female saint in Canada, founded a chapel next to the site. Located one kilometre from the then town centre, the site was conceived to be a place of pilgrimage that could provide space for prayer and reflection through the movement to and from, as much as within its walls. A few decades later, Marie Brazeau, arguably one of the first liberal feminists of the new world, ran a cabaret with her husband (the first that is, there were to be many more), becoming one of the first women with a property deed to her name, and built a wooden house on the corner lot of the site. The house was then replaced by a stone construction and was acquired and reconstructed in 1770, becoming the dwelling of Pierre du Calvet, a French Huguenot come Freemason (his Masonic symbols etched in its stone).
As the 18th century witnessed the transition from French to British colonialist rule, the 19th century was a radical period of densification and urbanization for the city. Remarkably, these forces of history are all legible on the contemporary site. The rough hewn stone of the Maison du Calvet was typical of French colonial construction. The British then imported their stone-cutting ‘technology’, and smooth greystone–as visible in the adjacent buildings on the site, becoming the new face of the quickly modernizing city.
The site in the 20th century is dominated by the dynasty of the Trottier family. In 1965, rooted in the renaissance of interest in Quebec’s French colonialist history and in “Old Montreal”, the family founded the Filles du Roy restaurant, an authentic recreation of a French tavern. The restaurant gained instant notoriety with the locals, a notoriety that quickly turned international with the advent of expo 67, and the site soon saw international figures, city visitors and locals crossing paths and breaking bread. The family started to acquire neighboring properties (now amalgamated), living, leasing, working in them for over 57 years–the last 20 of which were as the Auberge Pierre du Calvet, founded by Gaetan Trottier, 30 years after working in his parent’s restaurant. The auberge was a storied place of real and fantastic histories, whose eccentric character and family legacy still resonates within the architectural composition of the site today.
This project was made possible by the financial support of the City of Montreal
Special thanks to
CCO: Phoebe Greenberg
Creative Director & Director: Sylvain Dumais
Lighting Designer: Ludovic Lefévère
Collaborative Lighting Designer: Udo light
Design and Realization of the Lighting: Udo light
Sound Designer: Philippe Rochefort
Executive Producer: Emilie Heckmann
Production Director: Laurence Montmarquette
Coordinator: Raphë Lafleur
Technical Director: David Simard
Technical Project Manager: Vincent Lafrenière
Technicians: Grégory Perrin, Nicolas Lajoie Restrepo, Jacques Larin, Éric Sauvé, Thomas-Xavier, Mercado, Anae Lajoie-Racine, Patman, Eliot Sarrazin
Custom Manufacturing Workshop: Jackworld inc.
Set Design/Props Styling (Nest): Studio TB
Technical Manager: Thomas Azoug
Developer: Jonathan Hardy, Edouard Lanctot
Technical Consultant: Isaac Caballero
Marketing Director: Scarlett Martinez
Marketing Strategy Manager: Jeremy Leith
Marketing Project Manager: Kevin Delaney
Artistic Director: Michel Ouellette
Chief, New Media Partnerships and PR: Myriam Achard
Public Relations Project Manager: Pierre-Olivier Marinier Leseize
More Events at PHI
November 24 → April 1
The PHI Centre building comes to life with an interactive multimedia installation of a motion-activated river on its four-story windows on Saint-Pierre Street
June 30 → March 5
A special selection of award-winning VR works that will draw you into four distinct worlds sharing unique and powerful stories
November 9 → March 5
An immersive installation taking you through a symbolic journey around the concept of a minute stretched out in time
December 15 → June 11
An ongoing collection of contemporary artworks, accessible and free at the PHI Centre
January 20 → February 11
AVALANCHE WARNING! Extreme conditions are expected for the 15th anniversary of Igloofest. Let's meet in the storm
The electro-pop duo present songs off their third album Chrysalism
March 9 → July 9
The electronic artist presents her debut LP and self-directed short film, GOOD LUCK