Named for a hospice set up by nuns in the 17th century, the Rue de l’Hôpital and adjoining streets are full of architectural quirks and highlights. On the corner of Rue St-François-Xavier, the Canadian Pacific Telegraph Chambers was the 19th-century equivalent of a national internet provider. It houses condominiums today but the wild-eyed keystone over the entrance remains. The Lewis Building was built as the head office of the Cunard Shipping Lines.
One mischievous character on the facade is holding a bag full of loot; a more scholarly colleague is taking notes. The Centaur Theatre performs English-language plays in the old Montréal Stock Exchange building. Opened in 1903, the huge columns recall imperial Rome while the interior has sumptuous marble and wood paneling.