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Exhibit about Delorimier Downs

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  • Exhibit about Delorimier Downs

    Suggestion for a night on the town to everyone living in or around Montréal. There's a fine little exhibit going on right now at L'Éco-musée du Fier Monde (2050 Ahmerst street, between Sherbrooke and Ontario) about Delorimier Downs, home of the Montréal Royals between 1928 and 1960 and, to this date, the only stadium built specifically for professional baseball we've had in this city.

    The exhibit is called "Un stade au centre-ville" (a downtown stadium in french) wich is A) a llittle cruel to us Expos fans and B) not totally accurate. There's no need to be a buff of Montréal geography to realize that the corner of Delorimier and Ontario can hardly be considered as being in downtown Montréal. It's not nearly as much in the east as Olympic stadium is, but still.

    The exhibit talks about the stadium, and the occupation of the land where it sat from the 1880's to the moment the stadium was destroyed to make room for Pierre-Dupuy high school in the 1970's, a period in time when we didnt care much for old constructions in this city. They talk quite a bit about the Royals as well.

    Learned quite a few things. Among wich, I didn't realize the importance of the stadium in the community as it was the structure that could accomodate the most people on the whole island. So it was used for all sorts of things, sports, concerts, rodeos, royal visits and such. Just like Olympic stadium is, as we speak, the structure that can accomodate the most people in Montréal. So it's used for sports (was used for; actually), concerts (ibid.) papal visits (when is Benedict XVI dropping by the Big O anyway?)

    Also, I know that the land is a school now, but I didn't know that the actual stadium was used as a school for a few years after it was bought by the Montréal school board in the late 60's. Classes were held under the grandstand before they tore the whole thing down. That whole story actually shows the lack of vision Montréal had (had? we've corrected that since?) in those day. The school board bought the stadium if I remember correctly in 1967 or around that time, converted the building into a high school and by 1968, municipal authorities were stumbling around to find a place for the Expos the play:applaud:

    Also, I had never realized just how anonymous the stadium looked from the outside. Stadiums in those days were built to blend in the decor of the sourrounding neighborhood as those who've been to Fenway of Wrigley can attest to. It always comes as a shock to those of us who grew up in the era of stadiums that could be seen from space like Olympic stadium.

    I did spot a couple of factual errors, including when they failed to mention the existence of mister Augustin "Gus" Dugas, a proud member of the Royals for close to four years (actually, I do believe he is featured in one of the pictures of the exhibit, tough they don't mention his name), and also, I find it hard to believe that an exhibit about Delorimier downs and the Royals would mention Jackie Robinson's name only once. But besides that, few negatives about the exhibit. Oh, also, there are pictures from my arch ennemy, and rabid Expo-hater Alexandre Pratt's personnal collection. But nothing's perfect.

    It's a decieving exhibit. You look at it from afar you're reaction is "I'll be trough in 15 minutes". But if you take time to really dig in, check every picture, read every text, you get you're money's worth (6$). I spent close to an hour and a half there this morning.

    So, it's at L'Éco-musée du fier monde, it runs until late june, and there's a little catch: everything is in french. But if you can read it, and if you can afford it, I don't believe you'll be disappointed.
    Last edited by Augustin_"Gus"; 05-05-2007, 10:48 AM.
    From now until the end of September, I'll be chronicling in real time on Twitter the 1946 season of the International league's Montréal Royals, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball. Check it out:

  • #2
    Great post ... having reasearched the history the Expos for years the one item in the search for a stadium was no mention of Delormier - wasn't it torn down c. 1970-1971? Were there any demolition photos?


    • #3
      The stadium was destroyed in september of 1971, if memory serves me correctly. And there is indeed a pretty large picture of the wrecking ball taking it to the stadium.

      As far as the the absence of interest in Delorimier for the Expos, the school board had bought it in 67 and started transforming the place into a school almost right away. So it would probably have been unusable by the time the city was granted a franchise. Wich, if you ask me, had nothing to do with the fact they never considered it.

      Theese were the late 60's, Expo 67 time, the metro, place Ville-Marie was still brand new... Montréal had the world by the throat. At that point, the city brass had an aversion (you can write it in the paper. An aversion) for old buildings. Tearing down were the words of the day. We didn't know what the word restauration meant back then. Had Delorimier still been inocupied at that point, I'm pretty sure no one would have seriously considered that option.

      Playing our brand new team in an almost 50 years old building? That can't be serious!
      Last edited by Augustin_"Gus"; 05-06-2007, 11:34 AM.
      From now until the end of September, I'll be chronicling in real time on Twitter the 1946 season of the International league's Montréal Royals, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball. Check it out:


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