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Priority site

9th-Floor Restaurant

677 Sainte-Catherine Street West

4040

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History of the site

Eaton’s opened its first store on Sainte-Catherine Street West in 1927. During the store’s second expansion in 1930-31, a 600-seat restaurant was opened on the ninth floor. Inaugurated in early 1931, the restaurant also hosted various events that further enhanced Eaton’s renown. These events included fashion shows that would become a company tradition until the 1960s.

Agrandissement du magasin Eaton, 1930, Musée McCord Stewart

 

In the collective memory of Montrealers, Le 9e was associated with the life of downtown department stores. Legend has it that the dining room was a replica of the Île-de-France ocean liner, which was not exactly the case, although its architect was indeed inspired by naval forms, which gave the restaurant its ocean liner style known as Streamline Moderne. The French architect, Jacques Carlu (1890-1976), also designed the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. He worked in the United States, as well as for Eaton’s in Montreal and Toronto.

Specific characteristics

The ninth floor of the former Eaton’s department store and its dining room are an important and remarkably authentic example of Art Deco interior architecture as evidenced by the layout and décor, evocative of large ocean liners, as well as the works of art and furniture.

The interior of the restaurant was renovated in 1981, in particular in the dining room where the fabrikoid wall covering was replaced by a rectilinear grid of vinyl panels, and a new buffet station was added, designed to capture the Art Deco style.

Restaurant 9e chez Eaton, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

 

Threats

In 1999, Eaton’s went bankrupt and closed its stores, including the one on Sainte-Catherine Street. The real estate developer Ivanhoé-Cambridge purchased the building to turn the former Eaton’s department store into a shopping centre. This transformation led to the demolition of the restaurant’s kitchen, although some of the old equipment was saved and stored with an eye to eventually reopening the kitchen. In 2000, in response to an application from Heritage Montreal, the Minister of Culture classified the restaurant’s dining room and its foyer and promenade well as the furniture, murals and bas-reliefs as a historic monument.

Current events

At present, this magnificent and emblematic site is dormant, and as the years pass it fades ever more from memory. This situation could threaten its conservation and deprive the population of the opportunity to use it in the future. In 2018 and 2019, Docomomo Québec organized a public meeting and a roundtable to explore the challenges of reopening Eaton’s ninth-floor restaurant. In 2019, a citizen involved in local heritage preservation also launched a petition to demand the site be reopened.

In March 2023, Ivanhoe Cambridge, the owner of the Eaton Centre, announced the reopening of the iconic Le 9e restaurant in the coming months.

Work is underway to redevelop the former Art Deco restaurant to enhance this unique location. It will house a restaurant as well as a multifunctional space where a variety of programming will take place: shows, exhibitions, private events, etc.

Héritage Montréal is also working with Ivanhoe Cambridge to identify activities that will allow the greatest number of people to have access to this exceptional site.

Michel Brunelle, Docomomo

Actions of Heritage Montréal

In 1999, through a letter addressed to Minister Maltais, Heritage Montreal demanded the classification of the restaurant of the ninth floor.

In 2015, while launching the H-MTL platform (now Memento), Heritage Montreal chose the former Eaton restaurant as a priority site and followed up with Ivanhoé-Cambridge on the status of this unique space.

  • Municipality or borough

    Ville-Marie

  • Issues

    Urban Development

    Interior spaces

  • Owner(s)

    Private; company

  • Threat(s)

    Vacant

  • Conception

    Jacques Carlu, Architect Natacha Carlu, murals Denis Gélin, bas-relief

  • Manager(s)

    Ivanhoé Cambridge

  • Categorie(s)

    Commercial

  • Construction year

    1930

  • Recognition status

    Heritage object; Listed heritage building; Building of exceptional heritage value; Located in an area of exceptional heritage value

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Take action!

The actions of Heritage Montreal are sometimes direct and public, sometimes more discreet, but heritage is everyone’s concern. With Memento, we want to support your ambitions, your ideas and your actions. Whether your role is that of an explorer, revealer, protector, ideator or investor, this platform will help us to maintain together a coherent action to protect and enhance our metropolitan heritage.

Toolkit

Join the discussion

How do you see this Montreal site? What legacy has it left us? What future can we create for it? Where to start to get there? Who wants to participate in the project?

You have questions? Want to do more, but lack the information? Consult our toolkit to learn more about the heritage of the Montreal metropolitan area, the preservation mechanisms in place and possible actions.