23 Aug 2022
This jeweler by trade took up management of this unique place seven years ago, and ever since, she has made it her mission to show off Canadian artisans to Old Montreal locals and visitors.
The Cour des Arts is located in one of the first interior courtyards in Old Montreal, constructed in 1811, and accessible by Saint-Amable Street. The artisans moved in in 1969, and “now, this place is considered the flagship place for handmade goods in Old Montreal,” Caroline explains.
This open-air boutique adjoined to that of Mon Shack au Québec forms a unique art complex with more than a hundred artisans’ works on display. You’ll encounter works from every facet of the art family, from glass-blowers, to ceramicists, and even pewter smiths. In addition to being a gateway to art for young creators, “it’s also somewhere that you can buy works at prices set by the artists, which lets us keep art accessible and ethical.” Caroline’s aim is to create an experience for visitors, while showing them that being an artisan is a real trade.
“The Cour des Arts is not just a shop, it is an artisanal experience. Each stand allows an artisan to explain their artistic method to you, while they show you their wares”. Caroline and her seven employees, all artists themselves, are also capable of telling you about creators who are not present, and the techniques they used. “This lets them have a personalized experience and enjoy the beauty of art.”
For Caroline, this art complex is a second life, since she has been a jeweler for 20 years. “I have since moved my workshop to the basement of the store in order to rework a new collection as my next project.” She now takes charge of these creators and ensures they get showcased. Representing all these beloved artists is an honour for her. “It’s hard for me to mention just one favourite I have because all the artisans here were selected for the quality of their work,” she expounds.
The majority of the presenters you will find here are Quebecois. Caroline also makes sure to represent each Canadian province, having at least one from each province present. “This year there is a new addition to the Cour des Arts this year: the terroir section. This joins the ranks of two other existing categories: art trades, and the visual arts.”
Caroline invites everyone that hasn’t yet been to the Cour des Arts to come discover this hidden place for free and “experience an open-air art gallery in the center of Old Montreal.” And for those of you that have already visited this enchanted place, you will assuredly find something new this year, as the collections are refreshed each season.
You can visit the Old Montreal Cour des Arts from Mother’s Day till mid-October. And the Mon Shack au Québec boutique is open all year, every day. To get in, take Saint-Amable Street, or Saint-Paul Street through the Mon Shack au Québec boutique.
Hours and further details can be found on the company’s website.
Photo: Geneviève Giguère