PORT NEIGHBOURS

a full view of vessels !

Residents of Cité-du-Havre only have to cross a street to reach the limits of the Port of Montreal. They can watch ship operations on vessels docked right in front of them, in real time.


André Harel and Claire Goyer

Hard to live much closer to the Port of Montreal than Claire Goyer and André Harel. Sitting in their dining room, they often enjoy their afternoon tea while watching the Oceanex Connaigra sail from Bickerdike Terminal on its way to Newfoundland.

The pier stretches the length of their living room, TV room, bedroom and even bathroom windows. Alexandra Pier and the Old Port are in the background. Then there’s the added bonus of one of the most beautiful views of the city’s skyline. The perspective their sixth floor condo offers these neighbours of the port is astounding!

 


Habitat 67 originally housed visitors to Expo 67. It now
has 158 private units occupying one to four concrete
cubes spread over 12 floors.

After their children left home in 2001, Claire and André moved into this odd structure made of concrete cubes. The masterpiece of world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, Habitat 67 was built for the Man and His World International and Universal Exhibition (Expo 67) 47 years ago, on Cité-de-Havre, on a narrow peninsula in the St. Lawrence River. In the Goyer-Harel residence, both to the north and south, the windows open onto a waterscape, and with so much water everywhere it’s like being aboard a ship.

“It’s soothing to watch all this mass of water. You’d think we were far away from the city when we’re actually close,” said André Harel. Claire Goyer also really enjoys being so near the river and the port. “A ship doesn’t make noise. We sometimes hear a thud, nothing disturbing. In winter when the doors and windows are closed, we don’t hear a thing. I was even surprised when we moved here not to be more disturbed than that!”


Moshe Safdie is an internationnaly
recognized Montreal architect. He
studied at McGill University. He
designed the National Gallery in
Ottawa, the Museum of Civilization
in Quebec, the Vancouver library
and many in the United States
and Israel.

Bickerdike Pier provides substantial entertainment for its neighbours. It is quite busy, and the types of vessels calling at the port are highly varied: there’s the CTMA Vacancier that transports tourists to the Magdalene Islands in the summer. Then twice a week, Oceanex merchant ships ply between Montreal and Newfoundland, and there are ships carrying diverse and oversized goods such as steel girders and railway tracks. Last year, neighbours even saw six locomotives get unloaded from a ship! A little to the east, Goyer and Harel enjoy a stunning view of all the cruise ships that dock at Iberville Passenger Terminal.

“We can tell that the economy is picking up, because there has been a lot of back and forth for a while,” commented André Harel, founder of the accounting firm Harel-Drouin, now part of Mazars, located in Old Montreal.


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As for Claire Goyer, she managed an art gallery in Outremont before retiring. “My mother came for a visit and sat on the balcony for ages, it was so lively on the docks.”

 

Night is falling on the Port and the city is lighting up above the dark waters. The show goes on. For Claire Goyer and André Harel, being neighbours of the port is like being on a trip all year long!