By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca
At the request of Bishop Ignace Bourget, a new school, the Académie Saint-Antoine, was opened by the sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame in 1867 in a rented building on Saint-Antoine Street, from where the school derivits first name. The congregation’s Superior, Sister Saint-Michel (Henriette Dufresne), accompanied by four sisters and two novices received the first two hundred French and English speaking girl students. Soon, needing more space, the Congregation bought property on de La Gauchetière Street, and built a brick school, where it moved in 1869.
In 1905, at the request of Father Georges Gauthier, the school opened its first classes for boys which were subsidized by the Montreal Catholic School Commission. In 1910, the academy placed itself under the direction of the School Commission in order to receive grants and ensure its survival. The result was an increase in registrations and, again, more space was required. The School Commission bought property on de la Montagne Street, and contracted Georges-Alphonse Monette, a Montreal architect who devoted much of his career to commissions he received from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Montreal, to construct a new building. The Renaissance Revival style building included a reception hall, a gymnasium, and
classrooms. It featured cherrywood floors, ceramic tile, terracotta walls, and marble washrooms. The sisters lived in the attached residence. The school moved in the summer of 1915 and was renamed Académie Ignace-Bourget. It had ten classes, eight French and two English.
Montreal‘s School of Sociology and Social Work had been founded in 1918, a joint venture between the Catholic Service Social Guild, Université Laval’s Montreal branch, Loyola College, and the Sisters of Notre Dame Ladies’ College. The School trained Catholic social workers, and came under the jurisdiction of Loyola in 1920. It was then that the Catholic School Commission granted the School of Sociology the use of space in Bourget Academy for lectures that were held three evenings weekly. From 1932 to 1940, business classes were offered to young women. From 1967, the school offered only elementary level education. In the following years, the area became less residential and more commercial, the number of families decreased and in 1968 the institution closed. Sir George Williams Fine Arts began renting Académie Bourget in 1973. Since then the building has been the property of Concordia University.
Bourget Academy is located at 1214-1230 de la Montagne Street, Montréal
Source: Archives Congrégation de Notre-Dame / Concordia Archives / Dictionary of Can. Architects /