Do you remember this building?


The Alexis Nihon Plaza is a 2,400,000 sq ft complex in Downtown Montreal, consisting of a shopping mall, two office towers, and a residential building. It is named after Alexis Nihon, a Begian-born immigrant, who came to Canada when he was eighteen years old. In 1940, he started theIndustrial Glass Works Company Limited in Saint-Laurent, one of the few Canadian glass manufacturers during the Second World War. He sold it in the 1940s. In 1946, he started the Alexis Nihon Corporation (today Alexis Nihon REIT) one of the largest real estate companies in Canada today.

Atwater baseball park – ca 1910

The Alexis Nihon Plaza was built on several lots of land, known in the early 1900s as Atwater Park, a baseball park, where the Montreal Royals played for 24 seasons. It has been rumoured, that even Babe Ruth played here on a visit to Montreal in 1926. Mr. Nihon leased the land to a Montreal developer on condition that the complex to be built would bear his name. The contract to design the complex was awarded to architect Harold (Herschel) Ship, one of the first chartered town planners in Canada.

The Alexis Nihon Plaza opened in 1967, and for the first time in Montreal with two 16-storey apartment and offices towers, connected to a shopping mall and the metro, a development where you could live, shop, work and even exercise, all in one place. There were a variety of retail shops, cinemas, and the popular Maidenhead Inn, a pub where waitresses wore low-cut wenches outfits while serving bottled beer and mixed drinks.

Place Alexis Nihon – 2016 (Photo: Dick Nieuwendyk)

In October 1986, a major fire started on the 10th floor and destroyed the six stories above. The 13-hour blaze would become the largest office tower fire in Canadian history. The Atwater metro station and parts of downtown Montreal were closed for fear of the tower collapsing. Air Canada and Steinberg’s had offices in this tower. All was lost and the airlines’ reservation system had to be rerouted as the main server was destroyed. The office tower was reconstructed two years later, and a third (residential) tower was built.

Alexis Louis Nihon

By the beginning of this decade, both the interior and exterior were showing their age. Cominar Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), the owners of the Alexis Nihon Plaza, began renovations in 2013 to make the mall more functional and more accessible with new wheelchair ramps and elevators. Outside renovations included the installation of large illuminated panels on two sides of the building. Today the complex is home to over 85 stores, of which many are superstores.


Source: Alexis Nihon Plaza / DC Montreal / The Globe and Mail / Westmount Mag

By: Dick Nieuwendyk –

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Why does the winter season attract more pests to my home?

As winter approaches, you might be ecstatic about or dreading the snow and colder weather. With cold weather comes the need for animals and insects to find warm places to shack up for the winter. This often puts homeowners in the uncomfortable position of their home being infested by pests, be it rodents, insects, or

Quebec Premier cancels Christmas gatherings

In a press conference today Quebec Premier François Legault has reversed his decision of allowing gatherings over the Christmas holidays. Premier Legault said in November the government would allow gatherings over a four day period between December 24th until December 27th if the people isolated a week before the gatherings and a week after. The

Manuka is far from mainstream – Manuka natural mouthwash

Many of you have heard of Manuka honey. That delectable darkish honey that you paid a fortune for because it’s worth every nickel.  You made sure you did not buy the cheap one, the paler coloured, runny, fruity smelling, overly sweet one. You chose the better quality: of thicker consistency, nutty smelling, light brown. THE

OQLF wants your ‘take-out’ to be your ‘plat à emporter’

Quebec’s language watchdogs, under the watchful eye of Simon Jolin-Barrette (the Minister Responsible for the French Language in the province) are on patrol again. This time they are targeting the use of the words ‘take-out’ as a contributor to the “worrisome decline” of French, especially in Montreal. The OQLF (Office québécois de la langue française)

Are there gender differences in Asperger’s syndrome?

Fortunately, over the years awareness and recognition of autism and its wide spectrum of disorders have grown tremendously. Interestingly, during many studies, a gender gap was noticed, one that was significant enough to present some questions about the reason behind the existence of such a gap in the first place. Young males are diagnosed in

Mtltimes Subscription

The latest on what’s moving Montreal and the world – delivered straight to your inbox