One of the unique features of Montreal architecture and often commented on by visitors to the city is the abundance of exterior staircases.
It is difficult to find the exact reasons why this architectural feature is so prevalent, but two reasons do get mentioned most often.
One reason often cited is cost savings. You don't heat exterior stair cases thus save money.
But the reason most often cited and actually given by the City of Montreal on one of their websites is that this all started because of a by-law trying to improve the city's green space.
Back in the 19th century (Think I read somewhere it was 1840) Montreal passed a by-law requiring all new buildings to be so many feet back from the sidewalk. This meant smaller buildings on the lot, so to compensate and maximize the living space in the building, staircases were placed outside over the required green space.
Another oft asked question is why are the staircases open? Obviously only asked by people who have never spent a winter in Montreal.
Thanks for stopping by. If you are interested you can see other photos taken on my walkabout the Plateau area of Montreal in my Walkabout the Plateau - 30 August 2011 gallery.
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