On Tuesday afternoon a couple of my colleagues and I got a private tour of the downtown #GreyNuns convent which from 1869 to 2007 was the Mother House of the Grey Nuns of Montreal.
Today the renovated Grey Nuns residence is a pretty awesome student dorm run by @concordiauniversity , and in summertime is the best kept secret in #Montreal for budget travelers. ⚓
Anyway, I have always wanted to to visit the monumental building — designated a national historic site of Canada in 2009, for its austere Neoclassical-inspired exterior and Romanesque Revival chapel (now a study library in which I am pictured here) — because my mentor #NickAufderMaur lost his Montreal City Council seat in 1994 by some 200 votes after meeting with the Grey Nuns in this very building, in a bid to secure their votes. As I recall, the Grey Nuns told Nick they did not approve of his lifestyle and could no longer support him.
Which reminds me of a well-known story of Nick, about the time he brought #ConradBlack to Montreal #gay leather cruising bar #Truxx one night in 1978, not long after the infamous Truxx police raid in the early morning hours of October 22, 1977. Montreal police (who were very #homophobic during that era) charged 146 men with being found-ins in a common bawdyhouse, the largest mass arrest in Canada since the War Measures Act.
“Let’s go for a drink,” Black suggested.
“I know just the place,” Nick replied, then mischievously led Black to Truxx which was located above the Stanley Tavern when Montreal’s gay district was still downtown.
“Are you taking me to Sodom and Gomorrah?” Black snapped. “Let’s go to the Ritz!”
Just then a bouncer slid open the peephole and eyed Black in his pinstriped suit. “You can’t come in here,” the bouncer spat.
Nick laughed. “Then Conrad slipped into civil libertarian mode and said, ‘What do you mean I can’t come in here!’ So I pulled out my city councillor’s card and got us in,” Nick told me. “After a drink I offered to go to the Ritz, but Conrad said, ‘No! Let’s have another drink here.’ “He hates it when I tell that story,” Nick added with a smile.
Nick may have lost the election, but he sure lived a full life 💖🏳️🌈