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McKelvey School of Engineering

Virtual Walking Tour of Circle Road: A Vestige of Montreal's Golden Age with Norm Spatz

Thursday, May 27 | 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Virtual Event

Join Norm Spatz, AB ’70, MArch ’72, for a virtual walking tour of Montreal's Circle Road, a giant real estate experiment by a development syndicate headed by Sir Herbert Holt, one of Canada's larger-than-life personalities from the last century. Holt, who was a key figure in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, also became the president of the Royal Bank, turning it into one of Canada's largest. 

The development of Circle Road was a practice run for the creation of the Town of Hampstead, a nearby Montreal suburb. Both projects were built according to the principles of the Garden Suburb, a concept promoted by the urban planner Ebenezer Howard. The shenanigans employed by Holt to keep his name in the shadows during the purchase of the land from the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre Dame were truly draconian. The reason why Circle Road is a circle is another equally fascinating story. 

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Lectures & Presentations



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Speaker Information

A proud product of New Jersey, Norm Spatz is an equally proud immigrant to Canada. After a decade and a half working in Montreal as an architect specializing in residential renovation, Norm won a number of honors including mentions from the City of Montreal and First Prize in the 1982 Crédit Foncier Award sponsored by Heritage Canada. He was also a founder of the historic walking tour program of Save Montreal in 1982 which is currently administered by Heritage Montreal and recently the “Where We Live Now Walking Tour Program” given by the Jewish Public Library from which the Circle Road Tour is drawn.

Norm entered the cégep system (the provincial junior college network) in 1989 teaching architectural technology in French. He retired teaching English as a second language. In between, he became the English editor of a Quebec government ministry website to promote the use of information technology in cégeps. 

Retired in 2015, Norm now has time for other activities such as writing fiction and giving walking tours. Married to Rita Bauer in 1985, they have one son, Sam.

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