415 Rue Sainte-Catherine East, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
First a restaurant founded in 1924, Café St-Jacques was in the 1940’s when François Pilon acquired the premises that the Café Saint-Jacques became a landmark in the history of Montreal cabarets.
Located at 415 Ste-Catherine Street East, Café Saint-Jacques was part of the craze around Montreal, a city known since the beginning of the 20th century for its impressive nightlife.
Over the years, the Café Saint-Jacques hosted many international and local artists. It also oversaw the careers of several local acts once unknown to the greater public.
Muriel Millard, Marcel Giguère, Roger Baulu and many others frequented what a journalist from La Presse in 1974 called “the mecca of Quebec artists.” Café Saint-Jacques offered much more than simple entertainment.
Equipped with several rooms with various functions, it was also the broadcast location of several Montreal radio stations, including CKVL, which for years aired its popular program “Vive la Vie!” from the café.
An icon of urban cultural life, the Café Saint-Jacques nevertheless experienced a number of significant financial problems during the 1960s and particularly throughout the early 1970s.
As cabarets all over North America, and especially in downtown Montreal, were losing popularity, the delicate financial state of the café, and especially of its principal owner François Pilon, were detailed in the press.
In December 1974, when a fire ravaged the building, the end had already begun and from the rubble of the café the Judith-Jasmin Pavilion of the Université du Québec à Montreal was built.