Montreal Underground Origins

The New Penelope Café and its era!

Call for memories!

The local non-profit archive ARCMTL is working on a book and online exhibit about the New Penelope Café and its era, 1965 – 1970.

Orange and purple poster advertising concertsFor just a few years in the late 1960s, the New Penelope Café became a legend in the history of Montreal music and nightlife. It was the first independent concert venue in Montreal to feature important names in 1960s rock, blues, folk and jazz, from Muddy Waters and Frank Zappa to Joni Mitchell and Jesse Winchester. It was also a well-loved hangout in the Carré Saint-Louis/ Milton-Parc area where the city’s counterculture and arts scene emerged.

We’re looking for anyone who remembers the era, or who may have related material such as old posters, flyers, audio or video recordings, ticket stubs and other ephemera.

Please contact us if you or someone you know may be able to help! We can be reached by email at arcmtl@arcmtl.org.

BASEMENT TAPES DAY MONTREAL 2020

ARCMTL and the Musée des ondes Emile Berliner joined forces in November 2020 for the first-ever web-streamed Montreal edition of Basement Tapes Day, a showcase of found sounds and vintage audio formats! View the event on its Youtube playlist here, with subtitles available in English or French.

Montreal Underground Origins

Montreal Underground Origins shines a light for current and future generations on the early days of what is now considered a thriving city of the arts. It was conceived and produced by the non-profit arts promotion and preservation organization, ARCMTL starting in 2014.

Check out our image blog to peruse excerpts and full scans of vintage photos, magazines and varied publications from the era. Our blog features a growing number of articles, interviews and discussion transcripts exploring various aspects of the 1960s – 1970s Montreal underground arts and activist scene. Links to other websites, organizations or online resources to discover more about this era appear as a sidebar to the right of all posts on our blog.

Comments and discussion from the public are welcome! Anyone can post comments under each blog post on the site.

If you have any material or memories of your own to add, please email arcmtl@arcmtl.org to let us know.

Recent Articles
Orange and purple poster advertising concerts
The New Penelope Café and its era Public Call

The New Penelope Café and its era! Call for memories! Open for just a few years in the late 1960s, the New Penelope Café is legendary in the history of Montreal music and nightlife. It was the first independent concert venue in Montreal to feature important names in 1960s rock, blues, folk and jazz, from Muddy Waters and Frank Zappa to Joni Mitchell and Jesse Winchester. It was also a

Continue Reading >
LOGOS and Montreal counter-culture

LOGOS and Montreal counter-culture When one considers the earliest days of Montreal’s counter-culture and underground arts and activist scenes, it’s hard to exaggerate the importance and influence of LOGOS magazine. It was our city’s own contribution to the independent press that was emerging across North America, such as the Village Voice and the Georgia Straight. This entirely new publishing milieu gave a voice to the mid 1960s generation of youth

Continue Reading >
John Heward

This is a transcript of a conversation with John Heward and Louis Rastelli in the summer of 2016 at Café Résonance on Park Avenue in Montreal. RIP John Heward, 1934-2018, Montreal. JH: I’m from here, from the so-called Golden Mile, Redpath Street. They were row houses built in the 1920’s, and when we were there in the beginning, there were still a lot of large houses, just around Sherbrooke. It

Continue Reading >