About Dorchester Square

Dorchester Square (originally named Dominion Square) combined with adjacent Place du Canada in downtown Montreal, covers approximately five acres in parameter and is significantly one of the most important Parks historically in the City of Montreal.  The park, ‘a walk through time’, features many historic monuments relevant to the history of Montreal and Canada.

What do you see in this space? How do people in the community enjoy it?:

  • The park opened as a public space in (1870). In 1967, with the opening of Expo ’67, the area was named Place du Canada
  • Within the last several years, the Park has been renovated featuring granite walkways
  • With the upcoming 375th Anniversary of the City, the 150th Anniversary of Confederation and the 50th Anniversary of Expo’67, the Park looks more spectacular than ever
  • The Park sits over a series of railway lines. Completed in 1915, the five kilometre tunnel a project of Canadian Northern Railways links the downtown core, Mount-Royal Park and the Municipality of Town of Mount Royal.  In 1923, Canadian Northern became (CN) Canadian National.  Today it is known as ViaRail.
  • The Park is bordered by many historical Landmarks and Buildings describing the growth of a political, industrial and economic era of railway technology. Important buildings include; ‘Dominion Square Building’ (1930), which houses the Montreal Gazette & Provincial Tourist Information.  The ‘SunLife Insurance Building’ (1931), Windsor Station (1887-1889), Canadian Pacific (1883), Central Station (1943), Queen Elizabeth Hotel (1958), Mary Queen of the World Cathedral (1894), Chateau Champlain Hotel (1967) & Bonaventure Hotel & Convention Centres (1967), built over CNR rail tracks leading to Central Station.
  • The ‘Park’ represents a ‘synthesis of legislature’ of a ‘torn & divided State’ prior to Confederation. The evidence of friction between the two dominant populations, the French and English in the burning of the Parliament buildings in the Old Port (1849). In an exasperated effort to maintain peace the French were persuaded to join Canada in Confederation.
  • The Park has a special ‘Heritage Protection’ both on the Municipal and Provincial levels
  • The Park evokes the various efforts of advocates including political figures. The landscaping is pre-dominant of the British Empire and the Landmarks & homage to the citizens as follows;
    • Robert Burns / Poet (1759-1796),
    • Boer War / Lord Strathcona (1820-1914) – statue symbolic for ‘Royal Canadians’ one of the last Regiments of the British Empire / Lord Strathcona – 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal / co-founded the Canadian Pacific Railway
    • Sir Wilfred Laurier Monument (1841-1911) Seventh Prime Minister Canada 1896-1911
    • John A. McDonald ( 1815-1891 ) First Prime Minister of Canada – dominant figure of Canadian Confederation 1867-1873, 1878-1891
    • Lion of Belfort / Cenotaph – Braves of Montreal
    • Canon of Artillery Royal Regiment / 2 Canons of Sebastopol

Events and Festivals:

  • Journée des Patriots 2016
  • Canada Day Parade 2016

Economic and Retail Activities:

  • Quebec Government of Tourist Information
  • The Montreal Gazette
  • Sun Life Insurance Building
  • There is an avenue located which is a drop off and pickup for Tourist buses
  • Dominion Square Tavern

Historic or Heritage Features:

  • Robert Burns / Poet (1759-1796),
  • Boer War / Lord Strathcona (1820-1914) – statue symbolic for ‘Royal Canadians’ one of the last Regiments of the British Empire / Lord Strathcona – 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal / co-founded the Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Sir Wilfred Laurier Monument (1841-1911) Seventh Prime Minister Canada from 1896-1911
  • John A. McDonald ( 1815-1891 ) First Prime Minister of Canada – dominant figure of Canadian Confederation 1867-1873, 1878-1891
  • Lion of Belfort
  • Cenotaph – Braves of Montreal
  • Canon of Artillery Royal Regiment
  • 2 Canons of Sebastopol

Memorable or Unique Characteristic(s):

  • The Park provides an expanse of nature & the nostalgia of the history of time through its various historical monuments
  • Throughout the summer, there is a variety of seasonal landscaping, tulips in the spring and other landscaping in the summer and fall months, which add to the squares’ interest
  • The hustle & bustle of tourists during the tourist season, weather through the arrival of tourist buses or the varied groups snapping memorable photographs in the square provide additional interest
  • The ‘daily chimes’ of the Sunlife building at 5pm, leave a forever ‘memorable’ impression to even the local citizens

Development:

  • The park opened as a public space in (1870), after the acquisition of lands once belonging to the St Antoine Cemetery further south
  • In 1967, with the opening of the Worlds Fair Expo ’67, the area was named Place du Canada
  • Within the last several years, the Park has been renovated featuring new granite walkways, the work conceived by local Architectural Firm of Claude Cormier Architects
  • With the upcoming 375th Anniversary of the City, the 150th Anniversary of Confederation and the 50th Anniversary of Expo’67, the Park looks more spectacular than ever
  • The Park has a special ‘Heritage Protection’ both on the Municipal and Provincial levels, ‘Square Dorchester – Place du Canada’, reaffirming at the same time the ‘Quebec Identity’ within the Canadian context

Quick Facts

Additional Comments:

Besides the hustle & bustle of the tourists during the tourist season, the squirrels & birds playing below the seating area amidst the landscaping adds additional animation to the space. The daily ‘chimes’ from the Sunlife building playing at 5pm daily, play notable compositions, i.e. Downtown (Petula Clark), which leaves a note of remarkable ‘memorability’ for all who visit.

 

Submitted By: Joanna Avanitis

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