A block away from Place Jean-Paul Riopelle, is Square Victoria. The square is a longitudinal plaza occupying the middle of the street by the same name but it was not always like this.
After the fortification wall of Montreal was dismantled, the square was created. It was the east end section of the wall. At first, the square was a Hay Market which was later moved to make place for a new square dedicated to the Queen Victoria after a royal visit.
In the beginning, the sector was surrounded by multiple churches but was marked by tragedy in 1853 with the intervention of military forces to stop a riot following a speech by Galvazzi at the church. It was a time where the Catholicism was very strong and were unhappy of the anti-Roman Catholic speeches given by Galvazzi. Eleven (11) persons were killed and many were wounded during this June event.
The square was stretched and modified over time. Today, to me, there are 5 key elements to look for in the square: a special Metro station access, the International Commercial Center, the Statue of Queen Victoria (1869), the Tai Chi Single Whip art sculpture and the fountain.
Even if the square is divided by St-Antoine Street, the two parts are worth a walk through.
Metro Station Access – Square Victoria
Because Montreal experiences winter conditions, you won’t normally find exterior stairways to access the metro with one exception: The Square Victoria station that is found in the square that carries the same name. It has the French look and for a reason, it was a gift from Paris for the collaboration between engineers’ teams for the implementation of the underground system in Montreal. While you can appreciate the Parisian look the access is closed during winter for safety reasons.