300, rue Saint-Paut Est (East)
On St-Paul Street next door to the chapel, bearing the same name, is the Bonsecours market which has played different roles over the years in the community. At a time where Montreal was looking forward to become the nation’s capital, it was built to be out-standing. Completed in 1847, this almost 535 ft (163m) wide building sitting next to the river was sure to catch the eye of any sailor arriving in Ville-Marie. Its imposing structure is also accessible from the cobblestone street of St-Paul Street offering a different perceptive with a portico of six Greek style imposing columns.
Even if the place welcomed the Parliament of United Canada in 1849 it was only for two weeks as a temporary location due to a fire at their offices. A police station was within the walls of the building and the Bonsecours Market also welcomed the City council and had the title of the Montreal City Hall from 1852 and 1878.
This building has always been a multi-functional building: Public Market, offices, ballroom, concert hall, exhibitions rooms, mall…
The size, the character of the building, its historical significance and the political implication makes this construction so particular and recognized in Montreal.
Personally, my perception is that the interior is not as impressive as the exterior. The current purpose is a refined market place with stores offering multiple local works and souvenirs.
The current City Hall is not too far, on Notre-Dame Street.