Montreal – Square Dorchester / Place Du Canada

There are two large urban green plazas on each side of Rene-Levesque Boulevard between Metcalf and Peel Street: Square Dorchester and Place du Canada.

In 1795, when the city was still walled, the cemetery was no longer large enough to accommodate the population. The current Square Dorchester and Place du Canada were selected to be the location of the new cemetery.

In 1854, with the development of the city, the cemetery was meant to be moved to another location to allow new constructions. However, a doctor foresaw a danger in moving the bodies to another location since many had passed away from the Cholera Epidemic in 1851 and they were unsure of the impact.  The work was stopped and it was determined that this place would become a public area in 1872. As a reminder, small crosses have been engraved in the pathways in Place du Canada.

First named Dominion Square, it was changed to Square Dorchester (1987) (north of Rene-Levesque Boulevard) and Place du Canada (1966) (south of Rene-Levesque Boulevard).

The area, next to the Windsor train station, was the center for activities.

Both public parks are surrounded by historical and interesting buildings:

  • Food trucks are sometimes parked in this area

In Dorchester Square, in the park, along with the trees and the benches, you will find statues and monuments:

  • Tribute to Sir Wilfrid Laurier
  • Boer War Memorial
  • Lion of Belfort (a gift from England)
  • Robert Burns statue
  • Public art: the Bridges

As mentioned before, there was a time when Rene-Levesque Boulevard was named Dorchester Boulevard, but it was changed in 1987.  The city chose to change the name of the square to honor Dorchester .  Mr. Guy Carleton was the 1st Baron Dorchester and had played an important role in favor of the recognition of the French language and French residents in Quebec which is immortalized in the Quebec Act of 1774 and contoured the assimilation policy of the British government. The Irish military officer fought on the Plains of Abraham, supported the Loyalist and participated in the division of Lower and Upper Canada.

The last time I went to Place du Canada, it was cold and there were people gatherings so we opted out, but the plaza is where the statue of John A. Macdonald Monument stands. It was vandalized during the summer 2020 manifestations. Other memorials are in the plaza.

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