Montreal – Old Custom House / Place Royale

150 rue Saint-Paul Ouest

In 1830, the Harbour Commission was created.  In 1832, 1 kilometer of permanent wharves were completed. The Montreal port was ready to welcome shipments of goods from Europe transitioning via the St.Lawrence River. The Lower-Canada government consequently built a Custom House in 1836-1838 to manage importation into the country. The building was soon too small and after 1871 the service was relocated to other locations and other federal offices used this building.

The small building was erected in a strategic location next to the port.  The house actually sits on the first recognized official public square named in 1645, which was later a market square (1706) before becoming the site of the Custom House (1839) and renamed Place Royale (Royal Place) (1881). The federal government used the space until 1991 when it was sold to the City of Montreal who then sold it to the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum.  The building is now an annex to the museum.

And, as for the Place Royale, there is now a small concrete square with a plaque confirming it was once a market/ trading/exchange place and the first official public square.  Historical events occurred here. Go behind the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum to see the Obelisk in the Place de la Grande-Paix.

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