Project 365 – Day 299: Dorchester Square
October 25 2012
Dorchester Square lies between rue Peel and Metcalf and North of René-Lévesque. In 2010 the City spent $6.4 million renovating the square that included re-landscaping, new lighting and seats together with refurbishing the 4 monuments in the park. The park still retains the original design with paths leading from the central point to each corner and paths intersecting each side (forming a Union Jack pattern when seen from above).
With numerous trees including maples, ash and elm it is a refreshing oasis to relax in the downtown area. I’m looking forward to Canada square on the other side of René-Lévesque receiving its’ similar make-over. If you are interested in seeing the plans for the renovation of Canada Square, here is a link to the architectural plans. For a change it looks like the City will be gaining some additional green space on the South Western side 🙂
Okay, so who was Dorchester ?
The square is actually named after Guy Carleton, who was the 1st Baron of Dorchester (1724-1808). He was an Anglo-Irish soldier and administrator who served twice as the Governor of Québec (1768-78 and 1795-1795). He was also Governor General of British North America.
During the American War of Independence, he served as the British Commander, leading the defence of Québec during the 1775 rebel invasion and the counter offensive that drove the rebels back the following year. He was key to providing freedom to slaves who joined the British and in 1783 led the evacuation of British forces, Loyalists and over 3,000 freedmen from New York.
I guess after doing all that he deserves a square to be named after him.
Back to the square of today…
At the center of Dorchester Square is a monument depicting a soldier and horse from the Boer War. The sculpture by George William Hill (1862-1934), a Quebec artist, was inaugurated in 1907. Hill also sculpted the George Étienne Cartier Monument on Mount Royal.
On the south side of Dorchester Square is a monument of Sir Wilfred Laurier (Canada’s 7th Prime Minister 1896-1911).
The Robert Burns statue on the western side is a tribute to the industrialists and financiers of Montreal’s Scottish community. The monument is by Scottish artist George Anderson Lawson (1832-1904).
On the eastern side facing the Sunlife building is the Lion of Belfort (also by the Québec sculpter George William Hill – This guy had a busy life.
Prior to being a public square, the area was a cemetery between 1799 to 1855. As a mark of respect, the renovated block paved paths feature crosses within the design.
The areas now known as Dorchester Square and Canada Square were originally called Dominion Square. In 1967 when the park was divided into 2, the southern section was renamed Canada Square.
Following the death of René-Lévesque (founder of the Parti Québécois and the premier of Québec 76-85) the then named Dorchester Boulevard was renamed to René-Lévesque in his honor. Dorchester was probably quite happy to be swapped from having a road to a popular square being named in his honor.
There is still a pub called the Dominion though, located on Metcalf near rue Sainte Catherine.
To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.