Dorchester Square in downtown Montreal has spent most of the past two years behind a fence getting a make over. The square was originally inaugurated in 1878 and has four statues and a kiosk that are arranged to form a five point cross. Originally the Catholic Sainte-Antoine Cemetery for victims of the 1851 Cholera Epidemic, the majority of the bodies were later exhumed and moved to the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery on the Northwestern side of Mont Royal.
The square was long one of the cities preeminent park spaces due to its location adjacent to a number of high profile projects that were built in the late 1800s, the construction of the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral (started 1875 and consecrated in 1894) and the Windsor Hotel (completed in 1878) The construction of the Sun Life Building (completed 1931), Windsor Station (completed 1889), and the Dominion Square building; solidified its status. For many years it has been the centre of the central business district in downtown montreal. In later years the park suffered from a lack of maintenance and the city of Montreal undertook a major renovation to bring the square back to its former glory.
Since I work in the previously mentioned Sun Life Building I stepped out the other day to take some pictures. Of particular interest to note are the cross patterns randomly scattered through the paving stones. According to the city of Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin, they were included as a reference to the park’s past as a cemetery and are only found in parts of the park that made up that parcel of land, which is why you wont find any up in the Northern end. The city has further renovation plans next year for the Northern parcel where the loading and unloading area known as Rue Dorchester Square and the kiosk sit. Rue Dorchester Square is the main loading and unloading stage for the majority of the Tourist buses dropping off shoppers and tourists who visit nearby Rue Saint Catherine.