Montreal City Hall

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Overview

Montreal City Hall is the headquarters of the city government of Montreal, Quebec. It is located in Old Montreal and serves as the political and administrative center of the city.

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Tripshepherd
275 Notre-Dame St. East, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1C6, Canada

Montréal City Hall, located in Old Montreal, serves as the political and administrative center of the city. Completed in 1878, this historic building, designed in the Second Empire style, features a stunning central clock tower and ornate architectural details that make it a must-see example of 19th-century public architecture.

Visitors can admire the grand staircase, elaborate moldings, and ornate ceilings that adorn the interior. Despite undergoing several renovations and additions, the city hall has managed to preserve many of its original features, making it an enduring symbol of Montreal's rich history.

Today, it is open to the public for tours and events, offering a glimpse into the city's past and present!

What to Know

Montreal's local government is housed in the impressive Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Montréal), a five-story building located at 275 Notre-Dame Street East in Old Montreal. Architects Henri-Maurice Perrault and Alexander Cowper Hutchison designed the building in the Second Empire style, and it was built between 1872 and 1878.

As the first city hall built in Canada exclusively for municipal administration and one of the finest examples of the Second Empire style in the country, it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1984.

The Montreal City Hall has been temporarily closed for renovations since May 2019. It is currently undergoing extensive heritage restoration aimed at modernizing and upgrading it to meet contemporary standards, while still preserving its historical significance. This renovation is also intended to enhance the building's adaptability to democratic functions. 

Montreal City Hall's political and democratic functions have been relocated to the Lucien-Saulnier building, which is located at 155 Rue Notre-Dame Est, in Vieux-Montréal (near the Champ-de-Mars metro station).

Despite the move, residents can still engage in the democratic process by attending virtual city council meetings, executive committee meetings, agglomeration council meetings, and public consultations held by the council's standing committees, all of which are webcast every month.

How to Get There

The city hall's location, between Place Jacques-Cartier and the Champ de Mars, makes it easily accessible from the Champ-de-Mars Metro station on the Orange Line. The best way to get to this attraction is by booking guided tours that'll save you the hassle of navigation.

Montreal Food Walking Tour is highly recommended which will take you on a culinary journey across Montreal as you sample the best treats of the city and take in the sights and sounds of Montreal City Hall. You'll also get to see Old Montreal and the stunning Gothic Revival architecture and stained glass windows of Notre-Dame Basilica

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Montreal City Hall would be during its opening hours, which are from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm on weekdays (Monday to Friday) and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekends and public holidays.

Visitors can choose to come during the day to admire the exterior architecture of the building or take a guided tour of the interior. Those who prefer to avoid crowds may want to visit during weekdays when there are fewer tourists.

It is important to note that the City Hall may be closed on certain holidays, so it is advisable to check the schedule before planning a visit!


Enjoying Montreal Food Walking Tour


National Historic Site 

The Montréal City Hall was granted the status of a national historic site of Canada in 1984 for two main reasons. Firstly, it was the first city hall in Canada that was constructed exclusively for municipal administration.

This was a response to the growth in urban population and the need for more complex municipal services towards the end of the 19th century. The City Hall's location on Place Jacques-Cartier also reflected the city's changing economy and the diminishing significance of the port area, where the original city hall was situated.

Secondly, the City Hall's design in the Second Empire style and its interior, which includes a stunning hall of honor and council chambers, make it one of the most magnificently decorated buildings in Canada.

The choice of style and the building's large scale allowed the city to showcase its French heritage, demonstrate its importance in North American trade and commerce, and highlight local craftsmanship. Despite undergoing renovations, including those after a fire in 1922, the original architectural design has been preserved.

History 

The history of Montreal City Hall dates back to 1872 when construction on the original building began. However, a devastating fire in 1922 swept through the original Montreal City Hall building, destroying numerous historic records and leaving only the outer wall intact.

Architect Louis Parant was then commissioned to rebuild the city hall, opting for a self-supporting steel structure that was constructed within the shell of the ruins.

Parant modeled the new building after the city hall in Tours, France, and made several changes, including a remodeling of the Mansard roof to a new Beaux-Arts-inspired model, complete with a copper roof. The new building opened on February 15, 1926.

In 1967, the building's balcony gained international attention when Charles de Gaulle, the President of France, delivered his Vive le Québec libre speech from there.