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Visiting Square Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier / Sir George-Étienne Cartier Square, Montreal, Quebec: Leafy Oasis; Memories

Updated on April 3, 2020
Flag of Quebec
Flag of Quebec | Source
Square Sir George-Etienne-Cartier / Sir George-Etienne Cartier Square, St. Henri, Montreal, 1945
Square Sir George-Etienne-Cartier / Sir George-Etienne Cartier Square, St. Henri, Montreal, 1945 | Source

A place for reflection

[This visit was made in the first half of March 2020.]

The name of the Square remembers Sir George-Étienne Cartier (1814-1873)(1), who, with Sir John Macdonald (1815-1891), is regarded as having been among the chief architects of Confederation. (I have supplied, below, a group photo from Confederation year 1867 which depicts Sir George-Étienne Cartier to the left of the picture.) Sir George-Étienne worked as a lawyer both before and after the Guerre des Patriotes / Patriots War, notably participating in the Battle of Saint-Denis in 1837. He became increasingly prominent in the affairs of the Province-Unie du Canada / United Province of Canada, serving as Premier of Canada-Est / Canada East, and subsequently as deputy to Sir John Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada after Confederation. He served both in the Dominion and Canada-Est / Canada-East / Quebec legislatures. He is remembered both as a prime mover of the Civil Code in Canada Est / Canada East and as a strong advocate for the expansion of education. He is also remembered as having been close to railroad interests and his strong advocacy for railroad expansion was at times strongly perceived as having involved conflicts of interest; and Sir John Macdonald's fall from office in 1873 coincided with Sir George-Étienne Cartier's fall from favour in Quebec. In addition, while his early participation in the Battle of Saint-Denis at first undoubtedly gave him credibility with many French Canadian electoral supporters, he was also in time widely perceived to have been been too trusting towards Anglophone political interests seen variously in the setting aside of language and educational rights for Francophone people in Manitoba and Nouveau-Brunswick / New Brunswick which had supposedly been guaranteed by Confederation.

Located in the Saint-Henri suburb of Montreal, Quebec, Square Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier / Sir-George-Étienne Cartier Square was inaugurated in 1912, which was barely two years before the centenary of the birth of the personality for whom it was named. The brainchild of Montreal Mayor Hormidas Laporte (1850-1934), the establishment of the park followed several years after Saint-Henri — previously a separate municipality — was incorporated into the Ville de Montréal / City of Montreal.

From its inception onwards, the vicinity of the rectangular-shaped park was regarded as as a sought-after neighbourhood, with the stone- and brickwork of surrounding properties reflecting this. The park is overlooked by the massive Église Saint-Zotique at 4865, rue Notre-Dame Ouest. A 6.5 metre fountain sculpture forged by the US Mott Iron Works — as restored in 2003 — stands in the park (2).

Various species of deciduous trees are present. A program of regular musical events finds its venue in the park.

The formal address of the Square is 127 Rue du Square-Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier, Montréal (QC), H4 1L8

April 3, 2020


(1) The Lieu historique national du Canada de Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier / Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site of Canada is located at 458 rue Notre-Dame, Montreal, Quebec.

(2) See also (in French):

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

The Hon. George Étienne Cartier, M. Cuvillier and three clergy, Montréal, QC, 1867
The Hon. George Étienne Cartier, M. Cuvillier and three clergy, Montréal, QC, 1867 | Source
Sir George-Étienne Cartier Square, seen from rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Saint-Henri suburb, Montreal
Sir George-Étienne Cartier Square, seen from rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Saint-Henri suburb, Montreal | Source

Also worth seeing

The architectural and cultural attractions of Montreal are too numerous to mention here, but of special note, among many others, are the domed Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours), dating from 1847, which was a venue used to house the Parliament of United Canada, prior to Confederation. The Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal) was built mainly between 1824 and 1829; many Montrealers attend annual performances of Handel's 'Messiah' there. The Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, used for the 1976 Olympics, has the the world's tallest inclined tower, at 175 metres.

Mont-Tremblant (distance: 133 kilometres), in the Laurentian Mountains (Laurentides) is ideal for scenic excursions, golf and skiing; its boutiques attract many shoppers.


How to get there: Air Canada flies to Montreal (Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal) from Toronto-Pearson, and from New York-Newark and New York-La Guardia, with wide connections. A number of car rental companies offer service at Montreal-Trudeau airport. The nearest Métro station to Square Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier / Sir-George-Étienne Cartier Square is Place Saint-Henri. VIA Rail maintains regular services with Toronto and Windsor. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map location of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Map location of Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Source

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