Bonsecours Market National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
1844/01/01 to 1847/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Bonsecours Market is a monumental, domed masonry building that stretches a full city block in “Old Montréal”. Built in the Neoclassical style and located at the edge of the old port, it has become a symbol of the city. Originally it housed the city’s first city hall, together with a public market, meeting and exhibition rooms, and a concert hall. Rehabilitated in the mid-twentieth century, it now accommodates exhibitions, shops and restaurants. The formal recognition consists of the building on its legal property.
Bonsecours Market was designated a national historic site in 1984 because this imposing building, the largest town hall built in Canada during the mid-19th-century, reflects the rise of Montréal to metropolitan status; and because this Neoclassical building housed both a market and public rooms and served for several years as Montréal’s city hall.
The heritage value of the site resides in its historical role in the city of Montréal and in its imposing design and construction. Originally constructed from 1844 to 1847 to designs by architect William Footner, a concert hall was added in 1852 by architect George Browne. Inaugurated in 1847 as a public market, the building also briefly housed the Parliament of the Canadas in 1849, and served as Montréal’s city hall from 1852 to 1878. Bonsecours Market continued as Montréal’s principal public market for more than a hundred years.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1984.
Key elements which relate to the heritage value of Bonsecours Market include:-its location in the heart of the old city, facing the port;
-its Neoclassical style, evident in its monumental scale and long, rectangular massing, its symmetrically organized facades with a ground-floor arcade, tall central dome, and projecting pavilions, its classical detailing, including doric columns, pilasters, and pedimented entry bays;
-remnants of its original interior layout;
-its exterior masonry materials and craftsmanship.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Government and Institutions
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Auditorium, Cinema or Nightclub
- Town or City Hall
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection