Viger Square

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This article is about the public square. For the former railway station and hotel, see Place Viger.
Viger Square
Square Viger
Agora Daudelin 02.jpg
Agora by Charles Daudelin is a prominent sculpture in Viger Square.
Viger Square is located in Montreal
Viger Square
Type Town square
Location Old Montreal, Ville-Marie Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Coordinates 45°30′45″N 73°33′14″W / 45.5126°N 73.554°W / 45.5126; -73.554Coordinates: 45°30′45″N 73°33′14″W / 45.5126°N 73.554°W / 45.5126; -73.554
Created September 11, 1860
Operated by City of Montreal
Status Open all year

Viger Square (French: Square Viger) is an urban square in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was greatly changed by the construction of the Ville-Marie Expressway in the 1970s. The square is divided into three sections. It is bordered to the west by Saint Denis Street, to the east by Saint André Street, to the north by Viger Street and to the south by Saint Antoine Street.

History[edit]

Force sculpture fountain by Claude Théberge.

In the 1840s, the city of Montreal acquired several parcels of marshland permitting for its development. Trees were planted and pathways were traced.

Prior to 1851, a hay market and public scale operated on the site on the east side of Saint Denis Street. The hay market moved a few times on the site, but was always to the east.

Viger Square was inaugurated on September 11, 1860. In 1865, greenhouses were added, although were moved to La Fontaine Park in 1889.

In 1870, Viger Square was the only public place in Montreal to hear live music. Ernest Lavigne directed his orchestra in Viger Square from 1885 to 1889, before he moved to Sohmer Park.

In 1892, to enlarge the square at the request of citizens, the cattle market was demolished near rue Saint-André. Some members of the French-Canadian elite moved near the square, which experienced a boom with the construction of prestigious buildings such as Place Viger (700 Saint Antoine Street) by architect Bruce Price in 1898 and the École des hautes études commerciales (535 Viger Avenue) in 1908-1910.

Early in the twentieth century, several redevelopment projects are suggested for this vast space, among them were plans to build a municipal library, an auditorium to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Montreal in 1942 or to accommodate a large parking lot in the 1950s.

It was the development of road infrascture that won the rightto this space, when the Ville-Marie Expressway was built in the 1970s. When underground work was finished, the redevelopment above ground took place, which divided Viger Square into three parts by Saint-Denis, Saint Hubert Street and Berri Street. The development of the three sections was entrusted to sculptors and completed in 1985.

The artist-run center Dare-Dare was based in Viger Square from August 2004 to July 2006 and presented more than a dozen exhibitions, events and performances.

Future plans[edit]

As it stands today, Viger Square holds little resemblance to what it was. It is criticized because of the strong presence of concrete structures, and especially homeless people. The Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal project will bring many changes to the neighborhood. Public consultations will take place that will lead a significant restructuring of Viger Square.

Jean-Olivier Chénier Monument[edit]

The Jean-Olivier Chénier Monument on Saint Denis Street, opposite Viger Square.

The Jean-Olivier Chénier Monument is a memorial designed by Alfonso Pelzer located on Saint Denis Street opposite Viger Square. A committee created in 1893 gave Jean-Olivier Chénier his monument in Viger Square on April 24, 1895. It stands 4.33 metres (14.2 ft) tall and is made of pink granite, bronze and copper. [1][2]

Sculptures[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Guy Pinard, Montréal, son histoire, et son architecture. Éditions Méridien, 1992