Norman Bethune Square
|Norman Bethune Square
Statue of N. Bethune in Norman Bethune Square.
|Location||Quartier Concordia, Ville-Marie Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Created||March 23, 1976|
|Operated by||City of Montreal|
|Status||Open all year|
Norman Bethune Square (French: Place Norman-Bethune) is a small urban square located in Downtown Montreal at the northwest intersection of Guy Street and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West. It is situated in close proximity to Concordia University's Sir George Williams campus and is opposite Guy-Concordia Montreal Metro station. The main feature of the square is the statue of Norman Bethune, as well as trees, lighting, benches and an expanded sidewalk.
Inaugurated on March 23, 1976, Norman Bethune Square is named for Norman Bethune (1890–1939), a Canadian doctor from Montreal. Although he was born in Gravenhurst, Ontario and died in China, it was in Montreal than Norman Bethune lived the longest—for eight years, from 1928 to 1936. It was during his stay in Montreal that he became a renowned thoracic surgeon, that his socialist ideas and convictions took shape, guiding him to a profound commitment towards social and humanitarian causes including joining the Communist Party of Canada.
While living in the city, Bethune innovated a number of ground breaking medical instruments against tuberculosis. During the Great Depression, Bethune worked with Lea Roback and others to open a public clinic for the unemployed and poor as party of his cross-Canada advocacy for socialized medicine or public health care. After joining the Communist Party of Canada, he traveling to Spain as part of the International Brigades where he invented an early form of MASH unit during the Spanish Civil War. Bethune returned to Montreal to campaign for Republican Spain before leaving for China. Between 1938–1939, on the eve of World War II, Bethune traveled with the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army and he eventually contracted blood poisoning and died in China. The People's Republic of China offered the statue of Norman Bethune to the city of Montreal.
At the time of the 70th anniversary of the Bethune's participation in the World War II in China, the City of Montreal undertook a major renovation project of the square at a cost of C$3 million dollars. The site was under substantial renovations as part of the redevelopment of De Maisonneuve Boulevard. The newly restored statue of Norman Bethune was unveiled on October 14, 2008. The square was completed in 2009.
- "CHRONOLOGY OF PLACE NORMAN BETHUNE AND SCULPTURE" (PDF). Concordia University (Montreal). Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Ville de Montréal, Les rues de Montréal, Répertoire historique. Éditions du Méridien. 1995.
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