City Hall (Hotel de Ville), Montreal

City Hall (Hotel de Ville), Montreal

The Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Montréal) is the very first seat of municipal administration purposely constructed in Canada. Presently, it houses the offices of the Mayor and the City Council, as well as several other administrative departments.

The five-story edifice was originally built between 1872 and 1878 to a design by architects Henri-Maurice Perrault and Alexander Cowper Hutchison and is considered one of the best examples of the Second Empire style of architecture in the country.

The building's facade is made of gray limestone and its front and sides are beautifully decorated with turrets, balconies, and mansard roofs. The grand clock tower, rising 45 meters above the ground, is topped by a statue of the city's founder, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve.

Sadly, the original building was gutted by fire in March 1922, leaving only the outer wall and destroying many of the city's historical records. The replacement building, featuring a self-supporting steel structure (inside the shell of the ruins), was modelled after the city hall of the French city of Tours. It opened in February 1926.

The building's interior is equally impressive. Inside, the Hall of Honour is an open space full of marble and gold embellishments that houses Art Deco lamps from Paris and a bronze-and-glass chandelier, also from France, weighing a metric ton. In the council room, the five stained-glass windows, installed in the 1920s, depict the fundamental aspects of the city, such as Religion, Agriculture, Sea Port, Commerce, and Finance. In 1984, the building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

Unlike many government sites with restricted public entry, the Montreal City Hall permits visitors to take a quick guided tour – in both, English and French – free of charge. The tour schedules are displayed at the entrance.

Behind the building is a pocket of green, known as the Field of Mars (Champ-de-Mars), which used to serve as a military parade ground and a parking lot before being converted into a park in the 1980s. During the conversion, workers unearthed the remains of the city's old fortifications; parts of the restored city walls were later incorporated into the site.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Montreal. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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City Hall (Hotel de Ville) on Map

Sight Name: City Hall (Hotel de Ville)
Sight Location: Montreal, Canada (See walking tours in Montreal)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Montreal, Canada

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