Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!
Place d'Armes, Montreal

Place d'Armes, Montreal

One of the oldest public sites in Montreal, this square has got an epic history dating back to the 1690s when it was first named Place de la Fabrique. As early as 1720, citizens of the Ville-Marie settlement would gather here to watch military maneuvers, following which it became the site of hay and wood markets and, later, of a Victorian garden and tramway hub. The square's real significance, however, comes not so much from the spot itself as from what surrounds it.

Sitting in the heart of historic Montréal, Place d'Armes is bordered on all sides by structures that define the city's diverse heritage. Directly to the right of Notre-Dame Basilica is the U-shaped Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice, Montréal's oldest building, constructed by French Sulpician priests in the 1680s. The building's clock is the oldest of its kind in N America, and the gardens are considered to be among the oldest on the continent.

Erected in 1888, the New York Life building became the city's first skyscraper, a whole eight floors up and furnished with an elevator that was quite a novelty at that time. Across the way, the Royal Trust and the Duluth Building (to the left of the basilica) are two early-20th-century skyscrapers that mark a distinct architectural shift, cemented with the arrival in 1931 of the Art-Deco-style Aldred Building, inspired by New York's Empire State Building (and designed to ensure maximum natural lighting for the streets below). A post-war glass and steel structure, the only example of its kind in the city, now known as the National Bank Tower (NBT), completed the square's architectural timeline in 1968.

Directly in front of the NBT, you'll find two sculptures: a caricature of an haughty Englishman with a pug, and one of a French woman with a poodle. While the dogs eye at each other, just wanting to play, the lady gives an evident look of disdain towards the symbol of English power (that being the old Bank of Montreal), while the gentleman looks down his nose the Notre-Dame Basilica, symbolizing historical French influence in the region.

The pedestrian-friendly square also features a monument depicting the founders of Montréal, including French officer, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, and is fitted with sprawling benches that provide relief from the surrounding concrete.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful place to stop, have a coffee or snack and marvel at the historical, French-inspired architecture and monuments including a memorial to the founders of Montreal. Beautiful views of Notre-Dame to boot!

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Montreal, Canada within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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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Place d'Armes on Map

Sight Name: Place d'Armes
Sight Location: Montreal, Canada
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Montreal, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Montreal

Create Your Own Walk in Montreal

Creating your own self-guided walk in Montreal is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Beautiful Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Beautiful Religious Buildings Walking Tour

This walk is designed to give you a religion- and architecture-infused introduction to Vieux-Montréal, the city's oldest part, full of hot spots and hidden gems. Most churches, chapels and cathedrals here stand as testament to the religious fervor that inspired the French settlers who landed in the mid-17-th century to build a “Christian commonwealth”. Notably, however, this is all...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Home to four centuries of architecture, Montréal is a place all its own, shaped by French and English influences, where modern buildings coexist with some of the oldest and most fascinating structures. Along with areas from Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympics, Old Montréal's historic buildings stand out as some of the most enduring sights, continuing to thrive in the city and to define its...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Old Montreal Walking Tour

Old Montreal Walking Tour

Discover the city's historic centerpiece on this self-guided walking tour of Vieux-Montreal. With numerous unique houses dating back over 300 years, museums, art galleries and a great choice of fine restaurants and cafés, the whole area retains a charming European and colonial flair. Even the streets, some still named as they were centuries ago, vary from paved to cobble-stoned, each...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Montreal Introduction Walk

Montreal Introduction Walk

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Souvenir Shopping Tour

Souvenir Shopping Tour

It would be a pity to leave Montreal without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. On this walk, you will find some of the most interesting shops and markets in Montreal. Take this self guided tour to hunt for a truly unique and authentic made-in-Canadian product that will mesmerize your trip for the years to come.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
The RMS Titanic Walking Tour

The RMS Titanic Walking Tour

Largely owing to James Cameron's blockbuster movie, "Titanic", people from all over the world are aware of the luxury cruiser's sinking on its maiden voyage in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. However, not everyone knows that Montreal has a significant number of Titanic-related sites. Take this walking tour to discover them!

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Montreal Souvenirs: 15 Trip Mementos to Bring Home

Montreal Souvenirs: 15 Trip Mementos to Bring Home

The outpost of Frenchness in North America (and the world's 2nd largest francophone city after Paris), Montreal is the meeting point of the New and Old World styles, the collision of the French, English and Aboriginal cultures. The historical and ethnic uniqueness of the city is seen throughout...