start of many a tour of Old Montreal,
the city hall was built in the style of
the “Second Empire” of France.
A distinctive building with it odd square
turrets, it was built between 1874 and
1878 on the site of a Jesuit church. Catching
on fire in 1922, the building was reconstructed,
and in the process a top floor and copper
roofing were added.
Surrounding City Hall are three courthouses
that reflect the city's legal history.
The first, built in 1849 in Classic-Revival
style, was the headquarters of the Olympic
Committee and is now used for municipal
administration offices. The second, the
Maison Ernest Cormier, is notable for
its spectacular bronze doors and Art Deco
entrance hall. Built on the site of Montreal’s
first synagogue, the architect is famous
for designing the bronze doors of the
United Nations Building in New York. The
final building is a contemporary black
glass building constructed in 1971, called
the Palais de Justice. The Palais de Justice
houses the provincial, superior, appeal
and criminal courts of the Province of
Quebec. The building also houses the city's
legal archives and library.
City Hall sees hundreds of visitors each
year; many like to view the exterior either
from Notre Dame Street or from Champ-de-Mars.
They come to see the historic and solemn
marble Hall of Honour that contains portraits
of every Montreal mayor. The Hall of Honour
is where revered Prime Minister Pierre
Trudeau lay in state in 2001 Other historical
events include Charles de Gaulle's "vive
le Quebec libre" gaffe in 1967, delivered
from the imposing balcony.