Nestled in the heart of historic Old-Montreal, Place d’Armes is the second oldest public site in Montreal. The Sulpicians, who played a major role in the founding of the city and built the still-existing Saint-Sulpice Seminary on the southern side of the square, called it Place de la Fabrique as it was used as a hay and wood market. The name was, however, changed to Place d’Armes in 1721 when it became the stage of various military events.
Place d’Armes more or less kept it actual size and allure since the completion of Notre-Dame Basilica in 1830, with the notable exception that it is now flanked by the city’s first high rise buildings -representing major periods of Montreal's development- the New York Life Insurance Building as well as the Art deco gem and Empire State Building lookalike Aldred Building. In fact, Place d’Armes is now an architecture buff’s idea of paradise, as over 10 different styles are featured in the immediate vicinity – including Art Deco, Italian Renaissance, International, Gothic revival and Neoclassical styles! The square also features the statue of Montreal’s founding father, Paul de Chomedey, commemorating his defense of the French settlement against the Iroquois.
Place d’Armes is located in Old-Montreal, between St Jacques and Notre-Dame streets. It is accessible by car (nearest parking is in the 500 Place d’Armes building and costs $17 per 12 hour period) and by public transit via metro stop Place d’Armes on the orange line or bus route 55. It makes for a perfect starting point to and Old Montreal exploratory tour, and many guided tours depart from there.