Since its completion in 1892, Dorchester Square has been a cultural and political focal point for protests, social gatherings, and pedestrian traffic in Downtown Montreal. Adjacent to the Dominion Square Building and Place du Canada, the public park is home to four historic monuments, including a Robert Burns statue and the Boer War memorial.
The centrally located Dorchester Square is a stop on most hop-on hop-off bus tours, a convenient way for visitors to sightsee without the hassle of navigating. Downtown walking tours often include Dorchester Square in conjunction with other nearby landmarks, such as Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, St. Catherine Street, and parts of Montreal’s Underground City. Opt for a private tour and you can tack on a stroll through Dorchester Square to any customized itinerary.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Dorchester Square is a must-visit for history buffs and nature lovers.
- Street signs, including parking and traffic signs, are written in French.
- Don’t forget comfortable shoes—the best way to explore the neighborhood is on foot.
- Food trucks are often parked along the square, but Downtown Montreal offers a variety of cafés and restaurants.
How to Get There
Dorchester Square’s central downtown location makes it easily accessible using Montreal’s comprehensive public transit system. Buses 107, 150, 430, and 747 all stop directly in front of the square, and the nearest metro stations are Bonaventure on the red 2 line and Peel on the green 2 line. Alternatively, a BIXI bike share dock is located on the square’s northeast corner.
When to Get There
Dorchester Square is open to the public 24 hours a day. Like most outdoor spaces in Montreal, the square is busiest from May to September; seating areas, shady trees, and wide walkways make it an easy place to spend an afternoon.
A Grave Beginning
Before 1854, Dorchester Square was the burial site of victims of a 1851 cholera epidemic that caused more deaths worldwide than any other 19th-century pandemic. Because the cemetery was built quickly and without much foresight, the government exhumed the bodies later that year and moved them to Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery atop Mount Royal. As you walk through Dorchester Square, you’ll spot the crosses engraved in the pathways—a small reminder of this land’s solemn beginnings.