Hôtel de Ville

Historic Building in Old Montréal
Image by Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Montréal’s handsome City Hall was built between 1872 and 1878, then rebuilt after a fire in 1926. Its rigid square-based dome and nod to the baroque makes it a fine example of Second Empire–style architecture. It's steeped in local lore: in 1967 French leader Charles de Gaulle famously yelled from its balcony to the crowds outside ‘Vive le Québec libre!’ (‘Long live free Québec!’). Those four words fueled the fires of Québécois separatism and strained relations with Ottawa for years.

Peer into the Great Hall of Honor for some scenes of rural Québec and busts of Jacques Viger, the first French-speaking mayor (1833–36), and Peter McGill, the first English-speaking mayor (1840–42).