Place Jacques-Cartier

Square in Old Montréal

The liveliest spot in Old Montréal, this gently inclined square hums with performance artists, street musicians and the animated chatter from terrace restaurants lining its borders. A public market was set up here after a château burned down in 1803. At its top end stands the Colonne Nelson, a monument erected to Admiral Lord Nelson after his defeat of Napoleon’s fleet at Trafalgar.

Nelson’s presence is a thorn in the side of many French Québécois, and there have been many attempts to have it removed. Francophones later installed a statue of an obscure French admiral, Jean Vauquelin, in the nearby Place Vauquelin, just west of Hôtel de Ville on Rue Notre-Dame.