This leafy expanse in the heart of downtown was known until 1988 as Dominion Sq, a reminder of Canada’s founding in 1867. A Catholic cemetery was here until 1870 and bodies still lie beneath the grass. Events of all kinds have taken place here over the years – fashion shows, political rallies and royal visits.
The square still exudes the might of the British Empire, with statues of Boer War booster Lord Strathcona, Queen Victoria and poet Robert Burns, plus Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s first francophone prime minister, who faces off a statue of John A Macdonald, the first anglophone prime minister, in Place du Canada across Blvd René-Lévesque Ouest. The city’s main tourist office lies on the square’s northwest side.