Square Victoria has a very interesting history. The occupation of this place has changed several times over decades and many buildings that have succeeded around the square.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, this site was occupied by a hay market frequented by farmers from the Montreal near countryside. At this period, this place was surrounded by small two-storey buildings, small urban residences as well as by some churches.
These buildings visible in the picture took by Notman in1858 were quickly replaced by beautiful Second Empire Style buildings while the Square becomes an central place in Montreal city, among others reasons, the raise in power of the St. James Street, which then host the headquarters of all the major Canadian banks. Stores warehouses are constructed as well as the first Montreal YMCA building
In the sixties , great changes come significantly modify this small center: the construction of the underground Ville Marie speedway is the reason of the destruction of many blocks while the construction of the “Tour de la Bourse” (Stock exchange tower) just occupy the west side by an overwhelming presence. Over the years, various projects came to change the contours of this place: The Maisonneuve complex, as well as the development of the Centre for International Trade reshapes this urban space.
Square Victoria recently where in the middle of a major succeeded revitalization project: The International District. It then reshapes the whole Victoria Square, Quebecer to achieve a makeover of its headquarters adjacent to the St. James Street. The construction of ICAO, as well as the complete restructuring of the underground network had totally changed the use of this place. Last to be built, the Caisse de Depot et Placement and the W Hotel have given a design and a very post-modern shape to this 100 year old Square.
Incidentally, the statue of Queen Victoria have been move more than 4 times around the square since its inauguration.