Neighbourhood - Public spaces

Phillips Square


History

When Thomas Phillips died in 1842, his heirs ceded this parcel of land to the city on the condition that it be used as a public space. It was thus that Philips Square was born, to the great pleasure of citizens and businessmen.

At first residential, it changed to low scale commercial at the end of the 19th century attracting prestige businesses that catered to the well-to-do clientele of the Square Mile. Morgan's department store (now owned by The Bay), Henry Birks & Sons, and the first Montreal Art Association (precursor to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) were established on the square and stimulated the commercial development of Sainte-Catherine Street West.

During World War II, Phillips Square was temporarily renamed “Place de la Victoire.” Several rallies took place over the course of three weeks in 1944, fostering hopes of an imminent end to the conflict.