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Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine Mansion


1395 Overdale Street

Architectural and Landscape Value

Constructed in the 1830s, this house, despite certain modifications, is a rare example of the Neo-Classical greystone mansions built in the St. Antoine ward in that era. Its setback from the surrounding streets is a reminder of its original setting on landscaped grounds.

Historic Value

This house was home to one of our most important 19th century politicians, Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, who was the first Prime Minister of the united Canadas following the 1841 Union of Lower Canada and Upper Canada. LaFontaine was a key player in the creation of the country’s democratic institutions. In April 1849, the house was attacked by the rioters who had burned down the Parliament Building on the site of present-day Place d’Youville , to protest the adoption of the Compensation Act for all damages suffered during the 1837-38 Rebellion.

The Threat

Intervention by Heritage Montreal saved the house from demolition 20 years ago. Although the interior of the house was subsequently refinished, it has sat empty and abandoned for many years. The owner seems uninterested in a use of the house that would be appropriate and that respects its historical and architectural heritage.

Initiatives of Héritage Montréal

In 1987, Heritage Montreal convinced the City of Montreal to cite the house as a historic monument, which prevented its demolition. In 2005, Heritage Montreal called on the Federal Environment Minister to acquire the house and convert it into a site commemorating and interpreting the historic events at the origins of responsible government and parliamentary democracy in Canada. In 2009, following a resolution adopted by its members at its Annual General Meeting, Heritage Montreal once again called on the federal authorities, but to date, regrettably, the Canadian Government continues to exhibit indifference.

To help safeguard this site, write to us.

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