La Fontaine Park
The daily life of Montrealers for nearly 150 years
La Fontaine Park is one of the oldest green spaces in Montreal. In the summer, residents of Plateau-Mont-Royal, as well as all Montrealers, come here for a family outing, a picnic, practice their sport or take advantage of the many activities offered regularly. In winter, the skating rink and snow-covered trails attract the least chilly.
Organize an event at Espace La Fontaine, in the heart of the park.
The La Fontaine Park:
A park to foster the environment
In addition to being part of Montreal’s historic heritage, La Fontaine Park contributes today to maintaining biodiversity and stabilizing global warming. In fact, urban green spaces allow:
- The stabilization of the temperature during the summer and prevention of the islands of heat;
- Purification of the air;
- Absorption of rainwater.
Find out how the park helps protect the environment with our scientific and ecological activities.
The La Fontaine Park:
A park to foster well-being
There is evidence that having access to a green space increases the well-being of citizens. A green space promotes:
- Increased level of physical activity (hiking trail, outdoor courses, bike paths, etc.)
- Reduced stress and anxiety;
- A more active lifestyle for both young and old.
Enjoy the patio of our bistro to refresh and restore after a workout.
The story of the Parc La Fontaine told
Parc La Fontaine
Originally, the park’s present land was an integral part of James Logan’s farm. This land was ceded in 1845 to the Canadian government, which used it for military exercises for 40 years.
In the following years, politicians realize that the City of Montreal lacks green spaces and that large spaces are becoming scarce. It is in this spirit that they undertake to turn the former military field into a public park.
The City of Montreal then rents part of the land to create a park, under the name of Logan Park. This work was done during the development period of the City’s major natural parks, such as Mount Royal Park and Île Sainte-Hélène.
In 1889, the first earthworks were launched. There are trees planted and the greenhouses of Square Viger are moved to the park. This is where, until 1952, all the flowers that adorn the city will be produced.
A house is built for the park warden. For 60 years, it is inhabited by the City’s superintendent of parks, Mr. Bernadet, and his family.
Leveling work in the western part of the park allows for military maneuvers on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s jubilee.
The city digs two pools of different levels in the center of the park. They are separated by a waterfall over which the French architect and landscaper Clovis Degrelle builds a bridge, named the Bridge of Love.
Logan Park is renamed La Fontaine Park as a tribute to Premier Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine. The inauguration is made during the parade of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1901.
Development of the luminous fountain in the north basin. The monument in honor of Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine is also erected.
Under the direction of Claude Robillard, Director of the Municipal Parks Service, La Fontaine Park has been completely refurbished. This is the beginning of the construction of the chalet-restaurant, now called Espace La Fontaine (the previous one was destroyed by fire in 1944¹), according to the plans of the architect Donat Beaupré. The new building is part of an overall plan comprising a central pavilion, conch for symphonic concerts, an amphitheater with a seating capacity of 4000, a new bridge and a modification of the two ponds. The greenhouses, the caretaker’s house, the waterfall and the Grenelle bridge are demolished.
The théâtre de Verdure was inaugurated on July 8, 1956. Once again, Claude Robillard had the idea of building an outdoor theater inspired by ancient amphitheatres. In 1965, under the direction of Germaine Dugas, the theater became a song box where, among others, Clémence Desrochers, Raymond Lévesque, Pauline Julien and Yvon Deschamps performed. For more than 50 years, the Théâtre de Verdure offers, in a rural setting, a free and diversified cultural program.
The Garden of Wonders is inaugurated on July 5, 1957. With its buildings inspired by fables and tales, farm animals and exotic, as well as with the prowess of its sea lions, the Garden will mark the memory of many Montrealers. To make room for the garden, the monument at Dollard-des-Ormeaux had to be moved to its present location.
Get the Garden of Wonders souvenir album!
The Garden of Wonders was dismantled in 1989. Some animals were relocated to Angrignon Park and others to the Granby Zoo, including Toutoune, an elephant now over 30 years old.
Some beautification work has begun in the park: a new alley leads the visitor to a gazebo above the upper pond, while a second belvedere, featuring the works of Michel Goulet, dominates the park. Lower pond in the axis of Roy Street. The statues of Charles de Gaulle and Félix Leclerc are installed.
The park becomes entirely the legal property of the City of Montreal.
Closing of the chalet-restaurant, operated until then by employees of the City of Montreal.
The borough appointed Espace La Fontaine to operate and animate the chalet-restaurant in order to make it a new pole of attraction in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.
François P. Émond of the architectural firm ÉKM develops a concept of development in the chalet-restaurant, where three distinct spaces coexist: business area, bistro space and lounge area.
On June 8, inauguration of the Espace La Fontaine cultural café by the mayor of the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, Mr. Luc Ferrandez.
Today, La Fontaine Park is full of activities and life. In collaboration with the borough of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, Espace La Fontaine is constantly adding events, workshops and shows to complete the park’s entertainment offer.
Get the Garden of Wonders souvenir book for $ 10 at the Bistro.