Like several other big cities, Montréal built a replica of London’s Crystal Palace of 1851, on the initiative of the Board of Arts and Manufacture. This imposing structure was erected in the city’s elegant new ward in preparation for the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1860. The design is that of architect John William Hopkins, also known for the Royal Insurance Building on Pointe-à-Callière.
The Crystal Palace, 26 metres in width and with a 56-metre-long nave, was located on Sainte-Catherine Street across from Victoria Street.
Unlike London’s palace, built exclusively from metal and glass, Montréal’s was strengthened with brick to withstand the climate. In fact, none of the Canadian palaces will be adorned with a crystal roof as it is done in London.
Dedicated to presenting exhibitions, it was used occasionally for large banquets.
In 1878, the palace was dismantled and moved to the large Provincial Exhibition grounds, on the corner of Mont-Royal and Park avenues, today the site of Jeanne-Mance Park. In 1896, it disappeared in a fire.