By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca
Dominion Square is one of the most remarkable buildings built in Montreal in the 1920s. Ordered by a group of Montreal investors and erected in 1928-1929, the Dominion Square Building is both a commercial office tower and a shopping mall.
Designed by the architectural firm of Ross and Macdonald, the twelve-storey high Neo-Renaissance style building stands over the foundations of the Erskine Presbyterian Church, a late 19th century religious sanctuary which was demolished in 1894. It is built with limestone from Rockwood in Alabama, with a base of grey granite from Stanstead, Quebec.
At the time, it was the largest office building in Canada, and the first building in Montreal to combine offices, retail space, and underground parking. The building has two façades: one overlooking Ste. Catherine Street, the other on Dominion Square – renamed Dorchester Square in 1988, in honor of Lord Dorchester, former governor of British North-America.
The main entrances feature large, beautifully sculptured bronze doors. The building has 12 floors above ground, and four floors underground. The uniqueness of the Dominion Square Building in those days, was its large and elegant indoor shopping mall spread over two floors, of which the second one was accessible by wooden escalators, the first ones in Montreal, that were still in use in the 1980’s. The other 10 floors contained offices and were accessible by eight fast automated elevators. Unusual for the time was that the retail stores were both accessible from the street and from inside the mall.
During major renovations in 1989, extensions to the second and third floor were made, jutting out as a protective arcade with a green-glass solarium on top, along the southern side of the building.
Tenants of the building include The Gazette, the head office of the Montreal Tourism Office, HMV, a branch of the Desjardins Group and CKMI-DT, a broadcast station and television studio of Global Television Network.
The Dominion Square Building is located at 1010, Sainte-Catherine Street West,