History Through Our Eyes: April 29, 1939, Champ de Mars

Though it seems startling now, the lovely green space behind City Hall was mainly used as a parking lot from the 1920s until the 1980s.

This is a cropped version of a photo of Champ de Mars dated April 29, 1939 showing it being used as a parking lot. The uncropped photo accompanies the text. Montreal Gazette archives

Though it seems startling now, the lovely green space behind City Hall was mainly used as a parking lot from the 1920s until the 1980s. This photo from our archives, dated April 29, 1939, shows Champ de Mars as a field of cars.

As the name suggests — Mars was the Roman god of war — the field’s original purpose was military, as an exercise ground. For a couple of decades before it became a parking lot, an oped-air public market had operated there.

During the Second World War, the space was once again put to military use. It was federal property and had only been leased to the city with the understanding Ottawa could reclaim it, and had just done so, we wrote on Sept. 13, 1939.

A month later, we reported that replacing the lost parking — there had been room for 700 cars, we said — was a headache for the city: “Since the militia has taken over the historic lot, traffic has been crippled in the narrow, twisty streets of the neighbourhood of the City Hall and motorists are at their wit’s ends to find a place to leave their cars.” Civic employees were turning up late, with parking woes available as an excuse, true or not, we noted.

After the war, Champ de Mars reverted to parking. About three decades ago, the space took its present form, including two rows of stones restored from the city’s original fortifications.

Much of what is visible in this photo still looks familiar: the back of City Hall, the municipal court house and the superstructure of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, opened in 1930. It can be seen in the background, if one looks closely.

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Источник: Montrealgazette.com

Источник: Corruptioner.life

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