Located at the corner of Sherbrooke Street and Melville Street, this 29 acres (1,141,002 sq. ft. park is second in size but first in popularity in Westmount.
As the city's first public park, it has also established itself as a landmark within Westmount. Indeed, guided by criteria which stipulated that it be central to Westmount, the location of this park was identified in 1892.
Its inception was a terrain originally earmarked for a Corporation Yard, but in 1898, the City purchased additional land and thus extended its boundaries from Sherbrooke Street to de Maisonneuve Boulevard (then Western Avenue), and from Melville Avenue to the back of the properties on Lansdowne Avenue.
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee brought the community an unexpected windfall, which allowed for the construction of Westmount’s first library, Victoria Hall, as well as a revamping of the park which, for the most part, was a largely wooded area.
A few years later, in 1912, M.J. Howard Manning undertook the landscaping for the City of Westmount and the park was laid out in the spirit of Frederick Law Olmsted - landscape architect for Mont Royal Park and New York's Central Park - following the natural streams, ravines and wooded areas on the site. All the foot paths, fountains, ponds and borders were made in the 1920’s, but the today’s scheme resembles closely to the initial composition.
Westmount Park is central to many Westmount events and programs. It contains a wading pool, extensive playground, beautiful floral plantings, a playing field, three baseball diamonds, clay and hard-surface tennis courts. A serpentine waterway flows gently beneath aged willows and past shady benches.
The real owner of Westmount park! Photo: © Provincequebec
Don’t forget that feeding wildlife is illegal in Westmount as the City has has municipal legislation that prohibits the feeding of wild animals (By-law 257) to prevent problems. In fact, many people enjoy feeding wildlife because it brings them in close contact with nature. Natural food sources are plentiful throughout the community and provide better nutrition than food intended for human consumption. Feeding wildlife can lead to increased litter sizes, in excess of what natural food sources could support, as the reliance on alternate food sources escalates. Feeding wildlife can prevent animals from being wary of people and may cause them to become a nuisance or even a danger to humans. Food left out for wildlife can in fact result in increasing the risk of attracting rodents.
The Westmount Arena and swimming pool lie at its southwest corner, with the Library and Victoria Hall in the northwest.
Victoria Jubilee Hall was opened in 1899 after citizens petitioned the city for a community centre. Westmount architect Robert Findlay designed the Hall, using the same style and materials as the Library. It housed a public meeting room, lodge room, drill hall, bowling alley, billiard room, gymnasium, and a swimming pool. The hall was destroyed by fire in 1924, but reopened in 1925, when a new community centre on this site was built in stone in the neo-Tudor style by the architecture firm Hutchison & Wood. Sandstone was used for the Gothic details - the square crenellated tower flanked by four corner turrets, the oriel window above the ogival doors, and the buttresses of the two wings.
This new centre had a large hall with a balcony and a stage for dances and performances. There was a Masonic Lodge room upstairs. Victoria Hall underwent a complete renovation and restoration in 1998, carried out by the firm Fournier, Gersovitz & Moss. It provides space for municipal courses, concerts, meetings, and social events.
The Westmount Arena houses the Sports and Recreation offices, the TAG Teen Centre and the changing rooms for the swimming pool. Ice rinks are available for hockey, figure skating, skating lessons, broomball and general skating - all offered by the department and described in its semi-annual booklet.
In summer, Westmount day camps meet at the Arena. In addition, a variety of games and activities such as ping-pong and mini-golf are offered in the rink areas.
A serpentine waterway flows beneath aged willows and past shady benches. Photo : © ProvinceQuebec
Westmount park paths. Photo : © ProvinceQuebec