Saturday, August 6, 2022

Virtual Montreal Fountain Tours: Fountain at Iberville Square


St-Cunigunde Church, Montreal

Geographic Coordinates:

45.48527062318233, -73.57697992574523 

 “This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window”. Mark Twain The New York Times, December 10, 1881.

Twain was speaking in and of my home town of Montreal at a reception held in his honour at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal on Thursday December 8, 1881.

During my bus commutes to work I would see many church tops and Twain's quote would come to mind. While walking as part of my regular commute I saw one of these churches up close. It is called  St. Cunigunde Church. Across the street  is Iberville Square with a fountain dedicated to Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville. 

The lower part of the inscription reads: “The first statue was erected by the citizens of the city of Ste-Cunigunde  on July 19, 1894.", yes there was such a city on the island of Montreal in the day. And it continued, "This second statue was raised by the city of Montreal on July 20, 1983."

Very dissimilar to the first two fountains that we visited, the fountain to honour Chevalier Pierre Le Moyen d’Iberville, located across from St-Cunigunde Church on the southwest corner St-Jacques West and Vinet streets, is extremely simple in comparison to the others. There are neither fire, nor lights, and this really says something about the time it was constructed.

The four spigots are most likely being powered by four separate centrifugal pumps, with the appropriate amount of power to provide the desired rise of water. There are factors to be measured and formulas that fountain designers use to determine the size of the pumps they need.

The centre piece of granite bears inscriptions on each of its faces. Each spigot is set in line with the right angle of the centre piece, and spews a decent volume of water about a metre into the air. It seems to have no special timing mechanism. The jets are pretty simple, though they do create a very calming sound. However; for some individuals, depending on the volume of fluids they consume before visiting this fountain it may just create a Pavlovian reflex making them feel like urinating.


The fountain where it stands today was erected by the City of Montreal in 1983, and it seems to be constantly running.

One of the first patents for water fountain controls US Patent 4,111,363, was issued in the autumn of 1978 and called for the use of timing mechanisms and electromagnetically controlled valves. As we saw with both La Jute and the 29 jets at Victoria Square, the art of fountain design, construction and layout has progressed a great deal over the last four decades.

To see the fountain in action visit and please subscribe to my YouTube channel like and leave your comments.

To see the episodes you have missed please check my playlist at: .

Virtual Montreal Fountain Tours is released weekly, on Thursdays, with a short appearing on Mondays.

Closed Captioning is provided for those with hearing difficulty in English, and subtitles are available in both French and Ukrainian.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Virtual Montreal Fountain Tours: Fountains at Victoria Square

       Geographic Coordinates:   45.50134242844492, -73.56093287129653                                    



My commute to work in the morning included public transportation in two different modes: bus and metro, or subway as it is called in  many other locations. However,
I would often try to throw in a couple of kilometres of walking; either on my way to work, or on my way home. In exiting the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) / Victoria Square metro there was a series of fountains I would often walk by.

Like the fountain at Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, this fountain was opened in 2004.

It seems that the city had a plan to rejuvenate the entire district known as the Quartier international de Montreal, and this was clearly confirmed in 2017 at the Metropolis XII World Congress, where Montreal presented its 44 page report of its projects.

Victoria Square has undergone many transformations since its inception in 1860, and from postcards it seems that the effigy of Queen Victoria erected in 1872 has in the past existed with and without the aqueous element. It was designed by English sculptor Marshall Wood.

This was written about Wood on a site called  

"Wood – one of Queen Victoria’s favourite artists – spent time near the end of his life in Melbourne, arranging for the completion and installation of his statue of the monarch for Parliament House (finally installed in Queen’s Hall in 1887). This was one of several variant statues of the queen produced by Wood for various colonial cities."

Thus was the time when commissions were given to artists by people in high places. 

According to this obituary on Wood, he didn't live very long only only made it to his fiftieth year. 

To the left of Wood’s statue are the first two pools with their series of fountains. The first pool, located just north of St-Jacques Street West, is invisible from Sainte-Antoine Street West. It has four jets, the next pool is located left of the statue and has six.

Taking a quick look around to be certain I wouldn’t put myself in harm’s way while crossing Sainte-Antoine Street West, I am greeted by another set of six jets before the entrance to the metro. In total there are 29 jets for these fountains in five different pools at Victoria Square.

According to Montreal-based WAA, the firm responsible for the re-engineering of Victoria Square to include fountains, wrote on their website: “The redevelopment of Victoria Square with its series of fountains and the creation of Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle featuring Riopelle’s bronze sculpture-fountain and ring of fire entitled La Joute (The Joust) are only a few of the attractions that visitors can now discover.”

The fountains at Victoria Square, from St-Jacques Street West up to Viger Street West, create a calming atmosphere, in the centre of a bustling metropolis.

To join in on the fun of visiting various fountains in Montreal, please join my YouTube channel found at:

William (Vasyl) Pawlowsky 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Virtual Monteal Fountain Tours: La Joute by Jean-Paul Riopelle

I discovered this fountain walking to work one morning. A company of plumbers were preparing it for the upcoming season. Though it was not the only fountain I’ve discovered over the last little while in my home town of Montreal. Please join me for Montreal Virtual Fountain Tours. I hope to be informative and entertaining at times.

As someone who walks a great deal I’ve discovered more than a few aqueous gems in my home town of Montreal. After a kind suggestion from a friend I realized that maybe it would be worthwhile sharing Montreal's fountains with others globally.

The sculpture La Joute by Jean-Paul Riopelle created in 1969 was not complete nor was it installed where it is located today, but was located by the Olympic Stadium.

According to Riopelle biographer François-Marc Gagnon, Riopelle himself called this work “The Tower of Life”. The creatures are striving to capture the flag, and some, including those who installed this fountain in its current location in 2004 is truer to his original design. Soucy Aquatik who is responsible for this installation write on their website: "The four elements of water, air, land, and fire come together in all four seasons in this fountain by Jean-Paul Riopelle located in the centre of Montreal’s Quartier International."

Soucy AquatiK continues: "The fountain includes a round basin with an umbrella-shaped jet. On the surface of the water, a ring of fire is combined with a captivating mist effect. These special displays are pre-programmed and operate automatically according to a predetermined schedule."

The artwork's owner the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Quebec government and Riopelle’s heirs felt that moving the creation to it’s current location would receive more exposure and honour that the author deserved. In its current location it also includes all the elements, which Riopelle had designed into the work including both the fountain and fire elements.


Watch this copy here:

William (Vasyl) Pawlowsky