Towards the end of the 19th century, Montrealers start discussing the idea of erecting a monument to the memory of Paul Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve (1612-1676), the founder of Montreal. At that time there were only two public monuments in the city: one honoring Admiral Nelson (1758-1905), and another to Queen Victoria (1819-1901) .

In April 1879, artist Napoléon Bourassa (1827 -1916) and his pupil, Louis-Philippe Hébert (1850-1917), submitted to a group of prominent citizens the plans of a monumental fountain to honor Maisonneuve. Despite the creation of a committee to drive the project, the initiative was abandoned after a few months.

It resurfaced in 1891, as Montreal was getting ready to celebrate its 250th anniversary. This time the committee commissioned only one artist, Louis-Philippe Hébert, to design and build the monument. After much hesitation regarding the plans and a slow-starting fundraising campaign, the monument was finally erected on the Place d'Armes in July 1895
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