Montréal Parliament burns down

April 26, 2017

The Burning of the Parliament building in Montréal


The Burning of the Parliament building in Montréal, attributed to Joseph Légaré, about 1849. McCord Museum, M11588

1849

The Rebellion Losses Bill was designed to compensate those who had lost property during the 1837–1838 rebellions. Under the new policy of responsible government, Governor General James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, had given royal assent to the bill and it had passed, but it was controversial. A mob formed outside the Parliament building in Montréal, and pro-Tory protesters pelted Elgin’s carriage as he left. Attention then turned to the building: rocks were thrown and soon the gas mains were opened and set alight. Parliament burned to the ground, and the capital was moved to Toronto.

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