Montréal Forum National Historic Site of Canada

Montréal, Quebec
The south (Sainte-Catherine Street) façade of the Montréal Forum showing the original appearance of the structure with its commercial premises along the south and west (left side of the photograph) elevations, April 1947. © Library and Archives Canada, National Film Board, Phototèque Collection | Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, Office national du film, Collection Phototèque, PA129603.Corner view of the Montréal Forum, after exterior revised in 1968, 1997. © Parks Canada Agency | Agence Parcs Canada, Dana Johnson, 1997.Corner view of the Montréal Forum, 2013. © Parks Canada Agency | Agence Parcs Canada, M. Paradis, 2013.
Address : 2313 Sainte-Catherine West, Montréal, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1997-09-22
  • 1924 to 1924 (Construction)
  • 1924 to 1996 (Significant)
  • 1968 to 1968 (Restoration)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Kenneth Sedleigh  (Architect)
  • John S. Archibald  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Montréal Forum  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 1997-020, 1998-AM-08, 2013-CED-SDC-02


Originally constructed in 1924 for the Montreal Maroons hockey team, the Forum was home to the Montréal Canadiens from 1926 to 1996. Its long association with the Canadiens made this former arena an important symbol in the history of sport in Canada. In the 20th century, it was one of this country’s most prominent sporting venues, hosting many landmark events, including the record-breaking women’s gymnastics competition during the 1976 Olympic Games. Until 1996, it was one of the most popular locations in Canada for large cultural, political, and religious events.

Description of Historic Place

The Montréal Forum is a large, indoor venue for professional ice hockey. It is located at the corner of Sainte-Catherine and Atwater streets in the city of Montréal. The formal recognition consists of the building on its legal property.

Heritage Value

The Montréal Forum was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1997 because:
— during the 20th century it was one of the most famous sporting venues in the country;
— due to its intimate association, from 1924 to 1996, with one of the most successful sporting franchises in North America, the Montreal Canadiens, it serves as an icon for the role of hockey in Canada's national culture;
— the Forum was, from 1924 to 1996, one of the leading sites in Canada for major indoor cultural, political, and religious events.

The heritage value of this site resides in its association with professional ice hockey, and specifically as the former home of the Montréal Canadiens. Built in 1924 as a professional ice hockey venue, the Montréal Forum served for 71 years as the home of the Montréal Canadiens, one of the earliest professional teams and Canada's oldest continuously operating franchise. Founded in 1909, the Canadiens set records unsurpassed in all of professional sport in North America, for the making the most appearances in playoffs and in Stanley Cup finals. Because of its close identification with the Canadiens, the Forum is regarded as ice hockey's ''Holy Place''.

The Forum is a rare early example of a large indoor venue suitable for international and national events and has accommodated a broad range of social, political and religious events. These include pop and rock concerts, symphonic performances and opera; non-musical shows of all kinds; sports events other than hockey, including boxing, wrestling, tennis and the 1976 Olympic gymnastics competition; political and sacred rallies, conventions, meetings and ceremonies.

The building was substantially reconstructed in 1968. In 1996 the Forum was officially closed and converted for other uses.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1997, June 2013.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include:
— its location within Montréal,
— the footprint of the original building,
— original surviving fabric and design components which relate to use by the Montréal Canadiens during the period from 1924 to 1996,
— original surviving fabric and design components which relate to use for large, indoor, social, religious and political events during the period from 1924 to 1996,
— its scale, evidence of its capacity to host national and international sporting events.