A little-known sanctuary sits just behind St. Patrick’s Basilica in the heart of the city’s business district. That’s where you’ll often find Phillipps Chu and his four-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Milo.
“I’m here at least three times a day,” he told Global News while walking Milo. “I come here for my dog, I come here for my girlfriend to have picnics.”
The land sits south of the Basilica on de la Gauchetière Street between Saint-Alexandre and Beaver Hall.
Chu comes for the peace and quiet, but at lunchtime when the weather is good, he struggles to find somewhere to sit.
“Anytime it’s a nice day, around lunchtime or even after dinner, this park fills up with people,” says Chu, fearing things may change.
The Basilica has sold a part of it to HEC, Université de Montréal’s business school. The school plans to construct a 24,000-square-metre office complex for classrooms and administration offices.
Some locals are not happy with the idea.
“People from the community, people basically from the businesses in front, everyone basically benefits from this green space,” Chu explained.
Paulette Lachance shares his feeling. She visits the park almost daily and said it’s a good place for people to gather as a community.
The Basilica said they had to sell the land for financial reasons, but assure that there are plans to develop the remaining green space for the public to continue using.