The Crystal Palace was an exhibition hall built for the Montreal Industrial Exhibition of 1860, originally located at the foot of Victoria Street (today's University Street) between Sainte Catherine and Cathcart Streets. It was used for temporary exhibitions, and in winter, housed an ice skating rink.
The building was designed by Montreal architect John William Hopkins. It had an iron framework, a barrel-vaulted nave and two galleries, each twenty feet wide, extending all the way around the interior. Its design was inspired by the Crystal Palace of London, England.
The large open space of the exhibition hall was suitable for other uses. In later years, the hall would house a natural ice skating rink in the winter, and was one of the first indoor skating rinks in Canada. The skating rink was used by McGill University students to play ice hockey and the rink is the site of the first known photograph of ice hockey players in hockey uniforms, taken in 1881.The rink also housed the Crystal Skating Club and Crystal Hockey Club, more commonly known as the Montreal Crystals which played men's senior-level amateur hockey in the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada.
Relocation and fire
In 1878 it was dismantled and moved to Fletcher's Field, now known as Jeanne-Mance Park. In July 1896, the Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire, like its namesake, London's original Crystal Palace. The original location later was home to the Palace Theatre, a movie house, and today contains an alley named Ruelle Palace.
See photographs at the McCord Museum website:
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