The memorial to the Scottish poet Robert Burns, a tribute to Montréal’s Scottish industrialists and financiers, represents the socially conscious and refined romantic ideal of the community during the High Victorian Era. The memorial by G. A. Lawson stands at the western entrance of Square Dorchester. Burns looks out towards the infinite expanse of Western Canada, opened up by the rail and finance managed by the elites of the community.
The statue was a reproduction of the one which stands in Ayr, near Burns’ birthplace, considered to be one of the finest depictions of Scotland’s national poet.
The memorial was unveiled in the city’s downtown Dominion Square on October 18, 1930, a cold and rainy day. The speeches made that day emphasised that its erection was not only in honour of Burns’s genius, but also to commemorate the impact of Scots on Montreal’s development.
On July 8, 2009, the official first shovelful of dirt was lifted in the $23-million project to restore Dorchester Square and Place du Canada at 10 a.m. near the Boer War Memorial monument.