Two years after my October trip, I visited Montreal and knew that there is a Nelson Monument in Place Jacques Cartier (pictured above in a stock photo from the Internet). Originally the site of a castle’s gardens destroyed by fire, Place Jacques Cartier was the site of Montreal’s public market until the 1950’s. It’s now one of the main tourist sites in Montreal’s Old City. Montreal citizens erected the monument in 1809, several decades before the Nelson column in London’s Trafalgar Square. Montreal’s Nelson column has apparently been controversial among the francophone Quebecois, but it has survived several attempts to remove or relocate it.
As you can see from my photos, the column and base are currently undergoing restoration and only the copy of the Nelson statue is visible (the original was removed to a museum in 1997). From Nelson biographies, it appears that the closest Nelson ever got to Montreal was in 1782 when, as captain of the frigate Albermarle, he briefly dropped anchor in Quebec City. Nonetheless, as one of the earliest commemorations of the Immortal Memory, Montreal’s “monument Nelson” stands as a daily reminder of Nelson’s impact in a former part of the British Empire.
O’Brien set only one of the Aubrey-Maturin novels in North America, but it’s one of his best (The Fortune of War). Neither Jack nor Stephen ever travel to Montreal, never getting any closer than Boston and Halifax.