Montreal's Grandest Town Residence: The Bingham Mansion

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Montreal's Grandest Town Residence: The Bingham Mansion
Montreal’s Bingham Mansion was completed in 1822 for the American-born William Bingham (1800-1852) and his wife, Marie-Charlotte Chartier de Lotbinière (1805-1866), the wealthy “Seigneuresse de Rigaud.” The house was located on St. Denis Hill at the northwest corner of Notre-Dame and Bonsecours Streets. The author notes that the three-story neo-classical mansion, modelled on Lansdowne House in London, became the centre of fashionable society in Montreal, and remained so until 1834, when the couple left for Paris. He quotes reports by various guests of the goings-on at the mansion, including one that said that William and Charlotte lived “in the best style at Montreal, where their house was open to all gay people, especially to officers of the British regiments.” William is claimed in his later life to say that of his five children born in Montreal, he was only certain of the legitimacy of his eldest son. William and Charlotte let the house until they sold it in 1843. During and after this time the mansion became the official residence of the Governors General from 1838 to 1843, then the first home of the High School of Montreal until 1845, and then, with additions built at the rear, the Donegana’s Hotel. The building was consumed by fire on August 16, 1849, during the Rebellion Losses Bill Riots in Montreal. Another, cheaper Donegana’s Hotel was later built on the site and became a hangout for American Confederate spies during the US Civil War. That building was demolished in 1880 to make way for the Hôpital Notre-Dame.
Quebec Heritage News
Vol. 17
no. 2
Spring 2023
24, 26-27
Meredith, Mark. “Montreal’s Grandest Town Residence: The Bingham Mansion.” Quebec Heritage News, Spring 2023.
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