Marius Dufresne

16 June 2017

Engineer, surveyor and architect Marius Dufresne did his graduate studies at the École Polytechnique de Montréal before starting his career at the Longue-Pointe railway workshop. An expert in the construction of tunnels, bridges, dams and power stations in Quebec, he also helped build the Jacques Cartier Bridge substructure.

Did you know that Marius Dufresne designed the plans for his own château-style mansion?

From 1908 to 1918, Marius Dufresne worked as a civil engineer for the Cité de Maisonneuve. During this time, he actively participated in many of the city’s urban design and beautification projects that now form part of the architectural heritage of the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough in Montreal. These landmarks include the Maisonneuve Market, the firehall, Maisonneuve City Hall as well as the Morgan public bath. A few years later in 1926, Marius Dufresne was involved in the construction of the Jacques Cartier Bridge, as he helped build the north piers and the structure’s deck. When the work began, the workers had to dig down to the bedrock at the gigantic work site to stabilize the piers. At the north and south approaches, the piers were built with steel and concrete, and their construction would require the use of 4,000,000 rivets, 475,000 bags of cement, and 33,000 tonnes of metal.

In his free time, the engineer designed the plans for his home, the Château Dufresne, which he built with the help of his brother Oscar and the French architect Jules Renard. Built as a double residence, Dufresne’s home was designed in the “château style” of Beaux Arts architecture, which was admired by the French-Canadian bourgeoisie at the time for its elegance. The Dufresne family lived there until 1940, when it was sold to the Pères de Sainte-Croix as a boarding school for children in the area. After being left vacant and subsequently restored by the MacDonald Stewart Foundation, the Château Dufresne was converted into the Dufresne-Nincheri Museum that stands at the site today.

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