The first U.S. Consular agency in Montreal was opened on May 29, 1854, by consular agent Canfield Dorwin of Vermont. The office was raised to Consulate General status in July of 1857, when American officials transferred the office of the U.S. Consul General to the British North American Provinces from Quebec City to Montreal, in recognition of Montreal’s growing commercial importance. Nearly half of the trade between Canada and the U.S. at the time transited the Port of Montreal. Quebec province previously hosted numerous U.S. consular offices and commercial agencies – including posts in Coaticook, Gaspé, Rimouski, St. Hyacinthe, Sherbrooke and Trois Rivières – but most of these establishments had been consolidated by 1915. Today, the U.S. government is ably represented in Quebec by Consulate Generals in Montreal and Quebec City.
The first female U.S. Consul General to be appointed to Montreal was Elizabeth Harper in 1973. The first African American to hold the post was Bernadette Allen, appointed in 2002.
The Consulate General in Montreal has changed location several times in the course of its history. The Consulate moved from buildings it had occupied since the 1950s on rue du Docteur-Penfield to Complexe Desjardins in 1976, where the Consulate remained for 14 years. Since 1990, it has been located in the SNC-Lavalin building, on the corner of René-Lévesque Boulevard and Saint-Alexandre Street.