"Montreal, my ever changing city" Montreal by Gwenvar
Montreal Travel Guide: 3,641 reviews and 6,786 photos
Montreal, a beautiful French speaking city of North America, sits in the middle of the Fleuve Saint-Laurent (Saint-Lawrence River) and is crowned by the Mont-Royal (named Mount Royal by Cartier, in honour of Francois 1st of France). This is the city where I was born and have lived in, practically all of my life. It is a city people always come back to, because of the dynamic lifestyles that we can lead here. It is a city of many cultures which blend well together. Where people from all over the World share their treasures. It is a city where equatorial weather installs itself in summer, and where the deep cold of the north takes over in winter. Such a place where you can go with your bicycle to work in the warm seasons, and where I have been able to cross country ski to work, after a big snow storm in winter. (I've even seen people on snowmobiles in the middle of Downtown, once, but still..). It is a city where we are not afraid of doing crazy things, and where we can express ourselves to the fullest. I love this city and I hope that I will be able to describe her to you, to her fullest heights.
1534, Jacques Cartier takes possesion of Canada at Gaspe, in the name of the King of France.
1535, first arrival of Jacques Cartier in Montreal,
who had come from Saint-Malo in Bretagne (Britany), like so many of our French ancestors who also mainly came from Normandie( ex-Vikings) and Poitou.
In fact, Hochelaga (Montreal's first name meaning "Beaver Lake") was first populated by the Iroquois Natives (Mohawks) who welcomed these strange French that we were. (I am always a little wary, though, at how colonisers view these good wishes of welcome by their "colonised", but it is true that the French were often in good terms with the Natives they encountered, who helped them survive to their new environment. On the other hand, it is also true that these same Natives lost a lot of their lands and almost lost their cultures in the process. Especially in this last century.)
These were a semi-sedentary people, who ploughed their lands for periods of 10 to 20 years until it couldn't produce anymore, and then moved on. (This might explain why when the French came back in 1541, they were not there to be found anymore.) Their villages were sometimes fenced with longhouses in which many nuclear families, 6 to 12 regrouping from 25 to 60 inhabitants, generally binded together by matrilineal links, lived. There are still some Native Mohawk communities around Montreal, at Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Akwesasne and Doncaster.
See the map of Aboriginal Reserves of Quebec
And for more info: Aboriginal Affairs
In 1642, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve founds Ville-Marie (Montreal) helped by Jeanne Mance, with 50 other men and women. And would be followed by many other "French" through time.
1743 the Montrealer Louis-Joseph Gaultier de la Verendrye is the first European to discover the Rockies.
1760 Montreal surrenders to the English without combat, after the fall of Quebec city. The Governor of Montreal was accused of treason on his return to France.
Between 1800 and 1850, Montreal's population grows from 10,000 to 50,000, as wave after wave of English, Scottish and Irish immigrants arrive. (The Gaels, because of the Clearances).
Between 1880 and 1930, Montreal was Canada's metropolis and it's major industrial centre. These are very well made web sites on Montreal's history , Centre d'histoire de Montreal / Montreal's History Centre .
NOTE AUX FRANCOPHONES, tous les sites que je nommerai, pourront generalement etre visionnes en francais. Il suffit de trouver le mot "FRANCAIS" sur la page que vous choisirez.
In the 1960's, the people of the province of Quebec, us, in other words, started the Revolution Tranquille (Quiet Revolution). And started it by separating the too powerful Church from the State. Our society went throught deep changes as it had never seen before, and on all levels. Which ended up by having thousands of anglophones moving to Toronto, Ontario, for political reasons. Our province has always been predominantly French, especially outside of Montreal, and the "English" only a minority, but a rich and powerful one. There were still many French Canadians who were well educated and who held important positions in our society at large. The political life of the province of Quebec has always been predominated by a great majority of French Canadians. And the French Catholic Church has always been the most powerful one by far. Too powerful even for our then extremelly devoted selves.
People of Quebec are peace loving, who else would have made a quiet revolution? Well, South Africa and India did, still, it's not the main flow of the stream. This all happened before I was born, but has greatly affected the life that I have led and the one that I will lead, as for all Quebecers and Canadians alike.
This is in big lines why this part of North America is French. And why the people are different in mentality and in lifestyles than anywhere else in North America, you might go to. And we are very pround of having stayed ourselves and cherish our culture very much so.
Montreal's economy is in great shape, as can be seen with the naked eye, with all the different buildings that have been constructed in the last years, and all the shopping going around! (Ask my mother, she's a great help to our economy.) My city is also made of the greatest number of intermingling communities I have ever seen through my peregrinations of the world, and who have come to us with the passage of time, for different reasons, and have decided to stay. And yes, the "English" who love Montreal too much to leave it or to stay away much longer from it , still dwell in it's bosom in good numbers, and are welcome to do so. Since it would be selfish of us not to share this great city. And no, I have not seen the intirety of this world yet, so yes, I know that there are other places with as many, if not more different cultures come together. But it is something that I am proud of, and that is Montreal and it's open minded (and fun loving)people!
And did I mention that we have 4 major universities ( Universite de Montreal(UdM) ; Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) ; McGill University and Concordia University ) comprising a total of around 138,000 students on a total population of 3,000,000, including the suburbs? Well, I am now. So, in other words, we are not lacking anything in terms of parties, clubs, restaurants, theaters and general atmosphere. Uhhh, no! I meant in terms of libraries, cafes, museums and quiet discipline. pfew! I hope none of their parents read that...The clubs and bars are only for once you've got your diploma. Ya, sure! But still, people here don't stop living because they would be considered too old, nobody's too old for that! ...Well, I guess that you get the drift by now...
City of Montreal's official web site
- Pros:Great people, beautiful seasons, lot's to do.
- Cons:Beautiful winter but it does'nt know when enought's enought!
- In a nutshell:A warm people in the midst of a cold climate.
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