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Montréal

Montreal

"Concordia Salus ("well-being through harmony")"

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  Summary  

Montreal (; Montréal pronounced ) is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America. Originally called Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", the city takes its present name from Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill located in the heart of the city, whose name was also initially given to the island on which the city is located, or Mont Réal as it was spelled in Middle French, .

As of February 2011, Statistics Canada identifies Montreal's Census Metropolitan Area as Canada's second most populous with an estimated metropolitan area population of nearly 3.9 million and a population of over 1.9 million in the "agglomeration" of Montreal, which includes all of the municipalities on the island of Montreal. The city of Montreal proper had a population of 1,620,693 as of the 2006 census.

French is the city's official language and is also the language spoken at home by 55.1% of the population, followed by English at 25% and 19% other languages . In the larger Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 67.9% of the population speaks French at home, compared to 16.5% who speak English. 56% of the population is able to speak both English and French. Montreal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the Western world, after Paris.

Montreal is consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities, was called "Canada's Cultural Capital" by Monocle Magazine and recently was named a UNESCO City of Design. Though historically the commercial capital of Canada, it was surpassed in population, as well as economic strength, by Toronto after 1976. Today it continues as an important centre of commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, film and world affairs.

In 2010, Montreal was named a hub city, ranked 34th globally out of 289 cities for innovation across multiple sectors of the urban economy, in the Innovation Cities Index by 2thinknow. Montreal was the next Canadian city in the annual index behind nexus city Toronto in 12th place and ahead of fellow hub cities Calgary, Quebec City, Vancouver and Edmonton. In 2009, Montreal was named North America's number one host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association .

  History  

Archaeological evidence demonstrates that various nomadic First Nations native people occupied the island of Montreal for at least 2,000 years before the arrival of Europeans. By the year AD 1000, they had started to cultivate maize. Within a few hundred years, they had built fortified villages. The St. Lawrence Iroquoians, a people distinct from the Iroquois nations of the Haudenosaunee who originated mostly in present-day New York, established the village of Hochelaga at the foot of Mount Royal centuries before the French arrived. Archeologists have found evidence of their habitation there and at other locations in the valley since at least the 14th century. The French explorer Jacques Cartier visited Hochelaga on October 2, 1535, and estimated the population of the native people at Hochelaga to be "over a thousand people".

Seventy years later, French explorer Samuel de Champlain reported that the St. Lawrence Iroquoians and their settlements had disappeared altogether from the St. Lawrence valley, possibly due to outmigration, epidemic of European diseases, or intertribal wars. In 1611 Champlain established a fur trading post on the Island of Montreal, on a site initially named La Place Royale. At the confluence of Petite Rivière and St. Lawrence River, it is where present-day Pointe-à-Callière stands. In 1639, Jérôme Le Royer de La Dauversière obtained the Seigneurial title to the Island of Montreal in the name of the Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal to establish a Roman Catholic mission for evangelizing natives. Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve was the governor of the colony, which was established on 17 May 1642.

Ville-Marie became a centre for the fur trade and a base for further French exploration in North America. By the early 18th century, the Sulpician Order was established there. To encourage French settlement, they wanted the Mohawk to move away from the fur trading post at Ville-Marie. They persuaded them to make a new settlement at their former hunting grounds north of the Ottawa River. This became Kanesatake. The Canadian territory remained a French colony until 1760, when it was surrendered to Great Britain after their victory in the Seven Years War.

Montreal was incorporated as a city in 1832. The opening of the Lachine Canal permitted ships to bypass the unnavigable Lachine Rapids, while the construction of the Victoria Bridge established Montreal as a major railway hub. By 1860, it was the largest city in British North America and the undisputed economic and cultural centre of Canada.

Montreal was the capital of the Province of Canada from 1844 to 1849, but lost its status when a Tory mob burnt down the Parliament building to protest the passage of the Rebellion Losses Bill. For strategic reasons, Ottawa, further toward the interior of the nation, was then established as the capital.

After World War I, the Prohibition movement in the United States turned Montreal into a haven for Americans looking for alcohol. Unemployment remained high in the city, and was exacerbated by the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

During World War II, Mayor Camillien Houde protested against conscription and urged Montrealers to disobey the federal government's registry of all men and women. Ottawa was furious over Houde's stand and sent him to a prison camp until 1944, when the government decided to institute conscription to enlarge the forces. .

By 1951, Montreal's population had surpassed one million people. The Saint Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, allowing vessels to bypass Montreal. In time this development led to the end of the city's economic dominance. However, the 1960s saw continued growth, including Expo 67, the construction of Canada's tallest skyscrapers, new expressways and the Montreal Metro system.

The 1970s ushered in a period of wide-ranging social and political changes, stemming in large part from the concerns of the French-speaking majority about the conservation of their culture and language, given the traditional predominance of the English-Canadian minority in the business arena. The October Crisis and the 1976 election of the Parti Québécois, supporting sovereign status for Quebec, resulted in the departure of many businesses and people from the city. In 1976, Montreal was the host of the Olympics. During the 1980s and early 1990s, Montreal experienced a slower rate of economic growth than many other major Canadian cities. By the late 1990s, however, Montreal's economic climate had improved, as new firms and institutions began to fill the traditional business and financial niches.

Montreal was merged with the 27 surrounding municipalities on the Island of Montreal on January 1, 2002. The merger created a unified city of Montreal which covered the entire island. There was great resistance from the suburbs to be merged, with the perception that the merger was being forced on the mostly English suburbs by the Parti Québécois. As expected, this move proved unpopular and several mergers were later undone. Several former municipalities, totalling 13% of the population of the island, voted to leave the newly unified city in separate referendums in June 2004. The demerger took place on January 1, 2006, leaving 15 municipalities on the island, including Montreal. De-merged municipalities remain, however, affiliated with the city through an agglomeration council that collects taxes from them to pay for numerous shared services.

The 21st century has brought with it a revival of the city's economic and cultural landscape. The construction of new residential skyscrapers, two super-hospitals , the creation of the Quartier des Spectacles, re-construction of the Turcot Interchange, reconfiguration of the Decarie and Dorval interchanges, gentrification of Griffintown, metro line extensions and the purchase of new metro-cars, the complete revitalization and expansion of Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, the completion of Quebec Autoroute 30, the construction of a new toll-bridge to Laval are helping bring Montreal into the 21st century.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Montréal", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.