Surrounded by water and located at the heart of a fertile plain, the Island of Montreal has been a crossroads for Indigenous peoples, European settlers, and today's citizens, and an inland port city for the movement of people and goods into and out of North America. Commemorating the city's 375th anniversary, Montreal: The History of a North American City is the definitive, two-volume account of this fascinating metropolis and its storied hinterland. This comprehensive collection of essays, filled with hundreds of illustrations, photographs, and maps, draws on human geography and environmental history to show that while certain distinctive features remain unchanged — Mount Royal, the Lachine Rapids of the Saint Lawrence River — human intervention and urban evolution mean that over time Montrealers have had drastically different experiences and historical understandings. Significant issues such as religion, government, social conditions, the economy, labour, transportation, culture and entertainment, and scientific and technological innovation are treated thematically in innovative and diverse chapters to illuminate how people's lives changed along with the transformation of Montreal. This history of a city in motion presents an entire picture of the changes that have marked the region as it spread from the old city of Ville-Marie into parishes, autonomous towns, boroughs, and suburbs on and off the island. The first volume encompasses the city up to 1930, vividly depicting the lives of First Nations prior to the arrival of Europeans, colonization by the French, and the beginning of British Rule. The crucial roles of waterways, portaging, paths, and trails as the primary means of travelling and trade are first examined before delving into the construction of canals, railways, and the first major roads. Nineteenth-century industrialization created a period of near-total change in Montreal as it became Canada's leading city and witnessed staggering population growth from less than 20,000 people in 1800 to over one million by 1930. The second volume treats the history of Montreal since 1930, the year that the Jacques Cartier Bridge was opened and allowed for the outward expansion of a region, which before had been confined to the island. From the Great Depression and Montreal's role as a munitions manufacturing centre during the Second World War to major cultural events like Expo 67, the twentieth century saw Montreal grow into one of the continent's largest cities, requiring stringent management of infrastructure, public utilities, and transportation. This volume also extensively studies the kinds of political debate with which the region and country still grapple regarding language, nationalism, federalism, and self-determination. Contributors include Philippe Apparicio (INRS), Guy Bellavance (INRS), Laurence Bherer (University of Montreal), Stéphane Castonguay (UQTR), the late Jean-Pierre Collin (INRS), Magda Fahrni (UQAM), the late Jean-Marie Fecteau (UQAM), Dany Fougères (UQAM), Robert Gagnon (UQAM), Danielle Gauvreau (Concordia), Annick Germain (INRS), Janice Harvey (Dawson College), Annie-Claude Labrecque (independent scholar), Yvan Lamonde (McGill), Daniel Latouche (INRS), Roderick MacLeod (independent scholar), Paula Negron-Poblete (University of Montreal), Normand Perron (INRS), Martin Petitclerc (UQAM), Christian Poirier (INRS), Claire Poitras (INRS), Mario Polèse (INRS), Myriam Richard (unaffiliated), Damaris Rose (INRS), Anne-Marie Séguin (INRS), Gilles Sénécal (INRS), Valérie Shaffer (independent scholar), Richard Shearmur (McGill), Sylvie Taschereau (UQTR), Michel Trépanier (INRS), Laurent Turcot (UQTR), Nathalie Vachon (INRS), and Roland Viau (University of Montreal).
Dany Fougères is professor of history at l'Université du Québec à Montréal. Roderick MacLeod is an editor and the author of two books on Quebec history with emphasis on its Anglo-Protestant population.
"This exploration of Montreal's history and its present status is surely the best extant treatment of the growth and development of a great Canadian metropolis. Highly recommended." Choice