My Montreal: Ville-Marie & Other Quebec Curios

View of downtown Montreal from McGill College. Credit: Greg Patterson/Wikimedia Commons. View of downtown Montreal from McGill College. Credit: Greg Patterson/Wikimedia Commons.

The heart of the Island, the borough of Ville-Marie goes back to 1642, when some of the first colonists came to populate the land and convert the natives. Founded by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance, Ville-Marie grew to a population of 600 by 1685 and became a fortified city in the eighteenth century. In brief, Ville-Marie is the starting point of our Island full of immersive history. Today, Ville-Marie is known more commonly as downtown Montreal.

With a population today of about 84 000 people, Ville-Marie is 62% bilingual, while 19% and 17% are unilingually French and English, respectively. Ville-Marie has a third of its population having recent ties to immigration, with an equal split of about forty percent each being a first or a third generation immigrant. The immigrant population tends to come from China, France, and Lebanon. There is a large visible minority of Middle Eastern and Asian-American people.

The borough of Ville-Marie has many interesting places to go and visit, including the district of Old Montreal, one of the hubs of Montreal’s history. Most of the downtown core is in Ville-Marie, including places to shop such as Place Montreal Trust, the Eaton Centre, and the commercial shopping district on St. Catherine street. Ville-Marie is also home to the Gay Village, the Latin Quarter, the Quartier des Spectacles, and Chinatown. You can find some other places discussed in Quebec Curios such as the Palais de justice (and the Court of Appeal), Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Château Ramezay. The borough is home to three major universities on the Island of Montreal: UQAM, McGill, and Concordia.

Ville-Marie’s neighbours include Westmount to the southwest and Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to the north. For federal elections, Ville-Marie is divided into Jeanne-Le Ber, Laurier—Sainte-Marie, Outremont, and Westmount—Ville-Marie. On the provincial scale, its electoral districts are Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne, Sainte-Marie–Saint-Jacques, and Westmount–Saint-Louis.

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