Got a comment today asking me where these boundary lines of Sainte-Marie & Hochelaga begin and end. To tell you the truth, if I could answer that question, this blog would not exist. The question came at a timely moment this weekend as I realized with some research that the roots of this neighbourhood (Faubourg Québec/Faubourg Sainte-Marie) did not extend further than De Lorimier (or Iberville). So my research thus far helps me understand the birth of one of Montreal’s first suburbs (if not the first??) and how it slowly extended to where I live now but not it has not really taught me anything about my specific zone. It also made me realize that I also have to study Hochelaga’s roots and how it grew my way as well.
I’ll attempt to answer this question for fun but before I start, I’ll give the disclaimer that I am still in the early phases of my research. This weekend, I quickly browsed the Montreal history books at the Biblioteque national library looking for info on Faubourg Québec or Hochelaga… not one book. Verdun? Yes. Laval? Yes. Iles Perot? Sure thing. Centre-Sud, Faubourg Québec, Sainte-Marie, St-Eusèbe? No results. I managed to find one book that is a published study of the work done on the Parc Lafontaine sewage collector and goes into a fairly good resume of this neighbourhood. The second book was a general Montreal book with a quick history on each area. I grabbed them both. What I do realize is that I will have to find some time to dig even deeper into old newspaper archives and maps. Fun stuff but I have a day job and a new baby daughter to take care of… so I’ll dig deeper in these books in the short-term and visit the “Eco-du-musée du fier monde” shortly. Anyhow, I’ll answer in point form…
Quick Municipal Zoning Facts:
– Ville-Marie extends from downtown to the CP rail-lines
– Hochelaga-Maisonneuve starts at the CP rail-lines
Historical Data Found Thus Far:
– Faubourg Québec/Faubourg Sainte-Marie started on the outside of the fortified walls of Old Montreal. It first extended towards the Molson Brewery but then kept on growing eastwards. The research found this weekend states that it probably did not go beyond De Lorimier St.
– On old municipal maps found in the book “Montréal en Évolution”, Hochelaga seems to start east of the rail-lines which is a good indication why many still consider it Hochelaga today. In fact a neighbour just said to me last week “I live in Hochelaga, in the Ville-Marie borough”.
– Finally, I also found some old ward maps online that showed Sainte-Marie was simply a ward at one point in between “St.Jacques” and “Hochelaga”.
Then I found this City of Montreal modern-day (2002-2005) urban revitalization plan during my research, called “Sainte-Marie, Mon Quartier” with a full report on this neighbourhood. The maps inside it show that this new designated neighbourhood (within Ville-Marie) is between Papineau and the rail-lines. The name Sainte-Marie itself has, at least from an administrative point of view, evolved slowly from West to East.
So for now at least, I have decided to go with the current city’s branding label of Sainte-Marie. The city put a great deal of work into the project including building new park infrastructures and it seems to be earnest effort worth supporting. I have not gone too deeply into researching this project yet, but I intend to do so in the next few months including calling up the city to see why the project is no longer operating.
Boundaries and zoning projects aside, the true test to what I “call” the area is what I would say to a cab-driver… “Centre-Sud, proche d’Hochelaga.”