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Montreal's Little Italy
The product of two major Italian immigration cohorts to Canada (one from 1880 until the First World War, and the other from 1950 to 1970), Montreal’s Italian Canadian community has been gathering in the Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense parish since 1910. This neighbourhood, nestled within the Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie borough, is located along Saint-Laurent Boulevard, with Saint-Zotique and Jean-Talon streets marking its limits.
Always at the heart of Italian-Canadian community and cultural life in Montreal, Little Italy (Piccola Italia) is known for its buildings’ remarkable architecture and decor. It is also home to a true institution of Montreal’s cityscape: the Jean‑Talon Market.
Montreal’s Arcade Fire are an eclectic indie rock band with baroque and pop undertones. They are known for their expansive membership and almost orchestral instrumentation, serious lyrical and thematic concerns, an anthemic yet iconoclastic sound and dramatic build-ups to moments of catharsis. The band’s breakthrough debut album, Funeral (2004), is widely considered one of the best rock albums of the 21st century. Their third album, The Suburbs (2010), won Juno Awards, a Grammy Award and the Polaris Music Prize. Their theatrical, exuberant live shows have made them a popular touring act and enhanced their worldwide popularity. They have been nominated for nine Grammy Awards and more than two dozen Juno Awards, winning twice for Songwriter of the Year and three times each for Alternative Album of the Year and Album of the Year.
The Rogers Cup is the third-oldest tennis tournament in the world behind Wimbledon (founded in 1877) and the US Open (founded in 1880). Founded in 1881 as the Canadian National Championships, it included women’s tournaments beginning in 1892 and remained an amateur event until 1967. It began admitting professionals and became known as the Canadian Open in 1968, when it also introduced prize money into the men’s competition. Prize money for the women’s tournament was introduced in 1973. In 2018, the total purses for the men’s and women’s tournaments were $5,939,970 and $2,820,000, respectively. Past champions have included Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Serena Williams, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Notable Canadian competitors have included Carling Bassett-Seguso, Helen Kelesi, Eugenie Bouchard, Daniel Nestor, Sébastien Lareau, Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov. Robert Bédard was the last Canadian men’s singles champion (1958). In 2019, Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian to win the tournament since Faye Urban won as women’s singles champion in 1969.
SNC-Lavalin is a global engineering and construction firm based in Montreal, Quebec. It works in several industries including oil and gas, mining, cybersecurity and nuclear power. It also builds public and private infrastructure around the world.
The company began in 1911 as an engineering consultant for power projects. In 1991, the original company, called SNC, merged with competitor Lavalin to become SNC-Lavalin. Today it employs some 50,000 people in more than 50 countries. In 2018, it registered $10.1 billion in revenue.
In Canada, the company has received contracts to build major transit projects in cities including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Worldwide, SNC-Lavalin oversees resource-extraction and infrastructure projects in North America, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East.
The Montreal metro opened on 14 October 1966. The second Canadian subway system after Toronto’s, which opened in 1954, the Montreal metro was the first subway in North America to run on rubber tires instead of metal wheels. Extensions to the Montreal metro were built on Montreal Island over the two decades after it opened, and then to the city of Laval, on the island of Île Jésus, during the 2000s. The system runs entirely underground, and each station has a distinct architecture and design. The Montreal metro consists of four lines running a total of 71 km and serving 68 stations. In 2018, its passengers made more than 383 million trips.
Montreal Canadiens are a hockey team that plays in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Canadiens are the only existing NHL club to have formed prior to the league’s inception in 1917, and are the only team to have operated continuously throughout the league’s history. The Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cup championships.
Fred Christie Case (Christie v York)
The Fred Christie Case (Christie v York, 1939) is a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada that allowed private businesses to discriminate on the basis of freedom of commerce. In July 1936, Fred Christie and two friends went to the York Tavern attached to the Montreal Forum to have a beer. The staff refused to serve them because Christie was Black. Christie sued, eventually bringing his case to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the York Tavern was within its rights to refuse to serve people on the basis of race. The case reveals an era of legalized racism, while its facts hide the subtle ways that racism operated in early 20th-century Canada.
The École Polytechnique Tragedy: Beyond the Duty of Remembrance
Every year on 6 December, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, the women who lost their lives in the massacre are remembered. While flags are flown at half-mast, vigils, conferences and demonstrations are held in remembrance. Despite these efforts, assigning meaning to the shooting has stirred controversy — and continues to do so.
École Polytechnique Tragedy (Montreal Massacre)
On 6 December 1989, a man entered a mechanical engineering classroom at Montreal’s École Polytechnique armed with a semi-automatic weapon. After separating the women from the men, he opened fire on the women while screaming, “You are all feminists.” Fourteen young women were murdered, and 13 other people were wounded. The shooter then turned the gun on himself. In his suicide note, he blamed feminists for ruining his life. The note contained a list of 19 “radical feminists” who he said would have been killed had he not run out of time. It included the names of well-known women in Quebec, including journalists, television personalities and union leaders.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is Mordecai Richler’s fourth and best-known novel. Published in 1959, it tells the story of a young Jewish man from Montreal who is obsessed with acquiring status, money and land. Bitingly satirical, it is a landmark Canadian novel. It established Richler as an international literary figure and sparked an interest in Canadian literature both at home and abroad. It also drew criticism from those who felt the main character embodied anti-Semitic stereotypes. Richler also received several awards and an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for the 1974 feature film adaptation, co-written with Lionel Chetwynd and directed by Ted Kotcheff.
Front de libération du Québec (FLQ)
The Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) was a militant Quebec independence movement that used terrorism to try and achieve an independent and socialist Quebec. FLQ members — or felquistes — were responsible for more than 200 bombings and dozens of robberies between 1963 and 1970 that left six people dead. Their actions culminated in the kidnapping of British trade commissioner James Cross and the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte, in what became known as the October Crisis.
Corridart dans la rue Sherbrooke was an exhibit of installation artworks organized by and commissioned for the in . The exhibit stretched for several kilometres along Sherbrooke Street. It comprised 16 major installations, about 80 minor installations, and several small performance venues and related projects. It was funded by the Quebec culture ministry and was intended as an international showcase for Quebec artists. But roughly a week after it was unveiled, Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau had the exhibit destroyed on the grounds that it was obscene. Most of the artists involved did not recover their works. Drapeau never apologized and subsequent legal actions dragged on for more than a decade. Given the size, scope and budget of the exhibit, the dismantling of Corridart might be the single largest example of arts censorship in Canadian history.
Great Peace of Montreal, 1701
On 4 August 1701, the French concluded a peace agreement with the Five Nations Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). This brought to an end almost a century of hostilities marked by atrocities on both sides. The Haudenosaunee were permitted to trade freely and to obtain goods from the French at a reduced cost. In exchange, they pledged to allow French settlement at Detroit and to remain neutral in the event of a war between England and France. The accord assured New France superiority in dealing with issues related to the region’s First Nations. It also gave the French the freedom to expand militarily over the next half century.
The Oka Crisis, also known as the Kanesatake Resistance or the Mohawk Resistance at Kanesatake, was a 78-day standoff (11 July–26 September 1990) between Mohawk protesters, Quebec police, the RCMP and the Canadian Army. It took place in the community of Kanesatake, near the Town of Oka, on the north shore of Montreal. Related protests and violence occurred in the Kahnawake reserve, to the south of Montreal. The crisis was sparked by the proposed expansion of a golf course and the development of townhouses on disputed land in Kanesatake that included a Mohawk burial ground. Tensions were high, particularly after the death of Corporal Marcel Lemay, a Sûreté du Québec police officer. Eventually, the army was called in and the protest ended. The golf course expansion was cancelled and the land was purchased by the federal government. However, it did not establish the land as a reserve, and there has since been no organized transfer of the land to the Mohawks of Kanesatake.
The October Crisis refers to a chain of events that took place in Quebec in the fall of 1970. The crisis was the culmination of a long series of terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a militant Quebec independence movement, between 1963 and 1970. On 5 October 1970, the FLQ kidnapped British trade commissioner James Cross in Montreal. Within the next two weeks, FLQ members also kidnapped and killed Quebec Minister of Immigration and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. Quebec premier Robert Bourassa and Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau called for federal help to deal with the crisis. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau deployed the Armed Forces and invoked the War Measures Act — the only time it has been applied during peacetime in Canadian history.
Lower Canada was a British colony from 1791 to 1840. Its geographical boundaries comprised the southern portion of present-day Quebec. In 1791, Britain divided the Province of Quebec into Upper Canada and Lower Canada. (See: Constitutional Act 1791.) Britain had followed a similar policy of territorial division twice before. Prince Edward Island was detached from Nova Scotia in 1769. The provinces of Cape Breton and New Brunswick were created in 1784 in response to the wave of Loyalist immigration (which also occurred in Quebec). In 1841, Upper Canada and Lower Canada were renamed Canada West and Canada East, respectively. They were united as the single colony of the Province of Canada.