Mirabel | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Mirabel, Quebec, incorporated as a city in 1971, population 50,513 (2016 census), 41,957 (2011 census). Mirabel is located some 57 km northwest of Montreal, is one of Quebec's youngest cities and also one of its most extended. It is home to the former Montreal-Mirabel International Airport. Mirabel is situated on the ancestral lands of the Haudenosaunee, including the Kanyen'kehà:ka, as well as the Anishinaabeg, notably the Algonquin (see Indigenous peoples in Canada).


In 1969, 392 km2 of land in the area was expropriated for the construction of Montreal’s new international airport. In 1971, Mirabel was created through the arbitrary merger of 12 existing municipalities plus parts of two others. The new airport was named "Mirabel" in honour of a little hamlet that has now disappeared. (See Montreal-Mirabel International Airport.)

The expropriation completely reshaped the area and heavily affected much of its population. The airport, linked to Montreal by the Laurentian Autoroute, is in the centre of town. The Mirabel airport was Canada’s largest passenger airport until it closed to passenger traffic in 2004. Since then, the airport is used by the aerospace industry and for cargo flights. The region's economy still depends on agriculture, but its commercial and industrial sectors have been growing.