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History and Heritage

History - History of VerdunVerdun from the sky

Originally known as the Côte des Argoulets, the future city of Verdun served in the 17th century as a strategic fortification for Ville-Marie where the population took refuge during the frequent Iroquois attacks. The term Argoulets referred to a group of 16th century harquebusiers , well known in France for the effectiveness of their sharpshooters.

Verdun takes its name from a noble fief of 272 acres, bordered by the Saint-Pierre River near the Saint-Louis Falls and granted on December 26, 1671 by the Sulpicians to Zacharie Dupuis. Dupuis, who was a native of Saverdun in Ariège, a department of southern France, was, along with Lambert Closse, one of French Canada's military pioneers. Dupuis named his new grant the Fief de Verdun , probably drawing the name from that of his native city.

In 1875 the municipality of Verdun was finally created and officially separated from the parish of Notre-Dame de Montréal.

The early 20th century marked an exodus of working class families from central Montréal, with one result of this demographic shift being a large growth in Verdun's urban development. Thanks to the industrial development of the Lachine Canal, the city progressively expanded from north to south, from the Aqueduct Canal to the St. Lawrence River. During spring flooding, water inundated low-lying areas where new residents had been gradually settling, as well as the shores of Saint-Paul Island, home to a religious community. Efforts that were ultimately made to fill the river banks resulted in a more secure situation for the population.

On January 1st, 2002, Verdun became a borough of Montréal, under an order (Act 170) by the government of Québec.

Verdun residents now live in a primarily residential borough that enjoys a rich past dating back to the beginnings of New France. The borough enjoys unique features as a result of its geographic situation, its superb promenade along the river, its parks bordering the river and easy access to its public services.

To learn more about Verdun's history

DEZIEL, Julien, Essai d'histoire de Verdun 1665-1876-1976 , Comité du centenaire, Montréal, 1976
GRAVEL, Denis, Verdun 125 years of History 1875 – 2000 , City of Verdun, Montréal, 2000, 318 pages

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