Saint-Léonard: From 1886 to the present
Saint-Léonard was founded in 1886. Its history can be divided into three major episodes.
From 1886 to the mid-1950s
Rural life, a stable and uniform population
Rural life was predominant during this period, and the population of Saint-Léonard was stable and uniform. The total number of residents did not increase very much. There were just a few hundred inhabitants in 1886. This figure increased to 326 in 1921 and to 925 in 1956. The population was mainly composed of Catholic French Canadians, who eked out a living from their farm work. Visitors passing through Saint-Léonard during this period would see little more than farm lands, a main street (rue Jarry) and a church.
Status of the city
1886 : Civil inauguration of the parish in April 1886. First meeting of the members of city council of the parish of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice. Louis Sicard, the first mayor, was elected on June 12, 1886. He held this position until January 21, 1901.
1915 : The municipality of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice became the city of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice on March 5, 1915.
1721 : First official mention in the records of New France of a place called “Côte de Saint-Léonard.”
1885 : The territory of the parish of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice was separated from the parishes of Sault-au-Récollet and Longue-Pointe on November 21, 1885.
1912 : On December 16, 1912, the municipality of Saint-Michel de Laval separated from the municipality of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice.
1916 : Another part of Saint-Léonard’s territory was separated to form the parish of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice, which did not change the status of the city of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice. The part that separated became Anjou in 1956.
From 1955 to the mid-1970s
Housing and demographic boom
These were the busiest years in Saint-Léonard’s history. Housing construction soared and the population increased drastically (from 925 in 1956 to 52,040 in 1971). Municipal officials had to work to plan and control development.
It all started when a group of Montrealers from the Coopérative d’habitation de Montréal decided to buy land in Saint-Léonard – the Renaud plot, which is now the area around rue Aimé-Renaud, rue des Artisans and rue Alphonse-Desjardins and la Place des Fondateurs – to build a large cooperative housing complex. The endeavour would allow 655 workers with moderate incomes to live there and raise their families in the suburbs.
The housing boom coincided with two other major events:
- The arrival of a large number of new Canadians of Italian origin, who changed the social dynamics and enriched the community socially and culturally.
- The development of an urban plan, which would shape the territory of Saint-Léonard and give it the features for which it is known today.
Status of the city
1962 : “Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice” became “Ville de Saint-Léonard” on November 10.
1963 : “Ville de Saint-Léonard” became “Cité de Saint-Léonard” on May 22, 1963. Saint-Léonard adopted its slogan, “Res, non verba.” (“Actions, not words.”)
1956 : Beginning of housing development by the Coopérative d’habitation de Montréal, a major construction project comprising 655 single-family homes in an integrated urban setting. The project took six years to complete and was finished in 1962.
Logo and coat of arms
1963 : Coat of arms accepted by city council.
1965 : Inauguration of city hall at 6065 boulevard Métropolitain Est.
1966 : Inauguration of the municipal library at 5705 rue Jarry Est.
1967 : First arena built (Aréna Saint-Léonard) at 5300 boulevard Lacordaire.
From the end of the 1970s to the present
The years that followed the housing boom were dedicated to consolidation. Saint-Léonard accomplished its urban plan and completed development of its territory, improved services to the public, adopted social response policies to meet the needs of an aging population and new social realities.
Saint-Léonard’s social and human fabric also became more diverse during this period. New Canadians from many countries joined French Canadians and citizens of Italian origin.
Today, Saint-Léonard is an open, multicultural community and a borough where different cultural communities live together in harmony.
Status of the city
1980 : The “Cité de Saint-Léonard” became the “Ville de Saint-Léonard.”
2002 : Saint-Léonard became a borough of Montréal in a municipal merger.
1974 : The new city hall, located at 8400 boulevard Lacordaire, and the municipal library, located at 8420 boulevard Lacordaire, officially open.
1979 : Opening of Galerie Port-Maurice, a municipal art gallery, at 5345 Jarry Est.
1983 : Indoor pool built at 5115 rue des Galets, including a main pool and a water acclimation pool.
1984 : Expansion of the municipal library. The library’s area was doubled, a computerized system was installed and new services were added. The library became home to the Galerie Port-Maurice.
1987 : The Hébert sports stadium was built at 7655 rue Colbert.
1998 : On May 27, Saint-Léonard inaugurated the Parc Saint-Léonard’s community pavilion, located at 8181 boulevard Lacordaire, which housed a police station and community aid organizations. On the same day, two new neighbourhood police stations were opened: station 41 (for the neighbourhood north of the Autoroute Métropolitaine), located at 8181 boulevard Lacordaire, and station 42 (for the neighbourhood south of the Autoroute Métropolitaine), located at 5555 rue Jean-Talon Est.
2000 : On July 11, 2000, city council adopted a resolution to change the name of the Aréna Saint-Léonard to Aréna Martin-Brodeur to honour the famous NHL goalkeeper from Saint-Léonard whose feats of sportsmanship are a source of inspiration for today’s youth.
2001 : On April 23, the new courtroom was inaugurated in Saint-Léonard’s municipal court, located in the Centre Léonardo da Vinci, just a few steps away from city hall. A neighbourhood pavilion was built in the Parc Hébert and the pavilions at the Delorme and Pirandello parks were expanded. The Maison Joseph-Gagnon underwent extensive renovations.
2002 : Play fountains built at the Garibaldi and Pirandello parks.
2003 : The Aréna Hébert was renovated and the circulation desk at the Saint-Léonard library was rebuilt.
2004 : Play fountains built at the Parc Delorme.
2006 : Indoor pool was expanded, a family changing room and a multifunctional pool with an outdoor deck and water games were added. In August 2006, the Wilfrid-Bastien pavilion was expanded.
1983 : From March 4 to 13, Saint-Léonard hosted the Finale provinciale des Jeux du Québec. For ten days, the entire borough celebrated sports, culture, youth and solidarity in its streets and community buildings.
1993:On September 4, 1993, Saint-Léonard hosted the awards ceremony for the provincial garden contest, Villes, villages et campagnes fleuris, organized by the government of Québec. Delegates from local Maisons et balcons fleuris du Québec committees gathered in Saint-Léonard to select provincial contest winners.
1999 : On July 1, the Place de l’harmonie was inaugurated on the area around the fountain between city hall and the municipal library to commemorate the climate of friendship and mutual assistance that exist between the different cultural communities that make up the population of Saint-Léonard.
2005 : On September 14, a commemorative plaque honouring Wilson Church, the first distinguished citizen of Saint-Léonard, was unveiled.