Traces. Places. Memories.

1642-1759: Founding

Two people. Two cultures that meet and clash. From Cartier, the fleeting explorer, to Maisonneuve and Mance, the founders of the city, the island of Montréal became an Amerindian crossing point. 1642 marked the beginning of a century in which Ville-Marie, a missionary project, became Montréal, a major trade city of France’s colonial empire.

The island of Montréal […] measures 30 leagues around. In the middle is the mountain named Mount Royal, which gave its name to the whole island, but which is called Ville Marie in Canada today because Mr. Dauversiere, to whom it belongs, gave it this fine name […].

Marie Morin, circa 1697, Histoire simple et véritable.

A key event

1701 : The Great Peace of Montreal

On August 4, 1701, the Great Peace of Montréal treaty was signed by the representatives of 39 First Nations in attendance, as well as by the French. The treaty brings an end to decades of war and tension. It brings peace to a vast territory, stretching from Acadia to the shores of Lake Superior, from the source of the Ottawa River to the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers.

What’s left from this era?

A part of Old Montreal’s original street grid

It’s only in 1672, thirty years after the founding of Ville-Marie, that a first street grid is planned out by the superior of the Sulpicians, François Dollier de Casson. Thus appears the names of streets we still use today: Notre-Dame, Saint-Jacques, Saint-Paul and Saint-Pierre, for example.