Faubourg à m'lasse

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Le Faubourg à m'lasse was a neighbored in Montreal until 1963. The neighborhood's perimeters were René-Lévesque Boulevard to the north, Wolfe Street to the west, Viger Avenue to the south, and Papineau Avenue to the east.

Etymology[edit]

It was originally named le Faubourg à Québec because it sat along the route to Québec city. In the neighborhood's later life, it received the nickname it is most commonly associated with today. In reality, the neighborhood most likely received its nickname from the sweet smell that came from massive metal barrels containing molasses located near the Molson Brewery and Canadian Rubber plant.[1]

There are many myths and legends attributed to the neighborhood's nickname and people such as Jason Cundy acknowledge that some of them are quite farfetched but retell them because those were the tales they grew up believing. One of the legends states that in the warmer months, when the port saw shipments from far and exotic places, women would anticipate the shipments of molasses. When they knew of an upcoming shipment, they would go to the docks and bring a small container with them. Apparently, there was this unspoken understanding between a particular crane operator at the time and the women. The crane operator would "accidentally" drop the last barrel of molasses and the women would quickly fill their containers with the fallen substance.[2]

History[edit]

In 1963, the neighborhood was one of the oldest in the city when it was razed in order to construct the Maison Radio-Canada. The destruction of whole neighborhoods was not a rare occurrence in Montreal during the 1950s and 1960s. Montreal, during this time period, was on the mend. It was facing a serious decline in its economy after the Second World War and due to various phases of deindustrialization. In the nineteenth century, Montreal was the "uncontested metropolis of Canada" as it was one of North America's main industrial cities and financial centres.[3] Montreal's reputation started to decline as soon as the 1890s and this had an impact on the city's urban makeup.[4] Over the next six decades, Montreal's downtown would move further and further away from the water and whole parts of the old city would be deemed "obsolete and unrecoverable."[5] To add to all this, by the late 1950s, Montreal's port was no longer Canada's maritime terminal. Trucking was becoming the more popular medium for shipping goods and Ontario was at the head of automobile production. Since shipping by boat and train was becoming less in demand, Montreal's economy suffered, as they were one of the leaders in manufacturing railway equipment. American and International investment firms began to favor Ontario, which soon replaced Montreal as Canada's financial capital.[6]

All of these factors accumulated serious economic issues in the late 1950s. Jean Drapeau—mayor of Montreal from 1954 to 1957 and again from 1960 to 1986—made it his mission to raise Montreal to its previous status as one of North America's leading cities and make it a "world-renowned modern metropolis."[7] He believed he could do so by boosting Montreal's international reputation through promoting mega-projects and endorsing world-stage events. Some of these mega-projects included building better traffic routes in order to support the popularization of the automobile, constructing public and private high-rises, establishing parking lots, and creating the subway system.[8] Some of the world-stage events Drapeau would endorse included the 1967 World's Fair and the 1976 Summer Olympic Games.

The mega-project, which required the destruction of the Faubourg à m'lasse, was the Place Radio Canada. Television and broadcasting was becoming ever more popular and Radio Canada, a diffusion of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, wanted to centralize its location and create a building that would suit technologically up-to-date equipment.[9] Jean Drapeau was a supporter of the project, as he envisioned the creation of a Cité des ondes (Media City), which would house all major francophone-broadcasting corporations.[10] In order to realize this project, 5000 people were told to vacate their homes. Twelve grocery stores, 13 restaurants, around 20 factories, and many suitable lodgings were destroyed.[11]

See also[edit]

The Quiet Revolution and the Modernization of Montreal

Municipal Politics during the Quiet Revolution

Present Day Neighborhoods in Montreal

History of Montreal

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arthur Gladu, Tel que j’étais: récit autobiographique (Montréal: L’Hexagone, 1988), 12
  2. ^ “Le Faubourg à M’lasse: Les Origines D’une Légende Urbaine - Spacing Montreal,” Spacing Montreal, accessed January 22, 2014, http://spacing.ca/montreal/2009/07/26/le-faubourg-a-mlasse-les-origines-dune-legende-urbaine/
  3. ^ Marc H Choko and Université de Montréal. Centre de design, The New Montreal: Major Urban Projects in Old Montreal. (Montréal: Centre de design de l’Université de Montréal, 2001), 7
  4. ^ Marc H Choko and Université de Montréal. Centre de design, The New Montreal: Major Urban Projects in Old Montreal. (Montréal: Centre de design de l’Université de Montréal, 2001), 9
  5. ^ Marc H Choko and Université de Montréal. Centre de design, The New Montreal: Major Urban Projects in Old Montreal. (Montréal: Centre de design de l’Université de Montréal, 2001), 9
  6. ^ Benoit Gignac, Le maire qui rêvait sa ville: Jean Drapeau (Montréal: Éditions la Presse, 2009), 75-76
  7. ^ Annick Germain and Damaris Rose, Montréal: The Quest for a Metropolis (Chichester, West Sussex; New York: Wiley, 2000), 67
  8. ^ Marc H Choko and Université de Montréal. Centre de design, The New Montreal: Major Urban Projects in Old Montreal. (Montréal: Centre de design de l’Université de Montréal, 2001), 9
  9. ^ Benoit Gignac, Le maire qui rêvait sa ville: Jean Drapeau (Montréal: Éditions la Presse, 2009), 115
  10. ^ Benoit Gignac, Le maire qui rêvait sa ville: Jean Drapeau (Montréal: Éditions la Presse, 2009), 115
  11. ^ Benoit Gignac, Le maire qui rêvait sa ville: Jean Drapeau (Montréal: Éditions la Presse, 2009), 117-118