|• Land||8.8 km2 (3.4 sq mi)|
|• Density||7,509.7/km2 (19,450/sq mi)|
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (English: Our Lady of Grace), also nicknamed NDG, is a residential neighbourhood of Montreal located in the city's West End. An independent municipality until annexed by the City of Montreal in 1913, NDG is today one half of the borough of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. It comprises two wards, that of Loyola to the west and Notre-Dame-de-Grace to the east. NDG is bordered by four independent enclaves; its eastern border is shared with the city of Westmount, Quebec, whereas to the north and west it is bordered by the towns of Montreal West, Hampstead and Cote St. Luc. In 2013, it had a population of 66,495. NDG plays a pivotal role in serving as the commercial and cultural hub for Montreal's predominantly Anglophone West End, with Sherbrooke Street West running the length of the community and providing the principal commercial artery. The community is roughly bounded by Grey Avenue and the Decarie Expressway to the east, Chemin-de-la-Cote-St-Luc to the north, Connaught Avenue in the west and highway 20 and the Falaise-St-Jacques to the south.
At the time of Montreal's founding in 1642 most of the land stretching past Mount Royal to the northwest would have been a vast forest running the length of a long, narrow ridge known as the Saint Jacques Escarpment. The area that was to become Notre-Dame-de-Grace was founded along that ridge, near a since-drained Lac St. Pierre. The first Europeans to settle in the area did so eight years after the founding of the colony of Ville Marie, on November 18, 1650. They were Jean Descarries (or Descaris) dit le Houx and Jean Leduc, originating in Igé, Perche, France.
In 1853, construction of the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce was completed.
In December 1876, the Municipality of the Village of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce was established through proclamation. In 1906, the village of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce was incorporated as a town. On June 4, 1910, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce was annexed to the city of Montreal.
It was during this period that the long established Descarries family reached its peak. Daniel-Jérémie Décarie (1836-1904) was mayor of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce from 1877 to 1904 and his son, lawyer Jérémie-Louis Décarie (1870-1927), was a Quebec parliamentarian.
In May 1912, the Décarie Boulevard was officially designated, running north-south from Cote-des-Neiges and the Town of Mount Royal in the north to Saint-Henri and Cote-St-Paul in the south (a section of the road was already known as Décarie Avenue).
Gradually the village developed around the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce which was the head church of the seven parishes on the western part of the Island of Montreal.
It was around 1920 that Anglophones began settling in NDG, resulting in the construction of numerous schools and churches. The Décarie Expressway opened to motorists in 1966, in time for Expo 67. The highway construction forced the displacement of 285 families and had a major impact on the neighbourhood, severing the easternmost part from the whole and leading to the area being referred to as 'Westmount-adjacent' (a term implying housing costs and lifestyles more on par with Westmount, one of the most affluent communities in North America, rather than NDG which as a whole is more middle class).
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is bounded on the east by the border with Westmount and Cote-des-Neiges, the south by the Falaise Saint-Jacques, and the north by Côte-Saint-Luc Road, extending west to the border with Montreal West.
Broadly speaking Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is a middle class first-ring residential suburb with a culturally and linguistically diverse urban population. The cityscape and history of the community is rooted firmly in NDG's role as a home for an upwardly-mobile French Canadian middle class that developed much of the land roughly between Confederation and the First World War. The neighbourhood is characterized by traditional Quebecois housing styles - notably the detached or semidetached duplex - as well as being organized along the historic land division system developed by for agricultural purposes during Quebec's colonial period (i.e. long, rectangular city blocks running perpendicular to a river or ridge). It is a predominantly residential neighbourhood with considerable appeal to a wide variety of Montrealers, owing principally to its local cultural cachet, proximity to the urban core of the city, and wide variety of commercial and public services.
NDG is a community of communities, as there are several somewhat distinct neighbourhoods within it. Officially the community is divided into an eastern and western ward with Cavendish Boulevard serving as the bisecting line. The eastern part of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is itself split in two parts by the Decarie Expressway (running North-South), which was built in the late 1950s and resulted in the destruction of many hundreds of homes. The eastern ward is focused around the parish church at the intersection of Decarie and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce avenue, with many of the neighbourhood's oldest buildings being found nearby. Owing to its history, the eastern ward is primarily francophone, middle class and has a strong French and Quebecois cultural and aesthetic character.
The western ward developed during the interwar and post-WW2 era and is more varied in terms of housing styles, income levels, cultural representation and spoken languages. Generally speaking NDG is associated with Montreal's multi-ethnic middle-class Anglophone community, given the presence of major Anglophone institutions like Loyola College of Concordia University and the MUHC super-hospital, but despite this association the majority of residents are fully bilingual in French and English and speak both on a regular, if not daily, basis.
Affordable housing and proximity to major Anglophone post-secondary educational institutions, particularly Dawson College and Concordia University, has resulted in a large and consistent student population residing in NDG.
There is also a sizeable Afro-Canadian and immigrant community, concentrated mostly around the parts of the district north of Somerled Avenue as well as south of Sherbrooke Street, and a 'Little Italy' located south of the Canadian Pacific line, colloquially referred to as Saint Raymond. Saint Raymond, with a population of 5 915, has a black population of 18% and a Chinese population of 12%, both notably higher than Montreal as a whole. In recent years, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has developed into a highly desirable neighbourhood for young professionals, though little gentrification has occurred outside of the Monkland Village.
Geographically NDG is situated on a long plateau extending southwest from Mount Royal, cascading in wide terraces down from Cote St. Luc road (cote being the French word for ridge) to wards the far steeper Saint-Jacques Escarpment. The land is divided, as is traditional in Quebec, in long narrow strips, an evolution of the seigneurial land division system of the province's colonial era. Thus, NDG has many avenues running north-south, but far fewer running east-west. As such, the community is characterized by several prominent boulevards where commercial activity is concentrated. This design element also traces its history back to the earliest urban design planning native to Canada.
NDG is almost exclusively residential and institutional in nature, defined in part by major Anglophone civic institutions anchoring its eastern and western ends. These are the MUHC hospital at the Glen Yards, adjacent to the Vendome intermodal station and the Loyola campus of Concordia University (situated next to the Montreal-West communter rail station, respectively. Public schools, libraries, places of worship, parks, playgrounds and public athletic facilities (including a local chapter of the Montreal YMCA are distributed throughout the area. Housing tends towards the antique, with much of the construction occurring between 1910 and 1940 and providing a unique mix of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Beaux-Arts influences on traditional Quebecois architectural styles. There a variety of housing styles found in the borough, though the dominant and favoured style remains the red brick duplex row-house. Adding to its residential appeal, the community is well known for its oak and elm-lined streets and general walkability.
An important housing project is situated near the geographical centre of NDG on Cavendish Boulevard, which bisects the borough into its eastern and western halves. The Benny Farm housing project was built to serve the needs of veterans returning from Second World War service, though was later designated as subsidized housing. The housing and surrounding landscaping was rehabilitated in the early 2000s, with new low-cost housing and additional public facilities built, such as the Benny Farm CLSC (a public clinic run by the provincial health ministry).
The Decarie Expressway trench and the mainline of the Canadian Pacific railway each form barriers that arguably disrupt the cohesiveness of the borough. As such, sections of NDG have unique characteristics and be characterized as well-defined neighbourhoods. As an example, the sliver of NDG running between the rail line and the Saint-Jacques Escarpment (from Cavendish Boulevard to the Décarie Expressway) is known as St. Raymond's and has a strong association with Montreal's Italian community. Another section, separated from the rest of NDG by a highway trench and sharing a border with Westmount, is closer to where the village of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce was founded, and as such is occasionally referred to as 'Old NDG'.
NDG first rose to prominence as an important middle class suburb towards the end of the 19th century, initially populated by the (then) new white-collar workforce of the Canadian metropolis and accessible via tramways running to and from the city centre. As widespread suburbanization developed in the post-WW2 period, NDG became home to successive waves of immigrants, first from Eastern Europe (including a sizeable Jewish population), then from the Caribbean and more recently from Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Concurrently, Anglophone Montrealers consolidated in the West End broadly speaking, with Montreal's Irish and Black communities shifting away from their traditional neighbourhoods (Griffintown and Little Burgundy respectively) and taking a more prominent position within the demographics of the area.
Today NDG is a cosmopolitan mixed income urban neighbourhood highly sought after by young professionals. The multitude of services, including parks and other green spaces, schools, clinics and major institutions, make it an ideal neighbourhood to raise a family close to the centre of the city of Montreal and its Central Business District. The vintage and antique housing is generally well kept and the aesthetic of early 20th century first-ring suburb has been preserved. Additionally, NDG is well-served by public transit, including numerous bus lines, two Métro and two commuter train stations, allowing the area to be one of the most 'walkable' in the entire city.
Sports and recreation
NDG is well known for many large parks including NDG Park (known as Girouard Park), Loyola Park, and Trenholme Park. The area has three indoor hockey arenas: the public Doug Harvey Arena (formerly Confederation Arena) and the private LCC High School and Concordia University (Ed Meagher Arena) rinks.
The NDG Senior Lynx made it to Little League Baseball's Senior League World Series in 2011 and 2012, representing the region of Canada.
NDG is home to the Montreal Exiles Rugby Football club (www.montrealexiles.com) who have mini-rugby teams (NDG Dragons) at U-6, U-8, U-10 U-12 and U-14 levels, Junior rugby at U-18 and senior men's rugby. Founded in 2011, the senior men's side featured in the provincial finals in 2011, losing to Westmount in the semi-final, and again in 2012 winning the Division C league and Cup. Their home field is Confederation Park.
The major commercial streets are Monkland Avenue, Somerled Avenue and Sherbrooke Street West. Monkland Village comprises a cluster of businesses on the eastern part of Monkland Avenue that was revitalized in the 1990s. Villa Maria metro station is located here, as well as Vendôme Metro Station near the district's southeastern end. Also, city buses leaving Snowdon Metro provide access to the northern and western parts of the district.
The following is a list of street names in the area and what/who they're named after:
- Bessborough: Vere Ponsonby, 9th Earl of Bessborough, 14th Governor General of Canada
- Borden: Robert Borden, 8th Prime Minister of Canada
- Cavendish: Most likely the British House of Cavendish
- Connaught: Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, 10th Governor General of Canada
- Décarie: One or many of several prominent members of the Décarie family; possibly specifically Jérémie-Louis Décarie, who was born in NDG
- Girouard: One of several prominent Quebec figures listed here - Girouard
- Hingston: William Hales Hingston, a Canadian senator & Mayor of Montreal
- Marcil: Georges Marcil, last mayor of NDG before its annexation into the city of Montreal.
- Monkland: James Monk, former Chief Justice of Lower Canada; landowner
- Notre-dame-de-Grâce: NDG — the community in which the street is situated
- Old Orchard: The orchards that used to make up large parts of modern-day NDG;
- Sherbrooke: John Coape Sherbrooke, Governor General of British North America, circa 1816
- Somerled: 12th-century Scottish leader
- Terrebonne: A French seigniory near what is now the city of Terrebonne
The Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) operates Francophone public schools.
There are numerous private and public educational institutions within the community:
French schools (CSDM)
- Royal Vale
- Willingdon School
- Herbert Symonds
- St. Monica School
- École Rudolph-Steiner de Montreal
- Marymount Academy
- Royal Vale School (K-11)
- Westhill High School (closed 1992)
- Royal West Academy
- Ecole Saint-Luc
- Concordia University (Loyola Campus)
Famous people and residents
- Jay Baruchel, actor
- Claire Vessot, Award winning Jewelry Designer, Former Designer ELLE jewelry Global
- Jim Cannon, musician
- Earl Jones, ponzi scheme operator
- Irving Layton, poet
- Russell Martin, major league baseball catcher
- Sergio Momesso, former NHL player and current sports commentator
- William Shatner, actor
- Jessica Paré, actress
- Laurence Leboeuf, actress
- Doug Harvey, former NHL player
- Ian Mofford, former CFL player and Grey Cup champion
- Laura Lloyd, musician, member of shoegazing band No Joy
- Anne Dorval, actress
|Montreal West||Le Sud-Ouest|
- "Loyola" (PDF). Profile de district électoral. Ville de Montréal. Retrieved 21 Dec 2013.
- "Notre-Dame-de-Grâce" (PDF). Profile de district électoral. Retrieved 21 Dec 2013.
- Pelland, Yvan. "OUR COMMUNITY’S HISTORY AND PEOPLE". Discover NDG. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "Frequently Asked Questions." English Montreal School Board. Retrieved on December 20, 2012. "A: The EMSB's Administration Building is located at 6000 Fielding Avenue, corner Cote St. Luc Road, in the Montreal District of N.D.G." Version in French - French address: "A: The EMSB's Administration Building is located at 6000 Fielding Avenue, corner Cote St. Luc Road, in the Montreal District of N.D.G."
- http://marc-favreau.csdm.ca/ "l’école Marc-Favreau est une belle école du quartier Notre-Dame-de-Grâce"
- http://anne-hebert.csdm.ca/ "Anne-Hébert est une magnifique petite école du quartier Notre-Dame-de-Grâce."
- "Les bibliothèques par arrondissement." Montreal Public Libraries Network. Retrieved on December 7, 2014.