Montreal (French: Montréal; pronounced [mɔ̃ʁeal] ( listen) in French, ( listen) in English) is the second-largest city in Canada and the largest city in the province of Québec. Originally called Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", the city takes its present name from Mont-Royal, the triple-peaked hill located in the heart of the city, whose name was also initially given to the island on which the city is located, or Mont Réal as it was spelled in Middle French, (Mont-Royal in present French).
As of July 2009, Statistics Canada identifies Montréal's Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) (land area 4,259 square kilometres (1,644 sq mi) as Canada's second most populous with a population of 1,906,811 in the city and metropolitan area population of 3,814,700. As of the 2006 census, 1,620,698 people resided in the city, ranking it as the sixth largest city overall across Canada and the United States. The population of the metropolitan area (known as Greater Montreal) was 3,635,571 at 2006 census.
The language most spoken at home in the city is French by 60.5% of the population, followed by English at 18.6% (as of 2006 census). The official language of Montreal is French as defined by the city's charter. Montreal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. Although a few francophone African cities are bigger in size, such as Algiers, Kinshasa, and Abidjan, it is agreed that none of these cities have a significant number of mother-tongue French speakers. Montreal is consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities and was called "Canada's Cultural Capital" by Monocle Magazine. Though historically the commercial capital of Canada, it was surpassed in population by Toronto in 1976. Today it continues as an important centre of commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, culture, tourism, film and world affairs. As of 2009, Montreal is North America's number one host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
The Plateau or Plateau Mont-Royal is a part of the city of Montreal, just north of downtown and east of Mount Royal. Part of the borough of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, the Plateau is the most densely populated neighbourhood in Canada, with nearly 100,000 people living in a 7.75 square kilometre area.
The Plateau was formerly a working-class neighbourhood, with the Eastern part being largely French-Canadian, and the Western part largely Jewish. The neighbourhood was the childhood home of Quebec writers Michel Tremblay and Mordecai Richler and both have set many stories in the Plateau of the 1950s and 60s.
The Plateau is characterized by brightly-coloured houses, cafés, book shops, and a laissez-faire attitude. The combination of different immigrant societies--notably many Portuguese and Spanish-speakers--adds to the feeling of tolerance and creates a unique atmosphere.
The neighbourhood is in the midst of gentrification. A historic local grocer, Warshaw, has recently been replaced by a Pharmaprix, and any number of trendy clothing stores have their place along this strip of St-Laurent.
Mordecai Richler (January 27, 1931 - July 3, 2001) was a Canadian author, scriptwriter and essayist. Richler was among Canada's best known and most widely published writers. He was also a controversial public figure. Richler's uncompromising opinions on contemporary Canadian issues easily matched, and sometimes exceeded, the satirical sting of his fiction.
Son of a scrapyard dealer, Richler was born and raised on St. Urbain Street in The Plateau neighbourhood of Montreal. As a child, he was part of the youth movement Habonim Dror, and thought seriously about moving to Israel to join a Kibbutz before University. He attended Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) to study English but dropped out before completing his degree. Richler moved to Paris at age 19, intent on following in the footsteps of a previous generation of literary exiles. He lived in Paris for several years, then moved to London, England. He returned to Montreal in 1972.
Did you know
... the city had come to be known as Montréal by the end of the 17th century, a name derived from the French Mont Royal ("Mount Royal"), the name of the three-head hill at the heart of the city?
... that the first European to reach the area was Jacques Cartier, on October 2, 1535?
... that 1000 de la Gauchetière is Montreal's tallest skyscraper, simply named for its address at 1000, La Gauchetiere Street?
... that the headquarters of the Canadian Space Agency are located in Longueuil, southeast of Montreal?
...that Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is the busiest airport in the province of Quebec and the third busiest airport in Canada by passenger traffic, serving 10,335,768 passengers in 2004?
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