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10 Montreal Things You Never Thought Could Happen In The City Yet Actually Did

Photo cred - Shoghi Shams

As one of the oldest cities on the continent, Montreal has a long and sordid history with some pretty astounding events taking place from the city's origins to the present day. Not all of us are historians, so to give you some historical tidbits on the mighty Montreal, we've assembled 10 historical events you never knew could happen in Montreal, but totally did.

Some of these aren't so much astounding as they are surprising, or give some insight into the present-day, and some you may even already know. Take a look and see for yourself below.

1. Montreal Ruled By Women

The societies of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, among the first settlers on the island of Montreal, had different social set-up than the patriarchal colonists of the 1500s. Women acted as the leaders of the families and clans in their society, with populations reaching into the thousands.

2. CIA Experiments

Sketchy evil-science brain experiments were going down in Montreal, courtesy of the CIA, from 1957-64 at McGill's Allan Memorial Institute. Shock therapy, untested drugs, hallucinogens,and lobotomies were but a few treatments. No (documented) superhumans were a result.

3. The First 6 Weeks Of Molson

Within a month and a half, James Molson created his first brew of Molson beer, using local farmers to grow malt and his recently purchased brewery (using inheritance money) to create his brew. The original beers were sold at 5 cents a pop in 1786, and while the original process only took 6 weeks, the legacy has lasted over 200 years.

4. A Long History Of Riots

Way back in the day on May 21st, 1832, a by-election was held in Montreal, which incited an intense riot that led to British soldiers shooting into the crowd and killing three people. A clever cover up downplayed the events of "The Riot That Never Was" until the events were revealed 180 years later through historical analysis.

5. Old City Gas

As Montreal began to become industrialized, and thus needed new lighting technology, the New City Gas Company was built between 1859-1861 to meet the city's gas demands. Now, just right down the road, New City Gas still energizes Montrealers, just with dance and booze instead of actual gas.

6. Booth: Abraham Lincoln Hunter

Before his famed assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth took a vacay to party in Montreal, and according to some stories, he couldn't stop drunkenly telling everyone his plan to take down Lincoln. Apparently everyone thought he was nuts, which just goes to show you should always look for truth in the ramblings of a drunkard.

7. Two Years, Four Giant Buildings

In the span of 2 years, from 1962-64, four of the tallest buildings in Montreal were constructed: Tour de la Bourse, Place Ville-Marie, the CIBC Building and CIL House.

8. The Night Of Terror

A combination of planted bombs, numerous protests, demands from the police force, and a bunch of very angry taxi drivers led to the 16-hour night of turmoil otherwise known as the Murray Hill Riot of 1969.

9. Living The Fort Life

For ten years, the original colonists of Montreal lived in a reinforced fort, fearing attacks from the Iroquois people. Over the decade, the population of the settlers did not go above 50, they're original population to begin with.

10. The Spaghetti Junction

Most Monttrealers will remember this one from about a decade ago, but Parc and des Pins looks much different now. Referred to as the "Spaghetti Junction," (picture) the crazy crisscross was remodeled due to traffic and pedestrian safety issues.

For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte

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