Verdun doesn't enjoy the finest reputation in Montreal and is often ignored altogether. Which is sad, considering the rich history of the area. But things seem to be on the up for Verdun which remains an integral part of the Greater Montreal area since our city's very humble beginnings. In fact, did you know that Verdun is one of Canada's oldest cities? Here are some more facts about Verdun you might not have known:
In 1671 the Lords of the Island of Montreal known as the Sulpician Order granted control of the area to Major Zacharie Dupuis who named it after Saverdun, the name of his home village in France.
Archeological research has revealed evidence that Aboriginal people were present in Verdun nearly 4,000 years ago!
3. Early Settlement
One of the first Verdun settlements was the Côte-de-Verdun which used to be known as the Côte-des-Argoulets - which means "Sharpshooter's Coast". It earned this name because sharpshooters were stationed there as a line of defence during early conflicts with the Iroquois.
4. First Municipality
In 1874 local land owners met in a farmhouse named Le Pavillion where they founded the village of Riviere-Saint-Pierre. The next year it became the known as the municipality of Verdun.
5. Language Shift
In 1931 Verdun was 59% anglophone, but by 2011 the English population decreased to only 21%.
6. Alcohol Restrictions
Verdun was the only area in Montreal to ever be partially 'dry'. From 1965 to 2010, bars and clubs were banned from opening and restaurant liquor licenses were limited. During that time, you could only buy alcohol at the SAQ or in grocery stores.
7. Notable Residents
Scotty Bowman, past head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, was born in Verdun in 1933. He has the record for the most wins during the regular season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. He has won 5 Stanley Cups while coaching the Canadiens.
8. The War Efforts
Verdun made one of the biggest contributions to the war efforts in both WWI and WWII. This was due to the high percentage of British immigrants living in Verdun at the time who rallied to join the Canadian Army in droves.
The Green line was extended to Verdun in 1978. Construction was delayed because Wellington Street collapsed.
10. Future Plans
Verdun Plans on building a bridge between Galt Street in Montreal and boulevard Margueritte Bourgeoys in Nun's Island. The bridge would be exclusive to buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians.