What Every Montreal Borough Name Actually Means - MTL Blog

What Every Montreal Borough Name Actually Means

Côte-Des-Neiges has nothing to do with snow.

There's no shortage of weird names in Montreal. You hear about places such as Ahuntsic or Hochelaga and you wonder what the founders were smoking when they chose those names. But it turns out there's a perfectly good explanation behind each borough name in Montreal. Did you know Ile-Bizard was named that way because everyone who lives there is weird? Nope, that's total bullshit, and you would have known that if you had read this list. So without further ado (unless you enjoy ados, in which case have as many further ados as you like) here's the history behind Montreal's borough names.

1. Pierrefonds-Roxboro

  • The name Pierrefonds was inspired  by the Chateau Pierrefonds in France. Joseph-Adolphe Chauret build a manor in 1902 in the Village of Sainte-Genevieve which he also named Chateau Pierrefonds. In 1958 nearby villages were fused into a city and that's when the name Pierrefonds was officially adopted.

  • Roxboro literally means "Rocks-Borough". There used to be a limestone mine in the area, hence the "rocks". When the mine closed, the land was turned into a farm which was named Roxboro. When the municipality was founded in 1914 on the same land, the name stuck.

2. Côte-des-Neiges

  • The city in Montreal was founded in part by the Sulpiciens who named many roads and paths throughout Montreal. At the time, Côte-des-Neiges was a path that led to the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges village (named after the abbey Notre-Dame-des-Neiges and not for actual snow)

3. Outremont

  • This area was also named by the Sulpiciens, due to its geographic location. In comparison to Downtown, which was the city center at the time, Outremont stood in the shadow of Mount-Royal. In order to reach it you had to go beyond the mount, which roughly translates to "Outre-Mont."

4. Montréal-Nord

  • This one is pretty boring. In 1925, two neighborhoods split and the new municipality needed a name.  Joseph Armand Cadieux who was the treasurer at the time suggested that they simply call it Montréal-Nord, and that was that.

5. Île-Bizard-Sainte-Geneviève

  • In 1678, the governor of  New France gave control of the Bonaventure Island to Jacques Bizard who renamed the island after himself.
  • The name Genevieve comes from the Sulpiciens who named the local parish after Sainte-Genevieve.

6.  Plateau-Mont-Royal

  • This one is almost as boring as the story for Montreal-Nord. The Plateau was named that was because of it topographical nature. It's literally a plateau.

7. Anjou

  • In 1956, a municipality named  Saint-Léonard-du-Port-Maurice separated from the Longue-Pointe parish and was eventually named Anjou after a region in France.

8. Ahuntsic-Cartierville

  • Ahuntsic was the Iroquois name of a young French man who drowned in the area but was rumored to have been killed by Aboriginals. He was deemed to be a martyr of New France.
  • Cartierville wasn't named after Jacques Cartier, it was named after Georges Étienne-Cartier who was a politician in the early 1900s who eventually became Primes Minister of Eastern Canada

9. Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles

RDP has 3 possible origins:

  • A cartographer in 1632 named the river: Rivière-des-Prairies because of the large number of flat isles you can find there.
  • The Jesuits named it as such to honor a barge owner named Des Prairies who drowned there in 1637.
  • It may also be named after a rich fur trader names Des Prairies de Saint-Malo who fought along side Champlain.

  • The name Pointe-aux-Trembles comes from one of the first pioneer villages in Montreal which was build around the Fort De La Pointe Aux Trembles. The fort was named after the aspen trees which are called "trembles" in French.

10. Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension

  • Villeray was the named after Louis Rouer de Villeray who was a member of the sovereign council of new France in  1663.
  • Saint-Michel comes from the Sulpiciens who named the road that way because it led though Côte-Saint-Michel. (Named after Michel the Archangel)
  • Part of the area was created when Park street was extended, the area was formerly owned by the Park Realty Company of Montreal, it was annexed in 1910.

11. Lasalle

  • Lachine was split in 1892 when Dorval separated, eventually more of the area was divided and the new territory was named after the first Lord of the area Robert René Cavelier de La Salle.

12. Verdun

  • Zacharie Dupuis was a military officer who was given control of the land. He named it after his place of birth, Saverdun located in the south of France.

13. Le Sud-Ouest

  • No mystery here, The borough is located on the South-West side of the Island.

14. Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

  • Mercier comes from Honoré Mercier who was Prime Minister of Quebec from 1887 to 1891.
  • Hochelaga was named after a village discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1535.
  • Joseph Barsalou and Alphonse Desjardins owned land in Hochelaga, in 1883 the city wanted to annex the territory, but the two refused and formed their own town named after the co-founder of Montreal, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve.

15. Ville-Marie

  • When Montreal was founded, it was named after the Virgin Mary, hence Ville-Marie. The Island itself was later named Montreal. The name grew in popularity as the population increased and in the 17th century, the name Montreal was officially adopted.

16. Saint-Léonard


17. Rosemont-Petite-Patrie

  • The area named Petite-Côte used to be controlled by a syndicate led by Mr. Dandurant who named the city after his mother Rose Philips.
  • "Petite Patrie" came from a novel by  Claude Jasmin named "La Petite-Patrie" published in 1972. The novel was later turned into a television show and even though the neighborhood never existed, the name was officially adopted in the 1980s.

18. Saint-Laurent

  • Once again it was the Sulpiciens who named the area Côte-Saint-Laurent after Laurent de Rome.  It's also who the river is named after, however Jacques Cartier named the river, not the Sulpiciens.

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