Everything That Has Ever Happened In Montreal In The Last 500 Years

The best timeline ever made.
Everything That Has Ever Happened In Montreal In The Last 500 Years

Montreal has an amazing history, but getting through it all in detail would take you an eternity. That's why went back all the way to 1535 and laid out all of Montreal's history  in point form to give you a timeline of every important event in the city.

It's a quick and easy way to get to know the city you love a little better. For example, did you know Montreal had a commercial brewery before we even had a post office? That's because we had our priorities straight back them.

We did our best to cover everything and even highlighted some of the more interesting events so you can easily scan through 500 years of history in only a few minutes.

Let's start at the beginning:

Photo cred - skyscrapercity

1535 - 1700

  • 1535 – Jacques Cartier becomes the first to reach Montreal.
  • 1535 – Cartier names the Saint Lawrence River in honour of the Deacon Lawrence.
  • 1535 – Cartier climbs up the mountain and names it Mont Royal.
  • 1556 – Giovanni Battista Ramusio writes on one of his maps "Monte Real" when pointing out Mount-Royal.
  • 1603 – Samuel de Champlain comes to the Island of Montreal for the first time.
  • 1608 – The city of Quebec is founded.
  • 1611 – Champlain establishes a fur trading post in what is now known as Pointe-à-Callière.
  • 1611 – Samuel de Champlain names Saint Helen's Island after his wife.
  • 1615 – French missionaries known as 'Les Franciscains des Recollets' become the first to settle Canada.
  • 1627 – The King of France forbids settlement in New France for everyone except Roman Catholics.
  • 1634 – Sieur de Laviolette founds the city of Trois-Rivières.
  • 1636 – Jean de Lauzon is named ruler of the island of Montréal.
  • 1641 – The Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal is Established to convert the natives.
  • 1642 – De Maisonneuve arrives. He founds Ville-Marie.
  • 1642 – The construction of Fort Ville-Marie begins.
  • 1642 – Construction of Fort Richelieu by Charles de Montmagny.
  • 1642 – Major flood.
  • 1643 – The first cross is erected on the top of Mount-Royal on January 6th.
  • 1643 – The first 'Montrealers' are killed during an Iroquois attack.
  • 1645 – Sieur de Maisonneuve begins contruction on the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal.
  • 1646 – The Fort Richelieu is burned down by the Iroquois.
  • 1647 – The Jesuits take control of La Prairie.
  • 1650 - The first commercial brewery is established.
  • 1651 – 200 Iroquois attack the Hôtel-Dieu.
  • 1653 – Jeanne Mance uses hospital funds to recruit a hundred people to fight the Iroquois.
  • 1653 – The Congregation of Notre Dame is founded.
  • 1657 – Four priests of the Society of Saint-Sulpice take over from the Jesuits.
  • 1657 – Marguerite Bourgeoys opens the first school.
  • 1663 – The Sulpicians become the Seigneurs of Montréal.
  • 1663 – New France becomes a royal province.
  • 1665 – Fort Chambly is built. (Formerly Fort Saint Louis)
  • 1665 – Fort Richelieu is rebuilt.
  • 1666 – Montreal now has 582 inhabitants.
  • 1666 – Construction begins on Fort Saint-Jean.
  • 1667 – The first annual pelt market is held at Pointe-à-Callière.
  • 1668 – Maison Saint-Gabriel is used to receive the "Filles du Roi".
  • 1669 – Mandatory military service for men between 16 and 60.
  • 1670 – Hudson's Bay Company founded.
  • 1672 – Des Lauriers makes the first plan the street layouts in Montreal.
  • 1672 – Contruction of the Notre-Dame Basilica begins.
  • 1676 – A Sulpician mission founded at Mount Royal.
  • 1678 – Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is built.
  • 1682 – Notre-Dame Church is completed.
  • 1684 – Saint-Sulpice Seminary is built.
  • 1687 – A wood wall is erected to protect the town.
  • 1687 – Typhus kills 150 people.
  • 1689 – Plans to build the Lachine Canal.
  • 1689 – Lachine massacre.
  • 1690 – 260 men attack New York in retaliation for the Lachine Massacre.
  • 1690 – The Citadel is built.

1700 - 1800

  • 1700– Montreal's population is about 1,500.
  • 1700 – Gédéon de Catalogne is hired to dig the Lachine Canal.
  • 1705 – Montreal is now the official name for the city.
  • 1709 – Slavery becomes legal in New France.
  • 1711 – Construction of a stone wall fortification around the city to protect against the British.
  • 1719 – Pointe-aux-Trembles windmill is built.
  • 1721 – The great fire. New wood constructions are prohibited inside city limits.
  • 1726 – Dam is built to link the river bank to the Île de la Visitation, it stays open until 1960.
  • 1732 – Huge Earthquake.
  • 1734 – Construction of Fort St. Frédéric.
  • 1734 – Marie-Joseph Angélique is convicted of setting the great fire in Old Montreal.
  • 1737 – Chemin du Roy connects Montreal and Quebec city.
  • 1737 – Plague Epidemic.
  • 1738 – Marie-Marguerite d'Youville founds the Grey Nuns.
  • 1740 – 4,200 people live in the city with another 18,00 living in rural areas.
  • 1749 – Fort de La Présentation is built.
  • 1754 – Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is destroyed by fire.
  • 1754 – Auberge Le Saint-Gabriel established.
  • 1754 – French and Indian War last 11 years.
  • 1759 – Fort Lévis is built.
  • 1759 - The British army defeats the French on the Plains of Abraham.
  • 1760 - 7,500 people live in the city.
  • 1760 – British ships arrive at Quebec City, forcing the French Army to retreat to Montreal.
  • 1760 – The Battle of the Thousand Islands.
  • 1760 – Surrender of Montreal to the British.
  • 1763 – Treaty of Paris.
  • 1765 – The Stamp Act is passed.
  • 1766 – The Stamp Act is repealed. (that was quick)
  • 1774 – The British Parliament allows Quebec to maintain its civil code, judicial system as well as a freedom of religion.
  • 1775 – Invasion of Canada.
  • 1775 – Siege of Fort St. Jean.
  • 1775 – English attempt to take Montreal.
  • 1775 – The Americans capture Chambly.
  • 1775 – The Continental Army invades Montreal.
  • 1776 – Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase and Charles Carroll stay in Montreal while trying to gain support from Montrealers against the British.
  • 1776 – The colonial force is overcome by the British.
  • 1776 – American forces garrisoned around Montreal abandon the city and try to burn it down.
  • 1776 – Battle of the Cedars.
  • 1777 – Opening of Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal.
  • 1778 – "The Gazette du Commerce et Littéraire pour la Ville et District de Montréal" is printed. (the first newspaper in Montreal)
  • 1783 – The North West Company of Montreal is created.
  • 1783 – First lottery in Montreal to pay for a new prison.
  • 1785 – Fleury Mesplet founds the newspaper The Montreal Gazette.
  • 1786 – John Molson founds the Molson Brewery.
  • 1788 – The Gazette switches to English.
  • 1792 – Mail service is established between Canada and the United States.
  • 1792 – Opening of the first post office in Montreal.
  • 1793 – Importation of slaves into Canada is prohibited.
  • 1799 – 9,000 inhabitants in Montreal.
  • 1799 – The Court House is completed.

1800-1900

  • 1802 – The first unofficial cavalry corps.
  • 1803 – Napoleonic Wars create a demand for timber. Montreal fulfills the demand and profits greatly.
  • 1804 – The demolition of Montreal's fortifications. (it takes 13 years)
  • 1808 – Importation of slaves is officially banned.
  • 1811 – Founding of the Montreal Herald.
  • 1814 – End of the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain.
  • 1816 – Population of Montreal is about 16,000.
  • 1816 – The National School is opened.
  • 1817 – The Bank of Montreal begins operations.
  • 1818 – Saint Helen's Island was purchased by the British government.
  • 1821 – McGill University established by Royal Charter.
  • 1821 – Beginning of Lachine Canal excavations.
  • 1821 – Construction of the Fort de l'Île Sainte-Hélène.
  • 1822 – The Montreal General Hospital is completed.
  • 1822 – A lost whale finds its way up the Saint Lawrence River.
  • 1824 – First Saint Patrick's Day Parade.
  • 1824 – Construction on the new Notre-Dame Basilica begins.
  • 1825 – The Lachine Canal is opened.
  • 1825 – Theatre Royal is built in Montreal.
  • 1829 – Most of Notre-Dame Basilica is completed. Work continues on the two bell towers.
  • 1830 – Official incorporation of the Montreal harbour.
  • 1832 - Charter of incorporation for the city of Montreal.
  • 1832 – Cholera outbreak in Montreal, thousands die.
  • 1833 – Jacques Viger becomes the first mayor, elected by city councilors.
  • 1833 – Coat of arms of Montreal adopted.
  • 1834 – Slavery comes to an end in all British territories.
  • 1836 – The first railway line in British North America connects La Prairie with Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
  • 1837 – Rebellions of 1837.
  • 1838 – Coal gas street lighting is introduced.
  • 1838 – Second rebellion in Canada.
  • 1840 – The Act of Union merges Lower Canada and Upper Canada.
  • 1841 – West Bell Tower of Notre-Dame Basilica completed.
  • 1842 – Charles Dickens appears at Theatre Royal.
  • 1843 – The Cornwall and Chambly Canals are opened.
  • 1843 – Montreal Police Service established.
  • 1843 – The first labour strike in Canada occurs.
  • 1843 – Completion of the East Bell Tower of Notre-Dame Basilica.
  • 1844 – Government moves from Kingston to Montreal.
  • 1846 – Foundation of the Laurentian Bank.
  • 1847 – The Montreal Telegraph Company founded.
  • 1847 – Bonsecours Market opened.
  • 1847 – Railway connects Montreal to Lachine.
  • 1847 – 6,000 Irish immigrants die of the Typhus.
  • 1849 – Burning of the Parliament Buildings in Montreal.
  • 1850 – Excavation of the St. Lawrence allows seagoing ships to reach Montreal.
  • 1851 – Grand Trunk Railway Company formed.
  • 1851 – First YMCA on the continent opened in Montreal.
  • 1852 – Laval University opens.
  • 1852 – Great Fire of Montreal 20% of the city burns down.
  • 1853 – Frist steamers travels from Montreal to England.
  • 1853 – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce built.
  • 1854 – Villa Maria founded.
  • 1854 – Contruction starts on Victoria Bridge.
  • 1854 – Cholera kills more than 1,000 citizens.
  • 1855 – The Redpath Sugar Refinery opens.
  • 1857 – Griffintown flooding.
  • 1858 – Formation of the Royal Canadian Regiment.
  • 1858 – Queen names Ottawa the seat of government
  • 1859 – The Victoria Bridge opens.
  • 1859 – Foundation of the National Bank of Canada.
  • 1860 – Crystal Palace built for the Montreal Industrial Exhibition of 1860.
  • 1861 – The street horsecar becomes the first public transportation in Montreal.
  • 1861 – Griffintown again flooded.
  • 1861 – British troops ordered to Canada.
  • 1861 – The Great Montreal flood.
  • 1862 – Creation of the Montreal Fire Department.
  • 1866 – First successful transatlantic telegraph cable is laid.
  • 1867 – Canada East becomes the Province of Quebec.
  • 1867 – The Dominion of Canada is formed.
  • 1869 – First Transcontinental Railroad is completed.
  • 1869 – Red River Rebellion.
  • 1869 – Collège Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur established.
  • 1869 – Montreal Star founded.
  • 1872 – Montreal Exchange created.
  • 1872 – Montreal Royals team founded.
  • 1872 – Montreal City Hall is built.
  • 1875 – Hockey is first played in Montreal.
  • 1875 – Montreal and New York City are now linked by train.
  • 1876 – Dorchester Square opened.
  • 1876 – Place du Canada opened.
  • 1876 – Inauguration of Mount Royal Park.
  • 1877 – Thomas George Roddick introduces antiseptic methods to the Montreal General Hospital.
  • 1877 – The first telephone conversation in Quebec.
  • 1878 – Université de Montréal is established.
  • 1878 – Windsor Hotel completed.
  • 1876 – Mount Royal Park opened.
  • 1879 – Mary Gallagher is murdered.
  • 1881 – Mark Twain visits in November, remarks that "this is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window."
  • 1882 – Redpath Museum established.
  • 1882 – Montreal has its first electric lighting.
  • 1883 – First winter carnival in Montreal.
  • 1884 – Montreal Hockey Club established.
  • 1884 – First issue of the newspaper La Presse.
  • 1884 – Mount Royal Funicular Railway takes you to the top of Mount Royal.
  • 1885 – Smallpox epidemic.
  • 1886 – First Trans Canada train departure.
  • 1886 – Worst flooding recorded.
  • 1887 – Windsor Station built.
  • 1888 – Lafontaine Park created.
  • 1893 – Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal established.
  • 1893 – The Montreal Hockey Club is the first hockey team to win the Stanley Cup.
  • 1896 – Motion pictures are first shown in Canada for the first time.
  • 1898 – Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal founded on June 1.
  • 1899 – Construction of a dam in the Old Port of Montreal: there will be no more flooding.

1900 - Present

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