The Westmount Market: Area Communities
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Le Sud-Ouest

Area - 13,52 km2
Population - 69 604


District directly southwest of Downtown Montreal and just west of Old Port, today it is considered part of the larger Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood in the Le Sud-Ouestdistrict of the city. In the 19th century Griffintown and adjacent Goose Village were home to thousands of Irish immigrants (mostly of the Catholic faith), many of whom worked for the railway and on massive local projects such as the Victoria Bridge, or the Northern Telecom building. Griffintown was the initial stop-off point for many Irish immigrants in the nineteenth century.

It became a multi-ethnic neighbourhood by the turn of the twentieth century, consisting of French, Anglo-Protestants (and later, Italians and others), but majority Irish Catholics. The Irish community claims the neighbourhood as a lieu du memoire because of its significance as one of the original sites of Irish immigration in North America.

Many of the immigrants who arrived on "fever ships" or "coffin ships" during the Irish Catholic diaspora resulting from potato famine and British colonialism, suffered from typhoid or other diseases and were quarantined in hastily constructed wooden "fever sheds" at Grosse-Île outside Quebec City and in Griffintown and Goose Village. Roughly six thousand Irish immigrants died in fever sheds at nearby Windmill Point during the typhus epidemic of 1847. They are commemorated by a black rock near the Victoria Bridge.

The post-war collapse of heavy industry and closure of the Lachine Canal created poor economic conditions, and since then it has been a low-income neighbourhood that is now undergoing some gentrification and renewal. However, in order to purchase property today, you must first pay to clean up the soil, an expensive environmental regulation which has so far limited the renewal of the neighborhood to large development projects along its periphery, mostly condos. 


Saint-Henri is well known as a historically French-CanadianIrish and black working class neighbourhood. Often contrasted with wealthy Westmount looking down over the Falaise Saint-Jacques, in recent years it has been strongly affected by gentrification.

The area—historically known as Les Tanneries because of the artisans' shops where leather tanning took place—was named for St. Henry via the Église Saint-Henri, which at one time formed Place Saint-Henri along with the community's fire and police station. The bustle of a nearby passenger rail station was immortalized in the song "Place St. Henri" (1964) by Oscar Peterson.[2]

Saint-Henri is part of the municipal district of Saint-Henri–Petite-Bourgogne–Pointe-Saint-Charles. The borough hall for Le Sud-Ouest is located in a converted factory in Saint-Henri, bearing witness to the borough's industrial heritage.(photo by Jean Gagnon) 

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