Evolution of the Neighbourhood

Pointe St-Charles, located in the historic “Sud-Ouest” district of Montreal, was gradually built by waves of immigration since the 19th century. The Pointe has always been a welcoming point for immigration in Montreal. In the beginning, it was composed of French-Canadians and Anglophones (mostly Irish). The number of inhabitants rose from 500 in 1865 to more than 10,000 between 1870 and 1890.

The Pointe became a multicultural neighbourhood as the population increasingly grew. Eastern Europeans began to form the new wave of Montrealers, destined to what they perceived to be Canada’s Land of Opportunity. But why was the Pointe so attractive to them? In this area, there was an increasing need for skilled and unskilled workers to build the city, to build infrastructure, and to work in factories, during this period of rapid industrialization.

By the end of the 19th century, the Pointe was Canada’s most important industrial sector – smoke always filled the sky. To cater to the continuing influx of workers, housing construction was increasingly needed to welcome and settle these immigrant families. Many industries, duplexes, quadriplexes were therefore built, most of them built between 1880 and 1920.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the Pointe reached its climax as Canada’s production center, with the introduction of the Lachine Canal easing transportation into central Canada. The 1950s were therefore the end of an era that was defined by the Pointe’s importance. New economic routes opened and many industries de-localized.

Thus was born these issues of housing, employment, & health that this area faces today. Organizations began to form to support the local population during the latter half of the 20th century.

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