Chapter 11 IntroductionHochelaga 1500-1642Ville-Marie 1642-1665French Empire 1699-1763Small French Town 1665-1760Conquered City 1760-1800British Commercial Takeover 1800-1850Industrial City 1850-1896Canada's Metropolis 1896-1914North-American City 1914-1929Depression and War 1930-1945Modern City 1945-1960Québec's Metropolis 1960-1992ConclusionQuizEducational Resources


Forces of change

The political

Chapter 11 / MODERN CITY / Expansion  Previous pageNext page

The post-war period was one of unprecedented growth for Montréal’s population, territory and economy. This was an era of catching up, after the deprivations of the Depression and the war. This period was also characterized by a strong desire for modernization, expressed in a myriad of ways.

In 1951, the city boasted a population of one million, and Greater Montréal reached two million by 1961.

This increase in population could be explained by a rise in the birth rate—the Baby Boom—and a revival of immigration and the rural exodus.

There was plenty of work for all, whether in the manufacturing industry, in residential and commercial construction or in the service industry, which experienced spectacular growth.

Buying power was on the rise. Montrealers enthusiastically entered consumer society, since more of them could now afford durable goods such as refrigerators, automobiles and modern housing. The urban territory expanded, with more Island municipalities progressing rapidly. Urbanization began around the bridges on Île Jésus and on the South Shore.

The automobile played a key role in this move to suburbs further and further away from the inner city. Traffic increased and parking became difficult. The construction of the Boulevard Métropolitain and the Laurentian highway provided partial solutions to these problems.

The new suburbs led to changes in urban lifestyles, such as the emergence of shopping centres and single-family dwellings like the bungalow.

Montréal’s growth was accompanied by changes downtown. Dorchester Boulevard (now Boulevard René-Lévesque) was built, followed by Place Ville-Marie, symbol of a new era. More skyscrapers were erected on Dorchester Boulevard, which became the backbone of a new downtown core soon to replace Old Montréal as the city’s business district.

Movie theatres rue
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Montréal airport
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