Chapter 6 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

A commercial metropolis

A changing

A new face for
the city

City management

Chapter 6 / BRITISH COMMERCIAL TAKEOVER / A changing population  Previous pageNext page
A changing population  

The population had grown from 9,000 inhabitants around 1800 to 23,000 in 1825, then to 58,000 in 1852. As of 1831, the majority of Montréal’s population was of British origin. This new ethnic mix was noticeably reflected in the urban landscape: English and Scots dominated in the West, the Irish were concentrated in the Southwest, while the East was Canadien territory.

Ethnic tensions reached the boiling point in the 1830s, when the Patriotes led a political struggle culminating in the Rebellions of 1837 and 1838. The military repression of the Rebellions confirmed the victory of the Tories, who represented English-speaking Montrealers.

A more clearly-defined hierarchy was being established between the commercial bourgeoisie, controlled by the British and the Scots, and local, French-speaking merchants.

The number of craftsmen grew quickly. Most Irish immigrants were labourers or servants, who in turn were primarily women and teenage girls. This population would later form the base of Montréal’s industrial working class.

Immigration also intensified religious diversity. The city filled with churches, mostly Protestant, but the Canadiens and the Irish formed a Catholic majority. The Catholic Church’s intention to create a new diocese in Montréal, separate from the one in Québec City, became a reality in 1836. In the meantime, the Sulpicians built a new place of worship, Notre-Dame Church.

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