Chapter 9 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

The First World War

A painful adjustment

The return of growth

A better life

Chapter 9 / NORTH- AMERICAN CITY / A better life  Previous pageNext page
A better life  

Living conditions progressed noticeably during this decade, despite the fact that many Montrealers earned modest wages and faced seasonal unemployment. Infant mortality rates decreased, although tuberculosis continued its devastation, hitting underpriviledged neighbourhoods hardest. Housing conditions improved and, by the end of the decade, almost all homes had electricity.

Advances were also made in education: an increasing number of children reached the sixth grade, vocational schools became more popular and new classical colleges were inaugurated. The Université de Montréal finally became an independent entity. Construction began on a new building on Mount Royal, and new faculties were created.

American culture made its presence felt through entertainment, movies and lifestyle. American products, often produced by Canadian subsidiaries, became symbols of modernity.

Montréal’s French-Canadian society was changing. Benefitting from improvements in quality of life, it displayed its own unique culture, more urban and North American than that in the rest of Québec.

French-speaking Montrealers clearly dominated municipal politics. Starting in 1921, the City was managed by an executive committee whose members were chosen by and from the ranks of municipal councillors.

The 1920s brought renewed hope for a better life to all Montrealers, but especially to French-speakers. However, the decade would end in an orgy of speculation followed by a brutal awakening.

Service station project
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Vera Guilaroff
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