Democracy in Montreal from 1830 to the present / ExhibitDemocracy in Montreal from 1830 to the present / Exhibit

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Justices of the peace

In 1796, the government of Lower Canada appointed justices of the peace to run Montréal.  Up to 1833, those magistrates held weekly sessions to settle administrative matters.  They were more specifically responsible for enforcing government ordinances concerning the district of Montréal.  Seconded by a limited number of municipal employees, they were empowered to adopt regulations pertaining to markets and road maintenance, as well as levy roadwork.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Montréal underwent many changes. Its population increased to a significant degree and its economy largely diversified, thus involving an explosion of its economic growth. In this context, it is not astonishing to see several merchants and well-known businessmen who become justices of the peace, in particular Thomas McCord, James McGill and Simon McTavish.


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