Place:Montreal West, Île-de-Montréal, Québec, Canada

NameMontreal West
Alt namesMontréal-Ouestsource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Montréal-Ouestsource: Wikipedia
Coordinates45.45°N 73.65°W
Located inÎle-de-Montréal, Québec, Canada     ( - 2002)
Also located inMontréal TE, Québec, Canada     (2002 - 2006)
Île-de-Montréal, Québec, Canada     (2006 - )
See alsoCôte-Saint-Luc–Hampstead–Montreal West, Montréal TE, Québec, CanadaMontreal borough of which it was part 2002-2006
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Montreal West (French: Montréal-Ouest) is a suburb of the City of Montréal on the Island of Montréal in southwestern Québec, Canada.

Montreal West is a small, close-knit community made up primarily of single-family dwellings. The town is largely composed of young families, and has a population of 5,085, as of the 2011 census. The town's area is 1.6 km². About 66% of the population of Montreal West speak English as their first language.

On January 1, 2002, as part of the 2002–2006 municipal reorganization in Montreal, Montreal West and the neighbouring suburbs of Côte-Saint-Luc and Hampstead were merged into the City of Montréal and became the borough of Côte-Saint-Luc–Hampstead–Montreal West. Following a change of government and a 2004 referendum in which the population voted to de-merge by a wide margin, Montreal West was reconstituted as an independent city on January 1, 2006.



The following is translated from the French edition of Wikipedia; the English edition has dropped this part of the article


The colonization of the territory of Montreal West dates back to the time of New France. In 1653, the Sulpician fathers granted a seigneurial concession to Jean Décarie in the name of King Louis XIV of France. The area remained agricultural until the end of the 19th century.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Anglo-American War of 1812 led to the construction of fortifications along the Upper Lachine Road, trenches where Campbell and Woseley Avenues now pass, and an observation post at Easton Avenue. The soldiers who were involved in the defense of these fortifications were Scottish. The blue caps (Blue Bonnets) that formed part of their uniform gave the name to the area; the elevation on which they are installed was named Blue Bonnets Hill. The Americans could not reach the island of Montreal, they were repulsed by the troops of Charles de Salaberry during the battle of Châteauguay.

During the 19th century, Décarie Farm produced melons which, with the arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1846, were exported to all of Canada. At the time, the 400 acres of land in Montreal West were divided into three farms; two belonging to the Decarie family and the last being owned by David Leach, a local attorney. During the 1880s, part of the Decarie property was sold and converted into a racecourse; The Blue Bonnets Race Course was a great success and attracted many horse racing enthusiasts who arrived from Montreal by train.

The attraction for these races is rapidly declining, the Blue Bonnets Race Course is relocating and the introduction of new sidings transforms the area into a major railway junction named Montreal-Junction. The Canadian Pacific Railway, which in 1877 established the junction between the Montreal-Toronto and Montreal-Quebec [City] railways, built a small railway station there. Canadian Pacific employees were soon interested in buying lots in the area to settle. Twenty-five lots were negotiated and bought, and the first houses were built in the year 1890. The same year, the local rail link between Montreal-Junction and downtown Montreal was completed and the Toronto-based firm of Armstrong and Cook bought all the land of Decarie and the old racetrack. For his part, David Leach kept his land and developed the real estate potential by selling land overlooking Ville Saint-Pierre. To attract buyers, Armstrong and Cook offered sewers and running water to new residents.


Incorporated in January 9, 1897, the city of Montreal West held its first municipal elections on February 1 of the same year to elect 7 councilors who chose a mayor from their number. The districts were divided according to the real estate developments of the time; those of Armstrong and Cook constitute the eastern quarter, those developed by David Leach become the western quarter. The elected council established strict regulations to preserve the status and morality of the nascent city. The first laws are aimed at prohibiting the sale of alcohol in the city, establishing a town plan and providing support to the horticulture society.

The citizens were rapidly buying the Armstrong and Cook water system to distribute running water. In 1910 the present town hall was built. All the streets of the city have been paved with asphalt since 1914. This covered the gas, water and sewers already installed. The same year the police station and the fire station were built. Montréal-Ouest was also the first city on the island of Montréal to have a waste incinerator.

As the First World War broke out, Montreal West sent many of its young people to the European battlefields to support the British Empire. Few of them would return. The soldiers of Montreal West will fight during the battles of Passchendaele, Ypres, Côte 70, Lens, Vimy Ridge, Somme, Cambrai and Mons.

During the Second World War, there were 549 volunteers (1/6 of the population of the city) for active service, a record for the British Empire.

Research Tips

Maps and Gazetteers

  • The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) website contains several series of maps of Montreal made at different dates (starting in the 1600s) as well as some of other parts of Quebec. The 1879 series for the Ile de Montreal includes maps of the towns and villages present on the island at that time and includes the ownership of land in the less populated areas. Most of the text in the collection is in French, but the index is a mixture of French and English depending on the language of the original cartographer. The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) website also has other textual collections of interest to the genealogist.
  • Official Transport Quebec Road Map. From a province-wide map showing the administrative regions you can click to an overview of a region. Responding to the "cliquez" on this map brings up a standard road-map of the area which will blow up to readable magnification. The whole website is in French, but the only words you need are "cliquez" and the name of the administrative region.
  • Commission de toponymie Quebec--Quebec's data bank of official Québec place names, commonly known as "TOPOS sur le Web". The website is in French and paragraphs can be translated with Google Translate.

French names for places

Because French is the one official language of Québec, WeRelate employs the French names for places within the province. Many placenames will be similar to their counterparts in English, with the addition of accents and hyphens between the words. The words "Saint" and "Sainte" should be spelled out in full. Placenames should be made up of four parts: the community (or parish, or township, or canton), the historic county, Québec, Canada. You may find placenames red-linked unless you follow these conventions.

Local government structure

The Province of Québec was made up of counties and territories. Counties in Québec were established gradually as the land was settled by Europeans. Each county included communities with some form of local governement (often church-based). Territories referred to the undeveloped sections under the control of the government in charge of the whole province at the time. The communities included townships and/or cantons, depending on the English/French makeup of the county concerned, and also included ecclesiastical parishes with somewhat different boundaries which could overlap with local townships or cantons. Ecclesiastical parish registers have been retained and are available to view (online through Ancestry). Since the 1980s many small townships and parishes are merging into larger "municipalities", often with the same name as one of their components.

Beginning in 1979 the historic counties of Québec were replaced by administrative regions and regional county municipalities (abbreviated as RCM in English and MRC in French). Regional county municipalities are a supra-local type of regional municipality, and act as the local municipality in unorganized territories within their borders. (An unorganized area or unorganized territory is any geographic region in Canada that does not form part of a municipality or Indian reserve. There is a list in Wikipedia.) There are also 18 equivalent territories (TEs) which are not considered to be RCMs. These are mostly large cities with their suburbs, but include 4 very large geographical areas where the population is sparse.

The administrative regions (above the RCMs in the hierarchy) are illustrated on a map in Wikipedia. The regions are used to organize the delivery of provincial government services and there are conferences of elected officers in each region. The regions existed before the change from historic counties to regional county municipalities.

The above description is based on various articles in Wikipedia including one titled Types of municipalities in Quebec

NOTE: WeRelate refers to Québec communities as being within their historic counties because this is the description which will be found in historical documents. FamilySearch and Quebec GenWeb follow the same procedure. However, it is always wise to know the current RCM as well in order to track these documents down in local repositories and also to describe events which have taken place since 1980.

Because the former or historic counties and the modern regional county municipalities can have the same names but may cover a slightly different geographical area, the placenames for Regional County Municipalities or "Territories Equivalent to regional county municipalities" are distinguished by including the abbreviation "RCM" or "TE" following the name.

Historic counties (which were taken out of use in about 1982) were made up of townships or cantons. The two words are equivalent in English and French. Eventually all the Québec cantons in WeRelate will be described as townships. Many townships disappeared before 1980 with the growth of urbanization.

If the word parish is used, this is the local ecclesiastical parish of the Roman Catholic Church. Parish boundaries and township or canton boundaries were not always the same.

The WeRelate standard form for expressing a place in Québec is township/canton/parish, historic county, Québec, Canada,
or local municipality, administrative region, Québec, Canada for places established after the changes of the 1980s.


Censuses were taken throughout the 19th century in Quebec (or in Lower Canada or Canada West before 1867). Surprisingly most of them have been archived and have been placed online free of charge by the Government of Canada (both microfilmed images and transcriptions). All can be searched by name or browsed by electoral district. The contents vary. Those of 1825, 1831 and 1841 record only the householders by name, but remaining members of each household were counted by sex and by age range. From 1851 through 1911 each individual was named and described separately. The amount of information increased throughout the century, and in 1891 people were asked for their birthdate and the year of immigration to Canada. Unfortunately, enumerators were required only to record the birthplace province or country (if an immigrant). Specific birthplaces have to be discovered elsewhere.

The links below are to the introductory page for the specific census year. It is wise to read through this page first to see what will be provided on a specific census, and what will be lacking. Links to the records follow from these pages.

The 1921 census is available through and is also free of charge.

Other Sources

  • FamilySearch Wiki Information for the province and for indivdiual counties, and places within counties.
  • The Drouin Collection: explaining its history and purpose in a FamilySearch Wiki article
  • The Drouin Collection provided by and (pay websites).
  • Genealogy Quebec in French, the website of the Drouin Institute. (also a pay website) with more databases than are on Ancestry.
  • Quebec GenWeb (English version--for the most part)
  • The Quebec Familiy History Society is the largest English-language genealogical society in Quebec. Most of their services are members only, but their Bulletin Board has useful tips for everyone. These may change from time to time.
  • The CanGenealogy page for Quebec. An overview of available online sources with links written by Canadian genealogist Dave Obee.
  • La Mémoire du Québec online. Édition 2017. "Le dictionnaire des noms propres du Québec." In other words, an up-to-date gazetteer of places in Québec organized as a wiki. Each entry is a timeline.
  • Eastern Townships of Quebec Connector. A blogpost with links to many websites dealing with Quebec genealogy, particularly for those who don't speak French well. All parts of Quebec are mentioned.
  • Google "translate French to English" for those words and phrases you can't quite remember from schooldays.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Montreal West, Quebec. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.