Place:Saint-Laurent, Île-de-Montréal, Québec, Canada

Alt namesSt. Laurentsource: from redirect
Saint-Laurentsource: from redirect
TypeCity, Arrondissement
Coordinates45.517°N 73.667°W
Located inÎle-de-Montréal, Québec, Canada     (1720 - 2002)
Also located inMontréal TE, Québec, Canada     (2002 - )
NOTE: Saint-Laurent in Montreal should not be confused with Saint-Laurent-de-l'Île-d'Orléans, on L'Île-d'Orléans, east of Québec City, which was known simply as "Saint-Laurent" before 1998.

Saint-Laurent was founded as the Parish of Saint-Laurent in 1720.

It is now an arrondissement or borough situated in the north of the Île de Montréal. It is bordered on the north by Cartierville, on the south by the city of Mount Royal and on the west by the city of Dorval as well as by the borough of Lachine. It is the largest of Montreal's boroughs with an area of 42.88 km2 (16.56 sq mi). In the Canadian census of 2011 it had a population of 93,842.



the text in this section is based on an article in the French edition of Wikipedia

The history of Saint-Laurent starts in 1700 when the first French colonists settled in an area they named the Cote Saint-Laurent. By 1740 all the land allocated by the Sulpicians had been granted. There were 162 families by 1765. After the British took over Quebec Scottish families also settled in the parish of Saint-Laurent.

In 1825 Saint-Laurent was the most populated parish on the Island of Montreal with the exception of the city of Montreal itself. It was then a peaceful farming village, specializing in vegetable crops.

The arrival of the Pères de Sainte-Croix (Fathers of Sainte-Croix) in 1847 led to the growth of the village because they built not only their mother house for Canada but also the College Saint-Laurent, an educational institution which has never ceased to expand. In 1885 Saint-Laurent was linked to Montreal by a railway line and this brought several industries to the community.

In 1893 the parish obtained its statute as a town. It had a population of 1,224 inhabitants. During several decades the town of Saint-Laurent and the parish of Saint-Laurent stood side by side.

In the twentieth century the parish lost several territories which were amalgamated into the towns of Mont-Royal and Cartierville, and also to Dorval. The aeronautical industry developed during and after World War II, thanks to the presence of the airport at Cartierville. In 1951 the town annexed the remaining lands that had previously belonged to the parish. Saint-Laurent experienced an unprecedented economic and demographic boom as agriculture gradually disappeared.

On January 1, 2002, all the municipalities on the island of Montreal, including Ville Saint-Laurent, were amalgamated by an act of the Parti Québécois government in Quebec City to form the new city of Montréal covering the whole of the Île-de-Montréal. This forced fusion was not welcomed by the suburbs and the Liberal Party of Quebec promised to defeat it in the next election. After the election of a Liberal government, a municipal demerger referendum was held on June 20, 2004. In Ville Saint-Laurent, 75% of those voting cast their vote in favour of demerger, But there was a low turnout and this 75% was only 28.5% of those eligible to vote. Quebec had set a minimum of 35% of registered voters to allow a local demerger. Saint-Laurent remains a part of new wider City of Montreal.

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.
  • 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 Saint-Laurent, 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.