Pointe-à-Callière, 30 years of history... and countless memories!
On May 17, 2022, we have two birthdays to celebrate: Pointe-à-Callière's 30th and Montréal's 380th! For the occasion, the Museum has invited Mario Robert, historian, archivist and president of the Société historique de Montréal, to list 30 memorable events from the city's history. Here are 10 of them. What a great way to wish Montréal happy birthday!
1. A millennia-long presence
Various objects found during archaeological digs illustrate the presence of hunter-gatherer societies in what is now Montréal from 4,500 years ago. Nomadic groups made seasonal camps near Pointe-à-Callière to hunt and fish, as a stopover, or to trade with other groups. With the arrival of winter, they would return to the woodlands.
2. The village of Hochelaga
The St. Lawrence Iroquoians, sedentary Indigenous farmers who had been living in the Montréal region for over two centuries, welcome explorer Jacques Cartier (1491–1557) and his crew to their village of Hochelaga on October 3, 1535. They abandon the St. Lawrence Valley shortly thereafter, and all trace of Hochelaga disappears.
3. The founding of Montréal
In the name of the Société de Notre-Dame, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve (1612–1676), Jeanne Mance (1606–1673) and some 40 other settlers land at the point cleared in 1611 to establish a mission. They begin construction of Fort Ville-Marie, and Montréal is bornon May 17, 1642.
4. The Great Peace of Montréal
After decades of conflict, the Great Peace of Montréal is signed by over 1,300 delegates from 39 Indigenous nations from Northeastern North America and New France on August 4, 1701. Governor Louis-Hector de Callière (1648–1703) and Wendat chief Kondiaronk (c. 1649–1701) are the treaty’s primary architects.
5. The surrender of New France
Surrounded by British troops, Montréal capitulates without a fight, and the governor Pierre de Rigaud de Cavagnial, Marquis de Vaudreuil (1698–1778), signs the surrender of New France on September 8, 1760.
6. Inauguration of Victoria Bridge
The Victoria Bridge is officially opened by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII (1841–1910) on August 25, 1860. Built between 1854 and 1859, it is the first bridge across the St. Lawrence and link Montréal to its winter port of Portland, Maine.
7. The Canadiens are here!
The Montreal Canadiens hockey team is founded on December 4, 1909, using French-speaking players to compete against the Montreal Wanderers. The team plays its first game on January 5, 1910 at Jubilee Arena on Sainte-Catherine Street East.
8. Inauguration of the metro
At 2:30 p.m. on October 14, 1966, with numerous dignitaries in attendance, the Montréal Metro is officially opened at the system’s transfer station, Berri-De Montigny (today Berri-UQAM). The initial network, completed in early 1967, stretches 22 km and has 26 stations.
BAnQ/Photo: Gabor Szilasi
9. Opening ceremonies of Expo 67
The opening ceremonies of Expo 67 are held on April 27, 1967, attended by officials and journalists from around the world. The site opens to the public the next day. By the time it closes on October 29, the world’s fair has received some 50 million visitors.
10. The Montréal Olympic Games
On July 17, 1976, Queen Elizabeth II (1926–) declares the Games of the XXI Olympiad open. Mayor Jean Drapeau (1916-1999) recieves a standing ovation. Athletes from 94 countries take part in the two weeks of competition, despite a boycott by African countries.
Pointe-à-Callière/Photo: Luc Bouvrette
QUIZ/CONTEST: “Happy Birthday Montréal!”
History is always being written! Test your knowledge of major events that have happened in Montréal over the past 30 years and get a chance to win Pointe-à-Callière's anniversary grand prize.