Source : Brochure Saint-Laurent, du village à la ville
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City of St-Laurent
Birth of the Village, 1702-1890
Although the young community comprised just eighty-three families at the turn of the century, the expansive nature of the parish made it difficult for many to attend the only chapel. In 1728, after years of debate, the decision was made to erect a new church in a more central location. Montée St-Laurent emerged as the ideal site. The construction of the church was the catalyst for the formation of the village core.
St-Laurent grew slosly and steadily from 1731 onward, on the location we know today, centred on activities that were essentially rural at first. The first farms were erected quickly on the conceded lands along Chemin de la Côte-Vertu. On the main street, Montée St-Laurent, where the church was located, a roadhouse and a few basic services gradually developed.
The arrival of the College also strenghened the economic vitality of St-Laurent. The influx of new residents significantly increased the already considerable traffic along Montée St-laurent, a main through road for travelers in transit. The activity generated by the College was without doubt related to the flourishing growth of the retail trade: in addition to a number of boutiques and workshops run by artisans, there were no fewer than three hotels on this small stretch of road.
In 1885, the introduction of the railroad, which ran to the south of the College, paved the way for the development of industrial activity in St-Laurent. It brought an end to the relative isolation of St-Laurent in the centre of the Island of Montreal.
The village, whose chief industrial activities at the time involved the provision of goods and services underwent a transformation that was to make it into a leading industrial hub. The position of the railroad shifted the pattern of urban growth to the north and west.
St-Laurent's privileged location led to trade with Montreal and with the other villages on the island, although the development of the village took place in a relatively independent manner. Its self-reliance explains how it managed to retain its rural character until political upheaval and there was no massive exodus of the population during the British invasion. The village soon evolved to become a dynamic municipality.
Photos : Archives de la ville de Saint-Laurent.
Photo 1 : De l'Ã‰glise street, in front of the 1575 de l'Ã‰glise
Photo 2 : St-Mathieu's avenue, which is today the Côte-Vertu boulevard, approximately 1900
Photo 3 : Joseph Beaudry's grocery store, at 189 main street, now the 883 Ste-Croix, approximately1890.
Photo 4 : College of Saint-Laurent, approximetely 1882
Saint-Laurent, du village à la ville by Johanne Brochu and Béatrice Sokolofe.
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