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The island of Montreal is divided into 19 boroughs (arrondissements) and 15 "breakaway" municipalities (which, despite being located on the island, have been considered autonomous "suburban units" since January 1st, 2006). Most of the city's boroughs are further sub-divided into neighbourhoods. We tried to cover the most important ones. Not surprisingly, they are all located close to the centre of the island, in the most densely built-up area.

One street holds a special importance in the city layout. The Boulevard St-Laurent (or Saint-Lawrence Boulevard, sometimes also called 'the main') runs north-south and divides the city into "east" and "west". The split is denoted in many street addresses: when the "Est" suffix is added to the name of a street, it indicates a location east of the main. Conversely, the "Ouest" suffix means that the location is to the west of St-Laurent.

The following are the main neighbourhoods in Montréal:

Borough Ville-Marie

Ville-Marie is the oldest and most central of Montreal's boroughs. It is composed of several distinct neighbourhoods:

  • Centre-Ville (Downtown): the main commercial and business area, with many hotels and restaurants. Some housing also exists (typically at the high end of the spectrum), but most of the neighbourhood is commercial in character.
  • Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal) - the mainly historic part of Montreal, roughly corresponding to the city's 19th century footprint. Many old, beautiful buildings.
  • The Cité Multimédia - a former industrial suburb quickly filling with new condos and conversions. Located just west of Vieux Montreal.
  • The Quartier International - mostly office / commercial and hotel buildings, although a cluster of new condos allows this neighbourhood to claim a mixed-use character. Located north-west of Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal).
  • The Quartier des Spectacles - a neighbourhood under (re)development. The Quartier des Spectacles is already home to many entertainment venues and more will be added in the coming years.
  • Shaughnessy Village - a lively area west of rue Guy and east of rue Atwater. This area is both predominantly high-rise and residential - a rare mix in Montreal. Many of the residents are students and recent immigrants. Several condo buildings have been constructed since the early 2000's.
  • The Quartier Latin - a small area next to the UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) campus. A lively atmosphere, with many bars and restaurants, but also with more than its share of social problems.
  • The Village - an area east of the Quartier Latin. Home to many establishments targeting the city's gay community.
  • The General Hospital Area - a downtown-adjacent area at the foot of the mountain.
  • Chinatown - sometimes called "Chinablock" because of its miniscule size. Home to many Asian restaurants. Some housing has been built.

Borough Le Plateau Mont Royal

  • Le Plateau - a mostly low-rise residential area, which nevertheless boasts a lion's share of the city's restaurants and bars.
  • Mile End - previously known simply as the north-western part of the Plateau (see above), Mile End is now considered a separate neighbourhood. It is more linguistically mixed than the predominantly French-speaking Plateau.
  • McGill Ghetto - a residential area east of McGill University populated largely by its (mostly English-speaking) students. The "ghetto" moniker is somewhat misleading - the area is neither dangerous nor particularly rundown (at least, nothing beyond what one would expect from a neighbourhood lousy with students).

Borough Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

A large, mostly residential borough which consists of two large neighbourhoods:

Borough Sud-Ouest

  • Griffintown - an old (and until recently, neglected) neighbourhood located just south of downtown Montreal. In another era, Griffintown was the heart of the city's Irish community.
  • Saint-Henri - a rapidly gentrifying working-class neighbourhood just west of Rue Atwater. Somewhat rundown and even sketchy in its central part, it is rapidly growing condos in the northern and southern sections.
  • Point St-Charles

Borough Outremont

A mainly francophone residential area located just north of the mountain. In many ways, Outremont is similar to Westmount, except for the fact that it is mostly francophone whereas Westmount is predominantly anglophone.

Municipality of Westmount

Westmount is a predominantly English-speaking district located just west of Shaughnessy Village. Since January 1, 2006 is it one of the self-governing municipalities located on the island of Montreal (and thus it is not a borough, but a city in its own right).

( See comments* below about suburban municipalities. )

OTHER BOROUGHS

Here are some other Montreal district:

  • Verdun
  • LaSalle
  • Lachine
  • Saint-Laurent
  • Ahuntisic-Cartierville
  • Villeray - Saint-Michel - Parc-Extension
  • Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie
  • Mercier - Hochelaga - Maisonneuve
  • Anjou
  • Rivières-des-Prairies - Pointe-aux-Trembles
  • Saint-Léonard
  • Montréal-Nord
  • Pierrefonds
  • L'Île-Bizard - Sainte-Geneviève
  • Roxboro

* And here are the island's 15 "breakaway" municipalities: Beaconsfield; Baie d'Urfé; Côte-Saint-Luc; Hampstead; Montréal-Ouest; Dollard-Des Ormeaux; Dorval; Kirkland; L'Île-Dorval; Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue; Ville Mont Royal; Senneville; Pointe-Claire; Montréal-Est; Westmount.

For details on the separation of the 19 districts and 15 "suburban cities" see Montreal Merger and Demerger (wikipedia.org)

MONTREAL's NORTH, EAST, SOUTH AND WEST

A note of caution about local geographic terminology. The city is laid out on something resembling a grid, but its orientation is such that it would be very inconvenient to give directions in precise geographic terms (e.g. "you need to go NorthNorthEast from here"). Thus, in Montréal, the meaning of the words "East", "West", "North" and "South" has been changed to mean roughly "NorthEast", "SouthWest", "NorthWest" and "SouthEast", respectively.

IN CONTEXT: THE MONTREAL METRO

The above only discussed areas located on the island of Montréal. Montreal-the-island sits in the middle of in what is known as the Montreal Metro Area (the Communauté Métropolitaine de Montréal or CMM). The CMM consists of five entities, Montreal being the main one. The other four "pieces" to this puzzle are called the South Shore, the North Shore, Laval, and Longueuil. The latter two have city status.



 
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