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.
Ville-Marie is the oldest and most central of Montreal's boroughs. It is composed
of several distinct neighbourhoods:
(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).
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.
- 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.
- Le Plateau
- a mostly low-rise residential area, which nevertheless boasts
a lion's share of the city's restaurants and bars.
- 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.
- 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).
A large, mostly residential borough which consists of two large neighbourhoods:
- 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.
- 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
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
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.
Here are some other Montreal district:
- Villeray - Saint-Michel - Parc-Extension
- Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie
- Mercier - Hochelaga - Maisonneuve
- Rivières-des-Prairies - Pointe-aux-Trembles
- L'Île-Bizard - Sainte-Geneviève
And here are the island's 15 "breakaway" municipalities:
Ville Mont Royal;
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",
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.