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During the period around 1850, a series of settlements—Turcot, Brodie, Saint-Agustin and Sainte-Marguerite—surrounding the village of Saint-Henri began to form. These various workers’ villages merged in 1875 to form the municipality of Saint-Henri which, by 1881, had a population of 6,400 (From Steam, 39). By the turn of the century, the surge in industrial activity in Montreal also had an important effect on Saint-Henri. Companies such as Imperial Tobacco, Stelco, RCA Victor and Johnson Wire Works built facilities in the neighborhood. Much of the area’s existing housing was built at this time to accommodate working-class families who were attracted by the new industrial activity. By 1905, Saint-Henri had 21,192 inhabitants (From Steam, 40). That same year, financial hardship on the part of the municipality forced its annexation by the city of Montreal. By the late 1940s, however, southwestern Montreal was the largest industrial centre in Canada and Saint-Henri formed its most important neighborhood. This period of activity lasted until the 1960s when some companies, in need of larger and more modern industrial facilities, began to leave the area.

Today, Saint-Henri’s industrial legacy is still visible. Companies such as Imperial Tobacco and Johnson Wire still operate in the neighborhood and long-abandoned factories have been converted for other uses. As well, examples of workers’ housing still remains.

Wooden Housing in St-HenriJust above the north shore of the Lachine Canal, around the intersection of rue Saint-Ambroise and rue Sainte-Marguerite, examples of early wooden housing remain.


Wooden Housing in St-HenriThese houses were built before the introduction of a city ordinance in 1890 which prohibited the construction of housing with wooden siding as a fire prevention measure (Hanna, 38; From Steam, 40).



Saint-Henri   |  Griffintown  |  Pointe-Saint-Charles  |  Living Conditions  |  Sources


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