Full of History

Petite-Bourgogne

In the corners of Little Burgundy, traces of a captivating history are still present.

Mark Twain was the first, in 1891, to call Montreal the city of the hundred-bell tower because its large number of churches. Little Burgundy owns some of the most famous ones:

  • The Sainte-Cunégonde Church: built on four floors in 1906 and located at 2461 St-Jacques Street, is easy to admire because of its Beaux-Arts architectural style. Grand and majestic, it was restored in 1984 according to the plans of Claude Beaulieux.
  • St-Irénée Church: erected in 1912 and designed by architects Albert Mesnard and Charles Bernier at the intersection of Delisle Street and Atwater Avenue. Special to mention is its neoclassical architectural style, its facade in three sections and the splendid paintings signed Charles Edouard Chabauty who dress its interior walls around the altar. Its less imposing in size than many of its Montreal counterparts despite its four floors, but this church is worth the detour.
  • Inside the Lionel-Groulx metro station, the history challenges you with two works dated from 1978. Murales by Yves Roy in polished stainless steel reflecting the image of travelers in motion.

The tree of life of Joseph Rifesser, in turn, a wooden sculpture that represents “the five great human families that come from the same trunk and who populated the Earth”. The sculpture was originally located at the entrance of the United Nations pavilion during Expo 67.

The entire neighbourhood’s population was dedicated to industrial activities, possible because of a large black and english working-class population and that was severely affected by the closure of the Lachine Canal in the early 1970s. More than 20,000 jobs were then destroyed, modifying therefore the entire community landscape and that became a much darker face: boarded houses, abandoned factories and high crime rate. In the early 1980s, real estate development projects helped to improve the image of the territory. A remarkable change then took place as Little Burgundy became a modern and vibrant dwelling place, that has still retained a multicultural dimension. A strong community of diverse origins, essentially bilingual, still lives there today.

To finalize your journey, get out of the main arteries and venture into Delisle, Dominion, Workman and Vinet streets. Several historic buildings, such as the George Vanier Library built in 1904, will catch your eye.

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