Westmount, Quebec

Summary

Westmount is an affluent municipality on the Island of Montreal, in southwestern Quebec, Canada. It is an enclave of the city of Montreal, with a population of 19,658 as of the 2021 Canadian census.[5]

Westmount
Upper Westmount and Westmount Summit seen from King George Park.
Upper Westmount and Westmount Summit seen from King George Park.
Coat of arms of Westmount
Motto(s): 
Robur meum civium fides (Latin for: "My strength is the faithfulness of my citizens")
Location on the Island of Montreal
Location on the Island of Montreal
Westmount is located in Southern Quebec
Westmount
Westmount
Location in southern Quebec
Coordinates: 45°29′N 73°36′W / 45.483°N 73.600°W / 45.483; -73.600Coordinates: 45°29′N 73°36′W / 45.483°N 73.600°W / 45.483; -73.600[1]
CountryCanada
ProvinceQuebec
RegionMontreal
RCMNone
Founded1874
ConstitutedJanuary 1, 2006
Government
 • MayorChristina Smith
 • Federal ridingNotre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount
 • Prov. ridingWestmount–Saint-Louis
Area
 • Total4.02 km2 (1.55 sq mi)
 • Land4.04 km2 (1.56 sq mi)
 There is an apparent contradiction between 2 authoritative sources.
Population
 (2021)[5]
 • Total19,658
 • Density4,860.9/km2 (12,590/sq mi)
 • Dwellings
9,423
Demonym(s)Westmounter[6]
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Postal code(s)
Area code(s)514 and 438
Highways Route 138
Websitewww.westmount.org Edit this at Wikidata

Westmount is home to schools, an arena, a pool, a public library and a number of parks, including Westmount Park, King George Park (also known as Murray Hill Park) and Westmount Summit. The city operates its own electricity distribution company Westmount Light & Power (Hydro-Westmount). The city is also the location of two Canadian Forces Primary Reserve units: The Royal Montreal Regiment and 34th Signals Regiment.

Traditionally, the community of Westmount has been a wealthy and predominantly anglophone enclave, having been at one point the richest community in Canada. It now competes with the Vancouver neighbourhoods of Shaughnessy and Kerrisdale, and the Toronto neighbourhoods of Lawrence Park, Forest Hill, Rosedale, and The Bridle Path, for the title.

HistoryEdit

There are clues of a First Nations presence 4000 to 5000 years ago. A large amount of prehistoric burial sites were found within the area of Westmount.[7]

When the first French colonists settled in the area in the middle of the seventeenth century, this area was known by several names including La Petite Montagne, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Côte-Saint-Antoine. A former farmhouse from this era, Hurtubise House, is the oldest house still standing in Westmount.

The Village of Côte St-Antoine was first incorporated in 1874. It later became the Town of Côte St-Antoine.

It was renamed Westmount, in 1895, reflecting the geographical location of the city on the southwest slope of Mount Royal and the presence of a large English-speaking population.

During the twentieth century, Westmount became a wealthy Montreal suburb; a small city dotted with many green spaces. Architect Robert Findlay, a resident in the early twentieth century, designed many municipal buildings in the city, including the library, Westmount City Hall and several other buildings of public order.

 
Western Avenue, Westmount (now De Maisonneuve Boulevard)

In the twentieth century, Westmount was home to some of Montreal's wealthiest families including the Bronfmans and the Molsons. This made the city a symbolic target of Front de libération du Québec terrorist bombings in the 1960s, culminating in the 1970 October Crisis.

Following the death of former Quebec Premier René Lévesque in 1987, the city of Montreal renamed Dorchester Boulevard René Lévesque Boulevard. After the city of Montreal changed the name, Westmount retained the name of Dorchester on their portion, as did Montréal-Est.

Merger with MontrealEdit

In 2001, while trying to prevent Westmount from being amalgamated into the city of Montreal, Westmount Mayor Peter Trent and city council asserted that the city was a designated anglophone institution and should not be merged into francophone greater Montreal. In response to this opposition, Municipal Affairs Minister Louise Harel said that Westmount's resistance "reeked of colonialism" and that the opposition was an "ethnic project", statements for which she would refuse to apologize.[8] When asked for comment, Quebec Premier Bernard Landry said the minister had his full support and that the opposition was little more than Quebec bashing.[9] Several federalist public figures criticized Landry's statement: Jean Charest called it insulting to the intelligence of the citizens of Quebec; Joseph Gabary, president of the Quebec Chapter of the Canadian Jewish Congress, called the language "crude"; Alliance Quebec also criticized the premier for singling out the city for special criticism.[10]

On January 1, 2002, as part of the 2002–2006 municipal reorganization of Montreal, Westmount was merged into the city of Montreal and became a borough. However, after a change of government and a 2004 referendum, it was re-constituted as an independent city on January 1, 2006. It is now one of fifteen independent suburbs on the Island of Montreal, and the only one that directly borders the downtown core.

Nevertheless, it remains part of the urban agglomeration of Montreal and the bulk of its municipal taxes go to the Agglomeration Council, which oversees activities common to all municipalities on the Island of Montreal (e.g. police, fire protection, public transit) even after the demerger.

GeographyEdit

The city is roughly 4 km2 (1.5 sq mi), and occupies an area of land on the south face of Westmount Summit, the western peak of Mount Royal. The city, most of which is on steep terrain, extends from the summit to the end of the narrow plateau at the foot of the mountain.

CityscapeEdit

 
Greene Avenue in downtown Westmount.
 
Westmount's former post office on Greene Avenue, built in 1913 and designed by Willis Ritchie.

Most of the city is residential. Homes increase in size and value toward the top of the mountain, with the largest and most expensive being on or near Summit Circle.

Notable buildings include Place Alexis Nihon and the Westmount Square complex, which was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and funded largely by Westmount resident Samuel Bronfman, the founder of the Seagram liquor empire.

 
The commercial district on Sherbrooke Street in the western part of Westmount.

There are several small commercial districts on Sherbrooke Street from the city's western boundary to the intersection of Sherbrooke Street and Victoria Avenue ("Victoria Village"), on Saint Catherine Street across from Place Alexis Nihon, on Greene Avenue and on De Maisonneuve Boulevard near the Atwater metro station.

ParksEdit

There are several parks within the city, including King George Park (also known as Murray Hill) and Westmount Park. A forest area is located at Westmount Summit, within Summit Circle.

Westmount ParkEdit

Located between Sherbrooke Street and De Maisonneuve Boulevard to the north and south, and Melville and Lansdowne Avenue to the east and west, this 1,141,002 sq ft (106,002.6 m2) park is the second largest in Westmount.

The landscaping design was undertaken in 1912 by M.J. Manning, and comprises large playing fields at the east and south sides, and Westmount Arena and adjacent swimming pool at the southwest corner. The central area contains an extensive playground, footpaths, ponds and wading pools, and tennis courts. Westmount Public Library, built in 1897,[11] Victoria Hall, and a large greenhouse are located on the north side.[12]

DemographicsEdit

Historical populations
YearPop.±%
196624,107—    
197123,600−2.1%
197622,153−6.1%
198120,480−7.6%
198620,011−2.3%
199120,239+1.1%
YearPop.±%
199620,420+0.9%
200119,727−3.4%
200620,494+3.9%
201119,931−2.7%
201620,312+1.9%
202119,658−3.2%
Source: Statistics Canada
Home Language (2016)[13]
Language Population Percentage (%)
English 12,920 69%
French 3,705 20%
Other 2,170 11%
Mother Tongue (2016)[13]
Language Population Percentage (%)
English 10,225 54%
French 4,235 22%
Other 4,600 24%
Visible Minorities (2016)[13]
Ethnicity Population Percentage (%)
Not a visible minority 16,225 82.0%
Visible minorities 3,565 18.0%

StatsCan lists the median after-tax income in 2015 as $41,674. The three largest occupation categories were management, business, and "education, law and social, community and government services"; each of these sectors employed about 20% of Westmount workers.[14]

GovernmentEdit

MunicipalEdit

Since regaining its status as a city, Westmount is governed by a City Council made up of a mayor and eight "district" councillors. The current mayor of Westmount is Christina Smith, who was elected interim mayor at a special council meeting on April 24, 2017, following the retirement of long-serving Mayor Peter Trent. Smith later went on to win an election November 5, 2017 to remain mayor. She retained her position in 2021, being acclaimed. In addition to the local city council, Westmount is represented by its mayor on the Montreal Agglomeration Council.

Westmount City Council 2021-2025
District number Councillor
District 1 Antonio D’Amico
District 2 Elizabeth Roux
District 3 Jeff Shamie
District 4 Conrad Peart
District 5 Anitra Bostock
District 6 Mary Gallery
District 7 Matt Aronson
District 8 Kathleen Kez

Former mayorsEdit

List of former mayors:[15]

  • Eustache Prud'homme (1874–1875)
  • James Kewley Ward (1875–1884)
  • Alexander Cowper Hutchison (1884–1887)
  • Thomas Patton (1887–1890)
  • John MacFarlane (1890–1891)
  • Matthew Hutchinson (1891–1894)
  • James Henry Redfern (1894–1896)
  • Frederick William Evans (1896–1898)
  • James Robert Walker (1898–1900)
  • William Douw Lighthall (1900–1903)
  • Alexander S. George Cross (1903–1905)
  • Charles-Albert Duclos (1905–1906)
  • James W. Knox (1906–1907)
  • William Galbraith (1907–1909)
  • William Henry Trenholme (1909–1911)
  • William Rutherford (1911–1913)
  • John MacKergow (1913–1919)
  • Peter William MacLagan (1919–1927)
  • George Hogg (1927–1933)
  • John Jenkins (1933–1939)
  • Walter Alfred Merrill (1939–1945)
  • R. Percy Adams (1945–1949)
  • James S. Cameron (1949–1953)
  • Roy L. Campbell (1953–1955)
  • James Arthur de Lalanne (1955–1957)
  • Aimé Sydney Bruneau (1957–1959)
  • J. C. Cushing (1959–1963)
  • Chipman Hazen Drury (1963–1965)
  • M. L. Tucker (1965–1968)
  • Peter Michael MacEntyre (1968–1971)
  • Paul A. Ouimet (1971–1975)
  • Donald Charles MacCallum (1975–1983)
  • Brian O'Neil Gallery (1983–1987)
  • May Ebbitt (Cutler) (1987–1991)
  • Peter Francis Trent (1991–2002, 2009–2017)
  • Karin Marks (2006–2009)
  • Christina M. Smith (2017–present)

Provincial and FederalEdit

Throughout Quebec, Westmount is known as an overwhelmingly Liberal riding, both federally and provincially.

On the federal level, Westmount is represented in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount riding. The riding was won by Marc Garneau in the 2015 federal election.

Provincially, the city is represented in the riding of Westmount–Saint-Louis by MNA Jennifer Maccarone of the Quebec Liberal Party.

SportsEdit

Westmount was home of the Montreal Arena, the third arena in history to be built specifically for hockey. It was the home rink for the Montreal Wanderers, one of the great teams of the early hockey era, as well as the legendary Montreal Canadiens. The arena burned down in 1918, causing the Wanderers to disband.

In 2010, Mayor Peter Trent unveiled a $38-million project to demolish the old arena and create two new rinks, a larger swimming pool, refurbished tennis courts, and an extra acre of green space.[16] In the fall of 2013, the new Westmount Recreation Centre opened.[17] It is home to the Westmount Wings, Lasalle/Westmount Cobras and was the home of the Westmount Predators that are no longer active.

Westmount is home to the Westmount Lynx Lacrosse Club, which has field lacrosse teams for boys and girls aged 8–16.

Westmount is also home of the oldest active rugby club in North America, the Westmount Rugby Club.

In addition, the city's swim team, the Westmount Dolphins,[18] won the 2007 Section B Alps finals.

Tennis star Eugenie Bouchard grew up in Westmount.

EducationEdit

The city is home to two CEGEPs: the public anglophone Dawson College and the private anglophone Marianopolis College.

The Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) operates French-language schools in Westmount.

English-language public schools in Westmount are operated by the English Montreal School Board (EMSB). These include Westmount High School, its sister elementary school Westmount Park School and Roslyn Elementary School, which is significant for introducing the first French Immersion Program on the Island of Montreal in 1968.[19]

Westmount is also home to several private schools, including coeducational St. George's School of Montreal as well as Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramp's School, The Study and the French-language Villa Sainte-Marcelline for girls and Selwyn House School for boys.

The Montreal Hoshuko School, a supplementary Japanese school serving Japanese nationals and Japanese Canadians in the Montreal area, previously held classes at the Westmount Park School in Westmount.[20]

Notable peopleEdit

Musicians Leonard Cohen and Sam Roberts were born in Westmount, as was the actress and comedian Caroline Rhea. The city is currently home to many notable Montrealers, including the federal MP and former astronaut Marc Garneau.

FictionEdit

Westmount has been the setting for a number of novels. Gwethalyn Graham's World War II novel Earth and High Heaven told the story of a romance between an wealthy English girl from Westmount and a Jewish lawyer from Northern Ontario.[21] David Montrose' 1950s hard-boiled detective novel, The Crime on Cote des Neiges,[22] was translated into French as Meurtre à Westmount.[23] Daniel Richler's Kicking Tomorrow is a bildungsroman of a teenager growing up in a Westmount family in the 1970s, mentioning how the students at Westmount High School were "famous in the City for the achievement of being perpetually stoned."[24] Claire Rothman's novel Lear's Shadow[25] takes place amidst an outdoor summer production of the Shakespeare play in Westmount Park. Edward Openshaw Phillips wrote a series of mystery novels starring an anglophone Westmount lawyer, most of which were set in Westmount.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Reference number 388474 of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (in French)
  2. ^ Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire: Westmount
  3. ^ Parliament of Canada Federal Riding History: WESTMOUNT--VILLE-MARIE (Quebec)
  4. ^ "Répertoire des municipalités: Westmount". www.mamh.gouv.qc.ca (in French). Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Habitation. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  5. ^ a b c "Data table, Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population - Westmount, Ville (V) [Census subdivision], Quebec". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Government of Canada - Statistics Canada. 9 February 2022.
  6. ^ "Two Westmounters face off in new federal riding of Ville Marie" (PDF). 4 March 2014.
  7. ^ http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/pls/portal/docs/page/patrimoine_urbain_fr/media/documents/27_evaluation_patrimoine_wes.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ "Harel refuses to apologize for colonialism comment". CBC News. June 21, 2001.
  9. ^ "Landry calls opposition to merger Quebec-bashing" Globe and Mail June 22, 2001
  10. ^ "PQ brass gang up on Westmount"; Nicolas van Praet. The Gazette. Montreal, Que.: Jun 22, 2001. pg. A.1.
  11. ^ "Bibliothèque publique de Westmount | Westmount Public Library". Westlib.org. 2011-07-16. Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  12. ^ "Ville de Westmount | City of Westmount". Westmount.org. 2007-07-10. Archived from the original on 2010-09-04. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  13. ^ a b c "(Code 2466032) Census Profile". 2016 census. Statistics Canada. 2017.
  14. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (8 February 2017). "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Westmount, Ville [Census subdivision], Quebec and Quebec [Province]". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Répertoire des entités géopolitiques: Westmount (ville) 1.1.1874 - 1.1.2002 ● 1.1.2006 - ..." www.mairesduquebec.com. Institut généalogique Drouin. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  16. ^ https://www.pressreader.com/canada/montreal-gazette/20111217/300037826939120. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Westmount's icy unveiling: Two underground rinks completed". 19 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Westmount Dolphins". Archived from the original on January 22, 2008. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
  19. ^ Doreen Lindsay (2009-03-05), "Rothman recalls pioneering language program." Westmount Examiner (Westmount). Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  20. ^ "北米の補習授業校一覧" (Archive). National Education Center, Japan. October 29, 2000. Retrieved on April 16, 2015. "モントリオール ECOLE JAPONAISE D'CNSEIG NEMENT c/o WESTMOUNT PARK SCHOOL 15 PARK PLACE WESTMOUNT QUEBEC H3Z 2K4 CANADA "
  21. ^ Graham, Gwethalyn (1944). Earth and High Heaven. J. B. Lippincott Company.
  22. ^ Montrose, David (September 2014). Meurtre à Westmount : une enquête de Russell Teed. ISBN 978-2-89723-460-7. OCLC 894841953.
  23. ^ Montrose, David (2014). Meurtre à Westmount. Montréal, Québec: Hurtubise.
  24. ^ Richler, Daniel (1991). Kicking Tomorrow. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-55199-438-3. OCLC 803938126.
  25. ^ Rothman, Claire (2018). Lear's Shadow. Penguin Random House.

External linksEdit

  • Official website
  • Walking tour of Westmount