OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND, THE JEAN-TALON MARKET IS ONE OF THE LARGEST OPEN-AIR MARKETS IN NORTH AMERICA
Since 1933, the Jean-Talon Market, its flavors and colors have attracted both international and local crowds. People visit it to get fresh and local products, but also to be tempted by discoveries of local products from here and elsewhere. Following the economic crisis of 1929 and to counter the increasing unemployment during this period, Mr. Camillien Houde, who was the mayor of Montreal at the time, launched the construction of several public buildings, including that of the Northern Market, the former name of the current Jean-Talon Market. In 1933, the Northern Market was inaugurated on the former lacrosse field of the Shamrock Lacrosse Grounds. Ten years later, every Friday and Saturday, the market finally welcomes merchants of fresh fruits and vegetables and live farmyard animals. In the saIn the same period, the city of Montréal built at the corner of Shamrock and Casgrain streets the Meat Inspection Clinic. ns of public hygiene, the sale of live animals was banned in 1971.
Towards the end of the 1950s, residents of Italian origin in Little Italy took advantage of the backyards and garages of their houses to set up a peripheral market on Jean-Talon and Mozart streets.This was the beginning of shops in the periphery of the Northern Market. And ever since, more than 400 traders are present in the market and its periphery. Unfortunately, with the exodus of the population to the suburbs and the expansion of self-service supermarket chains in the early 1960s, Montreal's public markets suffered a significant drop in traffic, to the point that, in 1961, the main building of the firm market was replaced with a branch of the Montreal Library. By the end of the 1970s, the Northern Market was no longer a shadow of itself and most of its shelters were falling into ruin. Even more, the city was considering the complete shutdown of the market.
Fortunately, in the early 1980s. Montrealers rediscovered public markets and went on a crusade to save those who were still in business. In 1982, the Northern Market officially became the Jean-Talon Market. That sameThat same year, budgets were approved by the City of Montréal and major renovation works were launched to rehabilitate the market and help it regain its original purpose. Witth about 2.5 million visitors per year, the Jean-Talon Market is one of the oldest and largest open-air markets in North America. Whether you are looking for local products or culinary discoveries, you will find high quality, seasonal and fresh products from the producers and processors of the Jean-Talon Market.
BOULEVARD | SAINT-LAURENT BOULEVARD
THE UNMISSABLE CENTER OF THE MULTICULTURAL LIFE IN MONTREAL AND THE HEART OF LITTLE ITALY
Dating back to French times, Saint-Laurent Boulevard is the oldest artery to have been developed northward from the old fortifications of Montreal and is the most important transverse axis of the island. A rural road in its early days, then a transit and commercial area, Saint-Laurent Street became in 1792 the official geographical dividing line between the eastern part of the city and its western part, further accentuating its symbolic importance. Next, Saint-Laurent Street became the "Main". By 1896, the massive arrival of hundreds of thousands of newcomers from Eastern and Southern Europe transformed Saint-Laurent Boulevard. First settled in the lower part of the city, the newcomers go up along the boulevard in order to settle there and start their new life.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the arrival of Italian immigrants who were hired by the railway companies. Once again, changed the face of the boulevard. First settled at the corner of René-Lévesque and Amherst, the Italian community settled further north in Mile-End along Saint-Laurent Boulevard and in what would later become Petite Italie.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the largest wave of Italian immigration began. More than 15,000 families lived in Little Italy at that time. Even today, several businesses found on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in the neighborhood date back to this period and continue to serve customers as they did more than half a century ago.
A SYMBOL OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD’S ITALIAN ROOTS AND THE GATEWAY TO LITTLE ITALY
During the 80s and 90s, Little Italy experienced difficult economic times and the neighborhood had already lost a good part of its residents and businesses of Italian origin to other neighborhoods in Montreal. In the early 1990s, the City of Montreal intended to remedy the situation and revitalize this sector of the city. In 1996, an association of Italian-Montreal merchants proposed to the city a project to mark the territory allowing the district to distinguish itself from other sectors and to highlight the Italian origins of Little Italy. At the end of the 1990s, the project to create 14 half-sails to delimit the territory of Little Italy was submitted to the City. After much discussion, the project was finally accepted. It is to the artist of Italian origin Aurelio Sandonato that we owe the design of the half-sails. The latter symbolizes the sails of the ships that transported the Italian immigrants to Canada.
In 2001, the second phase of the project began, namely, the construction of the arches and entrance gates of Petite Italie on St. Laurent Boulevard. Once again, it is to Aurelio Sandonato that is entrusted with the realization of the model of the arches. Today, the arches of Petite Italie highlight its distinctive character and Italian origins with the large Benvenuti illuminated arches that welcome visitors to the neighbourhood.
A WITNESS TO THE RELIGIOUS HISTORY OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Saint-Jean-de-la-Croix Parish was canonically erected on April 19, 1900, following a dismemberment of the parishes of Saint-Laurent, Saint-Édouard and Saint-Enfant-Jésus. The name of the parish originates from the proximity of the Monastery of Carmel, Saint-Jean-de-la-Croix having been the spiritual director of Sainte-Thérèse, a Carmelite nun.
Saint-Jean-de-la-Croix Church was the first church of the parish to be built and was blessed on December 16, 1900, by Bishop Paul Bruchési. Unfortunately, the parish was abolished in 2001 and was then annexed to the Parish of St. Edward. From that time, the church has been transformed and it is no longer possible to visit its interior. Fortunately, it is always possible to admire the architecture when visiting Little Italy.
MONUMENT | CASA D’ITALIA
THE CULTURAL CENTER OF LITTLE ITALY AND THE MEMORY OF MONTREAL’S ITALIAN COMMUNITY
In 1934, more than 4000 Italian Canadians gathered and raised funds to build a community center for Montreal's Italian community. In 1936, the Casa d'Italia was finally inaugurated, although the original concept had to be revised downwards due to insufficient financial resources.
In 1940, in the midst of the Second World War against the Nazi regime of Germany and the fascist regime of Italy, the Canadian army occupied the building due to groups linked to the Italian government of the time. It was not until 1947, two years after the end of the war, that the Casa d'Italia was given back to the Italian community.
For nearly 70 years, the Casa d’Italia represented a point of arrival for the Italians of Montreal and the place for important events of this community’s social life: parties, weddings, meetings. Today, the Art Deco building of the Casa d'Italia is still the cultural center of Little Italy and the memory of Montreal's Italian community thanks to its archives center and its history museum.
MADONNA DELLA DIFESA
MONUMENT | MADONNA DELLA DIFESA
HISTORY, RICH MATERIALS, BRIGHT AND LUMINOUS COLOURS: A CHURCH OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED A HISTORIC SITE OF CANADA
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Italian immigrants left downtown Montreal and headed north to settle in what is now Little Italy. At that time, the district consisted of only a few houses and small shops around which the Italian community was organized. In 1910, at the request of this very Catholic community, Archbishop Paul Bruchési erected a new parish and a first building was built where the Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense school is located today. However, the building did not live up to the pride of the Italian community and they decided to invest in order to erect a new one. In 1918, a new Romanesque-style church was born in the neighborhood in tribute to the Madonna who made a miraculous appearance in an area of Campobasso: the Chiesa della Madonna della Difesa.
In addition to its Carrara marble altar and balustrade and its Renaissance-style decoration, the church houses many works of art made by important artists such as Guido Nincheri. His spectacular fresco adorning the dome got him into trouble and he was imprisoned by Canadian authorities in the 1930s because of a dubious figure in the fresco: fascist leader Benito Mussolini. On November 30, 2002, the importance of the oldest church in the Italian-Canadian community was recognized by the Canadian government when it named the Madonna della Difesa a National Historic Site.
PETITE ITALIE PARK
PARK | PETITE ITALIE PARK
A PARK THAT REFLECTS THE ATMOSPHERE, TRADITION AND ITALIAN CHARM OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
It was in 1909 that municipal councilor Joseph Martel sold the land of the current Parc de la Petite Italie to the City of Montreal. His only condition was that the latter create a park there. In 1914, at the urging of the citizens of the parish of Saint-Jean-de-la-Croix, the city decided to acquire adjacent land in order to expand the space and officially create Martel Park.
In 1998, as a vast economic revival of the district began, the city carried out major redevelopment works on the park. Moreover, it was at this time that Martel Park officially became the Petite Italie Park. The development works involved restoring the park's nine trails to their original state, adding lighting, building a covered kiosk and adding street furniture. Today, although its shape is reminiscent of the typical Victorian squares of the old days with mature trees and crony paths, this ornamental park also recalls the atmosphere, tradition and Italian charm of the neighborhood.
PETITE ITALIE PARK
PARK | PETITE ITALIE PARK
THE DOLCE VITA CONCENTRATED IN A PARK
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Italian parish of Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense, a group of Italian-Montrealers is planning to develop an ornamental park, a stone's throw from the resplendent Florentine-looking church, Madonna della Difesa. Inaugurated on June 26, 1963, this space quickly became the heart of Petite Italie. It symbolizes the contribution of Canada's largest Italian community to the development and wealth of Montreal.
The monument to Dante, which can be found in the center of the park, is a bust sculpted by the artist Carlo Baloni originally located in the Park Lafontaine where it was inaugurated on October 22, 1922. It will take place in Dante Park in 1964. At the end of the 1980s, the Dante Park was remade and its redevelopment helped to enrich the neighbourhood culturally and many second-generation Italians met daily to enjoy the tables in the shade or the bocce field. Today, the park is still visited by bocce players and residents of Petite Italie and also attracts moviegoers who frequent it for its Italian film screenings during a few summer nights.