chapter  5
42 Pages

Region-hood without Regionalism: The Case of Greater Montreal

The word “Montreal” refers to many things: a city of approximately 1.8 million people that was founded in 1642 and that was considered, until the 1970s, to be “Canada’s metropolis”; an island of approximately 500 square kilometers (or 193 square miles) that sits in the middle of the St. Lawrence river and that is the world’s most populous island situated in fresh water; the mountain (or hill) around which the city developed, Mount Royal, from which it took its name; and the archipelago comprised of approximately 300 islands, many of them inhabited, within which the island and the city are located. Interestingly, however, the name “Montreal” does not evoke an urban region, as do for example “New York,” “Philadelphia,” “Los Angeles,” “Chicago,” “Vancouver,” or “Toronto.” For historical, linguistic, cultural, and administrative reasons, Montreal lacks a “sense of a region.”1