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Little Burgundy


Little Burgundy

Little Burgundy
La Petite-Bourgogne
Georges Vanier

Coordinates: 45°29′07″N 73°34′33″W / 45.485209°N 73.575954°W / 45.485209; -73.575954

Country Canada
Province Quebec
Borough Le Sud-Ouest
Established 1864
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 10,046

Little Burgundy (French: La Petite-Bourgogne) is a neighbourhood in the Sud-Ouest borough of the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Its approximate boundaries are Atwater Street to the west, Saint-Antoine to the north, Guy Street to the east, and the Lachine Canal to the south.

The adjacent neighbourhoods are the borough of Ville-Marie and downtown Montreal to the north and northeast, Griffintown to the southeast, Pointe-Saint-Charles to the south, and Saint-Henri to the west.


Essentially agricultural until 1810, the area began to be built up the ward of St. Joseph, a faubourg spreading outside the city walls. The area around Richmond Square was built up in 1819.[2]

Development accelerated in the mid-19th century with the construction of the Lachine Canal attracted many so-called "smokestack" industries, most notably the Canadian Pacific Railway yards, and the Steel Company of Canada (or Stelco) plant, among others. A residential sector was built north of the factories between 1857 and 1864. Originally part of the parish of Saint-Henri-des-Tanneries, it was set up as the village of Delisle in 1864,[3] then Sainte-Cunégonde in 1876, becoming a town in 1884.[4] The name derived from St. Cunigunde of Luxembourg, wife of St. Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, a reference to the neighbouring parish.[5]

The industrial development along the Lachine Canal attracted many prestigious businesses to set up in the Ward of St. Joseph along Rue Notre-Dame, resulting in the construction of many handsome buildings which are the mainstay of today's antiques district.[6]

Starting in 1887, Little Burgundy came to acquire a unique niche as the home of Montreal's working-class English-speaking black community. Being located near Montreal's train stations, among the most important sites for the nascent trans-Canadian railway industry, Sainte-Cunégonde became home to a great many African-American workers from the United States and black Canadians from other provinces, as well as Caribbeans, who came to make up the majority of Montreal's black population.

Sainte-Cunégonde was absorbed into the city of Montreal in 1906; the former town hall is now a public library and community centre, located on Vinet Street. Sainte-Cunégonde was bounded by the Lachine Canal, Atwater Avenue, Dorchester Street (now Boul. René-Lévesque), and a straight line from the corner of Atwater and Tupper streets to the basin of the Lachine Canal just west of the St. Gabriel locks. Saint-Joseph Ward was bordered by that line, St. Antoine Street, Victoria Square, McGill Street, and Notre-Dame Street. At this time, the Grand Trunk Railway ran directly through the area, terminating at St. Bonaventure Station.[7]

To combat poverty and social exclusion, the nascent black community founded numerous social organizations: the Women’s Coloured Club of Montreal in 1902, the Union United Congregational Church in 1907, and the Negro Community Center in 1927.[8]

The neighbourhood became famous for producing several talented jazz musicians. During Prohibition and the later pre-Jean Drapeau years as an 'open city,' Little Burgundy was home to many lively nightclubs featuring homegrown and international performers; one of them was Rockhead's Paradise, owned by Rufus Rockhead, after whom a street is named. Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones are the two best-known musicians who emerged from the bebop and post-bop era.[8]

Already hurt by the Great Depression before the war,[6] like the rest of the area around the Lachine Canal Little Burgundy was hit hard by the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1956 and the closure of the Lachine Canal in 1970; numerous industries left for the suburbs, leaving the area in a state of decay. In 1966, the city of Montreal launched a large urban renewal project in Little Burgundy, demolishing countless condemned dwellings and replacing them with social housing developments,[3] while revitalizing other parts of the neighbourhood.[4] The parts of the neighbourhood north of Rue Saint-Antoine were demolished in 1970 to make room for the Ville-Marie Expressway.[2]

The profile of the neighbourhood has changed significantly in recent years. In the 2006 census, black Canadians still constituted the largest visible minority population in the census tracts of Little Burgundy west of Rue Guy; but they constituted only 19% of the population of Little Burgundy. 49% did not identify as members of a visible minority.[9]

Today, the neighbourhood has endured several phases of gentrification, partly stemming from the construction of townhouses over the former railway yards through the 1980s, and then the 2002 reopening of the Lachine Canal to boat traffic, the revitalization of the Atwater Market, and towards its eastern boundary, the continued expansion of Université du Québec's Ecole de Technologie Supérieure.



This neighbourhood is served by the Georges-Vanier station and the Lionel-Groulx station on the Montreal Metro. Major thoroughfares are Atwater Avenue, Georges Vanier Boulevard, Guy Street, Saint Antoine Street, Saint Jacques Street, and Notre Dame Street. The Ville-Marie Expressway bounds the neighbourhood to the north.


The École de technologie supérieure is located in the eastern end of the neighbourhood. Many young teens from the area attend Polyvalente St-Henri which is located in the adjacent neighbourhood of St-Henri.

Recreation and culture

Sporting facilities include the Centre sportif Georges-Vanier, Parc Oscar-Peterson, and Parc Vinet, and the green spaces along the Lachine Canal. A library and cultural centre is located at the corner of Workman and Vinet. Several historic sites are located in the neighbourhood, including the Lachine Canal Natural Historic Site of Canada and its Pointe-des-Seigneurs archeological site, and historic buildings such as the Corona Theatre and the Negro Community Centre.


The Atwater Market is located at the southwestern corner of the neighbourhood. Little Burgundy is home to the North American arm of Ninja Tune records, many architecture and design offices, new restaurants, as well a longstanding antiques row along Notre-Dame West, formally organized as the "Quartier des Antiquaires".


Home language (2006)

Language Population Pct (%)
French 3,600 36%
English 3,365 34%
Both English and French 230 2%
Other languages 2,665 27%

Points of interest

  • Negro Community Centre
  • Union United Church
  • Oscar Peterson Park
  • Tyndale St. George's Community Centre
  • Joe Beef Restaurant

Notable people

See also



External links

  • Little Burgundy website

Coordinates: 45°29′9.5″N 73°34′32.7″W / 45.485972°N 73.575750°W / 45.485972; -73.575750

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