One of the oldest metropolitan areas in North America, Montreal has evolved from a remote fur trading post in New France into an international center for services and technology. A city and an island located at the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers, it is uniquely situated to serve as an international port while also providing rail access to the Canadian interior. The historic capital of the Province of Canada, once Canada’s foremost metropolis, Montreal has a multifaceted cultural heritage drawn from European and North American influences. Thanks to its rich past, the city offers an ideal setting for the study of an evolving urban environment.
Metropolitan Natures presents original histories of the diverse environments that constitue Montreal and it region. It explores the agricultural and industrial transformation of the metropolitan area, the interaction of city and hinterland, and the interplay of humans and nature. The fourteen chapters cover a wide range of issues, from landscape representations during the colonial era to urban encroachments on the Kahnawake Mohawk reservation on the south shore of the island, from the 1918–1920 Spanish flu epidemic and its ensuing human environmental modifications to the urban sprawl characteristic of North America during the postwar period.
Situations that politicize the environment are discussed as well, including the economic and class dynamics of flood relief, highways built to facilitate recreational access for the middle class, power-generating facilities that invade pristine rural areas, and the elitist environmental hegemony of fox hunting. Additional chapters examine human attempts to control the urban environment through street planning, waterway construction, water supply, and sewerage.
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About the Author
Stéphane Castonguay is the Canada Research Chair in Environmental History at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.
Michèle Dagenais is professor of history at Université de Montréal.
Table of Contents
Lists of Figures and Tables vii
Introduction Stéphane Castonguay Michèle Dagenais 1
Representations: Urban Cultures
1 The Colonial Landscapes of the Early Town Colin M. Coates 19
2 The Herons Are Still Here: History and Place Victoria Dickenson 37
3 Corporeal Understandings of the Industrializing Environment Nicolas Kenny 51
4 Influenza and the Urban Environment, 1918-1920 Magda Fahrni 68
Infrastructures: Socio-Technical Systems
5 Surface Water in the Early Nineteenth Century Dany Fougères 85
6 At the Source of a New Urbanity: Water Networks and Power Relations in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century Michèle Dagenais 101
7 Hidden Water in the Landscape: The Covered Reservoirs of Mount Royal Susan M. Ross 115
8 The Political Ecology of Floods in the Late Nineteenth Century Christopher G. Boone 133
9 City Streets as Environmental Grid: The Challenge of Private Uses and Municipal Stewardship Sherry Olson 148
10 A City on the Move: The Surprising Consequences of Highways Claire Poitras 168
Hinterlands: City-Country Relationships
11 Agriculture on the Montreal Plain, 1850-1950: Urban Market and Metropolitan Hinterland Stéphane Castonguay 187
12 Horses, Hedges, and Hegemony: Foxhunting in the Countryside Darcy Ingram 211
13 When Bridges Become Barriers: Montreal and Kahnawake Mohawk Territory Daniel Rueck 228
14 The Destruction of the Rural Hinterland: Industrialization of Landscapes in Beauharnois County Louis-Raphaël Pelletier 245
Conclusion: The Historicity of Montreal's Environment Stéphane Castonguay Michèle Dagenais 265