Montreal Celebrates 375th Anniversary

17 May, 2017 Montreal Celebrates 375th Anniversary

Today marks Montreal’s 375th anniversary! In anticipation for this special day, Montreal will begin to kick-off city-wide events that will continue throughout the year.



On this day in 1642, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve led a group of French missionaries to the island of Montreal. 375 years later, we honor its long-standing history and those that played a role in establishing one the oldest cities in North America.

“Montreal is an extraordinary world-class city. This is an opportunity to be here both as a prime minister and an incredibly proud Montrealer.”

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Earlier this morning, churches across Montreal rang in unison to mark the start of the official celebrations for the milestone achievement. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard met at the famed Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal with other religious leaders to celebrate the rich cultural diversity that the city prides itself on.

There was also a special tribute to the indigenous peoples of Canada, celebrating their historical roots and the Mohawk land that Montreal was founded on.


While French colonizers officially settled on the island of Montreal in 1535 (led by famous explorer Jacques Cartier), indigenous inhabitants had been endemic to Quebec for thousands of years. Among these people, the St-Lawrence Iroquoians and other nomadic tribes such as the Mohawk, resided in the Montreal region and are thought to be the first individuals to occupy the land.

While no European colonizers had explored the island of Montreal before Jacques Cartier, many countries, such as Spain and Britain, had come in contact with nearby areas on fishing expeditions. With the European Age of Exploration gaining traction for most of the 14th and 15th centuries, France had set course to find alternate routes to Asia, which inevitably led to their discovery of Montreal in 1535.


Even though France had ties to Montreal dating back to 1535, it took more than a hundred years for it to become a French colony. In 1642, the fur-trade industry had seen unprecedented growth, prompting the European giant to establish its first colony in the region. It was on the historic day of May 17, 1642, that marked the official birth date of Montreal. 

DID YOU KNOW:  Montreal was originally named Ville-Marie? However, in 1705 the city’s name was changed to Montreal, originating from the French word Mont-Royal, meaning “Royal Mountain.”


375 years later, Montreal has come a long way from its colonial era, becoming one of the largest metropolitan cities in North America and an economic hub for much of Canada. It has been nicknamed the cultural capital of the country, and has become a popular international destination due to its progressive society, young and vibrant atmosphere, and rich arts and cultural scene.

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Both Montreal and Canada are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year. The country is officially turning 150 years old on July 1st, which has prompted yearlong festivities throughout the country. Individuals can expect events and other activities across all major cities in anticipation for the sesquicentennial celebration.

Montreal has also begun hosting multiple events to tie in both celebrations, with a timeline outlining all the programs available throughout the year. Today, the Jacques Cartier Bridge light-show is set to debut as well as the Montreal Avudo show, which pays homage to the beauty of the Saint-Lawrence River.




The Canadim Team!


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