Was Montreal a city of harmony among its English French Scottish and Irish factions between WWII and the 1960s as its flag seems to imply

Was Montreal a city of harmony among its English French Scottish and Irish factions between WWII and the 1960s as its flag seems to imply

Yes and no.They did not kill each other.Most of the time.

(But it did happen, especially in the 1830’s) The general principle you ought to know about Canada, especially in the 19th century, is that different ethnic, linguistic, religious groups would not mix, or so rarely, thus creating a voluntary situation of “separate but equal”.This is how Montréal was segregated in the 19th century : Not only did they not live in the same neighbourhoods, but often each had their how manufactures ; the location of the industries would not necessarily be the same for each ethnic group.Observe for example the stark contrast between francos and anglos for shoe production (Chaussures above).

Anglophone protestants (English and Scots) would often be the richest people and live in the richest neighbourhoods (the protestant square you see above is the faubourg Saint-Antoine close to the mountain, later called Golden Square Mile).Irish and French catholics would often be in the bottom of the society, in competition for the same jobs.The Francos on this map you see above are located in the faubourg Saint-Jacques and the faubourg Sainte-Marie, so the poor ones.

Irish seem to be close to the Lachine canal (faubourg Sainte-Anne), where there were several industries.(Map of the faubourgs outside of the former walls of the city.)Quite early, the boulevard Saint-Laurent became the linguistic border of Montréal and even if you would find populations in the “wrong” zone, they would still segrate and all live in a specific part of the territory.

This split in two is why there is always, all over the history of Montréal, struggles so the East and the West would be equal and each have their own infrastructures like the other, otherwise there is jealousy.It still is happening today : the West got its Réseau express métropolitain, so of course the East had to be promised an extension of the blue metro line.Exhibit to prove my point : L’Est négligé déplorent des maires Le Parti québécois s’inquiète de voir l’Est négligé L’Est de Montréal «déshérité» par le gouvernement libéral, dit Lisée Opinion: N.D.G.

residents expect better from the city (The two Montréal) That protestant elite often was not actually English but actually Scottish.For example, the Allan family, the richest family of Montréal, or the Ross family had several buildings in the very rich Golden Square Mile (named so because all the millionaires of Canada would live there).Students of the McGill University are familiar with it because their houses became buildings incorporated to the University.

When you stroll near McGill you can see how the rich of Montréal lived in luxurious manors.The current Allan Memorial Hospital was Ravenscrag, the manor of the Allan family.There was a sort of basin close to the house : Allan had indeed control over the water supplies of the city, over the acqueduct.

Those rich anglo-protestants would control the city politics until 1882 with the rise of mayor Raymond Préfontaine, due to the tax-based voting system that excluded the poors.Even the mayor had to possess 4000 $ of properties to be eligible.1882 would be the first time most city councilors would be franco.

The Scots in the 18th century perhaps displayed more open-mindedness than English proper, since they would involve Francos in their businesses, however in the XXth century, they would rather be seen as oligarchs and representatives of everything that was unfair about the British Empire.(Inside of Ravenscrag, residence of Hugh Allan, in the Golden Square Mile) (An Irish slum in Griffintown, near the Lachine canal) (Poor francophone children in the village of Saint-Antoine, Gaspesia peninsula.The franco labour of Montréal was often of rural origin.)

(Pointe-Saint-Charles in 1946, Montréal island, Richard Arless, Archives Canada, PA-043877) Every social institution was segreated.Quite early, national societies were founded : Saint George for the English, Saint Andrew for the Scots, Saint Patrick for the Irish, Saint John the Baptist for the Francos and there was also a German society.Even charity was segreated : anglos would help anglos and francos would help francos.

Due to the unequalities, it led to dramatic distorsions : since Anglos were often richer, they could give more to charities and so anglo poors had a greater support.Therefore charity did not alleviate unequalities but actually worsened them.Despite Francos and Irish were both catholics, quickly they stopped sharing institutions and so there would be specific anglophone Irish schools and parishes.

The hospitals were not the same either.You had some individual exceptions of franco wealth, like Joseph Masson (import-export, banking) and Augustin Quentin (steamboats), Rodolphe Forget, Joseph-Marcelin Wilson, but this was not representative of the general population.So this was, and often still is, the fundamental reality of Montréal : people do not live together.

When the English would organize a Montréal Carnival in 1883, they would naturally entirely forget to invite the francos, and anyway the whole event happenned in the West of course.In 1885, Franco snowshoes clubs would invite the anglos to take part to a promenade, they would refuse, and they were offended by this refusal.So even apparently innocent winter celebrations would be in fact highly political.

Sometimes the Irish would also be involved in conflicts against anglo-protestants.In 1877, the supremacists of the Orange Order (protestants of Northern Ireland) would have a parade and it would end up in a riot between catholic Irish and protestants.(Riot of 1877 in Montréal) The franco distrust was so severe that when there was a vaccination campaign, due to the high mortality after vaccination (due to contaminated blood), there would be an anti-vaccination riot in 1885 because the Francos believed Anglo authorities were trying to genocide them.

In that same year 1885, there would also be a riot to protest the hanging of the Métis leader Louis Riel, that was strictly hung because Orangists of Ontario wanted his head.(Forceful vaccination in Montréal) Sometimes Francos and Irish stood in solidarity (like the various Irish Patriotes that for example wrote in the Vindicator journal), but often not, because they competed for the same menial jobs.They would organize separately in separated unions and sometimes fight each other.

In Québec city, Irish and Francos would brawl against each other to work for in the harbour.It would even be true in the world of the lumberjacks in the region of Outaouais : Joseph Montferrand became a folk hero for francophones because he would beat up Irish gangs.(Joseph Montferrand beating up alone the Shiners, an Irish gang, on the Union Bridge near Gatineau in 1829) Joseph Montferrand by the way grew in the faubourg Saint-Laurent, so he is relevant to Montréal history as well.

« Will you dare insult the Canadiens again ?» “On the other shore, Québec city waits.I know nothing more moving in our current understanding of the world than these lonely linguistic islets that, after having maintained themselves trough the centuries, are silently crumbling, run to their ruin, rebelling, but without hope.

[…] It is true this heroic struggle against an infinite supremacy all around them seems to be ending.The French already lost Montréal due to the speed to which a foreign population came to settle there.This city, that in the latest decades became gigantic due to development, also became the converging point of a growing European invasion year after year.

However, the internationality of these masses require a common language, a lingua franca, that is necessarily English.Any reasonable being would be tempted to advise to the French from here to abandon their resistance (more than ever in danger, they redouble their obstinacy), but the unreasonable here is so marvelously heroic that we only have one desire: to encourage all these descendants of adventurers to stay valiant.The now share after one hundred and fifty years, the fate of the Indians that they were the first to expell from their houses, to push them away from their sacred forests to the plains until they were crushed, diluted in the foreign nations, assimilated and divided up.

Now, tasting their own medecine, they see themselves stripped of a French culture (certainly superior) to fall into the American orbit.To save them from oblivion, it would need a poet that, like did Cooper with The Last of the Mohicans, would tell the future generations the tale of this painful transition, the secret heroism of this ultimate setback.Their destiny would have been nothing but an episode.

With them ends a chapter of History; a new one will start, bearing, this time, the power of this gigantic Canadian state and to which the upcoming decades will reveal the undergoing history.” The Austrian visitor Stefan Zweig in 1911, Bei den Franzosen in Canada (An ad from the Shawinigan Water & Power in 1930.Click to enlarge.)So you asked for what happened after WW2 ?

The Franco Reconquest of Montréal started demographically since 1865 (return of a Franco majority), politically since 1882 (first Franco majority in the municipal council) but now the issue became the economical reconquest.The anglos would still have a very disproportionated control over corporations, and would be disproportionately rich.Once the historian Michel Brunet told of an anecdote his grandfather told him : his grandfather had asked an anglo entrepreneur if he was upset that now the Montréal administration was franco, and he answered : “No, they are cheaper.” They were cheaper to corrupt !!

Damn!In 1951, the ethnicities were as following : City of Montréal : 68 % French, 18 % British, 3 % Italian, 6 % Jew, etc.Island of Montréal : 64 % French, 22 % British, 2 % Italian, 5 % Jew, etc.What happened ?

When the richer anglos lost the control of the Municipal Council of Montréal, they left for other cities on the island.This is the reason why Westmount and Hampstead, and also Mont-Royal City (whose shape of cross reminds of the Saint Andrew saltire) were created elsewhere on the island.These cities of Westmount and Hampstead had municipal bylaws to prevent the poor from ever settling there.

As a result, the City of Montréal proper was becoming more French.At the moment, those anglophones did not feel like a minority, but with the rise of nationalism and independentism from the Francos, they started to view themselves as a minority under siege.Jews in the 1930–40’s were often discriminated with quotas in the McGill university, but the quotas were recently removed.

Their living conditions were improving and many even achieved prosperity (like the Steinberg family that would be famous for their mall franchise).There would be in those years new sefarad Jews from Morocco that would clash with the old anglicized Jews, while those sefarads were more francophone.In the 1950’s the Italian immigration accelarated.

They would often work in construction or in manufactures, but now they were opening businesses and getting more politically visible.The new Italians of those years would massively choose English as a language of education, and it would lead to the Saint-Léonard riot of 1969.Francos started to reject the entire political situation.

Instead of being subordinates of anglo bosses or managers, they wanted to become the bosses and the managers as well.Instead of allowing immigrants like Italians to further anglicize Montréal, they wanted them to become part of the Franco society.So anything, even small symbolic things, was a political issue.

There was in 1954–1955 the Affair of the Château Maisonneuve.The president of the CN railroads wanted to have an hostel, and as usual he was going to call it Queen Elizabeth.However this time franco nationalists were tired of yet one more onomastic supremacy of the British Empire and demanded that it be called Château Maisonneuve.

In the end, they failed and the hostel was called Queen Elizabeth, but it is a symbol that Francos were starting to question everything, even onomastics.This would create a precedent, since when the New Yorker businessman Zachendorf would want to build a complex, he would ask to the mayor what name he sould choose, and the name became place Ville-Marie.This is how the downtown started the have a more bilingual façade.

So far the issue of Education was always framed in a religious way.There was a catholic system and a protestant-and-everything-else system.However that system started to become dangerous for the linguistic balance.

In the 1950’s, 70 % of the newcomers went to the anglo-protestant schools.There were proposals to make Education bilingual, but the anglos refused.This lead to the Saint-Léonard riot of 1969.

Italians wanted to be schooled in English and had no interest to be part of the Franco society, and so they created the Saint Leonard English Catholic Association.The Franco parents wanted everybody to be integrated to the French society and so created the Mouvement pour l’intégration scolaire.(Those parents may be calm now but soon they will throw chairs at each other.)

(I told ya!)This would result in several languages laws that would fail and anger everyone.Bill 63 (1969), Bill 22 (1974), and finally the Bill 101 (1977), that brought a sort of linguistic ceasefire.

The 20th of November 1962, there was not a single francophone in the 17 vice-presidents of the Canadian National Railways, but the president of the CN, Donald Gordon, said he could not find any competent francophone.Francos did not believe him and so it became a scandal, the Gordon Affair.Just a month after his declaration, the chief of opposition in the Commons, Lester B. Pearson, would ask for a bilingualism and biculturalism commission… which would be created in 1963, and tell the obvious : that among all the ethnic groups of Canada, the francophones were the poorest, excepted for the Italians (I don’t think indigenous nations were considered then).

So I would say that in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the national identities of English, Scots and anglophone Irish did not matter as much as it did in the 19th century, and on the contrary they became a linguistic community defined more by their language than their nationalities.Newcomers like anglicized Italians or Jews would also be part of that anglophone community, and it is not their nationalities that would matter.So in a way the coat of arms and flags of Montréal would be less relevant now than it was in the 19th century.

Perhaps you didn’t know but the first coat of arm of Montréal was imagined in 1833 and then the French nationality was represented by a beaver (in French heraldry, it is more common to call it by the old name bièvre rather than castor) : It’s only one century later, in 1938, that the beaver was changed for a fleur de lys, the saltire was turned into a cross and the « de jardin » versions of the plants became their more commonly seen versions.Later in 2017, the mayor Coderre wanted to make his demagogue show as usual and thus asked the Kanien’kehá:ka of Kahnawà:ke to chose an indigenous emblem as well, and so an Or white pine was added.He totally fell for the Kanien’kehá:ka thesis than they were the original inhabitants of the region, despite the historians and archeologists debate about this and despite the Wendat nation does not agree with this thesis.

It could also be possible the original inhabitants were neither Wendat or Kanien’kehá:ka but another distinct nation, which is what the material cultures are suggesting at the moment.Recently the current mayor Valérie Plante refused to buy into the thesis of Kanien’kehá:ka nationalists and had the prudence to express the current uncertainty of who the hell inhabited in Hochelaga and Tutonaguy (the one village everybody forgets about).This white pine is a typical Iroquois symbol (see the Iroquois passport below), so it is somehow saying that the Kanien’kehá:ka’s version of history is more valid than the Wendat’s, or the Anishnaabe’s, etc.

As for the Kanien’kehá:ka, the only thing that can be said for sure is that those around Montréal arrived after 1667, in the context of a Franco-Iroquois truce in the Franco-Iroquois Wars.It was the French religious communities that settled them in the areas they are now.They want to impose the idea that the original peoples of Hochelaga and Tutonaguy were their nation, but it is not obvious.

The use of the English, French, Irish and Scottish symbols together is extremely common in Canadian heraldry.If you look at the Arms of Canada, the shield has the same theme – three lions (England), Caledonian lion (Scotland), Irish harp (Ireland) and Fleur-de-Lys (France).Even the flowers at the bottom carry this symbolism through – they are roses, shamrocks, thistles and lilies, just like the Montreal flag.

It’s basically a way for many Canadian cities to illustrate the common heritage of the country – not including the First Nations who were here before colonisation, of course.The English, Irish and Scottish symbols are actually all present in the UK coat of arms, so what’s distinctively Canadian is the addition of French symbols to represent Quebec, as well as the distinctively-Canadian maple leaves; the Coat of arms of Quebec simply has fleurs-de-lys for France and lions for Britain.As for the history of Montreal, I’m not an export, but the post-war friction has always been between Anglophones and Francophones, not anything to do with England, Scotland or Ireland.

This definitely hasn’t always been harmonious, but it’s not that surprising that its flag tries to convey a kind of pan-Canadian harmony.