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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Montreal, City of Water

An Environmental History

Built within an exceptional watershed, Montreal is intertwined with the waterways that ring its island and flow beneath it in underground networks. Montreal, City of Water focuses on water not only as a physical element – both shaping and shaped by urban development – but also as a sociocultural component of the life of the city. This unique study considers how water has produced and transformed urban space over two centuries. It traces the history of Montreal’s urbanization, shining a light on current concerns about water pollution, rehabilitation, and public access to the riverfront – and on the power relations involved in addressing them.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Water-Ville / Graeme Wynn


1 Montreal: One City, One Island

2 Sources of a New Definition of the City

3 The St. Lawrence: “A Superb Instrument to be Developed and Moulded”

4 From City to Island: The Extension of Water Systems and the Structuring of the Urban Fabric

5 In Search of the Lost River, or, the Urbanization of the Rivière des Prairies

6 The Weight of the Island: Connecting the City to the Continent

7 One City, One Archipelago: A Utopia?

Conclusion: In the Heart of the City




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