Corner of Wellington and 1re Avenue in Verdun. These street signs are unique to Verdun’s Wellington Street “Downtown” commercial strip.
Due to decades of annexes, mergers, and demergers of former municipalities, the City of Montreal has accumulated a number of duplicate street names, especially in the outer boroughs which were added later on in the city’s existence. While not entirely unusual for a growing big city, it can create confusion for those unfamiliar with the existence of the duplicate street names for different parts of the city. One of the most unusual aspects of these duplicate street names is the fact that, over the years, the City of Montreal has acquired nine separate sets of numbered streets. Some of the sets are small such as in Verdun where the series only goes 6ième avenue while others, such as in Rivière-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles, go into the hundreds.
Thus, I have decided to get on my bike, camera in hand, and do a series on these various sets of numbered streets by focusing on the one street that each set is guaranteed to have in common: 1ière avenue. By only focusing on one street out of each set, this series does not plan to document the numbered streets as a whole, but rather to take a glimpse (whether it be over only a couple blocks to several going through many boroughs) at some of the more overlooked neighbourhoods of Montreal’s inner-ring neighbourhoods and suburbs. Along the way, topics of past mergers and annexes, street signs, neighbourhood compositions, street configurations, etc. may also be discussed.
With that out of the way, lets get to our first street. I set out on on my bike on a muggy and periodically rainy August day for Verdun. The borough of Verdun was once a separate city that was forcefully merged with Montreal in 2002 during the provincial government’s merger debacle. Verdun was one of many new boroughs that failed to demerge and therefore remained part of Montreal.
1ière (or 1re depending on which street sign you’re looking at) avenue starts pretty much in the centre of Verdun with the series continuing south until only 6ième avenue (where streets with actual names continue). The street (along with all the other numbered streets) is only four (long) blocks in length starting at Lasalle and passing through Wellington, de Verdun, Bannantyne, and terminating at boul Champlain. The street is entirely residential except the three centre intersections which are all commercial streets. Here are some photos I took while biking down the street:
Looking east from Wellington toward boul Lasalle.
Blocks in Verdun are sometimes as much as three times the length of the average block elsewhere in the city. This block between Wellington and rue de Verdun feels very long but is populated on each side by beautiful turn-of-the-century two and three storey ‘plexes typical to this part of the borough.
This is the corner of 1ière Avenue (rather than”1re” on the Wellington signs. These signs, from the early 2000s featuring the municipal crest, are one of three types in Verdun). Parc
Verdun du Souvenir with the Verdun Metro station is at one corner with the commercial stretch of rue de Verdun at the other corners.
I’ve always wondered why all the street signs on rue de Verdun have a sticker with “rue de” on it. Can any readers tell me what it’s covering up?
Further west across the street from Parc Verdun, the housing type changes considerably. Three stories turn to two and there are no more exterior staircases.
The last block between Bannantyne and boul Champlain is entirely different from the rest of the street (and most of Verdun for that matter). Brick, flat roofed, row-houses make way for vinyl siding clad, detached suburban houses. Two blocks south and one block north between Bannantyne and Champlain are also like this for some reason.
Next in this series: 1re Avenue, Part 2: Lasalle.