It is the history of workers, their living environments, and the daily strategies used to make ends meet. It is the broader economic history with its successive phases of industrialization and deindustrialization that have shaped the destiny of the working classes of Montréal.
Between the middle of the 19th century and the Second World War, Montréal is the financial and industrial heart of Canada. In the Centre-Sud, factories multiply and the population grows rapidly. Industrialization disrupts the organization of labour and shapes the city. Working class families live in difficult conditions, though ultimately succeed in adapting.
After the Second World War, deindustrialization begins, as well as the decline of Montréal’s old neighbourhoods. Numerous factories migrate toward new industrial zones, while others simply close their doors for good. Jobs become rarer and the population decreases.
Despite the difficulties, the residents of the Centre-Sud never allow themselves to be kept down. They find the means necessary to act within their surroundings. Community organizations are established in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The space transforms and its identity fragments, redefines itself. The neighbourhood is now marked by its body of knowledge and culture. The area continues to reinvent itself.