Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, Canada Research Chair in Oral History, Centre d'histoire de Montréal and Parks Canada - Lachine Canal National Historic Site
"From Balconville to Condoville? The Politics of Urban Change in Post-Industrial Montreal" examines urban change in Montreal's Pointe-Saint-Charles district since 1945. A team based at COHDS is currently interviewing residents of this neighborhood in order to develop an audiowalk and cultural in situ interventions.
This oral history and new media research project, From Balconville to Condoville: The Politics of Urban Change in Post-Industrial Montreal, examines urban change in Montreal's Saint-Henri, Côte-Saint-Paul, and Point-Saint-Charles districts since 1945, as well as the transformation of the Lachine Canal itself. The area, now part of the Sud-Ouest borough, was once evocatively described as the "City Below the Hill" by late 19th century urban reformers. Working-class and immigrant neighbourhoods coalesced around the industrial district that emerged along a five mile stretch of Montreal's Lachine Canal. One 1868 observer wrote that "A walk along the banks of the Lachine Canal and the Saint-Gabriel Locks, will convey to the observer a forcible impression of the extent and importanceof the factory interests of the City." A similar walk today would leave a very different impression. The mills and factories have been demolished or converted into posh condominiums and the Lachine Canal is now a recreational zone operated by Parks Canada. The few remnants of the industrial past that remain provide seeming confirmation that we now live in a post-industrial age.