The Main National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Main is a 6-kilometre long district along Boulevard Saint Laurent in Montreal from la rue de la Commune in the south to la rue Jean-Talon in the north where consecutive waves of immigrants settled, establishing businesses and homes. The district is characterized by a mixture of small factories, shops, theatres and restaurants established and developed over time by numbers of peoples from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
The Main (Boulevard Saint Laurent) was designated because:
- the district is a special place in Canada speaking to the emergence and development of cultural communities representative of Canadian society as a whole;
- as the immigrants' corridor, the district's cosmopolitan character and the constant renewal brought about by the merging and mixing of cultures and aesthetics give it a very special sense of place;
- with its textile and clothing factories, its numerous small businesses and the world of the theatre and entertainment, it has evolved a way of life that has inspired novelists, poets, singers, and film-makers.
The heritage value of the district resides in its association with successive waves of immigrants and their efforts to establish lives in Canada. The district is characterized by a variety of functional building types, usually of a modest scale, and their successive redevelopment by numbers of peoples from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, imparting to the district a distinctly cosmopolitan flavour.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1996.
The elements that characterize the heritage value of the district include:
- the linear quality of the 6-kilometre stretch of street;
- the evolutionary nature of the streetscape with buildings dating from many time periods;
- the modest scale of most structures;
- a variety of functional building types including small factories, shops, restaurants,- theatres, as well as religious, institutional and community structures;
- the orientation of most buildings to the street;
- a preponderance of masonry structures;
- a strong presence in certain sectors of Montreal's "urban vernacular", 2 to 3 storey structures with grey Montréal stone facades and brick party walls;
- the variety and constant evolution of aesthetic expression.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
- Peopling the Land
- Migration and Immigration
Function - Category and Type
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Canadian Inventory of Historic Building Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 525, 25 Eddy Street, Hull, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection