|AUTHOR OF NEW ENGLISH BOOK ON MONTREAL VISITS WITH HISTORY STUDENTS AT JAMES LYNG HIGH SCHOOL|
MONTREAL, APRIL 29, 2013- In the brightly-lit library at James Lyng High School in St. Henri, amongst book-laden shelves and dioramas about Quebec colonization and the Iroquois nations, Paul-André Linteau, history professor and award-winning Quebec author spoke to Doreen Rubin’s Secondary IV and V students about his new English-language book The History of Montreal: The Story of a Great North American City.
Written by Professor Linteau and translated by Peter McCambridge, nearly 45 years have gone by since the last accessible short history of Montreal appeared in English, Montreal: A Brief History by Cooper in 1969.
Students listened with rapt attention as Professor Linteau recalled the evolution of early settlements like Hochelaga, Ville-Marie and surrounding villages to the world-class city we know today as Montreal.
Professor Linteau spoke about how Montreal became a place of refuge for many people that were persecuted in their own countries. Hundreds of Jewish people fled Russia to Montreal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to escape from increasing discrimination and persecution from the Russian government. At the same time the opposite was also true as Canada discouraged Chinese immigration by imposing an outrageous tax of $100 or more on each immigrant, and restricted the flow of newcomers from many non-European countries. This made it very difficult to settle in Montreal if you were not of Caucasian descent until after World War II when modern Canadian egalitarian ideals began to take hold and the doors were opened again.
These historical events helped to create the ever changing face of Montreal’s vibrant cultural history, as waves of immigrants from all over the world settled here at different points in time and in different areas of the city.
When asked if he enjoyed travelling to other places, Professor Linteau responded, “Montreal can be compared to other cities in Europe like Barcelona and Lyon. It is always an enjoyment for me to visit cities and meet other civic-historians to compare histories.”
Professor Linteau, who teaches history at the Université du Québec à Montréal, also compared Montreal to New York . Like Montreal , the Big Apple has a unique flavour and character that can be traced back to its similar origins as a major port-city and immigration hub.
Professor Linteau has devoted much of his life to studying the history of Montreal, writing about it in popular and academic publications, teaching it to university students, and giving talks about it in Canada and abroad. This book is a result of those many years of teaching and research, but is also based on the works of hundreds of authors who have explored the diverse aspects of Montreal’s past. Specializing in economic, social and urban history, he has written many books on the history of Quebec and Canada, with an emphasis on Montreal His many awards include the Prix Léon-Gérin, Quebec’s highest distinction in humanities, and the International Canadian Studies Award of Excellence. Paul-André Linteau is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. McCambridge is an award-winning translator based in Quebec City. He holds an MA from Cambridge University and translates both fiction and non-fiction.
The History of Montreal: The Story of a Great North American City is now available at bookstores and online via http://www.barakabooks.com/catalogue/the-history-of-montreal.
Michael J. Cohen