Université de Montréal

The tower of the of the Univerisité de Montréal’s Pavillion Roger Gaudry is one of the more imposing structures on the north side of Mount-Royal, an ivory tower in all but substance. This week, thanks to William Ralliant Clark of the university’s press office, and Diane Baillargeon and Monique Voyer, both of the university’s archives, I […]

At Lionel Groulx, the Delirium of the Nation

Reading Esther Delisle’s account against the French Canadian nationalist and anti-semite, Lionel Groulx, the case against him seems overwhelming. But Groulx was neither the first anti-semite nor the first person to create a national myth. In the hardships of the Depression, Groulx was hardly in original looking for scapegoats, and finding them. As Delisle, herself […]

From Jean Talon, New France

Among the traitors to French Canada identified by Lionel Groulx were the young men, Radisson and Grosselliers among them, who in the seventeenth century did not hesitate “between the sedentary life of the pioneer and the seductive existence of the coureur de bois”. Attracted by the land’s  “vast prospect, its immensity, served by the most […]

From Lionel Groulx, The Death of a Race

The stations of the Montreal Metro system are not named after people. They are named after streets and places, which themselves may or may not be named after people. So when people call for Lionel-Groulx to be renamed after Oscar Peterson, they are actually calling for the street to be renamed. There is no Peterson […]

From Lionel Groulx, The Birth of a Race

Of all the stations in the metro system, Lionel-Groulx is the most controversial. Named after the priest and historian, he dominated a strand of French Canadian intellectual culture from the 1920s to his death in 1967. To his admirers, including former students at Université de Montréal, André Laurandeau, a future editor of Le Devoir, and […]

Henri Bourassa – Between La Fête Nationale and Canada Day

When Mark Twain visited Montreal he famously remarked that ‘This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window’. The rest of his anecdote is less well known. He was told that a new church was going to be built. Where would the […]