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also available: eBook Paperback
category: History
published: Nov 2017
publisher: Les Editions du Boreal, UBC Press
imprint: UBC Press

Montreal, City of Water

An Environmental History

by Michèle Dagenais, translated by Peter Feldstein

tagged: city planning & urban development, social history

Built within an exceptional watershed, Montreal is intertwined with the waterways that ring its island and flow beneath it in underground networks. Montreal, City of Water focuses on water not only as a physical element – both shaping and shaped by urban development – but also as a sociocultural component of the life of the city. This unique study considers how water has produced and transformed urban space over two centuries. It traces the history of Montreal’s urbanization, shining a light on current concerns about water pollution, rehabilitation, and public access to the riverfront – and on the power relations involved in addressing them.

About the Authors

Michèle Dagenais

Peter Feldstein

Contributor Notes

Michèle Dagenais is a professor of history at the Université de Montréal. She specializes in urban and environmental history and is the author of Faire et fuir la ville: espaces publics de loisirs et de culture à Montréal et Toronto aux XIXe et XXe siècles (2006) and Des pouvoirs et des hommes: l’administration municipale de Montréal, 1900–1950 (2000). She is also co-editor of Municipal Services and Employees in the Modern City: New Historic Approaches (2003) and Metropolitan Natures: Environmental Histories of Montreal (2011). Peter Feldstein is the translator of eight books, including Paul-Émile Borduas: A Critical Biography, for which he won a Governor General’s Literary Award in 2014. He lives in Montreal.

Editorial Review

The past was never paradise. Michèle Dagenais’s Montreal, City of Water: An Environmental History takes on the myth that Montrealers once enjoyed an idyllic relationship with the city’s streams and the St. Lawrence River; a relationship supposedly lost during the nineteenth century only to await recovery after the 1970s. Instead, Dagenais shows that there was never a break between people and the environment…

— Network in Canadian History and Environment

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