St-Martin

From its source in the cemetery on the top of Mont-Royal, the St-Martin River once drained the entire Plateau Montreal. Still gurgling above the surface today in parts of Outremont, this stream wound its way through Mile End and the Plateau towards Parc Lafontaine, where the ponds are vestiges of the former waterway. The St-Martin River flowed through what is now the neighbourhood of Ville Marie, then west along Montreal’s fortification wall, where St. Antoine Street is today. It continued to a small lake at Chaboillez Square near the current location of the Dow Planetarium. Here it joined the Little St. Pierre River and continued through Old Montreal until it spilled into the St-Laurent River.

Ten bridges crossed the St-Martin River which flowed along where we find St-Antoine (and formerly Craig) street today.The furthest on towards the east was at Sanguinet/Gosford. Although they initially served practical purposes, the bridges, it seems, also appealed to more fanciful conceptions of the city. An early account describes the romantic character of the City of Bridges: “A foot bridge crossed the creek at Bleury Street, and a narrow lane ran up about as far as Dorchester Street, along which straggled about half a dozen small houses. This was called Flirtation Lane and was a favorite promenade for romantic couples during the long twilight of the summer evenings.”

L-R: St-Martin as a sewer 2011, 1884 Map of Craig St now St-Antoine showing St-Martin river above Craig St, Craig St. Flood in early 20th c

L-R: St-Martin as a sewer 2011, 1884 Map of Craig St now St-Antoine showing St-Martin river above Craig St, Craig St. Flood in early 20th c