In Bourgeoys’ time, Pointe-Saint-Charles was agricultural land belonging to the Sulpician order. Fast-forward 200 years, and Canada was under British rule. The Lachine Canal had been completed, and the area had numerous industries and major construction work in progress, including railways and the Victoria Bridge. This brought many labourers to “the Pointe,” among them French-Canadians but also Irish, English and Scottish immigrants. They were later joined by Poles, Ukrainians and Lithuanians. The Sulpicians sold the land, which soon was covered in two-storey duplexes to house the newcomers.
The Irish left their stamp on Pointe-Saint-Charles, with street names like St. Patrick, Place Dublin and des Irlandais. The Black Rock monument, on an access road leading to the Victoria Bridge, is dedicated to the 6,000 Irish immigrants who lost their lives in 1847 to typhus contracted aboard ships as they immigrated. Most are buried nearby. As I watched cars go by it, I wondered how many motorists understood its solemn significance.