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Visiting Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec: defined by a prominent hill and obscure naming

Updated on September 27, 2017
Flag of Quebec
Flag of Quebec | Source
Mont Saint-Bruno seen from the north-West
Mont Saint-Bruno seen from the north-West | Source

A municipality, a hill and a National Park

Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville is a Québec town which forms part of the Agglomération de / of Longueuil, on the south bank of the Saint-Laurent / Saint Lawrence River, near Montréal, situated about 22 kilometres away.

The municipality contains the prominent hill known as Mont Saint-Bruno, the focal point for Parc National du Mont-Saint-Bruno / Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park.

The Park was developed in the 1980s, with the assistance of the Québec government. In the Park, hiking and cross country skiing are popular pastimes; 'Ski Mont Saint-Bruno' is an established facility adjacent to the Park.

The Hill rises to 218 metres and is one of the Collines montérégiennes / Monteregian Hills. The Park extends to 8.84 square kilometres.

Notable features in the Park include a number of lakes and an old stone mill.

In the city of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, an old presbytery (Le Vieux presbytère) dates from 1851. The locality became a city in 1958.

Naming complexities

So many Québec localities are named for a Roman Catholic saint, and Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville seems to be no exception.

One learns that in 1842 the Bishop of Montréal Monsignor Ignace Bourget (1799-1885) established the parish of Saint-Bruno, which became a civil parish in 1846. Many people would equate the place-name with a reference to Bruno of Cologne (c.1030-1101), founder of the Carthusian Order.

As an exercise in projecting apparent referents and influencing popular perceptions, this is indeed part of the history of how the name Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville came to be widely used.

The actual origin of the town's name, as it relates to its early history and its naming, however, is rather different.

The background to these events can be found in the Seigneurial system used for centuries in Bas-Canada / Lower Canada, the basis for today's Province de / of Québec.

In the early 19th century, the hill was known as Colline de Montarville / Hill of Montarville, named for the Seigneurie de / of Montarville in which it was situated.

In 1829, the then Seigneur in what is now the municipality sold his title in favour of François-Pierre Bruneau (1799-1851). In 1842, Bishop Bourget thus decided to make the Seigneur's surname 'Bruneau' the basis for the name of the new parish which he established!

So 'Saint-Bruno' it became...

September 27, 2017

(Some sourcing: Wikipedia)

Cross country-skiing trail, Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park, (Quebec)
Cross country-skiing trail, Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park, (Quebec) | Source
Two Montérégie hills - Mont Saint-Bruno and Mont Saint-Hilaire - seen from Montréal
Two Montérégie hills - Mont Saint-Bruno and Mont Saint-Hilaire - seen from Montréal | Source

Also worth seeing

Montréal (distance: 22 kilometres) The architectural and cultural attractions of Montreal are too numerous to mention here, but of special note, among many others, are the domed Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours), dating from 1847, which was a venue used to house the Parliament of United Canada, prior to Confederation. The Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal ) was built mainly between 1824 and 1829; many Montrealers attend annual performances of Handel's 'Messiah' there. The Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, used for the 1976 Olympics, has the the world's tallest inclined tower, at 175 metres.

Map location of Longueuil
Map location of Longueuil | Source

How to get there

Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville may be reached via Routes 134, 112 and 116 from Montréal. Air Canada flies to Montreal (Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal) from Toronto-Pearson, and from New York-Newark and New York-La Guardia, with wide connections. A number of car rental companies offer service at Montreal-Trudeau airport. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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