Montreal Geography Trivia No. 63

In Quebec, every named street has an official designation, comprising of a generic (Rue, Chemin, Boulevard, Avenue, Ruelle, Croissant, etc.) and a specific (de Maisonneuve, Sainte-Catherine, René-Lévesque). On signs in Montreal, the specifics are written in large letters and the generic in smaller letters on top.

Where there is no generic, or street type, the default is “Rue”, or “Street”.

There is an exception to this, a named road that has no small type on its street signs (old and new), but that isn’t a “Rue”.

What is it? And what type of street is it?

UPDATE: Couldn’t fool you folks. A bunch of you got it right, but once again COOL FAT MICHAEL 1999 FROM DIRTY JERZY was first: It’s Le Boulevard.

Le Boulevard in Montreal

Le Boulevard in Montreal

But it’s also The Boulevard, depending on the sign:

Another sign at the same intersection, only now it's "The Boulevard"

Another sign at the same intersection, only now it's "The Boulevard"

And, in case it was ever in doubt, Le Boulevard is officially classified as a boulevard. Though calling it “Boulevard Le Boulevard” would be incorrect.

Similar exceptions in other towns in Quebec are stranger than that. In St. Jérôme, there’s 1er Boulevard, 2e Boulevard up to 5e Boulevard, but those are classified as streets, as are Grand Boulevard in Ile Perrot, St. Bruno and St. Hubert.

20 thoughts on “Montreal Geography Trivia No. 63

  1. Paul

    Grosvenor, in Westmount. The signs say neither Rue, Road, Av nor Ave. Just Grosvenor. And, weirdly, Francophones cannot pronounce this correctly.

    Reply
      1. Paul

        Grosvenor Avenue at Queen Mary is a Montreal street with Montreal street numbering. In Westmount, it’s just Grosvenor. As to which came first, I’m not sure and would have to look at an old atlas. Next time I’m in that area I’ll have to see what it says in Victoria etc. Still odd that Francophones try to pronounce the silent “s” in Grosvenor though!

        Reply
    1. Clement Côté

      Ok, I’ll bite, just how should it be pronounced? (No irony, I’ve been wanting to know that for years!)

      Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      West Broadway and Park Row are streets, with the generic default “Rue”. Neither Park Row has new signs which would contain the generic. West Broadway has some, and sure enough they’re absent, which is odd.

      Grand Boulevard, like Le Boulevard, is also classified as a boulevard. According to the Commission, it is correctly written as “Grand Boulevard”, not “Boulevard Grand”, which makes it unusual as well.

      Reply
  2. Pepper Boxer

    Interesting post. As for Saint-Bruno, Boul. Grand cuts through fields and farmland… with a few houses scattered here and there. I think I’ve used the road on only two occasions. It’s located on the other side of the 116, relatively far from the “downtown” core.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It’s unusual, but “trait-carré” is a type of street for the Commission. Like Le Boulevard, Le Trait-Carré E/W have the simple generic “Le” because the name includes the type of street.

      Reply
  3. sam i

    perhaps worth noting that the first sign is non-standard: the text is too close to the city logo, and the text size is too big and in the wrong font (it’s in what appears to be a helvetica ripoff, whereas the standard street sign font is a bold-weighted univers – they’re very similar, it takes a very honed eye to notice).

    i get the sense that some kind of manual override happened there. i have to wonder why, since the standard template would have worked fine.

    Reply
  4. Stephane Ethier

    And what is the status of “Grande-Allee” in Ahuntsic? I don’t recall seeing a generic in front of its name. Unless “Grande-Allee” is itself the generic, like “Trait-Carre”?

    Reply
  5. Circeus

    I’m fairly sure that 1er Boulevard and Grand Boulevard are not exception (notwithstanding the generic not matching the classification, because that’s meaningless: the back-alley behind my building is called an “Avenue”, which Atwater also is :p). In 1er Boulevard, “1er” is clearly the specific, just like in “1ère Avenue”. It’s just the numbering of boulevards that is unusual there.

    Reply

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