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Outremont

Outremont is a borough (arrondissement) of the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It consists entirely of the former city on the Island of Montreal in southwestern Quebec, Canada. The neighbourhood has been traditionally inhabited largely by Francophones, but is now also home to a large number of Hasidic Jews.

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[edit] Geography

A separate city until the 2000 municipal mergers, Outremont is located north of downtown, on the northern side of Mount Royal - its name means "beyond the mountain" although it encompasses Murray Hill (colline d'Outremont), one of the three peaks that make up Mount Royal.

The borough is bounded to the northwest by Mount Royal, to the northeast by Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension and Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, to the east by Le Plateau-Mont-Royal and the Mile End district, to the south by Ville-Marie, and to the west by Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. The Mount Royal Cemetery is located in the south eastern tip of the borough.

It has a population of 22,897; its area of 3,86 km² makes it the smallest of Montreal's boroughs. One of its nicest streets is Bernard avenue. It is filled with restaurants, small shops, a historic theatre and more.

[edit] History

The area was originally known as Côte Sainte-Catherine. It came to be named Outremont after a stately residence built by Louis-Tancrède Bouthillier in 1833 and named Outre-Mont. In 1875 the new Village of Outremont was named after the house, which still exists today on McDougall Street.

In 1927, Outremont became the first place in the world to use a snow blower to clear its streets in the winter. It was the first production model of Canadian inventor Arthur Sicard's Sicard Industries.[5]

[edit] Features

Outremont is served by the Outremont and Édouard-Montpetit stations on the blue line of the Montreal Metro. (Édouard-Montpetit station is actually located in Côte-des-Neiges, but right on the Outremont border.)

Major thoroughfares include Van Horne Ave. and Côte Sainte Catherine Road, with Bernard and Laurier Streets as the principal shopping and dining areas. The area has some of the most sophisticated restaurants, cafes and shops in Montreal. Residents include a substantial percentage of ex-patriates from France. There is also a sizable Hasidic Jewish community, representing about 20% of Outremont's population, which resides mainly in the eastern and northern portions of the borough.[6] Many Jewish synagogues, schools and businesses can be found on Van Horne, Bernard and St. Viateur streets.

There is also visible friction between the francophone and Hasidic communities.[7] In November 2007, a public hearing was held to address allegations that members of the Hasidic Jewish community regularly flout the rules and regulations of the borough.[8] In July 2007, B’nai Brith Canada asked then Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion to remove new star candidate Jocelyn Coulon from an upcoming byelection in Montreal’s Outremont riding because of his past stance on Hamas.[9]

In 1985, Outremont mayor Jérôme Choquette passed a bylaw prohibiting bathing suits in Outremont as Hassidic Jews bordering a park were complaining that sunbathers drove their property values down. The bylaw was ultimately declared ultra-virès, as municipalities have no power to legislate over attire.

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Crime in the area has seen a recent increase, partially fueled by young gangs establishing a foothold in the area.[citation needed] In September 2006, a Jewish school was fire bombed.[citation needed] On May 12, 2007, a young hassidic Jewish man was attacked.[10] On July 2, 2007, a woman was abducted and stuffed into the trunk of her car. She was later found severely injured and beaten.[11]. On August 16, 2007, a suspected paedophile was arrested in the borough's Beaubien Park.[12]. In February 2008, a fugitive who had beat an 82 year old woman was arrested.[13]. In January 2010, an indoor marijuana growing operation was discovered in Outremont.[14]. In March 2010, a synagogue was desecrated with swatsikas and was categorized as a hate crime by police.[15] A crime wave in April 2010 attacked many synagogues in Outremont bringing fear to the Jewish community and also reinforcing the perception that Quebec breeds racism against Jews. Residents described a "gang atmosphere" purveying the area with muggings and home break ins occurring in broad daylight.[16]

Among the attractions in the mainly residential community are the Mount Royal Cemetery, the Salle Claude-Champagne, the Outremont Theatre, the Saint-Grégoire-l'Illuminateur Armenian Cathedral, and part of the Université de Montréal campus.

Outremont also has a rail yard along its northern border. The rail yard has been purchased by the University of Montreal and is to be developed to house its hospital complex, its research faculties, and the faculty of Health Sciences (Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal).

Outremont was twinned as a sister city with Oakwood, Ohio and Le Vésinet, France.

[edit] Politics

[edit] Federal and provincial elections

The borough is entirely contained within the federal riding of Outremont and the provincial electoral district of the same name. In 2006, the borough mostly voted for the Bloc, but the riding itself voted Liberal.

The previous mayor of Outremont, Stephane Harbour, resigned his post on October 11, 2007 after an investigation discovered, amongst other ethical lapses, that a discreet lounge was kept by Outremont officials within the borough hall which officials used to relax and consume alcohol bought with public funds.[17]. This solidified the impression of many that cronyism and patronage run rampant in Outremont. The current mayor, Marie Cinq-Mars, was part of the Harbour cabinet. The Vision Montreal party also asked her to resign, which she refused. Cinq-Mars was elected Borough Mayor in a by-election on December 16, 2007.[18][19]. This by-election saw the winning Union Montreal party's share of the popular vote reduced to 47%, down from 71% in 2005, with Projet Montreal in second with 37% and Vision Montreal with only 14.96%.

[edit] Borough council

The borough is represented on Montreal City Council by its borough mayor alone. The borough is further divided into four districts, each of which elects one borough councillor.

As of the November 1, 2009 Montreal municipal election, the current borough council consists of the following councillors:

DistrictPositionName Party
Borough mayor
Montreal city councillor
Marie Cinq-Mars   Union Montréal
Claude-Ryan Borough councillor Louis Moffatt   Union Montréal
Jeanne-Sauvé Borough councillor Ana Nunes   Union Montréal
Joseph-Beaubien Borough councillor Céline Forget   Independent
Robert-Bourassa Borough councillor Marie Potvin

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