Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street: The Spine Of The City
Mackay L. Smith


From Westminster Avenue in the west to Notre-Dame in the east, Sherbrooke Street spans 32 kilometres, diverse neighbourhoods, varied architectural styles, and 300 years of history. The street originally followed the path of an aboriginal trail that “connected the tilled fields around the village of Hochelaga, near the Mountain, with various portages on the Island.” The mountain’s warming effect on the soil gave an extra week or so to the growing season, and that propelled cultivation between today’s Décarie and Cherrier Streets. By 1927 Sherbrooke stretched its modern length from west to east.

Smith’s book is definitely not meant as a pocket-sized guide book, but its bite-sized chapters (Westmount, Atwater to Guy/Côte-des-Neiges etc.) are easily assimilated, and a walkabout will then repay the pedestrian with delightful moments of recognition. There is much history of the buildings and their owners, lots of photographs and maps, and chapters on infrastructure, so Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street will appeal to historians, walkers, and those who enjoy learning more about Montreal. mRb