Urban design and environment

The current street layout in Little Burgundy is the legacy of various infrastructure projects over the years, including the Montreal-Lachine Railroad that cut through the neighbourhood, the tram line on Notre-Dame and the construction of the Lachine Canal. The urban renewal project undertaken by the Drapeau administration in the 1960s and the revitalization that took place in the 80s have also left their marks on the area.

In 1966, Little Burgundy was the target of an urban renovation project that saw around 3000 working-class dwellings demolished to make room for the Ville-Marie Expressway. The neighbourhood was reconstructed in three steps over the following decades: social housing was built in Little Burgundy’s northeastern part in the 1970s, townhouses went up in the centre in the 80s, and luxury condos were built along the Lachine Canal in the 90s. Another inheritance of that era is the large number of parks and public spaces in the neighbourhood. Little Burgundy is mainly residential, with commercial zones concentrated close to rue Notre-Dame. To the south, the former industrial sector is slowly being transformed into a residential area sprinkled with offices for small businesses.

Little Burgundy’s close proximity to the Ville-Marie Expressway to the north, the presence of five major traffic arteries (St-Antoine, St-Jacques, Notre-Dame, Atwater and Guy), and the fact that the neighbourhood is heavily paved result in extensive production of greenhouse gasses and air contaminants, as well as the creation of heat islands. These environmental characteristics have been linked to health issues, including increased incidence of chronic illness and increased mortality rates.