The third most populous city in the province, Laval enjoys a privileged location just a few minutes from downtown Montreal, on the north shore of the Rivière des Prairies. An important urban centre, it is a dynamic and touristic region that combines the old charm of its historic districts with the modernity of its high-tech companies that are present there. Over the years, Laval has become an autonomous city that attracts families looking for peace and quiet. It is made up of 14 former municipalities (now neighbourhoods) merged into a single city that now has more than 400,000 inhabitants.
Although the city of Laval is of limited interest in itself, people come here mainly to appreciate its many tourist attractions and the green spaces surrounding it, which are perfect for families. Laval is also home to a panoply of horticultural and market gardening products: retail greenhouses, farmer's stands, orchards and vineyards, cheese dairies, chocolate shops, bakeries and pastry shops, gourmet boutiques... Not to mention its shopping malls and shopping areas such as the Centropolis. Finally, for the record, Xavier Dolan's film Just the End of the World was shot in its peaceful residential streets in 2015.
The island has been frequented for centuries by the Amerindians, as evidenced by archaeological digs in the eastern tip of the island, and took on different names following the arrival of the first Europeans. In 1636, it was granted to the Jesuit Fathers who gave it its present name: Jesus Island. After a few changes of ownership, it passed into the hands of the Séminaire de Québec in 1680 until 1854, the year the seigneurial system was abolished.
In the 1800s, the "cagedux" frequented the waters of the Thousand Islands and Prairie rivers. These men floated huge quantities of wood for shipbuilding and other uses. These huge rafts are called "cages", hence the nickname of the workers accompanying these maritime convoys. One of the best known of them is none other than the strongman Jos Montferrand.
In 1837, the island was invaded by the English army in connection with the events of the Patriot Rebellion. Auberge Tassé, still located on rue des Patriotes in the Sainte-Rose district, is the site of a few strategic meetings of the Patriot leaders. Even with its half and its skylights cut off, it remains one of the only witnesses to this eventful episode on Jesus Island.
At the end of the 19th century, the first tourists landed on the island thanks to the arrival of the train and the construction of the Sainte-Rose train station. For the most part, doctors, lawyers, notaries, industrialists, members of parliament and others from wealthy backgrounds settle their penates in this corner of the island to enjoy the summer to the fullest. Yacht clubs, regattas, sports, social and social activities are then part of the leisure activities of these summer visitors. Around 1925-1930, superb beaches were developed along the Mille-Îles River.
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