Yesterday, being perhaps the hottest day of the summer thus far, with high heat and humidity warnings in place, I foolishly decided to take a stroll. The parts of Montreal I passed through included St. Henri, Little Burgundy (I can’t get used to La Petite-Bourgogne … ), and Point St. Charles, known as The Point to locals.
Much of this area was once the Parish of Sainte-Cunégonde, according to the Grand répertoire du patrimoine bâti de Montréal, July 4, 2011. It was originally part of the parish of Saint-Henri-des-Tanneries, it was set up as the village of Delisle in 1864, becoming Sainte-Cunégonde in 1876, and a town in 1884. The name derived from St. Cunigunde of Luxembourg, wife of St. Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, a reference to the neighbouring parish.
Today the area is well gentrified with many condos built-up on streets once lined with working-class housing.
The neighbourhood is now a safe place to raise a family, yet in April of 1906 Sainte-Cunégonde was the scene of the horrific murder of five year old Edith May Ahern. The lengthy, and sensational, newspaper reports of the incident and trial from the Montreal Star newspaper can be found here. Interestingly the first report states ” Nothing so horrible in the nature of child murder has occurred in this vicinity since some four years ago when a Swede named Hansen killed a little boy near the railway track in Westmount for the sake of a few pennies”. I wrote about this tragic event last year – Local history: Childhood memories and murder.