Talk: The Pieds-Noirs of the Quarries


Talk by Yves Desjardins

A group of Pieds Noirs in 1938 / Robert Prévost / Courtesy of Kevin Cohalan

A group of Pieds Noirs in 1938 / Robert Prévost / Courtesy of Kevin Cohalan

All through the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th, the area of Mile End was riven with limestone quarries like so much Swiss cheese. They had an important impact on the urban form of the area which can still be perceived today.

These quarries gave birth to a village, Côte-Saint-Louis, which housed the quarrymen, carters, day labourers and stonecutters who worked there: the legendary Pieds-Noirs. In 1938, the journalist-historian Robert Prévost interviewed some of the last few Pieds-Noirs still alive, thus allowing their memory to be preserved in the historical record.

What else have we found out about them since then? And how did all these quarries coexist with the rapid urbanization of the area?

Yves Desjardins, a member of the board of Mile End Memories, will draw on his current research in the archives of the villages of Côte-Saint-Louis and Saint-Louis-du-Mile-End, as well as in the newspapers of the time.

Sunday 15 February 2015,
 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Mile End Library
5434 avenue du Parc, Montreal (south of Saint-Viateur – 80 bus)

Free admission

Languages: Presentation in French, 
discussion in French and English