Montréal l'avenir du passé (MAP)

Montréal l'avenir du passé (MAP) was established in 2000 to create an historical GIS research infrastructure for 19th and 20th century Montréal. We have digitized six highly detailed historical maps representing all buildings in the city for 1825, 1846, 1880, 1912, 1949 and 2000. The first three and last have been geo-referenced and we have successfully "peopled" them by linking at the street-scape (1846) or lot level (1880 & 2000) census returns, tax records, city directories and a wide variety of non-routinely generated sources. The project is currently focusing on turn of the century Montréal. Databases and interactive maps for the 19th century are available. A cd entitled "MAP: le 19e siècle/The 19th Century" was launched in October 2010 and is now available from our web site

Principal project staff
Sherry Olson, Robert C.H. Sweeny
Start date
Monday, May 1, 2000
Completion date
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Source material
We started by compiling the CAD files from the municipal planning office into a GIS for the city, which we then used to geo-reference scanned versions of a Charles E Goad & Co. insurance map (1880), a commercial map (1846) and an ordinance survey (1825). We then linked these maps to tax rolls for 1825, 1832, 1848 and 1880, complete Canadian census returns for the city in 1825, 1842, 1881 as well as a 20% sample from the 1901 census, city directories for 1819, 1820, 1848 and 1880-81. The modular nature of the programme allows researchers to add their own databases to the system. To date these include pew rentals, notarial deeds, land transactions from the seigneurial terrier, fire insurance policies, pay books, and records on school attendance, paupers' burials, infant mortality, marriages and baptismal records.

"Montréal l'avenir du passé: le 19e siècle/The 19th century." Cd-rom, St John's: MMS Atlantic, 2010.
“Rethinking boundaries: interdisciplinary lessons from the Montréal l’avenir du passé (MAP) project” Digital Studies/ Le champ numérique 1, 2 (2009).
“Property and Gender: Lessons from a 19th Century Town.” London Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 22, 2006/2007 9-34.
“Urban Ecology of Social Segregation in an Industrializing Town” Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Historical Sciences, Edited by Martyn Lyons. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press & InCompass, 2006
Risky Spaces: The Montreal Fire Insurance Company 1817-1820.” Les territoires de l’entreprise. Claude Bellavance & Pierre Fournier (dirs). Ste-Foy, Les Presses de l’Université Laval. 2004, 9-23.
«Paysans et propriétés : Les commutations montréalaises, 1840-1859.» Famille et marché XVIe—XXe siècles. Christian Desseureault, John Dickinson et Joseph Goy (dirs). Sillery, Septentrion, 2003, 161-6.
“MAP: Montréal l’avenir du passé. Sharing geodatabases, yesterday today and tomorrow.” Geomatica, 57, 2 (2003) p.145-54.