The Great Wall of Montreal

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Ladri di biciclette

When I lived in TMR, about four houses from l'Acadie, on two occasions when I had left the garage door open, my bikes were stolen. A friend of mine who also had left his bike out had it taken, but was able to chase the thief down and recover his bike. I wasn't going to mention this, but then I read another comment here from a former Park Ex resident who admitted knowledge of fellow residents from the east side of the fence who would steal bikes in TMR.

Stephen Ghantous more than 2 years ago

Not a big deal

Many immigrants who started out in Park Ex because it was what they could afford, worked their way to prosperity and into other neighbourhoods.
My dad grew up in Park Ex and moved our family to TMR in 1985.
I went to high school in TMR and had friends on both sides of the fence.
I don't remember anyone ever having a negative comment about this so called 'wall'.
While the 'look' of the fence between two of the poorest and wealthiest neighbourhoods in Canada is not a positive one, it is really there to protect pedestrians from the traffic of l'Acadie boulevard. There are several unlocked gates where it is safe to cross thanks to traffic lights. Exceptionally, the speed limit on l'Acadie blvd is 60 km/h and I've seen people drive up to 100 km/h on it.

Stephen Ghantous more than 2 years ago

The Great Wall of Montreal

This sure does bring back memories of a day when Rockland consisted of an F.W.Woolworth's, Handy Andy, Morgans and a scattering of other small shops surrounding some funky 60's water features. My parents arrived in Park Ex in 1957 and that's where I was born and raised until the early 70's. My parents, being new here and wanting to impress their families back home in Hungary, would take walks and would often have photographs taken while standing in front of the "mansions" in TMR. This was Montreal, Canada, affluent, grand, spacious and unlimited. The bordering fence represented opportunities and with that they would return to their 1 1/2 apartment on de L'Epee with dreams and goals.

Helen G more than 10 years ago

l'acadie fence

when I was growing up in Parc-x in late 70's and through the 80's I remember we resented the fence but I think in a weird way we took it as a compliment,we were too "bad" for them and we would go over on the TMR side often,sometimes it was easier to walk to Rockland shopping center on that side instead of on busy l'Acadie ave. sometimes we'd go for a walk or bike ride in TMR just to get away from Parc-x,but to be honest,the TMR residents werent completely wrong because we did go there often to steal bikes and they probably locked it on halloween because it was sort of a parc-x tradition to do some vandalism in TMR on halloween or the night before

steve Kyriopoulos more than 10 years ago

The Great Wall of Montreal

This article brought back a host of memories for me. It's been some time - actually 41 years ago on a cold winter day that my friend Luba and I were invited to go ice skating at the home of Jill and Martin Silverstone on L[acadie. At the time, that house seemed so far away from where I lived. But even after 41 years, I look back on that day as one of the happiest, most fun-filled days of my life...and I truly don't remember ever seeing a fence.

I've been away from Montreal for over 40 years (living in Washington, DC) but after reading this article, I definitely plan on bringing my children back to see a part of my history that I had long forgotten about.Maybe Martin is right...the fence could have been put there to keep the townies out.

Anita Ryan (Webster) more than 10 years ago

The Great Wall of Montreal

The fence is not of uniform height: the part near Jean-Talon is much lower than the northern stretch near the shopping centre. It has indeed mellowed with age and shrubbery.

The defining feature of TMR at its founding, moreso than the diagonal roads, was the railway. The town was created by the Canadian Northern Railway (later part of CN) to help finance the tunnel under the mountain. The tunnel offered a quick 10-minute ride downtown, and still does today on the AMT Deux-Montagnes line.

Justin Bur more than 11 years ago

Exageration on the fence part

I just passed by Boulevard l'Acadie after having a tasty meal in one of the Indian restaurants located in Jean Talon this evening. The fence is definitely not of two meters high; it is hardly reaches one meter and is hidden behind a heavy, dense bush, which is grown higher than fence almost to two meters. Looking at the fence, one can easily come to conclusion that it is built there to prevent residential kids entering the heavy traffic in the boulevard. The only thing that doesn't come to mind is the segregation of poor from wealthy! There has been an exaggeration on the height of the fence. I don't deny the initial purpose behind building the fence, but its current situation is nowhere close to the initial idea. The fence is actually lost among the tick, heavy bush, which also works as a sound breaker between the residential area and the highway. Also, the TMR buildings built along the fence are of the middle-class type and doesn't require a class separator from the building located on the other side of L'Acadie.

Eliza more than 11 years ago


If you want to talk about "walls" demarcating class boundaries in Montreal look no further than the Turcott/720 between St-Henri and Westmount.

Kay O. Sweaver more than 11 years ago

tmr fence

my family has deep roots in park ex. Our family home is on L'acadie and my sister runs a wonderful retro-shop there. I always thought the fence was put up to keep the towners out of park-ex but it looks like I was wrong. Are you sure about the facts in Marcello's article? I mean let's face it, we had more skating rinks in park-ex, more schools, definitely more excellent bakeries and restaurants and in general, at least as far as I can remember, a lot more fun. No wonder those townies had to be kept out.

martin silverstone more than 11 years ago

PX and UdM

It will be interesting to see what happens if the Université de Montréal manages to build a campus just south of PX, as they've been planning to do—what will the neighbourhood become then? Will TMR residents still feel a "psychological need" for their precious fence?

Madeline more than 11 years ago


Good article, but readers might be lead to believe that TMR is some kind of grand neighbourhood like Rosedale in Toronto. Not so. It's certainly wealthier than Parc X, but it's no Rosedale (or Westmount or Outremont).

I worked in an area adjacent to TMR for three years and regularly went for long walks thought the 'hood. What I saw was primarily duplexes and small (900 sq. ft) single-family houses built in the 1940s and '50s. None were ostentatious. In fact I was more likey to see crumbling foundations and rotting fences than anything glorious like this article describes.

Most of TMR is middle-class at best, and a fading middle class that had its glory years in the 1970s and has been in a slow fading decline ever since.

That's not to excuse the fence. But it's not as drastic a class war-type situation as many people believe. It's really more of a cultural divide.

Blork more than 11 years ago


As a former Park Ex'r I was born & raised in this area for 28 years.
The article failed to mention that prior to Town of Mount Royal being located along L'Acadie , there was the Town of Mount Royal Golf Course. We Park Exr's loved to beat the Townies in both hockey & football. My parents built their home in Park Ex & I went to Barclay School.
There was a saying about Park Ex. youth. You either "played sports
or went to jail"
Dickie Moore a former Habs player (& Hall of Famer) was from Park Ex. I currently reside in Winnipeg & last visited Park Ex. in June of 2011. Still love the place!
Walter T.

Walter Tkach more than 11 years ago

Thank you

Thank you for making me aware of this

daniel saindon more than 11 years ago

Park Ex

Great piece. The irony of all this of course is that TMR is a dead community with nothing to offer but driveways, while Park Ex is sizzling, fun, open, interesting and always on the move. If I didn't already live in Mile End I would live in Park Ex.

Leila more than 11 years ago

Riff-raff out

When the boulevard Métropolitain elevated highway was built in the 1950’s, Mont-Royal was adamant for it not to be elevated on it’s territory; this is why it is at ground-level there. That, with the fence and the railroad tracks on the south end, effectively walled nearly the whole city against the riff-raff.

Mont-Royal residents never stomached the Montréal Urban Community, which stripped them of their police that would stop anyone driving a “cheap” car and expel them if they did not have a “legitimate” reason to be there. A former colleague grew up in St-Laurent, to the north of Mont-Royal, and whenever he went to visit his friends in Mont-Royal, he was always stopped by the police, who radioed and phoned their friends to ask if he had any business there.

It is unfortunate that for the brief time Mont-Royal was forcibly merged with Montréal that the fence was not torn down…

Jean Naimard more than 11 years ago


Really great article. Just a note - on the first page it is claimed that the l'Acadie fence is along the eastern demarcation of Parc-X when it's actually on the west (considering the 40 to be "north"). The rail yards are along the east and south.

Correction more than 11 years ago