The Indigenous presence is highlighted on Rue Peel

Last updated June 15, 2023
Reading time: 1 min

Learn how the city worked with members of the Kahnawà:ke community to highlight archaeological discoveries related to an Iroquoian village dating back to the 14th century.

Between 2016 and 2019, archaeological excavations in the Rue Peel area uncovered remnants of village settlements by the first people to inhabit the St-Lawrence region. They recount the Iroquoian history of what is now downtown Montréal. A series of radiocarbon datings indicates that the site was, in all likelihood, occupied between the years 1350 and 1460.

Among the items discovered were more than 2,000 potsherds, almost a hundred fragments of ceramic pipes, and a variety of food remnants, including animal bones and charred seeds. Physical and chemical analyses of the food remnants in the pottery also revealed the importance of fish in the diet of the village’s occupants.

The remains are part of the same site that was uncovered circa 1860 between Rue Mansfield and Rue Metcalfe, south of Rue Sherbrooke, which was excavated by geologist William Dawson, rector of McGill University.

A bridge between urban planning and reconciliation efforts

Given the importance of these archaeological discoveries, the redesign of Rue Peel showcases certain archaeological features. All along the street, cast-iron tree grates feature one of the designs found on the pottery that was discovered nearby. They also create a unique visual signature for Rue Peel.

Installation of a series of artworks is planned for June 2023, arranged in stations. Each station will include a pair of sphere-shaped seats in bronze on which two artists – Kyra Revenko and MC Snow – will sculpt artistic designs.

This project, in collaboration with the Kahnawà:ke community, is part of the Montréal strategy for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, adopted in 2020.