Learn about place names

Last updated February 24, 2022

The Répertoire historique des toponymes montréalais is an online service (in French) that allows you to learn about the origins and meaning of the names of streets, places, parks, buildings and other public sites in Montréal.


Updated regularly, this directory offers a simple research tool and information sheets containing historical information.

It includes all the names of public roads, squares, parks and properties under the city’s jurisdiction since 2006, including the 19 boroughs. However, infrastructure controlled by the Québec and Canadian governments, such as autoroutes and bridges, are not included in the directory.

Search tool

Research can be done:

Par ordre alphabétique (alphabetical order): By clicking the initial letter, from A to Z. The first word of the specific element (example “Orléans” in the name “avenue d’Orléans”), governs the order of presentation, as the following list illustrates:

  • place de Dade
  • rue Daigneault
  • place D’Aiguillon
  • rue Daillon
  • rue Dalbé-Viau 

For numbered streets, choose “numérique”.

Par mot ou groupe de caractères (By word or group of characters): The search tool will display all names that include the character string, as illustrated below.

If “orme” is typed in the search field, the directory will display the following place names:

  • avenue Delorme
  • rue Des Ormeaux
  • avenue des Ormes

Par arrondissement: displays the names of all streets located in a borough (including streets that continue into other boroughs).

Par thématique : displays all place names fitting one general theme. Different themes are gradually being added to the directory.

When the search tool displays a list of results, click a place name to display the related information sheet.

Contents of the directory

The information sheets include the following:

  • The place name as it should be written in an address, i.e. the general part followed by the specific (for example: rue Sherbrooke East)
  • The date the name was given: generally the date when the current name was applied. However, the date the road was first opened may be listed when that is the only information known.
  • Historical information, revised as new research is completed
  • The main source of the information compiled
  • Images with their description

The project

In 2005, Montréal city council adopted a heritage policy and committed to promoting the appropriation of Montréal’s place-name heritage. The creation and development of the directory is an important step for this commitment.

Directed by the Bureau du patrimoine et de la toponymie (which later became the Division du patrimoine), and supported by the Conseil du patrimoine, the project is also supported by a sustained partnership with Laboratoire d’histoire et de patrimoine de Montréal (UQAM). 

This close collaboration has allowed the city to benefit from the professional support of historians experienced in Montréal’s urban history, and provides students an opportunity to participate in the advancement of the historical knowledge on which the project depends.

The online version of the directory was made possible thanks to support from the ministère de la Culture et des Communications (in French).