The Origin Of Montreal
Montreal, throughout the years has been given several nicknames and slogans, such as Sin City, MTL, The City of Saints, and The City of a Hundred Steeples, as characterized by Mark Twain in 1881.
The origin of the name Montreal, however has some disputes. In 1705, it was accepted as the official name for the settlement that was growing on the island out of the cold waters of the St. Lawrence River.
Prior to the French arriving and settling in the area, it was known as Quebec, a derivation of an Algonquin word which translates to where the river narrows. Before the French came, Iroquoians lived on the island who mostly lived in a the Hochelaga village.
Through various upheavals, involving warfare, the people who are best known as Iroquois became the dominant Aboriginals in the area. Jacques Cartier was the very first European to come to the area in 1535. He climbed the mountain that rises above the surrounding area and was able to see the St. Lawrence River.
With this, he called it Mont-Royal (Mount Royal). Montreal, then, is a rather straightforward version of the name he first chose. In 16th-century French, the world real was a variety of the world royal, which gives even more reason to the name Montreal.
Eventually, the name was given to the entire city surrounding the mountain. Various theories have been thought up however as to why Cartier chose those very words for the mountain. One theory believes that it was chosen as a honor to one of his friends that traveled with him in 1543, Claude de Pontbriant, who was the son of the Lord of Montreal, a landholder in southwest France.
Perhaps though, Cartier was simply taken away with the beauty in front of him and decided to give it a name that reflected it’s magical surroundings. This theory is the most commonly believed one.