This vibrant biography of Griffintown, an inner-city Montreal neighbourhood, brings to life the history of Irish identity in the legendary enclave. As Irish immigration dwindled by the late nineteenth century, Irish culture in the city became diasporic, reflecting an imagined homeland. Focusing on the power of memory to shape community, Matthew Barlow finds that, despite sociopolitical pressures and a declining population, the spirit of this ethnic quarter was nurtured by the men and women who grew up there. Today, as Griffintown attracts renewed interest from developers, this textured analysis reveals how public memory defines our urban centres.
1 Nations and Nationalism in Griffintown, 1900–14
2 Griffintown from the First World War to Irish Independence, 1914–22
3 The Last Stand of Irish-Catholic Griffintown, 1929–45
4 The Death of Griffintown, 1945–75
5 The Griffintown Commemorative Project, 1991–2010
Even readers who have never heard of Griffintown before opening up this book will come to care for it – and will be inspired to reconsider the history and future of their own neighbourhoods and hometowns.
John C. Walsh, co-editor of Placing Memory and Remembering Place in Canada
Matthew Barlow has written an in-depth history of the Irish in Griffintown, one that has been virtually overlooked until now. This is a fascinating account of the influence of ethnicity, class, politics, religion, and history in the construction of cultural identity. If you want to understand Griffintown and the Irish, this is the book for you.
Paul J.P. Sandul, author of California Dreaming: Boosterism, Memory, and Rural Suburbs in the Golden State