Montreal in the Mid-18th Century
By the mid-18th century, the population of Montreal had reached some 4,000 or 4,500 people. Two-thirds of the inhabitants lived inside the town walls.
Despite the rise of the value of land, numerous gardens persisted in the fortified center of the town. These gardens where mostly utilitarian, all of them were enclosed and survived throughout the first half of the 18th century, despite criticism by the military authorities who, for reason of security, wanted to create a more compact and densely populated settlement.
The large closes of the religious communities of Montreal still accounted for more than one-fifth of the occupied land within the walls. They included extensive gardens comprising vegetable plots and orchards designed to encourage meditation. However, only the Seminary gardens exist today.
On the eve of the British Conquest (1760), the fortified town was rebuilt repeatedly. Many wooden buildings were rebuilt of stone. Moreover, architecture became more refined, in particular on the facades of chapels and churches, and in the cut stone for the gates of the fortifications. The ston buildings attested to the expertise of the craftsmen who, by adapting construction materials and techniques to the particular circumstances of New France, helped create an indigenous urban architecture. Houses had to be aligned along the street, a measure that embraced the French model of what constituted a well-organized town.
Actually, Montreal had the image of a French provincial seat, and it preserved this appearance until the end of the 18th century.