Towns in Montreal celebrate 10 demerged years

Residents in the western part of the island are celebrating 10 years of being merger-free.

Hampstead, Côte St-Luc and Montreal West held party to mark 10 years since mega-city demerging

Blue ribbons mark path to Hampstead, Montreal West and Côte St-Luc's demerger 10th anniversary party. The ribbons are a throwback to the demerger campaign of 2004. (Morgan Dunlop/CBC)

Residents in the western part of the island are celebrating 10 years of being merger-free.

The towns of Hampstead, Côte St-Luc and Montreal West marked one decade since they voted to demerge from the Montreal megacity created in 2002 by throwing a party.

People there tied blue ribbons around trees as a throwback to 2004’s campaign to demerge from the Montreal merged city.

In 2002, towns and cities across the province were forced to merge into amalgamated cities under the municipal reorganization plan.

Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg campaigned for the demerger before becoming mayor.

“It's not anglophone versus francophone. It is not wealthy versus poor. We all were against the fact that some central government was saying, ‘We don't care what you want, we think it's better and we're merging you,’” he said.

In 2004, the newly elected Jean Charest introduced Bill 9 allowing former municipalities to gain back some of the autonomous municipal powers they held before the merger.

A number of municipalities on the island of Montreal held referendums to decide whether to demerge.

“It was scary moment because you had one chance to demerge and you needed to get 35 per cent of the voters list to vote yes,” said Côte St-Luc’s mayor, Anthony Housefather.

“People were nervous, people were scared, people were apprehensive and yet, you know, when the final results came in and we saw that we had won everyone was exhilarated,” Housefather continued.

The festivities continue Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at Trudeau Park in Côte St-Luc, where Bowser and Blue will play a free show.