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Laval ( ) is a city and a region in southwestern Quebecmarker, Canadamarker. With a population of 368,709 in 2006, it is the second largest city in Greater Montreal, and the third largest in the province of Quebec. Laval is in between the Rivière des Mille Îles opposite the north shore and the Rivière des Prairies, opposite Montrealmarker. Laval occupies all of Île Jésusmarker as well as the Laval Islandsmarker.

Laval constitutes region 13 of the 17 administrative regions of Quebec as well as a territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) and census division (CD) with geographical code 65.


Laval was originally inhabited by Mohawks before the French arrived. The first European Settlers were Jesuits in 1636 when they were granted a seigneury there. Agriculture first appeared in Laval in 1670. In 1675, François de Montmorency-Laval gained control of the seigneury. In 1702 a parish was founded, and dedicated to Saint-François de Salesmarker. The first municipalities on the island were created in 1845, after nearly 200 years of a rural nature. The only built-up area on the island, Sainte-Rosemarker, was incorporated as a village in 1850, and remained as the main community for the remainder of the century. With the dawn of the 20th century came urbanization. Laval-des-Rapidesmarker became Laval's first city in 1912, followed by L'Abord-à-Plouffe being granted village status three years later. Laval-sur-le-Lacmarker was founded in the same year on its tourist-based economy from Montrealers. Laval began to grow throughout the following years, due to its proximity to Montreal that made it an ideal suburb.

To deal with problems caused by urbanization, amalgamations occurred; L'Abord-à-Plouffe amalgamated with Renaud and Saint-Martinmarker creating the city of Chomedey in 1961. The amalgamation turned out to be so successful for the municipalities involved that the Quebec government decided to amalgamate the whole island into a single city of Laval in 1965. Laval was named after the first owner of Île Jésus, François de Montmorency-Laval, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec. At the time, Laval had a population of 170,000. Laval became a Regional County Municipality in 1980. Prior to that, it was the County of Laval.

The 14 municipalities, which existed prior to the incorporation of the amalgamated City of Laval on August 6, 1965, were:


The island has developed over time, with most of the urban area in the central region and along the south and west river banks.

Laval is bordered on the south by Montrealmarker across the Rivière des Prairies, on the north by MRC des Moulinsmarker and by MRC de Thérèse-de-Blainvillemarker and on the west by MRC de Deux-Montagnesmarker across the Rivière des Mille Îles.


by year

1971 - 228,010

1976 - 246,240

1981 - 268,335

1986 - 290,791

1991 - 321,937

1996 - 334,882

2001 - 349,896

2006 - 376,845

Laval is the fifth largest suburb in North America after Town of Hempstead, New Yorkmarker; Mississauga, Ontariomarker; Mesa, Arizonamarker and Surrey, British Columbiamarker.

Ethnic origin Population Percent
Canadianmarker 168,090 46.1%
French 88,210 24.2%
Italian 34,500 9.5%
Greek 18,760 5.1%
Irish 15,555 4.3%
Haitianmarker 12,250 3.4%
Lebanesemarker 10,725 2.9%
Québécois 8,055 2.2%
English 7,655 2.1%
Armenian 7,640 2.1%
Portuguese 7,370 2%
Scottish 6,535 1.8%
First Nations 6,415 1.8%
German 6,090 1.7%
Spanish 5,070 1.4%
Romanian 3,885 1.1%
Moroccan 3,645 1%

In 2001, the population of Laval was an estimated 343,005, a 3.8 percent increase from the earlier census in 1996. Women constitute 51.44% of the total population. Children under 14 years of age total 18.6%, while those of retirement age (65 years of age and older) number 13.2% resulting in a median age of 38.7 years.

In Laval, 15.48% of the population was born outside of Canada, substantially lower than the national average, many immigrants hailing from the French Caribbeanmarker, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Those of indigenous origin constitute 0.22%, while those who are visible minorities (non-white/European) number 8.68%, and are chiefly Black Canadian, Arab, and Hispanic. As with many parts of Quebecmarker, the city is highly Christian (90.71%), particularly Roman Catholic (81.09%), while Protestant and Orthodox groups constitute the remainder of the population. Religions such as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and others number less than 5% combined.

On March 19, 2009, Laval is now the main destination for immigrants to Canada, according to a study released by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The report says that between 2001 and 2006, the immigrant population grew by 40% in Laval, while the national average stood at 15%[29744].

  • Just over 10% of immigrants arriving in Laval speaks neither English nor French at home.
  • Immigrants from Eastern Europe are most likely to live in Laval.
  • 20% of Lavalers were born abroad in 2006.
Source: Radio-Canada.

Laval is not quite as linguistically diverse as neighbouring Montrealmarker. The 2006 census found that, counting both single and multiple responses, French was spoken as a mother tongue by 68.4% of the population, and was spoken most often at home by 73.8% of Laval residents. Counting single responses only, the next most common mother tongues were English (6.9%), Italian (4.4%), Greek and Arabic (3.9% each), Spanish (2.2%) and Armenian (1.8%).
Mother tongue Population Percentage
French 242,155 66.41%
English 25,270 6.93%
English and French 2,375 0.65%
French and a non-official language 4,025 1.10%
English and a non-official language 1,695 0.46%
English, French and a non-official language 685 0.19%
Italian 16,025 4.39%
Greek 14,070 3.86%
Spanish 8,065 2.21%
Armenian 6,420 1.76%
Creole 5,120 1.40%
Portuguese 4,670 1.28%
Romanian 2,970 0.81%
Vietnamese 1,900 0.52%
Khmer 1,415 0.39%
Chinese languages 1,365 0.37%

Mother tongue Population Percentage
Persian 1,260 0.35%
Lao 1,035 0.28%
German 955 0.26%
Russian 935 0.26%
Polish 875 0.24%
Hungarian 785 0.22%
Panjabi 775 0.21%
Tamil 545 0.15%
Urdu 485 0.13%
Croatian 430 0.12%
Turkish 305 0.08%
Tagalog 190 0.05%
Yiddish 175 0.05%
Hebrew 150 0.04%
Dutch 140 0.04%
Serbian 140 0.04%
Bengali 125 0.03%


Municipal politics

As of 2009, Gilles Vaillancourt is the mayor of the city of Laval. He has been in office since 1989. Vaillancourt's party, the Parti PRO des Lavallois, was born in 1980. Vaillancourt took over as head of the party just before the 1989 municipal elections.

Past mayors have been:

Flag, seal and motto

On a white-yellow background, the emblem of Laval illustrates the modernism of a city in full expansion. The sign of the city symbolizes the "L" of Laval.

The colours also have a significant meaning :
  • Dark red represents usually the affluence and represents here the great economic potential of Laval.
  • Blue symbolizes the quality of life and the installation of a human city.

The "L" of Laval is made of cubes that represent the development of Laval.

The letters of the Laval signature are related one to the other to point out the merger of the 14 municipalities of Jesus islandmarker in 1965.

The logo (that is on the flag) has existed since the 1980s and the flag since the 1990s.

Federal and provincial politics

Politically, Laval is a battleground area between the Quebec nationalist parties (the Bloc Québécois federally and the Parti Québécois provincially) and the federalist parties (the Liberal Party of Canada and the Parti libéral du Québec). The only exception is Chomedeymarker in the south, which voted overwhelmingly to not separate in the 1995 Quebec referendum. The other parts of Laval were narrowly split.


Laval's diverse economy is centered around the technology, pharmaceutical, industrial and retail sectors. It has many pharmaceutical laboratories but also stone quarries and a persistent agricultural sector. Long seen as a bedroom community, Laval has diversified its economy, especially in the retail sector, developing numerous shopping malls, warehouses and various retail stores. Laval has four different industrial parks .

The first is Industrial Park Centre, in the heart of Laval at the corner of St. Martin West and Industriel Blvd. It is One of the largest municipal industrial parks in Quebecmarker, the Industrial Park Centre boasts the highest concentration of manufacturing companies in Laval; 1,024 at last count, and 22,378 employees. The park still has 1,300,643 m² of space available.

The second, the Autoroute 25 Industrial Park is at the crossroads of the metropolitan road network. Inaugurated in 2001, this new industrial municipal space has been a tremendous success, boasting an 80% occupancy rate. Laval is studying the possibility of expanding this park in the next few years.

The third, known as Industrial Park East, is in the neighbourhood of Saint-Vincent-de-Paulmarker. This park has reached full capacity with a 100% occupancy rate. Industrial Park East is currently part of a municipal program to revitalize municipal services and public utilities. Laval is working with a private developer on an expansion project for the park that should be announced in the near future.

The fourth industrial park, the Laval Science and High Technology Park is located along Rivière des Prairies and Autoroute 15. It is an internationally renowned science campus that houses the Biotech City and the Information Technology Development Center (ITDC). The Laval Science and High Technology Park is a beacon of the metropolitan economy, in an environment befitting the best technopolises in the world. Nearly of space are available for development. The Biotech City spans the entire territory of the Laval Science and High Technology Park and is a unique concept in Canada in that its residents comprise both universities and companies.


Club Sport League Stadium/Arena
Regents Ice hockey Midget AAA Colisée de Laval
Laval Comets Women’s soccer W-League Bois-de-Boulogne Sports Centre
Les Associés de Laval Baseball Ligue de Baseball Élite du Québec Montmorency Park
Vikings de Laval Nord Canadian football Midget AAA Parc Roi du Nord
Les Bulldogs de Laval Canadian football Midget AAA Parc Cartier
Les Loups de CAL Canadian football Juvenile AAA Parc Roi du Nord
Laval Devils Canadian football Quebec Junior Football League Parc Cartier

See also: Le réseau des sports for detailed coverage.

Laval was also host-city of the "Jeux du Québec" held in summer 1991.




Provincial routes


  • On June 18, 2000, during renovations to the Souvenir Boulevard overpass over Highway 15, the southern section collapsed onto the highway, causing the death of one person.
  • On September 30, 2006, the De la Concorde overpass over Autoroute 19 suddenly collapsed killing five people. See also: De la Concorde Overpass collapsemarker.

Public transit


  • In April 2007, the Montreal Metro was extended to Laval with three stations. The long-awaited stations were begun in 2003 and completed in April 2007, two months ahead of the revised schedule, at a cost of $803 million, funded entirely by the Quebec government. The stations are Cartiermarker, De La Concordemarker, and Montmorencymarker. The arrival of the metro in Laval was long awaited as it was first promised in the 1960s.

  • Public transit users must purchase the $109 per month (2009) TRAM-3 card to access the metro from Laval's three new stations or pay $2.75 per trip towards Montreal since regular Montreal tickets and the CAM pass are not valid at the three new stations.

  • On July 22, 2007, the mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt, announced his wish to loop the Orange line from Montmorencymarker to Cote-Vertumarker stations with the addition of six new stations (three in Laval and another three in Montreal). He proposes that Transports Quebec, the provincial transport department, set aside $100M annually to fund the project, which is expected to cost upwards of $1.5 billion [29745].

Commuter railway

The Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) operates two commuter train lines on the island. The Deux-Montagnes and Blainville-Saint-Jerome lines connect Laval to downtown Montreal in as little as 30 minutes. Including De la Concordemarker, there are currently five train stations.


Montmorency Terminus
See the Société de transport de Laval page for the public transit system. The STL's network consists of 35 regular lines, two rush hour lines, two trainbus lines, three express lines, one community circuit and several taxi lines.

  • There are reserved lanes for buses and taxis on Chomedey Blvd between Le Carrefour Blvd and the Des Prairies River (Lachapelle Bridgemarker) and beyond as well as along boulevard des Laurentides between rue Proulx and boulevard Cartier (the reserved lane, in this case for buses only, continues onto the Pont Viaumarker bridge into Montreal until the Terminus Laval at the Henri-Bourassamarker metro station). Most buses that use the reserved lane end their journey at the Cartiermarker metro station.
  • The AMT and the City of Laval have developed a reserved bus and taxi lane on Notre-Dame Boulevard between Vincent Massey Street and Place Alton-Goldbloom and another on De la Concorde Blvd between De l'Avenir and Laval Blvds, as well as between Ampere Ave and Roanne St. These reserved lanes (Notre-Dame and De la Concorde are the same boulevard but change name where they meet under Autoroute 15) opened shortly after October 31, 2007.

A Google Map of the subway system, including the three new Laval stations can be viewed at Montreal-Laval Subway Map Mashup.

Blainville-Saint-Jerome Line Deux-Montagnes Line Line 2 Orange
Sainte-Rosemarker Sainte-Dorothéemarker Montmorencymarker
Vimontmarker Île-Bigras De la Concordemarker
De la Concordemarker Cartiermarker


Laval is home to a variety of vocational/technical centres, colleges and universities, including:

  • College Montmorency
  • CDI College
  • Centre de formation Compétences-2000
  • Centre de formation en métallurgie de Laval
  • Chomedey Centre
  • Centre de formation horticole de Laval
  • Centre de formation Paul-Émile-Dufresne
  • Herzing College

The city has two separate school boards, the Commission scolaire de Laval for French-speaking students and the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board for English-speaking students


Tourist map.

Laval's main attractions are:

Source: Tourisme Laval.


Laval is served by media from Montreal, however it does have some of its own regional media outlets.

Laval has two radio stations on its territory: CFAV 1570 AM "Radio Boomer" and CFGL 105.7 FM "Rythme FM".

Additionally, there are two major papers in Laval. The bi-weekly French-language Le Courrier Laval, which also publishes an English version weekly, and the bi-weekly English language The Laval News (formerly called The Chomedey News).

One television network operates on Laval's territory, Télévision régionale de Laval, on the VOX network (only available on Videotron cable).

Sister cities

Laval is paired with two different cities:

It also shares about ten economic and cultural cooperation agreements with cities sush as Markham, Ontariomarker, Ribeira Grande, The Azores, Nice, Francemarker, Grenoble, Francemarker, Mudanjiang, Chinamarker and Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Chilemarker.

Neighbouring municipalities

See also

References and footnotes

  1. Statistics Canada. 2001 Community Profile

External links

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