September 4th, 2007

Wolfe vs. Wolfe-Montcalm

Posted in Canada, History by Patrick Donovan

The Plains of Abraham are famous for the confrontation between the armies of Wolfe and Montcalm, a decisive battle leading to Britain’s conquest of New France.

Several centuries later, a confrontation over a street name is taking place on this lamp-post bordering the park. Federal and Municipal authorities can’t agree on whether to call the street “Wolfe” or “Wolfe-Montcalm”. It seems likely that the disagreement reached a stalemate several decades back. Nowadays, the two names coexist and most people are either indifferent or unaware.

There are legitimate grounds to adopt either name. The city named the avenue “Wolfe-Montcalm” first, in 1901, a politically correct decision to commemorate both victor and vanquished equally. The National Battlefields Park was created in 1908 when Federal authorities saved the area from residential development and turned it into a commemorative park. The disagreement probably arose because the short avenue has always led to a monument on the spot where Wolfe fell in battle; the street has no link whatsoever with Montcalm. To complicate things, recent municipal mergers have resulted in the fact that a Wolfe Avenue now exists elsewhere in the city (home to an English-language, formerly Irish Catholic, elementary school).

Wolfe Monument

Wolfe Monument

Wolfe Monument

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