The spirit of community involvement has always been present in the borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grace. The earliest example of such community mobilization was the NDG Citizen's Association, founded in 1920. The Citizen's Association rallied support for social issues it deemed important to community health, including successfully rallying 500 citizens to oppose the licensing of a local tavern.

Five years later, they again rallied community members to prevent the NDG park from being turned into a baseball stadium.

Unfortunately the Citizen's Association proved to be too effective, solving the most pressing issues and only intermittently meeting when the need arose, leading to decreased membership and it's eventual dissolution in the 1930's.


With many adolescents left home alone while their parents were consumed by war-time activities, instances of juvenile delinquency rose. In response, January 1942 would see the first meeting of what was to become the NDG Community Council. 

Evolution of the NDG Community Council logo over the years (click to enlarge)


That following April, the first executives were elected. Gilbert Layton was made President, and J.M.C. Duckworth was made Chairman of the Steering Committee. The Community Council worked to combat the vices present in their neighbourhood, lobbying police and city officials to shut down a local pool hall suspected of running a clandestine gambling den. They continued their activities in the post-war years, campaigning for new and better parks, which led in 1950 to the creation of the Benny and Somerland parks. As well, they helped finance and operate two new libraries, one co-located with their office and the other in Gibson School. The money necessary to operate both libraries was predominantly raised by the Community Council.
 The Council also campaigned for affordable housing, including advocating for the continuation of war-time rent-freezes and the expansion of low-rent housing. The Council continued to work to preserve the character of the borough well into the 70's, successfully obtaining a freeze on high-rise development in the neighbourhood after several high-density buildings went up on Monkland Avenue.

Pre-annexation NDG city logo

Since NDG negotiated their annexation to Montreal in 1910, proponents of secession continued to raise the issue. In 1957, the Community Council came out in support of succession, although they eventually had to give up when financial considerations proved to be too prohibitive. Although not fully independent, the borough continues to assert itself politically through the Council, lending a voice to citizens and making sure pressing social issues are not ignored.

After their foundation, the Council expanded their operations by forming several action committees, including: the Youth Committee, committed to reducing juvenile delinquency; the Public Transport Committee, ensuring that borough residents had access to cheap transportation; and the Tavern Committee. Starting in the 1970's, the Council began spinning-off committees into independent community organizations, including: the NDG Senior Citizens Council, the NDG Tenants Association and Ecosense

Memo from 1955 indicating the Council's erstwhile support for secession from Montreal (click to enlarge)









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