Filmography > Le soleil se lève à l’Est

Maisonneuve: Cradle of Industry

Did you know that in Montreal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, workers built boats, trains, and even submarines?

The East end of the city, at the beginning of the twentieth century, is a symbol of industrial progress.  Workers are attracted to the area by abundant employment opportunities.  Enterprising French Canadians create companies and proudly display their success.  A group of businessmen founded their own independent town, Maisonneuve.  The municipal council beautified their city with the construction of four buildings, including the magnificent Maisonneuve market.

Two visionaries, Oscar and Marius Dufresne, are at the heart of the adventure in this growing district.  Wealthy proprietors of a shoe manufacturing business, they live with their families at the Château Dufresne.  Their mansion still exists, just across the street from the Olympic Stadium.

This documentary brings to life the story of the Dufresne brothers and the workers who surround them.  Eighty-seven year old Bernard Pépin, who formerly worked in the Angus Shops, tells us about the modest and yet dynamic life lived by the people in this district.  He relates the distress that he felt with the abandonment of industry in the East end of Montreal at the dawn of globalization during the 1970s.  A social tragedy is about to occur, but instead of resigning themselves to accepting their fate, Bernard and hundreds of other volunteers react by creating community groups.

To view a trailer and photos, or to read a synopsis and press reviews, please click here.