Regional Portraits

Montérégie (16)

 

Geography and administration

Montérégie is crossed by the Rivière Richelieu. The region is bordered to the east by the Estrie and Centre-du-Québec regions. It runs along the states of Vermont and New York to the south; it is adjacent to Ontario in the west; and it is bordered by Lac des Deux-Montagnes and the Fleuve Saint-Laurent to the north. The region is made up of 15 regional county municipalities (French acronym MRC) and comprises 177 municipalities:

Montérégie also includes two Indian reserves: Akwesasne and Kahnawake.

Longueuil, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saint-Hyacinthe and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield are among the cities with the largest populations.

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Agriculture, fisheries and food

The region can be said to be the “bread basket of Québec.” In fact, southern Québec’s high-quality soil and good climate are conducive to producing an abundance and variety of products and foodstuffs.

Montérégie plays a strategic role in a number of traditional areas of production, such as veal, pork, poultry and field crops, as well as in market gardening, fruit growing, and ornamental horticulture. The region ranks first in Québec in terms of poultry, pork and dairy production, as well as in vegetable, apple, wine and greenhouse production. Its high performance in these sectors of activity is an undeniable strength on which the region can continue to build.

Agricultural development is also part of a movement of innovation and diversification of agriculture, focusing both on products and on marketing and production processes. This trend is inspired by new consumer needs and expectations, for it is true that consumers want fresh, value-added products that are good for their health and ready to eat.

For a number of years now, so-called “emerging” trends in production have made their presence known. We are witnessing, among other things, the cultivation of cherries, buckthorn berries, elderberries, and honeyberries. There is also an increase in on-farm alcohol production.

Short marketing circuits and agrotourism represent very promising development and employment opportunities for the region as a whole, given the proximity and number of consumers.

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Economy and employment

The job market in the Montérégie region is characterized by great diversity. The service sector is the region’s main economic driver, providing over 75% of jobs. Montérégie is also an important player in Québec’s manufacturing sector.

The region plays an important role in the industrial development of Québec by way of its businesses, industrial parks and research centres. The region welcomes world-renowned researchers in the high-tech, energy and metals sectors. Its subsoil is rich in limestone, clay minerals and silica, and a number of mining operations take advantage of these resources.

The manufacturing of microelectronic components and system design for state-of-the-art electronics raise Montérégie’s visibility on the national and international stage.

Manufacturing establishments contribute to regional economic development. Montérégie is home to a great many food processing and transportation equipment manufacturing companies. The region has developed a reputation as a metallurgical centre for the steel industry.

Lastly, hydroelectric production is also a presence in the regional economy in the form of small power stations and two larger scale power plants, including the Beauharnois plant.

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Tourism, recreation and culture

Being close to the Montréal region has facilitated Montérégie’s cultural development. A number of major artists, such as Paul-Émile Borduas, have lived in the region. The cultural wealth of this scenic spot can be found in many places, including in its historical sites and fortifications, and in the locks built during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Montérégie’s agrotourist enterprises attract consumers' attention with their sugar bushes, orchards, cider houses, and vineyards, where historical interpretation panels tell the personal stories and broader histories of the people and their local products.

The region is also renowned for its extensive network of cycling trails. Montérégie includes national parks and a number of ecological and nature reserves promoting year-round recreational activities, as well as numerous bed and breakfasts.

Concerning outdoor activities, the sky’s the limit! Possibilities include skiing at Mont Saint-Bruno, pleasure boating on the Fleuve Saint-Laurent, the Rivière Richelieu and Lac Champlain, cruises or outings to the Îles de Sorel, and last but not least, a sporting and cultural festival of international importance, the Valleyfield Regatta.

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