Collection MSG 1144 - Jean Drapeau Collection

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Jean Drapeau Collection

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  • Source of title proper: Title from provenance of collection.

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  • 1950-1986 (Creation)
    Drapeau, Jean, 1916-1999
    Montréal (Québec)

Physical description area

Physical description

74.3 cm of textual records and graphic materials.
183 photographs.

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Biographical history

Born 18 February 1916 in the Rosemont neighbourhood of Montreal, Jean Drapeau attended primary school at Jean-de-Brebeuf, Rosemont, from which he graduated in 1935. He followed a course of private study from 1935-1938 towards his BA from the Universite de Montreal, which he obtained in 1938. Drapeau also graduated with a “licence en sciences sociales, économiques et politiques” from the Université de Montréal in 1937. From 1938-1942 he studied Law at the Faculty of Law at the Université de Montréal and was admitted to the Montreal Bar in January 1943. He pleaded civil and criminal cases and practiced both commercial and corporate law. Actively interested in both federal, provincial, and municipal politics, Drapeau became the director of the Ligue d’Action Nationale, a member of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montreal (as well as its vice-president general), and a member of the Chamber of Commerce of Montreal, among other positions. He married in 1945 and was the father of 3 boys. On 25 October 1954 he was elected mayor of Montreal by a majority of 54,000 votes. Among his recognized achievements during his 29 years as mayor (1954 to 1957 and 1960 to 1986) are the development of the Montreal Metro system, the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal (Expo 67), and the construction of Place des Arts. Drapeau also successfully lobbied for the 1976 Summer Olympic games to be held in Montreal and presided over the construction of the Olympic facilities, leading the city of Montreal into massive debt. Drapeau died on 12 August 1999 at the age of 83. The Parc Jean-Drapeau, extending over the two small islands in the Saint Lawrence river that were the site of Expo 67, and its Metro station are named in his honour.

Custodial history

Materials are from Jean Drapeau’s personal library, which was sold by the family after his death.

Scope and content

Collection consists of photograph albums and publications from Jean Drapeau's library related to significant events that occurred during his mandates as mayor of Montreal (1954 to 1957 and 1960 to 1986). Photograph albums, brochures, and publications represent Expo 67 and its reiteration, Man and his World (Terre des Hommes), which ran from 1968 to 1986. The 1976 Montreal Olympic Games are documented in programmes and photograph albums. The collection also includes records of Drapeau's political life, including transcripts of his speeches from 1955-1957, photograph albums related to his municipal political party, the Civic Party of Montreal (Parti civique de Montréal), and presentation copies of books.

Notes area

Physical condition

Some photographs detaching from albums.

Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased from Mathieu Bertrand, Librairie Bonheur d'Occasion, between September 2017 and March 2018.


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  • English
  • French

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