Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (French pronunciation: [sɛ̃ ʒɑ̃ syʁ ʁiʃ(ə)ljø]) is a city in eastern Montérégie in the Canadian province of Quebec, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) southeast of Montreal. It is situated on both the west and east banks of the Richelieu River at the northernmost navigable point of Lake Champlain. As of December 2019, the population of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was 98,036.
Historically, the city has been an important transportation hub. The first railway line in British North America connected it with La Prairie in 1836. It also hosts the annual International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a hot air balloon festival which attracts hundreds of tourists who come to see the hundreds of balloons in the sky each August.
The Chambly Canal extends 20 kilometres (12 mi) north along the west bank of the river and provides modern freight passage to Chambly and the St. Lawrence River. The canal has one lock near the downtown core of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. In the winter, the city builds a skating rink on the canal near the lock. In the summer, the embankment on the east side of the canal has a 20-kilometre (12 mi) cycling path.
The French built Fort Saint-Jean in the seventeenth century. Known to early English settlers as St. Johns, it provided an important communication link during the French and Indian Wars. During the American Revolutionary War control of the town changed hands several times as British and American forces moved through the area.
In 2001 the city and several adjoining communities were merged into the new regional county municipality with a population to 79,600. This merger was requested by the five municipalities involved and was not part of the municipal fusions imposed by the Quebec government the following year.
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is located on the banks of the Richelieu River. The city is the seat of Le Haut-Richelieu regional county municipality and of the judicial district of Iberville.
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu had a population of 97,873 living in 42,913 of its 44,255 total private dwellings, a change of 2.9% from its 2016 population of 95,114. With a land area of 226.93 km2 (87.62 sq mi), it had a population density of 431.3/km2 (1,117.0/sq mi) in 2021.
The amalgamated municipalities (with 2001 population) were:
Despite the fact that nearby Montreal is very racially diverse, in 2021 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu had a very large majority of white residents (~94.4%). 4.1% of residents were visible minorities and 1.5% identified as Indigenous. The largest visible minority groups were Black (1.4%) and Latin American (0.8%).
French was the mother tongue of 92.5% of residents. Other common mother tongues were English (2.5%), Spanish (0.8%), and Arabic (0.5%). 1.4% claimed both French and English as first languages, while 0.4% listed both French and a non-official language.
68.9% of residents were Christian, down from 88.0% in 2011. 62.3% were Catholic, 4.3% were Christian n.o.s and 0.8% were Protestant. 29.3% of the population was non-religious or secular, up from 11.7% in 2011. All other religions and spiritual traditions accounted for 1.8% of the population. The largest non-Christian religion was Islam at 1.4%.
The city is divided in five sectors which refer to the former municipalities. Each sector contains different neighbourhoods:
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is home to the Carrefour Richelieu regional shopping mall which has 115 stores.
Newer retail developments include Faubourg Saint-Jean, home to restaurants, services, stores, and a soon-to-open movie theatre.
The historic downtown area, which borders the Richelieu River and includes Richelieu and Champlain streets, is home to a variety of locally-owned bars, restaurants, and shops.
St-Jean is a manufacturing centre for textiles, wood products, sporting equipment, and metal transformation. It hosts an Area Support Unit (ASU) of the Canadian Forces, which functions as a primary recruit and officer training establishment.
The Ville de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu public transit system provides commuter and local bus services.
According to the 2016 Census, 22,840 residents, or 56.7% of the labour force work within the city. An additional 5,135 (12.7%) commute to Montreal, while 2,305 (5.7%) work in Longueuil, 1,440 (3.6%) work in Brossard, and 965 (2.4%) work in Chambly.
By contrast only 770 people commute from Montreal to work in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu every day, while 795 people commute from Longueuil, 780 commute from Chambly, 510 commute from Saint-Alexandre and 500 commute from Mont-Saint-Grégoire.
The city is split in two by Autoroute de la Vallée-des-Forts (Autoroute 35) which goes North-South by going first through Saint-Luc district, then turns east just south of Pierre-Caisse Boulevard in Saint-Jean-sur-Richlieu district to cross the Richelieu River and to finally continue its way south through St-Athanase and Iberville districts. The highway continues south for some 24 km before ending at Saint-Sébastien.
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu has its own municipal airport, Saint-Jean Airport, and is also close to Montreal Pierre-Elliot Trudeau International Airport.
The former International Railway of Maine runs through the town, now the connecting point for the Central Maine and Quebec Railway with the Canadian Pacific Railway. The former Saint-Jean-d'Iberville railway station, which until 1966 served the Ambassador to Boston and New York City and the Washingtonian to Washington, D.C., is now a preserved building.
The South Shore Protestant Regional School Board previously served the municipality.
In addition to more than a dozen public elementary and secondary schools, St-Jean is home to two private schools, one English-language school, and two higher education institutions:
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