Ville-Marie was founded in 1642, where the waters of the St. Lawrence are at their navigable limit, by a lay missionary organization, the Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal, on the initiative of Jérôme Le Royer de La Dauversière. Although Montréal began as a mission for the evangelization of the Aboriginal inhabitants, its commercial role soon overtook its religious vocation. The town became the trading centre for furs and other goods. It was a supply centre for the posts in the interior of the colony and a departure point for offensive expeditions. From the time of its founding, many defensive enclaves were built as protection against the Iroquois. A palisade was erected between 1687 and 1689; it was replaced by a masonry enclosure, built between 1717 and 1744 according to the plans of Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry. The town's extensive perimeter was in the form of an elongated rectangle. With the Treaty of Utrecht, Montréal's military role was strengthened. The surrender of New France, signed in Montréal on September 8, 1760, put an end to the war on the American continent. At that time, the town had 4,000 inhabitants.

Plan de l'hôtel de Philippe de Rigaud, marquis de Vaudreuil, gouverneur général de la Nouvelle-France, sis à Montréal, dressé par les soins de Jean-Baptiste Angers et René Decouagne, arpenteurs jurés [Plan of the residence of Philippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, Governor General of New France, located in Montréal, drawn up in the care of Jean-Baptiste Angers and René Decouagne, accredited surveyors], July 17, 1726
FR CHAN Marine C7 340, pièce 13