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,Montreal was the largest city in Canada up until the 1970s, when it was eclipsed in size and importance by Toronto.

Originally called Ville-Marie ('City of Mary'), some historians think the city takes its present name from the Mont Réal, the three-head hill at the heart of the city, whose name was also initially given to the island on which the city is located.

As of the 2006 Canadian Census, 1,620,693 people resided in the city of Montreal 

In 2007, Montreal was ranked as the 10th cleanest city in the world by Forbes Magazine and 16th in a list of the world's 25 most liveable cities according to a London based Monocle Magazine.