MONTREAL – The paths of Robert Bourassa and Rene Levesque are set to cross again — this time on the map of Montreal.
The city plans to rename a long stretch of a busy downtown street Boulevard Robert-Bourassa in honour of the former Liberal premier, who died 18 years ago.
Mayor Denis Coderre said University Street will be renamed after the Montreal native, from Sherbrooke Street south to Notre-Dame.
Coderre told a ceremony at city hall the two men were political foes but good friends.
Gerald Tremblay, a former member of Bourassa’s cabinet who later became mayor of Montreal, tried to rename the city’s Parc Avenue after his old boss a few years ago, but he backed off amid vocal opposition to the plan because the street would have intersected René-Lévesque, who was a longtime political rival.
Bourassa, a lawyer, served as the 22nd Premier of Quebec, first from 1970 to 1976 before suffering a humiliating defeated by René-Lévesque’s Parti Québécois.
He was then re-elected again from 1985 to 1994 after campaigning against sovereignty in the 1980 referendum.
He is the longest ever serving premier.
Robert Bourassa passed away in 1996 at the age of 63.
© 2014 The Canadian Press