A Window on Today
Today the area covering the old County of Chateauguay is a mix of suburban residential and rural agricultural. The northern portion including the bustling Towns of Chateauguay and Mercier (Sainte-Philomène) are virtual 'bedroom' communities of Montreal. The 1991 census records the City of Châteauguay alone as having close to 40,000 inhabitants. Many others enjoy the village and rural flavour of the Upper Valley while living within commuting distance of Montreal.
The Châteauguay River Valley is one of the most fertile agricultural regions in Quebec. It supports a wide range of farming activities including market gardening especially around Mercier and Sainte-Clotilde, dairy and grain farming. In the southwest regions, a large, prosperous dairy industry, especially around Howick and Ormstown, supply whole milk to the Montreal market. Bulk vegetable growing around a large canning facility at Sainte-Martine and regions southwest, provide cash crops for the farmers and summer employment for the youth of the area. In recent decades, extensive grain corn and soybean growing has become important cash crops, supplying both the local dairy needs and the outside markets.
In the non-agricultural sector, the Châteauguay Valley hosts a number of small, light industrial operations in many different fields. These operations, usually set up and run by local entrepreneurs, provide a source of varied employment for the local residents.
A fairly recent but growing activity in the valley is tourism. The blend of rural beauty and tranquility, along with a rich history, has a promising future. Bike trails, B&B facilities, and farms offering vacations with a difference, give visitors from the city a change of pace and the valley residents an additional source of income and employment.