A Changing Population
The post-war period witnessed another crucial change in the Town's population. Almost overnight, the religious constitution of the Town's resident base was turned on its head. In the early years, the Town was considered to be a predominantly Protestant settlement. In 1945, 80% of the Town's residents were of the Protestant faith, 16% Catholic and 4% Jewish. By 1957, only 49% of the Town's residents were Protestant, while 22% were Catholic and 28% Jewish. Since the 1980's the population of the Town has become predominantly Jewish.
Aside from substantial shifts in religious affiliations, the Town's population also experienced another significant growth period in the years following World War II. As a result, there was a renewed demand for housing. Available space, however, was extremely scarce. In 1956, the Town hired a planning consultant, and asked him to prepare a development plan. His report, Proposed Development for Hampstead, recommended the development of almost 109 acres of untouched land in the northern and western parts of town. The report also articulated the need to develop the 112.5-acre golf course. The plan was presented as a two-phased operation- concentrating first on the northern and western tips, and then on the golf course itself. The plan was approved, and by 1970 the second phase had already begun. The result was the complete development of all available land and the outline of the Town of Hampstead, as we know it.
The framework through which the Town of Hampstead has matured epitomizes the Garden City theory. The Town turned out to be one of the most desirable residential districts on the Island of Montreal. The overarching philosophy of the Town's founders ensured strict control of its general layout, while helping to promote creativity in a manner that was consistent with the grand design. The result is a prevailing air of security, beauty and tranquillity.
Kiryat Shemonah - Hampstead's twin town since September 1978
Kiryat Shemonah has a relatively short history. It grew out of a sizeable Maabara, from the Hebrew "Avor", transit. Biblically, Maabara meant a place where one could cross a river, either by foot or on makeshift bridges. Modern Israel added to the word a new meaning. Jewish immigrants, who flocked soon after independence to their new found land, leaving all their earthly belongings in their old countries, Europe, Yemen, North Africa, were located in transit camps. These were named Maabarot.
The tents soon gave way to permanent housing projects. The Maabara became a town, at the tip of the Galilee finger. Its inhabitants had, throughout the years of its existence, to cope with integration into the economy of the area, generated, in the main, by the surrounding kibbutzim, integration into the Israeli school system, adaptation to the social structure of the state, and to its values, and also to the realities imposed by the proximity to the Lebanese border. Kiryat Shemonah was the target of terrorist attacks and shelling. It became a symbol of the attachment of the new immigrants to their town, of their courage and their tenacity.
Location: Northern Hula Valley, just west of the Golan Heights. 208 km / 130 miles from Jerusalem; 188 km / 117 miles from Tel Aviv.
Interesting fact: Built on the site of the abandoned Arab village of Helsa, Kiryat Shemonah was originally called Kiryat Yosef but changed to Kiryat Shemona in memory of Joseph Trumpeldor and his seven comrades who fell defending nearby Tel Hai in 1920 (shemonah means "eight" in Hebrew).