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Montreal to rename downtown street after ex-Liberal premier Robert Bourassa

Andree Simard, wife of former Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, his son Francois and daughter Michelle gather around Montreal mayor Denis Coderre during a ceremony renaming Montreal's University Street to Robert-Bourassa Boulevard Wednesday, August 27, 2014 in Montreal.

Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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 says University Street will be renamed after the Montreal native, from Sherbrooke Street south to Notre-Dame.

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The renamed street will intersect Boulevard Rene-Levesque, named after the late Parti Quebecois premier.

Levesque defeated Bourassa in 1976 to lead the province's first PQ government.

Coderre told a ceremony at city hall the two men were political foes but good friends.

Bourassa served as premier from 1970 to 1976 and again from 1985 to 1994. He died in 1996 at 63 years old.

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.

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