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Burrowing In the Montreal Boroughs

Posted by Kim / August 2, 2007

20070802_burrowingin1.jpgPhoto from MP flickr group courtesy of livinghighoffthehog

I’ve been noticing a lot of talk on Montreal’s boroughs and what it means to live in one or the other. All of this got me thinking about the borough I call home, and how I feel about it.

I’ve lived in three Montreal areas and there’s no doubt to which I’ve preferred. I spent a few years in Verdun, and while it was mostly peaceful and quiet living, it was dull. It was nice living close to so much green space and the water, but feeding ducks simply cannot be an everyday event. Then I had a stint in the Mile End, the area I have adored most of all. I felt a real sense of community there: neighbours coming over for a cup of coffee, the old man pacing up and down Park Avenue all day, the organic grocery stores. Now I’m in the Plateau, and it just doesn’t feel right. Long gone are the days when I would feel comfortable running to the store for eggs and milk in my pajamas at 8am; St-Denis just isn’t accepting of messy bedhead. The warm community is gone, and forget about a sense of belonging.

So I’m curious, MP readers: What Montreal areas have you lived in? Which has been your favourite? And which have had you left and never looked back?

Discussion

23 Comments

laura / August 2, 2007 at 11:27 am
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I live in the Plateau and, as a relative newcomer to the city, it's the only place I've ever lived in Montreal. I think Saint Denis feels very different from Mont Royal, which is miles different from Saint Laurent, which is in turn different from Papineau. So maybe it just depends what block you end up on. I feel like Parc Lafontaine is my backyard, always filled with neighbors, and the girl at the laundromat and the guy at the grocery store recognize me. It's a better neighborhood feeling here than anywhere else I've lived.
Jonathan / August 2, 2007 at 12:45 pm
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I've lived in Cote-des-Nieges for more than 4 years now and i must say the placeis great yet mostly unkown. Wich is great because appartment prices are still not to high. Anyone gone on Chemin Cote-des-neiges latelly Will agree by saying that the place is now greatly served by services, restaurants, cafés, boutiques and apparels stores. We even have a 2437 market open all sumemr long. Great views, alot of open spaces, nice little bars ( La grand gueule for beer entousistes, Le Tabasco for Dancing, drinking, Pool playing and hooking up some great looking college chicks, la maisonné and McCarrol's for food, beer and sports), streat vitality, great community spirits and Montreal's finest asian restaurants and Tonkinoise soups (Pho liens). To this you cannot forget Montréal's largest University wich contributes to the awesome, dynamic and young energy that emerges from the bourough year round ( I have to admit that fall is by far the hottest time to be around). Combine all this to great bus and metro service, to Carabin football saterday games, to the easy walks in mount royal cemetery and to great and greassy morning breafasts at Brulerie Saint-Denis And you have one of the hottest place to live in town... Montreal's Plan d'Urbanisme says so: This place is ZE next place to be for a laded back fashionnable urban life style. Plus, great place to learn from other communities !!! Be there, Live It as TSN says so......And please excuse my English fellows
jonathan / August 2, 2007 at 12:46 pm
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Oups sorry about the posting of the same message tree time
kim / August 2, 2007 at 01:10 pm
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I was hoping to hear from someone who lives in a less-talked-about area, like Cote-des-Neiges. Thanks, Jonathan! I should check that place out more often.

Laura, very good point you bring up. Not every street in an area will be the same...and the Plateau is probably the best proof of that. Gotta love the variation!
Fred / August 2, 2007 at 02:13 pm
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I just moved to Plateau from Côte-des-Neiges... and I think CDN was the best for the "vie de quartier". Everything is close by, rent's cheaper, it's a 24-hour party and convenience center, the food's great. I think the only things I like better about the Plateau are the bike paths and Parc Lafontaine.
I'm a CDN sucker no matter what. Ideal especially if you can get a flat at Lacombe & Côte-des-Neiges.
David Gross / August 2, 2007 at 03:54 pm
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I've lived in Montreal and around Montreal for quit some time now (ie My Entire Life)

Hampstead, Dollard, WestMount, le Plateau

All these places are super nice and very quiet (except the plateau)... yet there only a couple of minutes away from downtown ... and you'd probably describe them as suburban. Young families mostly live in these areas

also i wouldn't really consider Verdun or Mile End living in the Heart of Montreal ... the plateau is Montreal.
David / August 2, 2007 at 03:54 pm
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I've lived in Montreal and around Montreal for quit some time now (ie My Entire Life)

Hampstead, Dollard, WestMount, le Plateau

All these places are super nice and very quiet (except the plateau)... yet there only a couple of minutes away from downtown ... and you'd probably describe them as suburban. Young families mostly live in these areas

also i wouldn't really consider Verdun or Mile End living in the Heart of Montreal ... the plateau is Montreal.
Rob / August 2, 2007 at 03:58 pm
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I've lived for five years in Pointe St Charles, and I think it's a wonderful neighbourhood. I can easily bike to downtown in fifteen minutes, we're two blocks from the Lachine Canal, a short walk to the Atwater Market and five minutes from the St Lawrence bike path. The neighbourhood is quiet with a mix of young and old, anglo and franco, rich and poor, etc. It feels like a small town in the middle of the big city. There are beautiful old buildings which are still reasonably priced, and the neighbourhood has really cleaned up since I moved there. The nighbourhood is changing rapidly as it cleans itself up, but it still retains a sense of community and diversity. I think it's a real unknown gem.
Rob / August 2, 2007 at 04:44 pm
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David,

I disagree strongly with the statement "the plateau is montreal", and am surprised that a native montrealer would make it. The Plateau is a great neighbourhood, but there is a whole lot more going on in Montreal outside of that insular world.
Sébastien / August 2, 2007 at 05:42 pm
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I used to live in Cote-Des-Neiges and now live in Notre-Dame-De-Grace. I much prefer CDN over NDG anyday. CDN is like a little hidden community and has so much available, and I just don't see what the big deal about NDG ever was. It has nice scenery but is nowhere close to CDN in terms of things to do.
FX / August 3, 2007 at 01:13 pm
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Hey Kim,

C'est drôle que tu abordes le sujet car je me suis tapé une balade en vélo mercredi dernier et je pensais justement à tout cela. Je me disais que c'était trop triste que la plupart des étudiants qui viennent de l'extérieur de la ville se retrouvent presque systématiquement sur le Plateau et dans les environs. Il y a tellement de beaux quartiers et, surtout, plein de gens et d'histoires que les paresseux qui s'agglutinent dans les zones habituelles n'auront jamais la chance de connaître. Je suis parti de chez moi (Petite-Patrie) puis j'ai roulé sur Van Horne jusque l'autre côté du boulevard Décarie. J'ai traversé Outremont puis ensuite Côte-Des-Neiges (je suis d'ailleurs très heureux de lire sur cette page que plusieurs connaissent et apprécient ce superbe quartier). Une fois passé à l'ouest de Décarie, j'ai eu droit à quelques blocs de familles entassées dans des appartements d'allure louche avant que soudainement, le décor change complètement une fois arrivés dans Hampstead, qui ressemble presque à Grosse Pointe, en banlieue de Détroit (grosse cr***es de cabanes). Puis j'ai bifurqué au sud pour traverser Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, quartier formidable s'il en est un (vieilles maisons de briques, rues bordées d'arbres magnifiques, section très animés sur Sherbrooke, complexe Benny Farm en pleine renaissance, etc.). Petite visite au campus Loyola de l'Université Concordia, détour par Montréal-Ouest, puis retour le long de la voie ferrée et de la petite enclave italienne dans Upper Lachine (si vous êtes dans le coin, arrêtez au Restaurant Momesso, 5562 Upper Lachine, voir les photos de Sergio). On finit le tout à Saint-Henri, sous l'autoroute Ville-Marie, pour voir les plus récents graffitis couvrant les pilliers de ce véritable temple urbain des disciples de Krylon. Nice little ride.

La morale de l'histoire, c'est qu'il faut savoir sortir de sa routine et du territoire qui nous est familier. Montréal recèle de tellement de richesses, il est vraiment bête de ne pas en profiter. Pour ma part, je suis né à Villeray, j'ai grandi d'abord à Ahuntsic puis principalement dans l'Est de la ville avant d'aller vivre à Parc-Extension, Saint-Henri puis dans la Petite-Patrie. Je recommande chaleureusement tous ces endroits. Évidemment, si vous préférez l'uniformité d'un beau voisinage composé principalement de jeunes gens dynamiques de 20-35 ans qui pensent vivre dans un environnement "diversifié" parce qu'il y a un Sushi Shop au coin de leur rue, vous pouvez toujours rester sur le Plateau... ;-)
Chris / August 3, 2007 at 07:36 pm
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I've been in Montreal for almost a year and due to some bad luck throughout 2006, I've managed to live in 5 different neighbourhoods in 4 different boroughs (I was hoping my latest apartment would be in a different borough, I was joking about trying to live in every single borough of the city).

My first neighbourhood was in the old section (downtown of sorts) of Ville Saint-Laurent on Decarie. This part of VSL is quite wonderful. Beautiful old houses, everything you could need on Decarie or just off it between Du College and Cote-Vertu, and two CEGEPS to keep things hopping. I really miss the place but the fun of having to sit on the Metro for 25 minutes a day (each way) to go to school wore off fast. This section of Decarie is being fixed up which I think is a shame, I loved how weird and mildly gritty it was before.

After that, I moved to Verdun. Verdun is lively and just as weird as VSL (but in a very different way). I would always hear a fight somewhere on ave de Verdun on my way to the Metro and there are lots of places to explore and neat shops and restaurants scattered around.

After that, I had a stint in St-Henri. I'm sorry, but St-Henri doesn't live up to the hype to me. Nothing at all happens at night, it's not as pretty as other parts of the city, transit isn't the greatest and the only grocery store has moved to an area even more inconvenient to people living on the west side and its prices clearly show that the new store was built for the yuppies in the new condos. It was an interesting place and many interesting people live there. Its old industrial history is lots of fun to explore too. I don't hate St-Henri, I just don't think it's as great as everyone makes it out to be.

After that, I lived Downtown on de Maisonneuve. Junkies lived in our entry way and out landlord was always coming up with stupid schemes to get us to move out so he could convert the building into condos. It was close to school though but downtown lacks a sense of community and is too expensive for my liking.

Now I live in Griffintown. it's great because it's pretty central to everything (Downtown, Plateau, Old Montreal, Lachine Canal) but there is NOTHING going on here. It's more common to see horses on the street than people and the only commercial activity is a couple deps and some trucking companies. it's quirky and interesting though.
www.midnightpoutine.ca / June 20, 2011 at 09:44 pm
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Burrowing_in_the_montreal_boroughs.. Not so bad :)
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