Borders: Somewhat nebulous, but usually Atwater to Berri, Sherbrooke to Viger
The deal: It’s where you probably go to school, as well as the site of the city’s highest concentration of clothes shopping and other retail, on the street and underground. Primary feature: Ste-Catherine
Borders: A strangely shaped ’hood, but roughly Moreau to Gonthier, the St. Lawrence River to Sherbrooke
The deal: This area, aka HoMa or “the ’shlag,” used to be poor, crime-ridden and down-market. It still kind of is. But coolness — and, to some degree, gentrification — started creeping in over a decade ago, when rents in the Plateau skyrocketed and the artsy crowd started moving east, prompting a few savvy entrepreneurs to open businesses like Café Atomic.
Primary feature: A celebration of sketchiness
Borders: Also nebulous, and technically part of the Plateau, but usually Mont-Royal to the old CP Railway tracks in the north, Parc to Casgrain
The deal: The 19th-century term “Mile End,” lifted from an East London suburb, fell out of fashion for most of the 20th century and resurfaced with the art/music boom of the early 2000s. In 2021, is it still Little Brooklyn, or a gentrified ghost town? Probably somewhere in between.
Primary feature: Mile End Ensemble’s fight against real estate speculators
Borders: Pullman to Côte-St-Luc, Connaught to Grey
The deal: This West End ’hood — translation Our Lady of Grace, commonly known as NDG — is largely anglo and middle-class, with a significant Jamaican presence, working-class people and immigrants in the northwest and a high concentration of schools, including Concordia’s Loyola campus. A few blocks south of the Westmount-adjacent “Monkland Village,” Sherbrooke Street is NDG’s core, where you’ll find most of its restaurants, a smattering of bars and Girouard Park.
Primary feature: Tree-lined residential streets
Borders: Acadie to Parc, CP Railway tracks to Autoroute 40
The deal: Over the past two decades, Parc Ex has transformed from Greek Town to Little India. A couple of the city’s best Greek restaurants remain, but they’ve been overshadowed by a glut of good, cheap Indian and Pakistani fare, while the majority of neighbourhood shops serve the two communities. Hipsters have been moving in, too, despite rising rents due in part to the massive new Université de Montréal campus. (“Mile Ex,” by the way is simply a crosssection of Mile End, Parc Ex and a bit of Petite Patrie.)
Primary feature: Little India
Borders: Sherbrooke to Mont-Royal, Parc to the CP Railway tracks in the east
The deal: A hotbed of nightlife, restaurants, boutiques and quaint old French architecture, this is Montreal’s bestknown neighbourhood, especially considering that Mile End is technically part of it. Though gentrification has driven out a lot of the young artists, the Plateau remains an awesome area to visit.
Primary feature: The heart of the heart of the city, St-Laurent Blvd.
Borders: Hutchison to Lacordaire, Sherbrooke to Jean-Talon
The deal: Mostly inhabited by francophones, with pockets of Hispanic and Italian communities, this area has absorbed some of the overflow as hipsters got priced out of Mile End. This huge neighbourhood is home to Little Italy, the beloved Jean-Talon Market, St-Hubert Plaza (the cheap evening gown/wedding dress capital of the universe) and the lively strip of bars and restaurants on Beaubien.
Primary feature: Classic Montreal walk-up apartments for days
Borders: Autoroute 15 to Atwater, Lachine Canal to Autoroute 720
The deal: A working-class area that was once primarily French, this mostly residential West End ’hood got some Plateau and NDG spillover when rents there got too high, hence young artists, underground music venues and some cool restaurants, cafés, galleries and bars. The lovely Lachine Canal and Atwater Market, St-Henri still has its oldschool trashy charm.
Primary feature: It’s all happening on Notre-Dame Street
Borders: The St-Lawrence River to the Canal de l’Aqueduc, Fayolle to Mayor streets (plus Nun’s Island)
This Southwest ’hood next door to Saint-Henri was once “dry” (ie. no bars allowed). Verdun’s main drag has transformed so much since that designation was lifted just over a decade ago that it practically puts the Plateau’s thoroughfares to shame. There’s even a beach! A stroll by the canal and the residential streets densely packed with little old houses and duplexes will summon up the ghosts of old Verdun, though.
Primary feature: Restaurants, bars and boutiques on and around Wellington