Cult MTL

Montreal neighbourh­oods

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DOWNTOWN

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

HOCHELAGA-MAISONNEUV­E

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

MILE END

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

NOTRE-DAME-DE-GRÂCE

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

PARC EX

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

THE PLATEAU

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.

ROSEMONT/PETITE-PATRIE

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

SAINT-HENRI

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

VERDUN

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

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