COM­MU­NITY SNAP­SHOT

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

Montreal Gazette - - New Homes + Condos - MEGAN MARTIN

The vi­brant and mul­ti­cul­tural bor­ough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN-NDG) has long been one of Mon­treal’s most sought-af­ter com­mu­ni­ties by ev­ery­one from stu­dents to young pro­fes­sion­als, fam­i­lies and se­niors. Cov­er­ing an area of 21.4 square kilo­me­tres and hous­ing 165,031 res­i­dents, it truly has some­thing to of­fer peo­ple at ev­ery stage of life.

There is a strong sense of com­mu­nity spirit and ca­ma­raderie among neigh­bours in N.D.G. that seems to tran­scend tra­di­tional di­vid­ing lines like lan­guage, in­come and eth­nic­ity, said Halah Al-Ubaidi, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Com­mu­nity Coun­cil.

“Peo­ple are proud of where they live, and that pride is vis­i­ble on ev­ery street,” she said. “The di­ver­sity of the neigh­bour­hood also helps bring peo­ple to­gether, and makes the com­mu­nity very wel­com­ing.

“Whether you’ve lived here all your life, or have just ar­rived, ev­ery­one feels at home.”

And whether you’re in­ter­ested in its warm com­mu­nity feel, con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion, im­pres­sive green spa­ces or lovely real es­tate, N.D.G. truly has a lot go­ing for it.

In terms of ac­ces­si­bil­ity, travel to and from N.D.G. is quite easy with two métro sta­tions and many bus routes that link di­rectly to the down­town core and other sur­round­ing ar­eas. The neigh­bour­hood also boasts many streets lined with ma­ture trees, and parks full of venues for sports and recre­ation.

“There are so many ac­tiv­i­ties for both young and old through­out the year,” said An­drew Ross, vice-pres­i­dent of the board of di­rec­tors of the N.D.G. Com­mu­nity Coun­cil. “You can en­joy base­ball, soc­cer, swim­ming and cy­cling in sum­mer, and even strap on the cross-coun­try skis in the win­ter and en­joy groomed paths. We also have com­mu­nity groups and ser­vices for in­ter­ests of all types, and new mem­bers are al­ways wel­come.”

In ad­di­tion to out­stand­ing sport­ing and recre­ational pro­grams, N.D.G. of­fers a mix of public and pri­vate schools in both lan­guages for chil­dren, and a slew of youth pro­grams and cen­tres.

One of the things that makes N.D.G. spe­cial is its wide ar­ray of spe­cial projects and ini­tia­tives be­ing run by com­mu­nity groups, lo­cal res­i­dents and busi­nesses.

“A favourite project is Bi­en­v­enue à NDG, which launched in 2012 and works to help new­com­ers from dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups in­te­grate into so­ci­ety and feel wel­comed by peo­ple that speak their lan­guage and un­der­stand their cul­ture,” Ha­lal Al-Ubaidi said. “It has been a great suc­cess.”

Other fan­tas­tic ini­tia­tives in­clude the Good Food Box, Boîte à Lunch by the NDG Youth Ta­ble, teach­ing youth and their par­ents about healthy eat­ing and food se­cu­rity, and nu­mer­ous com­mu­nity gar­dens and graf­fiti-pre­ven­tion projects that have been spear­headed by Ac­tion com­mu­niterre, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal schools.

“The fact that many peo­ple I work with or meet in N.D.G. have lived here for more than 40 years shows what a great neigh­bour­hood this is,” Al-Ubaidi said. “I rec­om­mended N.D.G. to my brother and his kids when they ar­rived to Mon­treal in 2013, and they are still living here to­day.”

In terms of hous­ing, N.D.G. of­fers a healthy mix of rental units and sin­gle-fam­ily homes. Condo de­vel­op­ments in­clude C3 on Cavendish Blvd,, with units start­ing at $149,900. Sim­i­larly, con­dos in the Le Beau­mont devel­op­ment on Côte-St-Luc Rd. range from $185,000 to $770,000. On the other hand, a ren­o­vated two-bed­room, two-bath­room sin­gle-fam­ily home on Bea­cons­field Ave. is cur­rently listed for $599,000.

But while growth in the com­mu­nity is flour­ish­ing, there have been some un­in­tended con­se­quences as well.

“The ar­rival of many im­por­tant com­mu­nity projects in N.D.G. — such as the McGill Uni­ver­sity Health Cen­tre — are at­tract­ing de­vel­op­ers to the area, con­tribut­ing to a jump in prop­erty val­ues and hous­ing costs,” Ross said. “In the St-Ray­mond dis­trict, for ex­am­ple, tra­di­tion­ally home to a strong Ital­ian com­mu­nity, we find that their chil­dren can no longer af­ford to stay in the neigh­bour­hood.”

This is a stark con­trast with the fab­ric of the com­mu­nity and what makes it so unique, he added.

“NDGers work to­gether, re­gard­less of how you want to cat­e­go­rize them,” Al-Ubaidi said. “They are ac­tive, in­volved, cre­ative and ready to mo­bi­lize around im­por­tant is­sues. It may be cliché to say, but N.D.G. is a good home for ev­ery­one — sin­gles, fam­i­lies, se­niors and youths.”

JOHN KEN­NEY, MON­TREAL GAZETTE FILES

A woman walks through one of N.D.G.’s parks dur­ing a heavy rain­fall last June.

PHO­TOS (2) COUR­TESY OF THE NOTRE-DAME-DE-GRÂCE COM­MU­NITY COUN­CIL

A 2013 sum­mer event in the St-Ray­mond area of N.D.G., with kids per­form­ing their ver­sion of a dragon dance.

ALLEN MCIN­NIS, MON­TREAL GAZETTE FILES

An out­door rink at N.D.G. Park is the site of this clas­sic 2013 Canadian win­ter scene.

One of the Bi­en­v­enue-à-NDG events, this one held at the Walk­ley Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, de­signed to help new­com­ers to the neigh­bour­hood feel wel­comed by peo­ple who speak their lan­guage and un­der­stand their cul­ture.

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