Neighbourhoods

Patrick Perrin

 

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Habitat

hab·i·tat

n.

1. The area or environment where an organism or ecological community normally lives or occurs: a marine habitat.

2. The place where a person or thing is most likely to be found.

Living in Montréal can be a fun and rewarding experience, although complex at the same time. Even if we all identify ourselves as proud 514s, each and every neighborhood and area has a life of its own with both benefits and detriments.


Whether you're a new arrival, a veteran of or just a visitor to this city, the area you frequent the most is your habitat. Well known places like Mile End, the McGill Ghetto and the Plateau are even further divided into areas like Milton-Park, which is simply an intersection ringed by an underground shopping complex. Living in a specific district affords certain luxuries. Like the suburb feel, but want to be close to the action? Griffintown, just four blocks south of the downtown core, provides a quiet oasis to return to at the end of a long day in a short 15 minute walk. This lively area is home to some of the trendiest restaurants and cafés, that have installed themselves under residential properties, in the New Urbanist style of construction. Griffintown café, in between Guy and de Montagne on Notre-Dame West offers great food and live Jazz music five nights a week. The Burgundy Lion, on Notre-Dame West, closer to rue Atwater offers a clean, warm and welcoming British themed pub. For all your shopping needs, there's everything from Montréal's largest Salvation Army to small boutique clothing stores; Giant chain grocery stores to small independent delis and of course Atwater Market.

 

Wherever one lays their hat is home, but where one lays the most footprints is their habitat. If you're a student, then you've most likely already become habituated to your school's area, whether it's the McGill Ghetto, the Guy-Concordia district or the UdeM mountainside. Surrounding every school district are plenty of cheap eats, cheap clothes, cheap events and anything else you need on a budget. You simply have to know where to find them. The most obvious way to become acquainted with your chosen habitat is to explore it. Walk around, talk to people in shops, spend an afternoon out looking for nothing.

 

Montréal is a complicated city, that was never built according to a pattern like many of the developed places these days. The city streets are not a grid, there are hundreds of one-ways and sometimes it can be daunting, but rewarding to explore. Older areas like the Golden Square Mile, resting between McGill and Concordia on Sherbrooke St. was the area built up by the wealthy in the late 1800s and early 1900s before their exodus to Westmount. There are dozens of beautiful buildings, landmarks and sights to be seen, grab a latte and find out something new about your town.

 

Montréal is also a dynamic city, constantly changing and modifying itself. The spaces we create often take on a life of their own and become gathering places for whole types of people. This is how your familiar habitat came into being and it is surely what will be the cause of newer habitats to spring up. Every square foot of this city is steeped in history and culture and is constantly evolving. Enjoy the area you call home and all the wonders it has to offer.


As the largest city in the province of Quebec, Montreal is home to just over 1.9 million people with most people speaking French, though many also speak English or another language thanks to the ethnic communities found in the city. Over 50 distinct neighbourhoods can be found here and finding the right one to fit you can seem like an overwhelming task.

 

Before exploring these neighbourhoods, first you must know a little about Montreal. As you may or may not know, Montreal is part of an archipelago or series of islands sandwiched between the Saint-Lawrence River to the south and the Rivière-des-Prairies on the north.  This means that Montreal is an island surrounded by several smaller ones and while most people in the  city consider Montreal to be one island, some of those smaller islands also belong to the city.


Montreal's neighbourhoods are scattered throughout Montreal's 19 boroughs and the 14 independent cities found on the island. 



Montréalités on Neighborhoods

 


Image source: Flickr, Montreal Neighborhood, 2010.


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