Think Local, Try Local

By Echo Screen shot 2021-05-29 at 5.55.33 PM.pngMontréal is a city known for its cultural diversity, which can be seen from the diverse selection of restaurants and festivals as well as shopping and clubbing venues. Streets like St-Catherine, St-Denis, St-Hubert and Mont Royal are most famous to outsiders for these types of activities, events and places. Unfortunately, many often limit themselves to these hot spots and therefore miss opportunities to uncover hidden gems in Montréal.


A stranger to this city not too long ago, I was determined to discover the core culture in Montréal by finding artifacts that truly belonged to the Québécois culture. One of the gems I found was in an improbable area for the average tourist: the Centre-Sud district.


Historically, the Centre-Sud was an important industrial district during and after the Second World War. Its decline was a result of a mix bag of events such the Révolution Tranquille and Montréal's economic progress focused on the downtown area. As industry players began relocating to better manufacturing real estate, buildings were left abandoned and many became victims of fires. The voids left by these abandoned and empty lots in the community can still be felt. These changes prompted infrastructural and social imbalance. Today, it's an old neighborhood where time has left its mark on the old apartment buildings and the stores at street level. The smell originating from the J.T. McDonald's cigarette factory -one of the last industrial residents- can be overwhelming at times. Recent residential, entrepreneurial and urban developments are slowly rejuvenating this small community. Le Touski, a small work-cooperative café has been acting as a social pillar for this community since 2001.

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