Discovering three Montréal neighbourhoods
Milton Park, Shaughnessy Village and Sainte-Marie
On April 30, 2020, I decided I had to move. Moving gave me the chance to discover Sainte-Marie, a new neighbourhood to me that I knew very little about, nestled between the Village and Hochelaga. It also gave me the opportunity to revisit some of the places I’d lived before.
My first experience living in Milton Park
When I first arrived in Canada to study at UQAM, I rented a room in a private university residence on Park Avenue at the corner of Sherbrooke Street West, in the Milton Park neighbourhood (otherwise known as the McGill Ghetto)
An apartment located close to the lively city centre
The vast majority of my neighbours were UQAM students, too. I loved the location, a stone’s throw from Place des Arts downtown. And even in winter, in the harshest conditions, I could still walk to school every day. I didn’t have to use the Metro since I was so close to UQAM but also walking distance to St. Catherine Street, St. Denis Street and St. Laurent Boulevard, all bustling with bars and restaurants. It was a great place to live but I found the area was missing that neighbourhood feel you can find in the Plateau or Mile End
A central location to explore the city
When I first came to Montreal, it was just for one year, and my number one priority was to discover the city’s culture. But now that I’ve been here for a while, I’m looking for a place to really live rather than somewhere you just pass through. And even though living in a private university residence is usually expensive, downtown rents are even more so, especially for a student.
Second time around, a brand new neighbourhood: Shaughnessy Village
When I returned to Montréal last January, I lived on Maisonneuve Street West, between Guy-Concordia Metro and Atwater Metro on the green line. I had to find my apartment online before arriving, which wasn’t an easy task. Location was my number one criteria and I wanted to live close to a Metro that would take me directly to UQAM.
A dynamic district with lots to discover
Shaughnessy Village is ideally located downtown. I loved exploring the diverse eateries, from Korean restaurants to Japanese Izakayas and endless ramen spots. I was excited to experience a culinary change of scene and to discover so much amazing Asian food. I really liked the neighbourhood but when my lease ended, I didn’t look for an apartment in the area. Even though it’s lively and close to St. Catherine Street, I found it a little impersonal. But if you’re looking for somewhere close to downtown that’s fairly quiet but still close to the action of St. Catherine and close to public transit, this is the neighbourhood for you.
A change of scene
Today, I live in Sainte-Marie, surrounded by parks, just a short bike ride from the Old Port and not far from the green Metro line. I really like this neighbourhood with its suburban look and family feel, with joggers and bikers filling the streets. My apartment in Shaughnessy Village was pretty dark but here, even though I live on the ground floor, my apartment is bright as there aren’t any high rises or tall buildings around, which is a real plus.
Discovering the Sainte-Marie district
I still have a lot to discover here, like the Polish bakery around the corner that I can’t wait to try. But I’m slowly but surely finding my bearings in my new neighbourhood. I live close to parks and if I’m feeling motivated, I can even walk to Parc Lafontaine. I was a bit skeptical about moving to a quieter neighbourhood at first, since I’d always lived close to downtown. And to be honest, I have to take public transit a lot more than I did before, especially in winter, so I don’t go out as much as I used to. But still, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
My first impressions
Living here feels like a slower, less stressful way of life, probably because I don’t live on a main street that’s always packed with cars. I enjoy coming home at night and disconnecting from the city life and all its noise, while still living close to restaurants and shops. Even though the pandemic has changed the way we live and get around the city, I still like to get out and enjoy Montreal. This neighbourhood allows me to do that, while still being close to the city’s main attractions.
Planning to move?
It may be cliché for someone from France, but I’m considering moving from Sainte-Marie to the Plateau right now, which is still close to UQAM (where I’m a student) and to the CHUM (where my partner works).
We recently discovered the Petite-Patrie neighbourhood and St-Hubert Street with its small, independent shops. We’re not in a hurry and want to find a place we love that’s well located and reasonably priced (that hidden gem!). But the Petite-Patrie neighbourhood is definitely on the list since it’s close to Mile End, the Plateau and Little Italy—three areas we still have to discover.
For now, we’re having fun exploring in search of the perfect neighbourhood and discovering all that Montréal has to offer.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Montréal International.