Without a doubt, the Downtown neighbourhood is home to the fullest expression of the diversity of Montreal: from the architecture to the cultural offerings by way of the demographics, the Ville-Marie borough is a vibrant destination and a good choice for new arrivals who wish to dive head first into their new lives!
It’s the district for business, live concerts and shows, museums, excursions, restaurants, festivals, sprawling underground malls and luxurious boutiques, the university campuses of UQAM, McGill and Concordia, the Cité du Multimédia (IT sector), Chinatown, the gay Village, and Old Montreal: there’s no shortage of attractions!
Long neglected as a place to live, a victim of its infamous reputation as a neighbourhood with unsanitary or non-existent housing, the Downtown of Montreal has today undergone a veritable renewal, like in many other large North American cities. Construction of high-rise apartments with audacious profiles and luxurious facilities, transformation of the warehouses of the Old Port into warm lofts, spectacular renovation of traditional triplexes in the Centre-Sud to the east, Ville-Marie is in full-blown gentrification.
The inhabitants of Downtown are therefore a joyous mix of local and foreign students, dynamic young executives who refuse to waste their time commuting, wealthy couples for whom kids are not yet in the picture or have already left the nest, hip expats, successful, established artists, punks and homeless in need, and some young families, single parent, dual parent, hetero or homo – did anyone say diversity?
My day in Downtown: work, shop, eat in the underground city, go out in Place des Arts
- The advantage of living Downtown is the power to do absolutely everything on foot, including going to work, sometimes without even stepping outside into the winter air!
- On the inconvenient side is the noise from the traffic and construction, the tourists and the hordes of office workers who invade the streets during the day.
- We highlight the beautiful, small neighbourhood lifestyle of the Village and Centre-Sud, around Saint Catherine Street and Ontario Street (shops, cafes and restaurants, parks).
My home in Downtown is a “compact” condo, but that’s the price you pay to be at the centre of it all
- 76% renters. A fully furnished luxury condo rents for $2000 for 1 bedroom, a run-down 2 to 3 bedroom to split among students or to house a small family goes for $1200 per month: you can find all types of housing Downtown!
- The buildings are evenly split between those with less than 5 floors and skyscrapers. The ultramodern and the historic coexist, no problem.
- Options with parking are rare and very expensive! And forget about having a yard…
My neighbours Downtown: students, wealthy couples without children, expats passing through, and young wolfs of finance
- Half of the population has a university education.
- 66% of inhabitants earn less than $50,000 per year.
- Socio-economic contrast between students and working class families from Centre-Sud, and fortunate couples from the Old Port.
- 43% immigrants, notably of Chinese origin, and 54% francophones.
- Households of 1 to 2 people make up 86% of the population.
- There is a homeless population, but very little associated crime.
My children Downtown: small accommodations, educational desert, noise, lack of green spaces… Not ideal for families!
- It’s in the east of the borough that you can find public schools, and therefore families.
- For more demanding parents, there are good private school options.