The Jean Talon Market is an inescapable institution in the culinary life of Montreal, and Little Italy still attracts epicureans, tourists and locals, two generations after the wave of Italian immigration that followed the second world war.
Officially, Little Italy is part of the Rosement-la-Petite-Patrie borough, but part of the core of this colourful and warm neighbourhood spills over into the neighbouring district of Villeray.
Calmer (and cheaper) than the Plateau, Rosemont attracts new arrivals in search of simplicity, urban gardens and green lanes, who desire a high quality of life without renouncing small pleasures like a good restaurant, easy access to downtown via bike or metro, or an authentic cafe.
Our 5 favourites in Little Italy, Rosemont, and Villeray:
- The creativity of the inhabitants: blue sidewalks on Castelnau, street art, art house cinema on Beaubien.
- The cafes: there’s one on every street corner just about!
- The diversity of the real estate: there’s something for every taste and budget.
- The mix of styles: the hipster on a longboard in the bike lane being scolded by a granny crossing with her cart.
- The family-friendly, relaxed side, the pleasant lifestyle – dare I say the dolce vita?
My day in Little Italy: writing in the cafe of the Jean Talon Market, picnic in Jarry Park, date night the cinema
- Density of 8500 inhabitants/km2: the neighbourhood is lively, warm, and family-friendly.
- Bike lanes and public transport to access downtown in 30-40 minutes.
- The heart of the district is of course the Jean Talon Market with all of its delectable fresh produce, but there are numerous small shops sprinkled throughout Rosemont and Villeray: on Beaubien near Molson park, near the Metro Castelnau, and don’t forget the open air mall of the Plaza St. Hubert.
- Plethora of cafes! Little gems renovated with barn wood, authentic repairs by Italian immigrants who come to drink an espresso in the morning, with the option of fair trade, organic, and gluten free: there are almost as many cafes as inhabitants!
My home in Little Italy: brand new condo or duplex converted into a cottage, invest in a neighbourhood that’s growing (fast)!
- 72% renters: expect to pay $1200-1600 for two bedrooms, $1800 or more for three bedrooms with a yard. Prices are lower the further you get from Jean Talon Market.
- 90% of buildings have less than 5 floors. The trend: buy a duplex that needs work and turn it into a beautiful single family home with a yard.
- 60% of buildings were constructed before 1960. There are more and more renovated apartments and new condos, but hardwood floors, old moldings, and original bathrooms and kitchens remain the norm.
- Little parking, but it’s easy to live without a car in Rosemont and Villeray, especially if you stay close to one of the metro stations.
My neighbours in Little Italy: immigrants, urban families, freelancers, retirees from Italy
- Rosemont and Villeray are popular neighbourhoods: 37% of the population has a university education, but 18% doesn’t have any degree. 63% of inhabitants earn more than $50,000 per year.
- 23% of the population are immigrants, mostly Europeans. 83% of inhabitants are francophones.
- 44% of families are couples without children: young couples in Little Italy, older couples whose kids have left the nest elsewhere in the borough.
My children in Little Italy: multiculturalism, parks, and francophone schools, the goodlife!
- The public francophone schools provide a strong social mix.
- The anglophone school options are limited.
- Numerous daycares for satisfy new families in Rosemont and Villeray.
- Jarry, Molson, and Père Marquette Parks, playgrounds, children’s pools, and sports facilities for all ages.
N.B.: The statistics are for the Rosemont-la-Petite-Patrie borough.