Bounded by the Lachine to the north, Bonaventure highway to the east, the Saint-Lawrence to the South and the Décarie to the west, Pointe Saint-Charles is a former blue-collar neighbourhood that is seeing renewed interest from Montrealers, and understandably so. A hop, skip and a jump from downtown, this vibrant tight-knit community is like a small village within the Metropolis.
Pointe Saint-Charles is a veritable playground for Montrealers who love to keep things moving: it is home to kilometres of bike paths, the Allez Up climbing gym, nautical centre H2O Aventures, along with a number of parks, including Lachine Canal Historic Site which, in addition to its status as a Mecca for runners, hikers and cyclists, offers spectacular views of downtown Montreal.
Known as the cradle of Canada’s industrialization, Pointe Saint-Charles is still imbued with the spirit of 19th and 20th century Montreal, with its factories, long since converted into lofts, offices and innovation hubs. There is also a strong spirit of solidarity here: the tight-knit community has always banded together to retain the area’s multicultural and socially-diverse identity.
Formerly the resolutely Irish part of town, Pointe Saint-Charles has grown into a multicultural hub: according to the 2011 Canadian Census, 20 per cent of residents have an immigrant background. Since the refurbishing of the canal in 2002, the neighbourhood has seen tremendous change; many families were drawn to the area’s traditional homes, while young professionals took over the newer developments.
Three elementary schools and two secondary schools are within the neighbourhood limits, as well as four daycare centres and a number of in-home daycares. Health buffs will not be left wanting: the Pointe has numerous parks, including a dog park, as well as kilometres of bike paths and lanes, as well as a <a href="http://www.ymcaquebec.org/en/centre/news_events/ymca-pointe-saint-charles/7/1/" target="_blank">YMCA</a> and the <a href="http://www.arrondissement.com/montreal/arenasaintcharles" target="_blank">aréna Saint-Charles</a>, among other facilities. Also, the <a href="http://www.sov.qc.ca/votre-ciusss/nos-points-de-services/hopital/hopital-de-verdun/" target="_blank">Verdun Hospital</a> is a few minutes away.
The neighbourhood, which is clustered around Charlevoix Métro, is served by a number of bus lines: the 61, 57 and 107 will shuttle you Downtown in no time. Victoria and Champlain bridges also connect motorists to the South Shore and its malls, while quick access to Décarie and Bonaventure highways alleviate the commute for many residents.
The Pointe has long suffered the effects of the Lachine Canal’s rapid deindustrialization, with its attendant job losses and disaffection. Nowadays, however, a new generation of entrepreneurs are setting up shop on the neighbourhood’s main drags: clusters of restaurants, cafés and boutiques are blossoming slowly, but it is often necessary to dip into adjoining areas, such as Saint-Henri, Griffintown, and Verdun for a drink or a meal out.
While Pointe Saint-Charles is well served by public infrastructures, it remains an affordable neighbourhood which is enjoying a renewed interest from Montreal’s young families and professionals. Data from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey indicate that monthly home ownership fees hover around $1,188, while rentals are $603 on average.
Quality coffee over an honest-to-goodness brunch, or a slice of Café Bloom’s famous Camino chocolate pie, are just two of the reasons this warm, welcoming café attracts the neighbourhood’s artsy, bohemian crowd.more info
A true neighbourhood bakery, Ma Tante Quiche is just the place for croissants and coffee on the way towork, or a lazy weekend brunch. Enjoy pastries, a fine grocery section and wonderful quiches.more info
Enjoy a bucolic morning jog or weekend bike ride along the wooded canal trail, which offers breath-taking views of Downtown.more info
Leave your fear of heights in the locker room and awaken your Spidey sense along Allez-Up’s climbing routes. Indoors or outdoors, the former grain silos welcome a clientele of beginners and seasoned prosalike.more info
Dogs are hot around Pointe Saint-Charles, and not just at Paul Patates. Pawse Boutique carries a wide selection of accessories for pups – with a little something for their feline friends as well.more info
While it may technically be located in Saint-Henri, the legendary market is a stone’s throw from Pointe Saint-Charles via the pedestrian bridge over the Lachine Canal.more info