For those of you who don’t know where Laval is, well, it’s the city north of the island of Montreal and it most certainly does not require a passport or even a full tank of gas to get there. Laval is actually just a short drive away from Montreal.
For all those growing up in Laval in the 2015 you will agree that with Centropolis, Carrefour Laval and the plethora of restaurants popping up everywhere you don’t ever seem to have to leave the 450 area code. Laval pretty much rocks - but when I called Laval my home, the options were not as abundant. Restaurants were few, bars and clubs limited and metro’s non-existent. We played sports that were understated, we partied at our local dives, we ate at the few eateries that Laval had and we made memories that only true Lavalers could appreciate.
Read on for 10 things that all those who grew up in Laval will understand.
1. La Recreatheque (aka the Reque)
Every birthday party before the age of 10 was held at La Recreatheque in Chomedey Laval. There was no Funtropolis or Sky Tag while we were growing up 20 years ago. There was Rollerblading and Laser Tag. The Laser Tag equipment was made from what looked like old hockey pads, and the roller skates seemed to be old and not very well fitted. I will always remember that feeling of fear and excitement that I would get leaving the parking lot and seeing the many shady characters hanging around because it's neighbouring McDonalds statistically had the most crime in Laval. RIP old friend.
This game was the shit when I was in elementary school. I had never heard of this game before primary school and haven't thought about it again since the sixth grade, but while growing up it was THE game to play. The kneepads that covered half your leg, the shorts that were too tight and the team songs sung to intimate the competition. Handball will always hold a special place in my heart
“Everywhere we go, everywhere we go, people want to know…”
3. Laval Catholic vs. Western
I don’t know how or when or even why the rivalry began, but there was always an imminent hatred between the two schools, and everyone was aware of it. Even though I can never actually recall seeing a genuine fight breakout between anyone at the two schools, there was always that possibility looming over our schoolyards.
Depending on what part of Laval you were from, the name differed. From Ste. Do to Chomedey it was called Babyfoot. From Duvernay to Vimont it was known as Biliardino. No matter what name you called it by, as long as you were from one of those four districts - you played it. And you played it well. You were always looking to make change for your 5-dollar bill in order to place that shiny dollar on the table and secure the coveted spot of playing winner. Foosball - Laval’s national sport.
5. Carrefour Laval
It’s not really that Carrefour was THE place to be; it was that it was pretty much the ONLY place to go as a teen in Laval. You went there after school for their soft pretzels or Mickey D’s soft ice cream. You went there on Fridays to see the who’s who of Laval, and you went there on weekends to do all your shopping since no one really ever went to Center Laval except to eat at Buffet Fu Lam.
6. Univers Laval
The waiters, the breaded chicken sandwiches, the Univers fries, after clubbing food, Thursday night salsa nights, Univers parties, the waiters (I know this is the second time I mention the waiters but for a lot of young girls growing up in Laval the staff was pretty much the main reason to put on your weekend best and make a Univers appearance) and lastly that feeling you got when they renovated and it didn’t quite feel like home anymore – Univers, you will always be like a second home to us, no matter how many times you change the decor.
7. Cosmo Laval
It was definitely worth the drive to Laval, worth the money for the food and worth it to see the dozens of quality menu items. And oh the potatoes – before Allo Mon Coco’s potatoes became all the rage, there was Cosmo potatoes. They were kind of mashed and fried and had tons of flavour. Legend has it that the chef from Cosmo Laval left after their kitchen burned down and went to work at Allo Mon Coco, hence their awesome potatoes. But of course, this may be nothing more then just a Laval myth.
8. Fuzzy Laval
What better place to party than at Fuzzy Laval: where tackiness reigned, where grey goose bottles cost less than at the SAQ, where dude's biceps were bigger than your waist, where cages were available for all that wanted to show off their drunken dance moves and for where you went if you couldn’t get to downtown Montreal. Fuzzy Laval, after 22 years of operation, you will be missed. RIP
When Moomba’s opened its doors we finally had somewhere to fete our birthdays besides the Recreatheque. Moomba’s was the club that brought all the Montrealers to Laval. I think that the main appeal for this club to Montreal residents was that the parking was abundant and free. Moomba Supper club was the perfect spot for an older crowd who could still kick it and rip it. This club gave us things to do almost every night of the week - Salsa night on Wednesdays, drinks on Thursdays, dinner and dancing on Saturdays. We finally had a place to kick up our heels and call our own. Thank you Moomba’s. Peace, Love & Moomba.
10. Tim Horton’s
This was pretty much the go to place when you needed an impromptu meeting with your friends. Laval was known for its Tim Horton’s parking lot parties. It would start out as a couple of people sitting around in their cars, then their peeps would show, and by the end of the night the lawn chairs showed up, then the fire pits, etc. Well perhaps I’m exaggerating slightly but we should have had lawn chairs and fire pits, as it would’ve been more convenient and comfortable then trying to yell at each other through our partially cracked open windows especially in the cold Laval temperatures.
Did I leave out your favourite “growing up in Laval” memory? Leave me a comment and let me know so that we can continue this trip down memory lane.