7 Things About The Plateau I Quickly Realized After Moving Here

It's all about parks, totes and bikes, baby!

Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Mike Chaar lounging in a park. Right: Colourful Montreal row houses.

Mike Chaar lounging in a park. Right: Colourful Montreal row houses.

Mike Chaar | MTLBlog, Julien Jean | Dreamstime

This Essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

As someone who has lived in Montreal for quite some time, I've come to appreciate the differences from one borough to the next, and I believe that variety is what makes the 514 one of the best metropolitan areas in all of Canada.

Whether it's the fashion, the food or the people, no two Montreal neighbourhoods give off the same vibe. That's honestly what makes the city so amazing.

After moving to the Plateau-Mont-Royal area, I managed to pick up on the Plateau energy quite quickly, and it's safe to say that it's different from living out in the 'burbs.

From so many great cafés and lots of bikes, to the mandatory tote bag, here are a few things I discovered that define this charming Montreal borough.

Bicycles Everywhere

As kids, we were taught to look both ways before crossing the street in case of any cars, right? Well, in the Plateau, you gotta do that more for bikes than you do cars. And I mean it — so do the cyclists!

Not to mention the number of bikes locked up or the countless Bixi stations within the borough. I tried counting Bixi stations in the Plateau-Mont-Royal and kept losing track when I'd start to hit the 80s mark. So, yeah. Bikes. They’re everywhere over here.

A Tote Bag Is A Must

As soon as I received the keys to my Plateau apartment, the strong urge to own a tote bag suddenly overcame me. I managed to do just fine without one for the first few weeks, but I eventually caved and got this cute one with a Turkish coffee cup on it from Café Chez Teta, as it reminds me of life in Lebanon.

There’s just something about requiring a tote bag to be one with the Plateaueurs that feels right. And it really does. Whether I'm packing groceries in it, lugging my laptop to the nearest cafe, or carrying daily essentials, the tote bag is a must-have for literally anything and everything.

Am I In...Paris?

As someone who has lived in Montreal for so long, the French accent I’ve been most exposed to is Montreal's version of Québecois.

While I’m no stranger to the more European-style French accents, I didn’t expect to hear so much of it everywhere I went.

Sitting on a terrasse on ave. Mont-Royal? France French accent. Enjoying a few drinks with some pals in the park? France French accent. Grabbing something from the dep? The person waiting in line ahead of you on the phone is chatting away in a you guessed it, France French accent.

Now, I love me a France French accent, so I’m not complaining one single bit.

Park Life Is Really Real

Montreal is home to so many great parks, and it’s no secret that we love to take advantage of ‘em, especially during the summertime. So when I tell you how packed Parc La Fontaine or Parc Laurier gets at any given moment (particularly when it’s hot and sunny out) — believe it.

Now, much like the tote bag situation, I’ve also caved and bought a cute park bag that always has a blanket, pillow and a reusable bottle ready to go for my La Fontaine fun. Sitting in a park relaxing all cool before I lived in the Plateau? Never. Sitting in a park for the day post-Plateau move in the Plateau? Can't get enough of it.

Street Libraries

A wooden street library shaped like a house.

A wooden street library shaped like a house.

Mike Chaar | MTLBlog

I love reading, so when I started noticing these street libraries on every corner, I was delighted to discover such a sweet concept.

I was even more chuffed when I saw how often the books inside are swapped out for others. While I've been tempted to grab one and swap it out with another — I haven't gotten around to it just yet, but I'll definitely be getting my reading game on when it comes to the adorable book boxes that I have completely fallen in love with.

Ruelles, Ruelles & More Ruelles

Not even going to lie to you, I couldn't tell you what a "ruelle" was before moving to the Plateau.

Turns out the French word for "alley" is an essential vocabulary addition here (which I quickly — and very astutely — picked up on when I noticed a "Ruelle" sign in an alleyway.)

What I love most are the "Ruelles Vertes" — alleys enhanced by flower beds, benches, artwork and other things added by locals. The concept of a community coming together to create an eco-friendly space to share is incredible and one of the many things that I continue to revel in when it comes to the Plateau-Mont-Royal.

The Food Scene Is Unreal

Moving to the Plateau has opened my eyes to the countless landmark eateries that all so happen to be nestled in the wondrous neighbourhood of the Plateau-Mont-Royal.

Fairmont Bagels? L'Express? Wilensky's? Schwartz'? L'Avenue? Aux Vivres? Au Pied De Cochon? The list goes on and on of so many must-try Montreal spots that make our food scene so gosh darn delectable.

Mike Chaar
Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Mike Chaar is an Assistant Editor for MTL Blog focused on recalls in Canada and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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