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Opinion: Why The Plateau Is The Worst Borough In Montreal

My unpopular opinion.
Montreal townhouses in the Plateau Mont-Royal

The Plateau, a borough instantly recognizable for its quirky architecture and abundance of parks, gets quite a reputation both in and outside of Montreal for being a cool, artsy, and exciting place to live.

And, as someone who has lived in a few different boroughs in her life and currently lives somewhere on the eastern edge of the Plateau, I can agree that the Plateau is indeed cool and exciting.

However, it's also actually the worst. And I'm going to explain why. From high rents to weird restaurants to terrible transit, there's a lot wrong with this overhyped and gentrified borough.

Rent Is Too D*mn High

The Plateau is a hella expensive neighbourhood. To enjoy the abundance of street art, cafés, parks and activities that the borough has to offer (because, I'll admit, there are a lot of fun things to do in the Plateau), you have to pay a premium.

A 2 bedroom will easily cost at least $1,200 a month in the Plateau, and that is for a basic apartment with crumbling walls, no AC, and a mouse problem. Don't even get me started on the condos, for which yuppies will shell out more than $4,000 a month!

Weird Food Fads You Can't Get Away From

If there's a new food trend out there, Plateau residents will be the first to know about. Time-honoured poutine joints will close to make room for juice bars, poké bowl restaurants, maté beverage options and whatever else is deemed "trendy" at the time.

Terrible Transit

I do grumble about the transit in Montreal a LOT, but on the whole I love the STM and how easy it is to get around the city. That is, unless you're trying to get out of the Plateau.

Sure, getting from Jeanne-Mance to LaFontaine is a breeze, but have you tried getting to Verdun from the Plateau? Or, God forbid, to the Mile Ex?

Obviously, compared to the West Island or RDP, we have nothing to complain about. However, for such a central neighbourhood, it's under-served by the STM: it only has a couple of metro stations located pretty far apart, and buses that either run infrequently or not in the right direction.

Overrated Restaurants And Bars

Many people go to the Plateau for the cafés, the restaurants and the nightlife. And, on one hand, I get it. I will love Else's until the day I die, and I appreciate cafés like Code & Café.

However, many of these places are SERIOUSLY overrated and, therefore, overpriced. I don't want to buy an $8 craft beer or an "artisan" sandwich for $10. I just want to eat and drink at a regular price!

No, I Don't Want To Try Yoga

This is just a quibble, but why are there so many yoga studios in the Plateau?? It feels like a personal affront to everyone who isn't a huge fan of yoga.

On a side note, try finding affordable "fitness" places in the Plateau. State-of-the-art spinning studios, fancy gyms and other exercise trends abound, but there are few affordable gyms.

The Lack of Basic Stores

Yes, there are 3 health food stores near my place, at least 7 aforementioned yoga studios and a café on every corner, but what about a hardware store? Or clinics? Pharmacies?

It can be hard to find some more "basic" stuff in the Plateau that you might find in outer boroughs. Biking 20 minutes just to buy an umbrella or lighbulbs gets real annoying real fast.

Its Intangible Boundaries

The actual boundaries of the neighbourhood are intangible... inscrutable... unknowable... I've seen apartments advertised as being in the Plateau when they're actually in Rosemont, or the Village, or Milton-Park (looking at you, "McGill Ghetto" landlords who advertise their crappy apartments as being a part of the "beautiful and artsy Plateau").

No other neighbourhood gets such false advertisement on Kijiji, I'm just saying. It makes the city a little more complicated to navigate: when my friend says they live "in the Plateau," it clarifies exactly nothing about where their apartment actually is.

Yuppies: please don't take this as a cue to move and gentrify another neighbourhood somewhere else. NDG and Parc-Ex have quite enough of you already.

For more on Montreal and its boroughs, read our writers' opinions on why NDG or Côte des Neiges are the best boroughs in the city.

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