One of the pitfalls of living in a trendy area is that as the neighbourhood becomes more popular, the rent inevitably begins to increase. This has happened time and time again, even in a city like Montreal where the rent is relatively cheap (depending on your location and size! obviously). As areas like The Plateau, Mile-End, and NDG started to pick-up, these formerly reasonable neighbourhoods became hot spots for young professionals, students and more. Leading to a degree of gentrification which has sadly priced out a lot of potential inhabitants.
This brings us to St-Henri, which is among the city’s most intriguing up-and-coming neighbourhoods. While the rent will certainly be going up in years to come, for all the reasons listed below, St-Henri is becoming a very desirable area, and one which won’t break the bank – leading me to name it as the “new” Plateau. Hear me out.
Why is it such a good place to live in?
1. The Rent
The most obvious reason St-Henri is a great neighbourhood to move to is the relatively reasonable rent. For singles or those who’d rather live alone, it’s maybe not ideal as many of the apartments for rent are actually rented-out condos that are 4 ½’s or 5 ½’s, although there are still reasonable 3 ½’s to be found for around $7-800. If you’re willing to go for a studio, it’s way cheaper. The real bargains are for couples or roommates, with tons of beautiful new condos for rent with two bedrooms or more, and often with appliances included.
2. The People
St-Henri’s got a nice mixture of people living there, with a vibrant artistic community. While it has certainly fallen prey to a certain amount of gentrification, like most of the city’s neighbourhoods, it’s still full of pretty cool people, including tons of musicians, artists, students and young professionals.
3. The Architecture
Place St-Henri is home to some of the most beautiful old buildings in Montreal, giving this borough a real historical charm. One of the nicest buildings is Fire Station 23 - an old-school, art-deco-style fire station, which is also the home to the borough’s heritage office. If you want to check it out, it’s right by the Place St-Henri Metro station.
4. Easy Access To Downtown
With the Place St-Henri metro station, St-Henri is easily accessible to downtown Montreal. It’s not far at all from Lionel-Groulx (only one metro stop away) and students can easily bike to Dawson, Concordia, or McGill. At the same time it's not too close so when you come home you can get away from the hustle and bustle a bit and relax.
Photo cred - Michael Rosenstein
5. The Lachine Canal
Looking for a quiet way to spend the afternoon? Grab the dog and walk down to the Lachine Canal. It’s beautiful, and also has one of the most scenic bike paths in the city which can get you all the way to old Montreal. Granted, it's not quite Tam-Tams on the mountain, but for a little R and R on a Sunday afternoon, I'd argue The Lachine Canal is superior in every way.
6. McAuslan Brewery
Who doesn’t want to live near a brewery, am I right? What makes McAuslan special is that in the summer the St-Ambroise Terrasse opens up, making it the perfect place to grab a couple of pints with friends or enjoy one of their numerous free events. The Plateau has its share of sunny terraces, but again - the St-Ambroise terrace is famous for a reason. During the summer they even have cool bike-in film screenings, where you can catch cult classics like Point Break, The Phantom of the Paradise, and Dazed & Confused for free!
7. The Atwater Market
St-Henri is only minutes away (by foot) from the Atwater Market. A superb farmers market where you can pick up: choice cuts from the butcher, fresh produce, fish, wine and spirits and more. It's all a little pricey but you get what you paid for. Heck, even if you don’t want to buy anything, you can spend an afternoon people-watching as they come from all over to hit the Atwater Market. Of course, the Plateau is close to the Jean Talon market, but the Atwater Market is also close to the Lachine Canal, making it the ideal place to pick up picnic supplies.
8. The Hot Spots
The Plateau's nightlife is justifiably famous, but it's also become a little trendy, with high-end bars and restaurants being tough on the wallet. By contrast, St-Henri’s nightlife is more low-key, but that's part of its charm with cool spots like Bar De Courcelle, not to mention the fact that it’s also only a few minutes away from places like Burgundy Lion, La Drinkerie and more. What’s even more impressive is the selection of up-and-coming restaurants, like Sumac (middle-eastern cuisine), Rustique (bakery) and my personal favourite, Grumman'78 for to-die-for street food with a twist. You know their truck, now visit the restaurant!