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Neighbourhood Watch: Pointe St Charles

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Across the Lachine Canal and a stone’s throw from Griffintown  lies one of Montreal’s most under-explored residential neighbourhoods, Pointe St Charles. Also referred to as “La Pointe,” it’s the second oldest neighbourhood in Montreal and has truly preserved that industrial-historical vibe that is so characteristic of the Southwest. A stroll down Wellington, Knox and Charlevoix street reveals an exciting blend of urban and suburban: families picnicking under the abstract sculptures and leafy foliage of Parc Marguerite-Bourgeoys, children playing football, rows of brightly painted townhouses, historical churches and gardens, giant silos…  and a general atmosphere that is lively and diverse, yet more laid back than its neighbouring burroughs.

La Pointe originated as a working class area, largely inhabited by Irish labourers involved in the Railway industry. During the sixties it went through a long period of decline, partly due to the economic slump caused in certain areas by the opening of the St Laurence Seaway and the closing of the Lachine canal. However, poverty prompted a series of social/community efforts and restoration projects that have helped turned the neighbourhood around in recent years.  Industrial buildings were turned into business incubators, condos, lofts, and housing units. The canal amongst other public spaces was reopened in 2002 as a recreational and touristic hotspot, attracting new residents and young professionals. Old institutions and buildings were restored into heritage attractions, such as the charming “Maison St Gabriel” which preserves the history and artifacts of the settlers of New France. Lastly, modern condos and buildings started to pop up, offering an attractive option to professionals working in the Downtown core.

As an area of primary residence, Pointe St Charles is dynamic, green (the parks are massive and almost every street is tree-lined), still very affordable compared to the options that surround it on all sides: the South West, Downtown and Nuns Island. As an investment, it’s interesting because of its up-and-coming nature. Land value is on the gradual rise and is expected to keep rising in the coming years, and the main streets are seeing more and more trendy establishments open their doors to the public.  We’re excited to see how this area develops in the near future, and whether it overtakes its adjacent boroughs in terms of real estate popularity.

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