The lay of the land
Bordered on the east and west by leafy residential streets Garnier Street and Casgrain Avenue, and between the 40 Highway at its northernmost edge and Jean-Talon Street and the Jean-Talon Market to the south, Villeray has long grown as one of Montréal’s most up and coming quartiers. Founded as a town in 1896, Villeray was initially surrounded by the quarries that provided much of the needed stone for Montréal’s landmark architecture. Annexed to Montréal in 1905, Villeray has maintained its resourceful working class origins of stone workers and entrepreneurs, developing a flavour unlike anywhere else in the city. Villeray is also home to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montréal, the meeting place for the city’s Japanese community (their annual outdoor market also transforms Rousselot Street into a genuine slice of Japan). And talk about easily accessible – no less than three métro stations stop within its borders.
Villeray’s charms lie in its people and independent businesses, from its picturesque parks to its curved apartment staircases. The neighbourhoods charming green spaces range from the smaller Park Turin and Park Prévost, to the arrondissement’s green heart Parc Villeray. A walk down Jarry, de Castelnau (pedestrianized in the summer months) and Villeray Streets reveal that original village gung-ho spirit and creativity in its independent boutiques and eateries. And there’s few finer spots for people watching and taking in a bustling Montréal neighbourhood than at one of Villeray’s trendy cafés.