Mile End is to Montreal what Queen Street West is to Toronto — dare we say — possibly even the more cultured older sister? One of the most renowned arts hubs in North America, the Mile End district is one of three boroughs of Plateau Mont Royal. But don’t let the hipster vibe intimidate you—you’ll fit in just fine. This neighbourhood is a melting pot of musicians, artistes, a community of Hasidic Jews and other wonderful people who exist in perfect harmony.
Mile End was first and foremost a transitional area. From the 1850s to the 1950s, the district was a point of arrival for several generations of immigrants—successive waves of Jewish, Italian, Greek and Portuguese families who worked in its clothing factories. Parts of Mile End were heavily industrialized in the first half of the century because of the proximity of transportation by rail. Much of Mile End served as the heart of Montreal’s garment district for many decades. At the time, the goal for many was to do well enough to leave the formerly impoverished neighbourhood for a more secure ‘burb of Montreal. Consequently, Mile End became a beautiful byproduct of the love, culture and traditions of its citizens—and the community flourished.
- The district is home to the city’s two most famous bagel bakeries, Fairmount Bagel and St. Viateur Bagel. (Lox, anyone?)
- Mile End was once named one of the most hipster neighbourhoods in the world by Huffington Post.
- William Shatner spent some time growing up in Mile End, in addition to Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
- Why Mile End? The name Mile End was inspired by the East London suburb of the same name.
- One of the most recognizable architectural symbols of Mile End is the Church of St. Michael the Archangel of 1915 and can be found on Saint-Viateur Street at the corner of Saint-Urbain.
There is a general supply deficit in Montreal’s hottest neighbourhoods right now, especially in the boroughs of Mile End, Rosemont and Plateau. With reports that Montreal’s housing market is overheating, many say that the city has fallen victim to its own success. October 2019 marked the 49th consecutive month in which the number of properties for sale declined, data from the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) shows. I mean, who wouldn’t be itching to live in one of Montreal’s trendiest hubs with residents including a mix of young families, students and older population.
According to QPAREB, the persistent scarcity is one of the main reasons they expect the market to remain strong into 2021. Single-family homes across Montreal boasted an eight-per-cent median price increase to $355,000 in October.
Things to do
The epicenter of Montréal’s trendsetting scene, Mile End is home to a unique and multicultural mix of bustling small businesses and pretty residential side streets featuring monochromatic houses, farmers’ markets and parkettes. For visitors, it can often be overwhelming to determine which hot spots to hit because there are simply too many to visit.
St-Viateur is one of the most “hipster” streets in Mile End. Think, vintage clothing stores, chic eateries, coffee shops, and other small businesses—your one-stop-shop.
Nestled in the ever-growing Mile End district, Café Olimpico is one of Montreal’s best-kept secrets. The Telegraph even put Olimpico on its list of the 50 Greatest Cafés on Earth in 2018! This Mile End gem serves up superior java and drool-worthy Italian pastries. Another local favourite is craft brewery Dieu du Ciel!, which has been a mainstay in the community since 1998. If you’re looking for an exceptional beer tasting experience, this is it. Dieu du Ciel! offers 18 beers, two to five of which change every single week. With its factory in Saint-Jérôme, the company brews 60 to 80 beers a year.
With an emphasis on community connection, Le Marché des Possibles is a community space in Mile End that’s run and maintained by locals. This outdoor space has become a mainstay for local shows, BBQs, markets and more!
Dying to discover the Mile End’s local musicians? Le Dépanneur Cafe swaps out radio tunes for live local acts, nearly all day long. Locals can sign up to play, making it an authentic sampling of Mile End’s finest.
One visit to Mile End will get those creative juices flowing and is sure to inspire the artiste in you. Visit Mile End and reignite that joie de vivre!