Well, I never thought that I would write a blog but an idea came about to me recently as I kept on telling my wife I wanted to find the “heart” of our new neighbourhood. The thing is that I have no idea what neighbourhood I live in. How can that be? I don’t know. We live in Montreal and for the past 9 years, we lived in NDG and there was lots of “Heart”. By “Heart”, I mean that “thing” that makes a neighbourhood have soul: its stores, its bars, its parks and its community. Many neighbourhoods in Montreal have Heart and are clearly defined. They are The Plateau, St-Henri, Verdun, Hochelaga-Maisoneuve, Westmount, etc. Rich or poor, these areas have Heart. Like many cities, the areas in between neighbourhoods often seem to be the “lost zones”, at least that is my guess. They are often divided by major highways, roads or more commonly railway tracks. I am on “this” side of the tracks but yet I have no idea if that’s a good thing or not. I live in the part of town the city calls “Ville-Marie”, locals call this area “Centre-Sud” (which is more of a general area rather than a neighborhood), we’re on the other side of the tracks of “Hochelaga Maisoneuve” (a neighbourhood that has a bad reputation but ultimately one that clearly has Heart) and what’s confusing is that when there was a fire on my street, CTV News said it happened in the “Hochelega-Maisonneuve” district. We have other names for our federal and provincial ridings, when online I found the mention of “Sainte-Marie” and on the map I found “St-Eusèbe” listed right around where we live. Thing is, when I googled St-Eusèbe, I found nothing… When I searched Montreal neighbourhoods online I found all of the above area names with various interpretations. There are a few evidences I have found to a neighbourhood called St-Eusèbe and it all started, for me at least, when I saw “le Bain Mathieu” (a.k.a. The Matthew Pool) which was the old area pool in the south-east part of what I would deem our neighbourhood and on its plaque it was written “quartier St-Eusèbe”. I also found an organization called Carrefour de St-Eusèbe and probably what was the heart of the area once upon a time, a L’Eglise (Church) St-Eusèbe on Fullum St. and both of these are on the opposite side of my neighbourhood (I say opposite because two major streets, Iberville and Frontenac, divides this area in half). So I think there is neighbourhood here and somewhere behind the various corner stores (we call them “dépanneurs” and there are at least 6 within a two-block radius of my house) exists a story and one that can hopefully be told. And so begins my quest to find “Le Coueur de St-Eusèbe” or « Le Coeur de « Sainte-Marie » or « Le Coeur de ??? » (The Heart Of…). I don’t really know what I am looking for but hopefully I will find something.
p.s. I will do my best to translate in French from time to time (since the neighbourhood is French after all) but you will have to excuse me since I am a “Quebec-born-Franco-Ontarian-became-anglophone-and-moved-back-to-Montreal-which-is-why-I-have-a-French-name-Quebecer”.
p.p.s. Anybody live in this neighbourhood, please feel free to unravel some of the mystery.