Elliot saw something interesting this morning as he was looking towards the Polish-Catholic Church on Hochelega. We walked a little closer and Elliot lead me to the church doors. It was too early for it to be open but we did notice a sign outside for this weekend’s Bazaar. I told Elliot that we don’t speak Polish but that the bazaar would be a great occasion for us to check out the church and to meet the Polish community… yes, this really happened.
Back down to reality for a moment. This Polish-Catholic church had a similar Bazaar back in the Fall and since it was in our neck of the woods, we were thrilled to just be able to walk a few minutes to check it out. What we found though was a nice surprise as the Polish community spoke equally in English. My wife is an anglophone from BC and I am technically Quebecois… but I lived in Ontario for way too many years , so it was nice to feel comfortable in our most common tongue for a moment within our new neighbourhood. We are now glad to see that the Bazaar is back again this weekend (Corner of Gascon & Hochelaga, April 4 & 5, 2009. Metro: Frontenac or Préfontaine / + 5 min. walk).
Since the last time we visited the Church at the Bazaar, I have been curious about the Polish community in our neighbourhood as there is definitely a lot binding it all together… a church, a sausage shop (on De Rouen), Wawel bakery (on Ontario) + a community centre nearby but I couldn’t seem to get much info about this community beyond that (and again, nothing in the library despite the fact that every other Montreal community seems to have one).
Although it may seem from my writings that I am the outgoing type, it still takes me a bit of a mental push to talk to my neighbours and I was lucky enough to get some info from the Sausage shop + a fellow dog-walker who happens to be Polish (side-note: Montrealers, if you want to meet your neighbours, get a dog!). I was not able to get any numbers on the community population but I was told that the community was more prominent during another era 40 to 50 years ago. I am told that most of the community have gone to the suburbs of Montreal or Ontario. Rosemont actually has the largest population but there must be something significant about this area as the Church is the most well attended of all 4 Montreal Polish churches. The amount of services this church holds every Sunday is probably evidence enough: 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 16:00
So if you’re looking for a little fun this weekend at a Bazaar, and wouldn’t mind even attending a service, to meet this community I welcome you all to the Sainte-Marie / Hochelaga? / Centre-Sud neighbourhood to get a taste of this area and what I have been talking about for the past few months. If I am feeling « outgoing » this weekend, I just might see if I can ask more questions to get more info on this community.
p.s. Can anyone help? I am looking for a specific map in Montreal to finish my last « Early Montreal History Series » blog. Anyone know of a great site that would have multiple Montreal historical maps over time to view and use?