Life, the city | Dreaming better for the Village

Our journalist travels around Greater Montreal to talk about people, events or places that make the heart of their neighborhood beat

La graine brûlée coffee is an oasis of color and life. Inside, we forget that we are in the dullest section of rue Sainte-Catherine Est between the Berri-UQAM and Beaudry metro stations. There is a “Nintendo cocoon” for families and UQAM students work there until 10 p.m. each evening.

It’s a business that gives hope for the future of the Village, but our optimism takes a hit when we go outside.

Next to it, the old Yellow is empty. Opposite, the owner of the Da Silva restaurant has closed. “Everything has closed around us”, laments Marie-Ève ​​Koué, co-owner of La graine brûlée.

She and her partners opened the café in 2016, two years after the one called Oui mais non in a completely different and quieter district, Villeray.

“Funky”, yes, but…

Why the Village? “Because of the name. When we jokingly launched the name La graine brûlée, we said to ourselves that the café could not open anywhere other than in the Village. »

“We had no apprehension and we were excited at the idea of ​​being on a pedestrian street which groove “, she continues.


Marie-Ève ​​Koué, co-owner of La grain brûlée

However, Marie-Ève ​​Koué quickly noticed that the sector is “funky”, but not always for the right reasons. Toilets clogged with a syringe are commonplace, she says. “It must not continue to deteriorate. »

Hence the idea of ​​the petition1 which ends this Sunday and which will be tabled in the National Assembly by Manon Massé, Solidarity MP for Sainte-Marie–Saint-Jacques.

The signatories ask the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, to create a permanent intergovernmental committee that will oversee the issues that threaten the emancipation of the Village.

A few days after the launch of the petition last March by the Village’s Commercial Development Company (SDC), Valérie Plante’s administration announced the creation of an “intergovernmental crisis unit” (with the police and the health) to help the neighborhood. A recovery plan for the Village is also to be announced shortly, following a forum held last September.

Why the petition? ” It’s time. There are two speeds”, explains Gabrielle Rondy, director general of the SDC.

There is the speed of traders who can go bankrupt in a month and that of municipal and provincial elected officials who pass the buck2. “They have to sit together. »

Everything that has been written and said about the Village since the disappearance of the suspended rainbow balls is practically negative. The straw that broke the camel’s back? The closing of the legendary Archambault store last January after 120 years of existence.

We could be pessimistic about the future, because pipe work will tear up rue Sainte-Catherine Est, but that will come with new developments. “Let’s take advantage of this to create a street that can accommodate millions of people in the summer, but that is also pleasant, attractive and safe all year round,” argues Gabrielle Rondy.

Because if rue Sainte-Catherine Est is a tourist destination, it is also a living environment. And it will be more and more so with the some 20,000 new residents expected in the district, thanks to projects such as the Esplanade Cartier, Auguste & Louis and the Molson lands.

About a month ago, the SDC also met with real estate developers who are building projects near the Village. “We can unite our voices. »


Gabrielle Rondy, General Manager of the SDC du Village

“Vacant premises are opportunities”, explains Gabrielle Rondy.

She would like to see more neighborhood businesses open. “If you’re not hungry and you’re not thirsty, there’s not much to do in the Village,” she says.

A freedom to be

You have to walk down rue Sainte-Catherine Est (the terraces have been installed!) between rue Berri and avenue Papineau to see how the Village is at a crossroads. Our eyes are both drawn to the trendy awning of the Bar Renard, but also by the fire Drugstore still abandoned.

We note that Tite Frette – which would sell microbrewery products – has gone bankrupt, but that the chic Arte et Farina bakery has just opened opposite. The Sabbya Medical Spa will also soon be welcoming clients.

“The street is changing,” says Gabrielle Rondy.

But the SDC needs help to “protect the Village”. “It’s an extraordinary neighborhood where everyone can live out their identity,” recalls Gabrielle Rondy.

Marie-Ève ​​Koué would like to perpetuate throughout the year what she loves so much about the Village on summer evenings. “A joy in the air and a nice mix of people. »

The Village in dates

  • 1982: The opening of the gay bars Les Deux R and Le Max contributed to the birth of the Village.
  • 2002: Opening of Cabaret Mado, famous for its drag cabarets.
  • 2008: The section of rue Sainte-Catherine Est du Village between Berri and Papineau becomes pedestrian in the summer.
  • May 2019: Motion unanimously adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec to recognize the historic status and vocation of the Village as a place of refuge and emancipation for LGBTQ+ communities.

source site-52