A Neighbourhood Love: The Village

Maurice Nantel guides us once again through Montreal’s various neighbourhoods, stopping this time to explore the eclectic neighbourhood of the Gay Village.

A unique destination that is recognized worldwide, the Village is a vibrant, welcoming, and festive neighbourhood. Located between St. Hubert and Papineau streets, the majority of activities in this area take place around Saint Catherine Street. Summer is a great time to take advantage of this neighbourhood, since the main strip is turned into a pedestrian area for the entire season. Tourists and residents can enjoy one of the dozen terraces to have a drink or savour a good meal, all under the famous Pink Balls art installation!

The active commercial area counts close to sixty restaurants, twenty bars, and many one-of-a-kind shops; and is particularly known for its bustling nightlife. Different events take place in the neighbourhood throughout the year, such as the Festival des Arts du Village (July); Divers/Cité, a festival showcasing LGBTQ pride (end of July and early August); and the Festival Image et Nation (September), just to name a few. Montreal’s Gay Village has become synonymous with acceptance and diversity, and welcomes thousands of tourists every year from around the world.

Discover this neighbourhood through the eyes of Maurice Nantel and the Wowo studios!

A Neighbourhood Love: The Village

From the Gay Village to the Quartier des Spectacles, and passing through the downtown area of Ville-Marie, Maurice Nantel shines a light on Montreal’s dazzling beauty.

Along with Place des Arts, the Gay Village shares the title of Quebec’s most significant cultural centre. A stroll through this neighbourhood will quickly show you why! On top of being one of the largest gay neighbourhoods in the world, the Village highlights urban diversity and a uniquely colourful visual style.

Village were a small city in itself where people go to live the good life.

The neighbourhood is home to all of Quebec’s francophone television stations—such as Radio Canada, TVA, and Télé-Québec—as well as many radio stations, which contribute to the cultural vitality of the neighbourhood. Adding to this landscape and diverse visual identity is the Molson Brewery, one of the oldest industrial companies in Canada.

Elements that may seem contrasting actually create a rich harmony in the unique area of the Village, which spans all the way to the Quartier des Spectacles. Thus, it is possible to gather oneself in the stunning St. James United or St. John The Evangelist churches, then head east for a bistro-style gastronomic feast at 1000 Grammes, to finally cap the night with a one-of-a-kind cabaret show at Cabaret Mado.

Life is sweet when wandering through the Village’s pedestrian-only Aires Libres, or when letting yourself get carried away by the hypnotic lights of the Place des Arts corridor. Even in the depths of the Place des Arts metro station, creativity is all around you! Just look up and you’ll notice a carefully designed architectural style, as well as several works of art. As for Beaudry’s metro exit, the columns were designed in the shape of a rainbow, evoking the iconic symbol of LGBTQ pride, and making you feel the warm atmosphere of the neighbourhood! In short, it’s Montreal in all its diversity!

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The Meaning of Real Estate Symbols and Traditions

This week on our Les Oranges Pressées radio show on CIBL, we are having fun travelling and discussing real estate traditions. One of the most known superstitions revolves around the idea that a broken mirror can bring about seven years of bad luck. Yet very few people know that the spell can be broken by burying the shattered mirror pieces under moonlight. Stories dealing with superstitions are abundant in the world of real estate, and each one has a specific meaning according to its country of origin.

Exterior Symbols

In Anglo-Saxon culture, a red door signifies that homeowners have successfully paid off their mortgage. While long ago in the United States, a red door was seen as a welcoming sign for travellers, indicating a secure location where globetrotters could rest in full tranquillity. In China, the colour red symbolizes good luck and is seen as an entry point where the chi—a fundamental concept which forms and animates life in the universe—can enter a home.

The lion statues spotted throughout Montreal and its greater area also have their traditional histories. In Vietnam, they protect and empower people. In China, they act as guardians, defending homes against accidents and theft. For Buddhists, lion statues are said to bring peace and prosperity, while in Italy, they symbolize power and prestige. In Quebec, homeowners traditionally place one or two lions in front of their house once their mortgage is paid off. Whether placed in front of a door or by a staircase, the lion remains true to itself as a symbol of honour, respect, and power, and can even be seen in popular buildings in Paris and New York.

Interior Symbols

In certain cultures, tripping while walking up a staircase is seen as a sign of good luck or a possible upcoming wedding. In contrast, stumbling while walking down the stairs or crossing paths with someone signifies bad luck. Apparently crossing your fingers is the only way to ward off this spell!

Even less known in popular culture are superstitions surrounding brooms! According to tradition, when moving into a home, one must always have a new broom and some bread on hand. When leaving an old property, it is also customary to burn all your old rags, to bring good luck to your new home. In England, placing a broom behind your front door will deter people with ill intentions from entering. In Sicily, placing a broom outdoors on the night of Saint Jean-Baptiste will bring about good luck and chase away evil spirits. At one time, people would even hang a broom in front of their main entrance to indicate the presence of a young girl to marry in the house. And finally, saving the best for last: in certain customs, placing a broom on the ground in front of your guests signifies that time has come for them to leave! Who would have thought that a broom could mean so many things?

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