Rue Saint-Clément has been a one-way street for some time now. The city has taken other measures to ease traffic on this street in Montréal East, including diverting truck traffic. On this particular weekday, the tranquility of the surroundings contrasts with the steady stream of vehicles on nearby rue Viau. It is here that Anne-Sophie Bernard et Charles-Antoine Perreault decided to acquire their first home.
A new property in Montréal East
They were already living in Viauville (in a former cookie factory, from which the neighborhood takes its name). The door to their house opens on an all-white kitchen. The street-level entrance – there are no stairs – allows them to come and go easily from the park with Marie-Charlotte, or to head out for brunch west of avenue Bennett on weekends, with the stroller.
Three parks are within walking distance, including the “great splash pad at Morgan Park,” says the little girl’s mother. According to the father, this makes up for the lack of a yard.
Both are architects. In Europe they experienced a neighborhood and community life where everything was within walking distance. They were not willing to settle for less when it came to their future home in Montréal (leaving the island was out of the question, unless they found work outside of the city, which was not part of their plan). Project promoter Jocelyn Duff’s professional background helped win them over: “The fact he was an architect meant that he was probably looking to create a living space rather than just netting a return on his investment,” observed Charles-Antoine.
“We’re happy to have a small terrace [about 100 sq. ft.] where we can have a barbecue,” he offers by way of example of the place’s intelligent design.
Anne-Sophie emphasizes that the builders were “open to all possibilities”: The construction of full-height doors, a skylight over the stairs (for more brightness) and the lack of risers leading to the upper levels to open up the space. At the suggestion of the builder, they even added a mesh-railed walkway to allow more natural light to filter down to the ground floor.
The new homeowners had no shortage of ideas. For example, they wanted to maximize the space available under the stairs. Jocelyn Duff agreed to their request instead of closing off the space with drywall. The homeowners then had a cabinetmaker fashion sliding drawers that serve as their pantry.
A Family-friendly Neighbourhood
The quality of housing and its location, in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, were superior to any of the homes they saw on the resale market. The pool at the Olympic Stadium and most shops are within walking distance.
“The population density creates an ambiance,” says Charles-Antoine Perreault. “You run into people. There are more and more kids in the neighbourhood, young families.”
One thing is certain, this popular district continues to grow on them. The Maisonneuve Market, meanwhile, is a ten-minute walk away: “It’s better than a supermarket,” says Anne-Sophie. “There’s all kinds of little shops.”
When it comes to transportation, BIXIs are very practical. The dad takes his daughter to daycare by car and parks nearby. He then rides a bike to work in the Mile End. The mum returns home from Old Montréal on the métro, then drives to the daycare to pick up the little one.
They purchased the property for about $400,000. This includes a parking space. Unusually for Quebec, it’s paved with vegetation rather than asphalt or rock dust.
The environment is important, and not just with architects.