“I now live in my fourth home in Ville-Marie,” explained the young man. “My favourite area covers Vieux-Montréal and downtown.”
People have all sorts of ideas about what it means to live downtown—the uproar, rushing business people, the outdoor festivals, night-time activities. The first thing Patrice Lavoie wants to do is change this perception. “Just because you live in the city centre doesn’t mean you have to be immersed in the action. My partner and I like to invite people to our place for supper. We like to relax at home, spending the evening watching a good film.”
Living in the city is becoming even better
Over the last few years, more and more people are choosing to live in the city centre. The strong real estate market and the increase in the number of new buildings are proof. Now, the remarkable architecture of old buildings stands beside recent, ultramodern condo towers.
In 2016, according to Statistics Canada, the Ville-Marie borough had almost 90,000 inhabitants, an increase of more than 6% from 2010. In addition, between 2011 and 2016, the number of families with children jumped by more than 11%.
There’s also been an increase in “empty-nesters” (couples whose adult children have moved out), who have decided to live closer to work. And retirees who have chosen to move closer to the action and nightlife.
What about neighbourhood life?
“Many more people live downtown than you might think,” notes Patrice. We bump into neighbours, we say hello on the street. We have our corner dépanneur, our neighbourhood grocery, our favourite little restaurant on McGill Street, the gym isn’t far way…” He’s unstoppable when it comes to listing the advantages of his neighbourhood.
Living in the heart of Montréal has changed his relationship to the city. “I no longer need to take my car, or even transit,” explains the Loto-Québec corporate director for public affairs, media relations and social media. “I’m within walking distance of my office. And a little walk each morning is good for physical and mental health.”
Trading space for accessibility
When asked if you have to spend a lot more to live in the heart of the city, Patrice answers: “It doesn’t necessarily cost more. By choosing to live in central Montréal, undoubtedly spaces a bit smaller, but your near everything, you save time, and you save on the cost of a car.” More and more people are mindful of their lifestyle choices—there are many advantages. “We even spend less money on transit,” he insists with a smile.
But, above all, what convinced Patrice Lavoie, was the 24/7 accessibility. His final words: “I love that everything is so close. If we decide to go somewhere, we can. If we don’t want to go out, we don’t have to, we can just relax at home.” Patrice and his partner have simply decided to take advantage of life. And the city delivers.
Published on November 2018