Living In L’Île-des-Sœurs, Minutes From The City

L’Île-des-Sœurs is like being in another world. It’s a unique neighbourhood where new residences and condos with a view on the river are in high demand. You could say the island leads somewhat of a double life. We talk to some Montrealers who are very attached to this very community.
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Terrasse du projet Pointe Nord à l'Île des Soeurs

It’s true that L’Île-des-Sœurs feels like a world away from Montreal. “Yet, it’s still really close to the downtown,” insists Yves Léveillé.

This father of three has lived on the island for 27 years. He was there for the real estate boom, saw a rise in the number of families and watched it transform from a neighbourhood filled with young urban professionals to a vibrant, eclectic and welcoming place. 

“L’Île-des-Sœurs has changed a lot,” admits Yves Léveillé. “I arrived when I was in my twenties. My three children were born here, went to school here, played in local parks and made friends. My eldest moved out into an apartment. But she’s not far, she lives in Petite-Bourgogne,” he says.

 

A neighbourhood that everyone can agree on

Mieke Pynnaert has an international career. This Belgian diplomat has worked just about everywhere in the world. She’s been living in Canada for 5 years.

“We’re really happy,” she says. The person who had my job before me lived on the island too. She encouraged us to move here.”

Sophie Lymburner is keen too. “I bought my first apartment here,” explains the businesswoman. “Then I moved to a bigger place but still in the same area. What I like most about life here is the river. There is something naturally calming and peaceful about it.”  


A residential sector that continues to evolve

“We found a village-like atmosphere here that we hadn’t experienced anywhere else,” explains Mieke Pynnaert. “After the megalopolis that is São Paulo and its 12 millions citizens, it was wonderful to find ourselves in a more human environment and to be surrounded by greenery.

At the end of the 17th Century, the nuns of Notre-Dame, a congregation established by Marguerite Bourgeoys, settled on l'île Saint-Paul. For more than two and a half centuries, that community was the sole owner. Then in 1956, the sisters sold the island to the City of Verdun.

Here you’ll find metropolitan buildings, at that time, an innovative concept that an American developer thought would be perfect for the island: high-rise residences and small rental buildings built in a huge park alongside the river. Even Mies van der Rohe, the famous architect, contributed to the development plans by illustrating some of the towers and, most importantly created the magnificent service station.

Place de la Fontaine

Place de la Fontaine à l'Île-des-Sœurs
Source : 
Emmanuel Campeau

Since then, there is a lot of new construction on the island. Aside from lots of rental possibilities, there are also many new residences, luxurious houses and large apartments with spectacular views and then there are more affordable condos too. L’Île-des-Sœurs has become a popular place for young professionals looking to become homeowners but also for those who are approaching retirement and are looking for a smaller dwelling. 

A soothing landscape 

“We were looking for the city in the country,” recalls Yves who first bought a condo and then a townhouse. “We have such a good quality of life,” he adds. “We make use of all the amenities. We played tennis, there are two pools and I even coached my son’s soccer team when he was little. We hung out at the library quite a bit and my kids read comic books.” 

“It’s the first time we’ve lived on the edge of the water,” Mieke explains. “We often go for walks and it feels like we’re on vacation.”

Many birds inhabit the woods near where she lives which makes the charming area feel even more rural. And her husband, Marc Devigne, a photography lover never misses the chance to take a few photos to preserve those moments. “He even won a photography contest,” exclaims the diplomat. 

Parc à l'Île-des-Sœurs

Parc à l'Île-des-Sœurs.
Source : 
Emmanuel Campeau

It’s also a sought after area for athletic types. “I love going for a run along the water”, says Sophie. “There is no better way to refuel. With all the new residential developments along the water, you can see the whole island by running, walking or even kayaking.” 

A comfortable place to live 

“When I moved here, there were some teenagers playing street hockey and I joined them,” Yves recalls. “They even called me from time to time to play with them!”

Mieke also appreciates the fact that it’s easy to connect with neighbours, which wasn’t always the case elsewhere. “They have become my friends…we celebrate New Year’s and have garage sales together.”

Living in L’Île-des-Sœurs, means easy access to grocery stores and shops. There are lots of options. Not only are there lots of stores on the island itself, but the promenade Wellington is just a few minutes away and there are plenty of shops there too.


The city at your fingertips 

What Sophie Lymburner likes best is the proximity to downtown. “My office is located in Griffintown, a few minutes from home,” explains the entrepreneur. “When I leave the craziness of the office, I find myself in a peaceful haven. Living on the edge of the river stimulates my creativity and clears my head.” Sometimes she even heads home before going back to the city for a show or a night out with friends.

 

Once the new Champlain bridge is completed and the réseau de transport électrique REM is up and running, accessing the city centre will be even easier. And housing prices will increase in value as well.

 

To remember...

Verdun borough 

A complete living environment near downtown

Surrounded by greenery and water

A quiet and safe neighborhood