Ahuntsic, between the park and the bookstore
Parks top the list of what Angélik Scott-Aubin, 9, likes about her city. Her voice rises in excitement when she talks about Henri-Julien Park: “There are playground sets especially for the little ones and others for the bigger kids.” “With my friends or my mother, we go on picnics, practice somersaults on the grass or collect rocks.”
It’s hardly surprising that this large Ahuntsic park is Angélik’s favorite playground. Located near her school, the community centre where she takes dance lessons and her home, the park is part of everyday life, where people get around mainly on foot or by bike.
On school holidays, the young Ahuntsic resident doesn’t mind taking the bus with her mom to the bookstore where she works: “I help the customers, read. Sometimes my mom agrees to buy me a book.”
Her favorite outing is to the Quartier Latin cinema to watch a movie and eat popcorn…play a few video games in the arcade.
As welcoming as homemade bread
“In Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, our factories smell good,” states Ariane Gagné, 11. And for a very good reason: last fall she moved, with her 12-year-old brother, her father and stepmother to a house originally built for war veterans near the POM bakery.
“It’s a beautiful house,” says Ariane. “My parents renovated it so that it would suit us as well as them.” Typical of most pre-teens, Ariane and her brother prefer to hang out in the basement, where the computer and television are located. But as soon as summer arrives, she also plans to play in their new back yard.
During soccer season, the family likes to attend games at the Saputo Stadium, now just a short walk from their home. Ariane also loves living so close to the Botanical Gardens: “It’s so creative, what they do with the plants. When we visit the gardens, I want to see everything!”
Ariane considers Sainte-Marie, where she grew up, attends school and lives every other week with her mother, to be a safe neighbourhood where it’s fun to play in the parks, lanes and community pool. “I know most of the neighbours and what to do if I ever have a problem,” she confides. “Our parents know we’re safe here.”
Her opinion: “Montreal is a great city, where you can make friends quickly.”
Anjou, the perfect place to play
Delphine Guévremont’s life revolves around her passion for speed skating. The 10-year-old trains three times a week at the Club de patinage de vitesse de Pointe-aux-Trembles.
This eldest of a family of three children still finds the time to play outdoors with other children on her street in Anjou. “There’s a roundabout where we go to ride our bikes. We also like playing in our own yard. We have everything: a pool, trampoline, playset with see-saw, and a playhouse. There are a lot of kids in my neighbourhood. As soon as it gets warm, we play outside.”
The good life in Mile-End
When their mom asks them to name their favorite neighbourhood spot, Thomas Wery, 6 and his brother Félix, 3, both answer at once: “Club Social!” While their parents love the coffee in this popular Saint-Viateur café, the boys, already connoisseurs, prefer the croissants, served with apricot preserves, of course.
Thomas boasts about the pool at the Centre d’éducation physique et des sports de l’Université de Montréal (CEPSUM), where he once took swimming lessons, and hopes to return soon.
His favorite neighbourhood spots also include Resto Venise, a local pizzeria where his family often stops for an impromptu supper on the way home from school and daycare. Not to mention Fruiterie Mile-End, on Park Avenue, where he and his mother shop, from time to time, for items to add to major weekly grocery shopping (done in the car, with his dad).
Félix has a special mention for “squirrel park” as he calls it, where he watches the freight trains glide past on summer evenings before bedtime.
When asked if he thinks he’ll ever leave Montreal, Thomas is emphatic: Never! Even if I go and visit other countries…”