Tucked into the southeast section of the borough Ahuntsic-Cartierville, near Sauvé and Crémazie metro stations, Saint-Sulpice is a calm, green oasis in the big city.
“It’s a neighbourhood of mostly multiplexes,” says 63 year-old Giovanni Mercurio. He lives near Saint-Simon-Apôtre Park in the duplex he bought from his parents.
Born in Italy and raised in Montreal, he chose to return to his favourite neighbourhood when he retired. What does he like most about Saint-Sulpice? “These are my childhood stomping grounds. Every street and alleyway holds memories for me.”
Nadget Benlaouedj is a more recent arrival. Born in Algeria, she moved to the neighbourhood eight years ago with her husband and two children. “I love this neighbourhood,” she enthuses. “It’s quiet and safe.”
Along with multiplexes, Saint-Sulpice features many condos and other co-ownership properties in a wooded sector near André-Grasset College. Many pretty single-family homes built during the 1960s can be found near Berthe-Louard Park. The Park is named after one of the leaders of Montreal’s co-op movement that inspired the construction of hundreds of affordable, detached homes for families with modest incomes.
Space in the city
There is plenty of space in Saint-Sulpice. Every summer, Giovanni Mercurio plants a garden in his large yard: tomatoes, lettuce and artichokes. He harvests so many vegetables that he shares his bounty with his neighbours and his tenant. If only we could have a neighbour or landlord like him!
Nadget Benlaouedj and her family rent a unit in a quadriplex and have a private parking for two vehicles out back. The parking spots become a mini rink whenever the local kids decide to play hockey.
Parks and green spaces
Nadget Benlaouedj describes herself as a “mother hen”. She’s not happy that the kids play in the parking lot; she’d rather take them into nearby Henri-Julien Park, one of many in Saint-Sulpice. Giovanni Mercurio prefers Saint-Simon-Apôtre Park, where he volunteers with children. Heavily wooded Saint-Sulpice Park is also nearby, along with the Saint-Michel environmental complex, set to open in 2017.
Ahuntsic is well known for the quality of its schools, both public and private: Ahuntsic, Bois-de-Boulogne, André-Grasset and Mont-Saint-Louis colleges to name just a few.
When she arrived in the neighbourhood, Nadget Benlaouedj was delighted to discover Fernand-Seguin, a primary school specializing in science education, just a few streets from her new home. She’s proud to say that her son now attends Fernand-Seguin.
“We are a very active family,” explains Nadget Benlaouedj. “We love to travel and go into the countryside. Saint-Sulpice is well situated for getting out of town easily. Highway 40 is just south of us and Highway 15 is immediately to the west.”
The neighbourhood is also well served by public transit. “Sauvé and Crémazie metro stations are just 10 minutes from here,” she says. “My husband works in Boucherville and commutes by public transit.” Sauvé station is also a stop on the commuter-rail network’s Mascouche Line, linking to a wealth of employers, businesses and services between Montreal and Terrebonne-Lachenaie.
Every self-respecting Montreal neighbourhood has its business district. For Saint-Sulpice, it’s Fleury Street, lined with cafés, restaurants, bakeries and bookstores plus trees and greenery, on the neighbourhood’s northern border.
“That’s less than 10 minutes from home,” boasts Giovanni Mercurio, who loves to take a detour along the street during his daily walks.
Saint-Sulpice boasts first-rate sports facilities. The Claude-Robillard Centre, for example, was a training and competition site during the 1976 Olympic Games. Giovanni Mercurio remembers sneaking in to watch Olympic swimmers train there.
Today, the Centre is fully equipped for individual or team sports training, and is a popular meeting spot for families participating in the Montreal Games, an event for youth. Nadget Benlaouedj’s son is training to take part. Other facilities include Taz Skatepark, the new soccer stadium, and little further north, the much-heralded Gouin path.
For Giovanni Mercurio, there are two markets: the one from his youth, where farmers would come to sell their fruits and vegetables and The Central Market, with its huge array of warehouses and businesses.
Saint-Sulpice residents have no reason to envy the shopping malls found in the suburbs. “I can get all I need five minutes from home,” he says happily. Five minutes in the car? “No, on foot!”