Wellington-de-l’Église: attracts families and free-spirits alike

A dry city for decades, Verdun recently issued its first bar permits. Already a hit with families, the borough has become a mecca for foodies and young trendsetters.
Terrasse rue Wellington

For the past several years, restaurants, bars, boutiques, specialty grocers, cafés and bookshops have sprung up within a stone’s throw of historic Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs which reigns over the junction of Wellington and de l’Église Streets.

A destination location year-round, in summer the neighbourhood becomes an enormous open-air playground for a slew of activities: dancing under the stars, Zumba and sidewalk sales. People of all ages stream to the area to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy people-watching from the new terraces. “It’s like being in Europe,” says Olivier Claux who moved to Québec about ten years ago with Joëlle and their son Jérôme, who was a year old at the time.

In spring the SDC Wellington sets up its popular urban sugar shack. Come August, it’s the Puppet festival, and in February the winter carnival blows into town. In summer the cultural scene shifts to local parks with, among other things, performances by the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal.

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A few blocks from the river

Olivier and Joëlle wanted to live near the water. Soon after they arrived they found an apartment in Verdun, and it’s been their neighbourhood ever since. “We immediately began searching for a place of our own. Our second child was about to arrive,” explains Olivier. “We found our dream house, with a yard, near the city, just a few blocks from the river.”

When the kids were old enough, they began playing hockey. Olivier and Joëlle often take them to the Denis-Savard arena, where they’ve made new friends. “Often, the parents get together after to go for a beer on Wellington Street,” adds Olivier.

Bord de l'eau à Verdun

Enfant en vélo en face d'une crèmerie sur bord de l'eau à Verdun
Source : 
Photo: Alexandre Campeau-Vallée

A few years ago, this wouldn’t have been possible. Verdun was a dry city where alcohol could only be sold if the patrons ordered food.

“We love the vibe here on Wellington Street,” says Marianne Prairie who lives nearby with Jonathan, her companion, and Alice, their first child.

Tailored to young families

Originally from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Marianne lived in a few Montréal districts before moving to Verdun four years ago. “This neighbourhood is ideally suited to young families,” adds the former Plateau resident. “It’s a really diverse group. People of all ages and ethnicities now call Verdun home. We quickly fell in love with our new neighbourhood,” she continues.

Better still, young parents didn’t have to sacrifice their social life when they moved here. “I found the village ambiance I’d hoped for,” explains Marianne. “When we visited the new condo project, where we ended up buying, it was quite an eye-opener,” continues the author, journalist and blogger. “We have three Metro stations, stores, restaurants and daycare, but we’re still only a short walk from the river.”

A riverside village 

Over a hundred years ago Verdun was a village on the St. Lawrence. Traces of that era survive to this day: the first schools and churches as well as the city hall, fire station and library.

Along the river, hints still remain of the old boardwalk used as a retaining wall to prevent spring flooding. It provided breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River. Long ago, the market gardeners from La Prairie journeyed here, some by boats, to sell their crops on the wharves.

Boardwalk Verdun

Boardwalk à Verdun en 1930
Vue de l’ancienne promenade en bois sur la digue. (1930)
Source : 
Fonds d’archives de l’arrondissement de Verdun

“I often come here with my sons to bike along the shore,” says Olivier. The 14 km of riverside biking paths are perfect for a day’s outing. “And soon, we’ll even be able to go swimming,” continues this outdoor enthusiast. A project to improve the urban beach behind the arena should be completed by summer 2017. Sailing and kayaking lessons are already available for water enthusiasts.

There is also a long, scenic riverside promenade that’s a favorite with young mothers pushing strollers, retired folks out for a morning walk, skateboarders, morning joggers, and lovers who meet at the Well at sunset for a romantic evening on the riverside.

“This neighbourhood reflects our values,” concludes Marianne. “We’re so happy to call Verdun home.”

Residential statistics 

May 2015 to april 2016

Single Family

Median proce and change

Verdun (excluding Île-des-Soeurs neighborhooh)

435 000 (-1%)*


Verdun (excluding Île-des-Soeurs neighborhooh)

272 900 (0%)*

* Change calculated in relation to May 2014-April 2015

Source : FCIQ  Centris® System

To remember...

Verdun borough 

Territoire riverain : Lachine, LaSalle et Verdun (in french)

Single family dwellings, duplexes and condos

Easy access to downtown: 5 minutes by car, 3 Metro stops (Verdun, de l’Église and LaSalle)

25 km of bike paths, 9.5 km of pedestrian walkways and 15 km of river shore