Portraits of young families, which after having lived in some of Montreal's trendiest neighborhoods, have decided to cross the bridges and establish themselves in Longueuil, in the Greenfield Park arrondisement.
"I like the vintage style of our split-level house."
At first, Iveth Morales, 36, and Alex Farias, 35, both of Mexican origin, wanted to buy a house in Montreal "in order to have more space and privacy for my work," confides Iveth, a designer of jewelry, under The Angry Weather brand. "But it was really too expensive. Therefore we turned to the suburbs, Greenfield Park, which is near Montreal. At the end of August, we left our building in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie arrondisement in Montreal to move into our 1950s split-level house. We are going to renovate it, while preserving its vintage style."
Newly arrived, the small family discovers the surroundings. Disappointments? "It was a shock to see the Taschereau Boulevard! I admit that I miss the cafes, boutiques and ambiance of Montreal, where we could go shopping on foot. And it's not easy in the suburbs when you don't drive. I will need to get my license," affirms Iveth, who nonetheless appreciates her immediate environment. "We were welcomed, and our neighbors are really nice."
"A village near the city-center ..."
Jenn Griffin, 38, and her husband Chris Myers, 39, left the Villeray neighborhood because of the lack of quiet and parking - without accounting for the rise in property taxes ... "We were looking for a peaceful neighborhood," explains Jenn. "Our 'trip' in the city was over. With the arrival of the children, our interests changed."
So, in 2010, they sold their duplex that had been transformed into a story house to go live in the suburbs.
Why Greenfield Park? "It's the cache of a village near Montreal's city-center. The children bike on our street, which is not heavily frequented, our yard is huge, the neighbors help each other, and there are several schools in the arrondisement, including an international school," says Griffin, who loves to work in Old Montreal. "I take the bus, which gets me there in thirty minutes, door to door. At night, however, I am in a hurry to get home!"
"The children walk to school ..."
It was by visiting Jenn Griffin and Chris Myers in Greenfield Park that Audrey Lehouillier, 39, and Matthew Faulkner, 40, discovered the place. "We had no idea where it was," they admit. It was in a conversation with the daughter of the couple, who loved her school, that the idea of looking for a house for sale in Greenfield Park arose. "In 2011, the sale of our condo in the Plateau allowed us not only to buy a house with more than three rooms, but to renovate according to our taste," said Matthew.
"The kids go to school on foot," indicates Audrey, who took some time to make the decision to leave the city. "But I did it for the good of our family and our children. Here, we have space and greenery, a vegetable garden, and even an outdoor fireplace. Also, we feel less of an urgency to leave the house in order to escape from the city."
The couple still has to take a car to get to work in Montreal. "We did the same in the city. It took us an hour to drive the kids to school, to the nursing school, and then go to work," recalls Audrey.
"Both urban and suburban"
Myriam Circe, 28, and Simon Duhamel, 35, at first explored the Rive-Sud in search of a plot of land or an old house to renovate in a contemporary style. "We went as far as Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, without accounting for the fact that in the new subdivisions, the builders offer houses that are all the same. It was not what we wanted," explains Myriam.
It was then that Simon, an only child, proposed to his father to renovate his place in Greenfield Park. "We demolished everything ourselves, and we called on the architectural firm Cardin Ramirez Julien to transform the residence into an inter-generational family dwelling." In 2012, the couple sold its condo in the Centre-Sud neighborhood and established itself in its new household.
"We still go to Montreal for a meal at a good restaurant, the Atwater market, and our children's swimming classes," followed up Myriam. "Let's say that we are a mix of suburbanites and urbanites, which is to say, we go to Montreal, but we appreciate our suburb, located very close to the bridges. Here, the kids have a pretty yard, and at the end of our street, everyone talks to everyone else."
How does this compare to your city? Is the growing trend a move away from the city center to surrounding suburbs or the other way around? What factors play into this decisions, i.e. children, costs etc.?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
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