Let me just put it out there : Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is the neighbourhood of the future.

In the past, the mention of this area brought to mind words like “underprivileged”, even “shady,” along with visions of shirtless men sitting on plastic chairs on their balcony, drinking warm beer and shooting the breeze in their own brand of slang.

But the truth is, things change, and even if my fears were founded at one time, they are certainly not so today.

Promenade Ontario

Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is an up-and-coming neighbourhood that is attracting young couples who cannot afford other sectors of the city and who, with time, will become the families that will contribute to the economic, cultural and community activities of the neighbourhood.

Little by little, the streets are filling with specialty businesses like Confiserie Oscar, one of the best bakeries in Montreal, that help make Promenade Ontario a good place to hang out. So just take your time, and why not a Viennese pastry at Hoche Café while you’re at it.

And if you don’t find something on Promenade Ontario, don’t worry! You’ll find it at Marché Maisonneuve. We often forget that Marché Jean-Talon has siblings all over the city, and one of those is right here. You will find everything at Marché Maisonneuve: locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, still-warm bread. The only real problem is bringing it all home without a wheelbarrow!

For fans of slightly used, this is the hot spot of the city. At the corner of Pie-IX and Ontario Streets, glaring at each other across the street, you will find a Value Village and a Renaissance. For lovers of used clothing and collectors of junk like me, this is true happiness!

Théâtre DP

So now that we’re well dressed and well fed, it’s probably time to think about going out. Ho-Ma has that covered too, and for every taste. You can take in a play at the Denise-Pelletier theatre, best-known as a youth theatre, where you will discover plays filled with pleasure and wonder for young and old, and the Fred Barry Hall, connected to the theatre, is home to up-and-coming theatre troupes. All this for around $20.

If you like something a little more unconventional, no problem! The Café-Théâtre of the CCSE Maisonneuve, one of the oldest in Montréal and the Maison de la Culture Frontenac are there for you! And then there are the libraries, the community gardens, the public swimming pools and arenas. I mean, if you really want to just sit and waste your time in front of the television, you might have to move somewhere else…

And this is in fact the moral of my story. Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is a developing neighbourhood that offers many possibilities to potential buyers.

So don’t worry about the vibes from days gone by. It’s different now.

As for the old men sitting on their balconies, drinking their beer and bothering their neighbours, I have bad news for you. That’s not a HOMA thing. You can find them everywhere! That’s life.