(Pâtisserie Rhubarbe in the Plateau)
Although I grew up in the suburbs of Montreal, I never quite understood why people seemed to love and revere the city so much. “Montreal is so cosmopolitan! It’s just like Europe! Why would you ever leave?” people would exclaim upon meeting me. If it was, I had never seen it; my entire childhood consisted of soccer fields and attending school across from a nature reserve deep in the far reaches of the West Island. We went downtown once a year to do our Christmas shopping, but with the city all lit up for the holidays, it was difficult to get a sense of what it was really like.
I think I had to leave the city behind in order to learn how to love it. It wasn’t until I moved back to Montreal as an adult to attend university that I finally started to get the hype. I attended Concordia, located squarely in the middle of the downtown core. I worked on Ste-Catherine Street and in the Old Port. Suddenly I could start to see the appeal: everyone was speaking two languages interchangeably, there were cafes on every street corner, and amazing bread and croissants spilled out of every bakery I passed.