For our first three years in Montreal, we lived in a Francophone working class neighborhood, on Frontenac, just south of Sherbrooke St.
The ad for the place didn’t mention a neighborhood, and we knew we were east and south of the Plateau. We deduced that we resided in the Hochelaga part of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Our landlord once told us that it was the Plateau because he got some tax document to that effect. Perhaps so, but I have yet to meet another Montrealer who would call that location the Plateau. Perhaps in the spirit of Westmount anglos, it could be “Plateau-adjacent.”
Well, it turns out that perhaps the neighborhood may have another name: Sainte-Marie. I’m intrigued but it messes with my self-conception. Shockingly few Anglos know where Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is; Sainte-Marie signifies even less. The borders of the neighborhood are not totally clear, but according to a blogger who recently moved there, we were in it.
This isn’t quite a Herculine Barbin-level reclassification but it certainly messes with my self-conception. Hochelaga-Maisonneuve means something. As the blog to which I linked demonstrated, Sainte-Marie is a much more ambiguous signifier.