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.

2 replies on “Reclassified?”

  1. I’ve seen maps that have referred to that area (everything west of Papineau between the tracks and Sherbrooke) as “de Lormier”. Ste-Marie has referred (and perhaps still does for some people) more to an area of Centre-Sud but it is more than possible that your old neighbourhood has gone by that name from some people before. Neighbourhood monikers are made by people and can move around quite easily, especially when official borders don’t exist. From an arrondisement point of view, that area is definitely part of le Plateau-Mont-Royal, even if it feels much more like Hochelaga or Centre-Sud.

  2. Thanks for the comment — Frontenac is east of Papineau, which makes it all the more mysterious.

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