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Montreal Gay Village: A Montreal Neighborhood Guide

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A Neighborhood Guide to the Montreal Gay Village
Unity popular nightclub in Montreal Gay Village
Photo © Evelyn Reid
One of the largest gay villages in North America, the Montreal Gay Village testifies to the open-minded and cosmopolitan nature of our beloved city. A nightlife hub of opportunities with restaurants, terraces and some of Montreal's best nightclubs lining the district's main artery, Ste. Catherine Street, it's also a neighborhood with affordable apartments (i.e., even "student" affordable), excellent public transit access and a central location. By foot, it takes ten minutes or less to get to Place-des-Arts, the Plateau, the Latin Quarter and the downtown core.

Situated east of the Latin Quarter, west of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and south of the trendier-than-thou Plateau neighborhood, the Montreal Gay Village is one of the city's younger districts, administered by the Ville-Marie borough. Having built itself up since the mid-'80s, Montreal's Village Gai, commonly referred to as "Le Village," spreads over roughly one kilometer (0.6 miles) of the easternmost part of downtown. Neighborhood limits vary by source but most agree that Ste. Catherine Street, from Amherst to Papineau, is gay village territory while others include up to Berri in the west and far as De Lorimier in the east.

Residents are a pleasant mix of the LGBT community, gay and straight families, young professionals and university students, gay and straight. Note that some locals complain of red-light activity and occasional sketchiness in the area, though nothing particularly life-threatening. Students may appreciate the neighborhood's proximity to Université du Québec à Montréal, which is about ten to 15 minute walk away.

As for language, one can get by with English, as most of downtown districts are comfortably bilingual (with the exception of the Latin Quarter, where I've unfortunately heard more audible anti-Anglo comments in recent times than I care to share), but beyond a short-term stay, learning French is a must.

Sources: QueerMontreal.info, Tourisme Montreal, Montreal Gay and Lesbian Community Centre, Société de Développement Commercial du Village

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