Gentrification Nation: Montreal’s Up and Coming District of Saint Henri

With its subdued “plateauesque” vibe, the district of Saint-Henri seems to have suddenly crept up on city dwellers, making a name for itself as Montreal’s newest up-and-coming neighbourhood. Its formerly gentrified environs paved the way (literally) to this hidden gem on the off side of our ever-beloved Atwater market. For what seemed to be more like skid row a short while back, the once rundown area has recently been seeing a rapid upswing in commercial and residential development. Considering it is in close proximity to the city’s trendiest amenities, the hot ‘nabe has been welcoming a surge of new Cafes, eateries, as well as a considerably younger demographic. 

Located southwest of the city’s center, this modest enclave has found its way into Montreal’s hip vernacular. Despite previously being cast in the shadows of its neighboring districts of Griffintown and Little Burgundy – housing some of the best joints in town, including Burgundy Lion, Joe Beef and Liverpool House – Saint-Henri’s recent facelift reintroduces vestiges of an old-world flair, in a refurbished setting. Although none of this happened overnight, the district has readapted itself to the recent arrival of a fairly hip populace. The rapid transformation of certain pockets within Montreal is definitely the beginning of a new wave. Both the history and soul of certain neighbourhoods are being borrowed and fused into newfangled areas, recreating an authentic feel in a completely rezoned area.


With newcomers calling Saint-Henri their home, the district seems to be in a transitory condition. The altering cultural landscape is certainly redefining the area, sparking major interest for further development. The neighborhood has gained popularity, attracting attention as a laid-back hub with unpretentious hot spots. Saint-Henri still has its share of converted factory lofts and pricey condos, but it nevertheless houses a number of cool local businesses and many go-to spots for both coffee aficionados and gastronomes alike. There are a handful of notable venues in the area, including the Atwater Market, one of the city’s prime attractions since 1933. This gigantic market caters to every palate, offering specialty goods that are hard to find anywhere else in the city. The McAuslan Brewery is also one of Saint-Henri’s most prized spots, a beer tasting experience and home of both the St-Ambroise and Griffon beers. 

Moreover, Caffè Mariani is the perfect haven for laptop-toting coffee enthusiasts. The tranquil space overlooks the picturesque Georges Étienne Cartier Park, as it serves up market fresh dishes, as well as some of the best coffee in town. The nearby ultra-hip bistro Tuck Shop is also definitely worth the visit. The homey dining space offers an always-fresh menu in a lively, yet wholly laid-back atmosphere. It is one of those affable eateries that should be a standard in every neighbourhood. 

Considering that cities and neighborhoods are in a constant flux, this “post-industrial” hot spot has been gaining a lot of recognition. Saint-Henri is among some of the areas that have recently experienced a change in both culture and character. New life has been breathed into the area, providing urban renewal and growth, not to mention a new playground for all you urbanites.

Top photo courtesy
Article photo courtesy (Caffè Mariani)