It looks like Montrealers' vote for their city's best neighbourhood last year, Verdun, has been beaten out by an all-new contender: Villeray, which has secured itself the #18 slot in this year's round-up of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world.
The result comes from the annual Time Out Index survey which polled a total of 27,000 city-dwellers from around the world about—among many things—what their favourite neighbourhood in their city was. Those results were brought to Time Out local city editors and contributors who then vetted that public vote against all-important criteria that ranged from sustainability to how strong the community vibes are in that area.
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So Villeray takes the #1 spot locally; that may surprise some, but when you take the last year into account, Villeray seems like the perfect place when you take it all into consideration:
"After a difficult stop-start reopening, Montrealers seemed to unanimously agree that they'd get out there and make the most of 2021. Villeray was the place to do just that: its streets and gemstone parks became oases where locals would simply gather and make the most of one another’s company – exactly what the city needed after a long and lonely lockdown winter," we wrote about Villeray.
"If you didn’t meet up with friends for beers, food and a spot of culture at one of Jarry Park’s impromptu festivals? What can we say, pretty much everyone else did. Being so central, as diverse as districts come and with a burgeoning food and drink scene, Villeray was an obvious (and deserved) coolest neighbourhood this year."
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To other locals—and especially those living in Villeray—this is hardly news. The neighbourhood be small, but it's jam-packed with things to do both within its borders and beyond when considering its enviable proximity to multiple other boroughs and access to five (we counted!) different metro stations.
Of course, Villeray's rising star wouldn't be complete without mentioning its burgeoning restaurant and bar scene that's seeing more and more noteworthy names setting up shop with every passing year—also a lot of stellar Italian spots in particular that could turn heads from Little Italy (what's up with that)?
Longstanding destinations like Tandem, Tapeo, and Méson have long held the fort when it comes to fine dining while La Ruelle, Fanfare, and the red-hot churrascarias Imperio and Cantine Emilia have kept us satiated with top-notch cheaper eats. That's only scratching the surface, though: Consider the wealth of new players that range from the breakfast sandwich slingers of Lundis au soleil and panzerotti-wine combo from Knuckles to cheesy pies from Vesta and now the floral standout Rose.
So, is the secret out about Villeray? Hardly. It's more like if you didn't already know about this neighbourhood, then you've been missing out.
It's not too late to join the party, though. The Montreal neighbourhood joins the likes of Chelsea in New York, Amsterdam's Noord, Hong Kong's Sai Kung, Richmond in Melbourne, and the #1 coolest neighbourhood in the world this year, Nørrebro in Copenhagen.