Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, often referred to simply as “HoMa,” is a neighborhood in eastern Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It’s one of the city’s older neighborhoods with a rich history and diverse population.
Over the years, the neighborhood has been undergoing a transformation, attracting interest from both residents and investors. Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has been relatively more affordable than some other neighborhoods in Montreal, making it attractive to young professionals, artists, and those looking to enter the housing market.
There has recently been a noticeable increase in urban renewal and development projects in the area. Let’s take a look at the cultural significance of the neighborhood and some of the amenities that are driving its increasing popularity.
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve’s Historical Significance
Understanding the historical significance of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve involves acknowledging its Indigenous roots, its role in early European exploration and settlement, its industrial past, and its evolution into a culturally diverse and dynamic neighborhood within the city of Montreal.
The neighborhood’s name “Hochelaga” is of Indigenous origin, derived from the language of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians who inhabited the region before European contact. Hochelaga was a significant village encountered by Jacques Cartier, a French explorer, in 1535. The village was situated near the southern part of present-day Montreal Island.
Jacques Cartier’s visit to Hochelaga in 1535 marked a critical event in Canadian and Quebec history. He met the Indigenous people of the Hochelaga village, and his descriptions of their way of life and the settlement were among the earliest European records of Indigenous peoples in the area.
Following Cartier’s visit, European settlement and colonization began in the region, eventually leading to the establishment of Montreal as a permanent settlement in the 17th century. Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, a French officer and the founder of Montreal is honored in the neighborhood’s name.
Over the 19th and early 20th centuries, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve became an important industrial area due to its strategic location near the St. Lawrence River and its accessibility to transportation. It witnessed significant industrial development, with factories and manufacturing facilities contributing to the growth of Montreal’s economy.
Exploring HoMa’s Cultural Scene
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has a growing arts scene, with several local art galleries and studios. The neighborhood’s scene is characterized by its diversity, creativity, and community engagement. Here are some notable art galleries and studios in the area.
1. Galerie Art Mûr: Galerie Art Mûr is a contemporary art gallery located on Hochelaga Street. It features exhibitions of contemporary art in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and more. The gallery represents both emerging and established Canadian and international artists.
2. Galerie WIP: Galerie WIP, located on Ste-Catherine Street East, is an art gallery and cultural space that focuses on showcasing emerging and established contemporary artists. They host regular exhibitions and events, contributing to the vibrant art scene in the neighborhood.
3. Atelier Circulaire: Atelier Circulaire is an artist-run printmaking studio that offers workshops, exhibitions, and other artistic programming. Printmakers and artists can access facilities and resources to create and exhibit their work.
4. Galerie MX: Galerie MX, located near Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, is a contemporary art gallery hosting exhibitions showcasing various artistic styles and disciplines. It often features works by Canadian and international artists.
5. Espace Projet: Espace Projet is an artist-run center that serves as a hub for contemporary art practices. It includes artist studios, workshops, and a gallery space that hosts exhibitions, performances, and other events.
6. Studio Argentique: Studio Argentique is a photography studio and darkroom facility that offers workshops and events related to analog photography. It provides a space for photographers to develop their films and prints using traditional methods.
Festivals and Cultural Events in HoMa
HoMa hosts a variety of festivals and cultural events throughout the year. These events showcase the diverse cultural fabric of the community and provide opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with art, music, food, and more. We have listed some notable festivals and cultural events that take place in HoMa below:
1. Lezarts Festival: Lezarts is a major cultural event where artists and performers open their studios and exhibition spaces to the public. It’s a fantastic opportunity for people to explore the neighborhood, meet artists, view their work, and gain insights into the creative process.
2. Piknik Electronik: Montreal’s deep house, EDM, Trance & dance weekend concerts. Artist such as Christian Löffler, Ben Böhmer, Marshemellow, Rüfüs Du Sol, and many more will frequently show up at HoMa. Events are usually played outside by the Big O.
3. Hochelaga Rock: Festival de musique emergente de l’Est de Montréal: Hochelaga Rock is an emerging music festival that showcases local and regional talent, featuring various genres of music. It’s a great event for music lovers to discover new artists and enjoy live performances.
4. Bouffons Montreal!: Bouffons Montreal! is a culinary event that celebrates the local food scene. It typically features food trucks, pop-up restaurants, tastings, and other gastronomic experiences. Food enthusiasts can explore different flavors and cuisines during the event.
5. Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal (Montreal Arab World Festival): This festival celebrates Arab culture through music, dance, visual arts, and more. While the main events often take place in downtown Montreal, some related events or exhibitions extend to HoMa.
Dining and Culinary in HoMa
HoMa is also known for its diverse and evolving culinary scene. The neighborhood offers a range of dining options, from casual eateries to more upscale restaurants, reflecting its multicultural community. You will find local restaurants that serve a mix of Canadian and international cuisines, including Italian, Vietnamese, Mediterranean, and Latin American. Hochelaga-Maisonneuve also has cozy cafés and bakeries where you can enjoy coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and salads. Below are some of the top dining options in the neighborhood.
1. Restaurant Yogi:
This is a delicious Indian restaurant and bar. They are known for their vegetarian and vegan offerings. It features authentic Indian cuisine with a modern touch. The chickpea masala and vegetarian samosa are amazing.
2. Pita Bar:
A genuine Greek dining adventure that rivals the finest in Athens. Nestled in the vibrant heart of HoMa, immerse yourself in cuisine boasting authentic flavors and fresh dishes. They honor age-old techniques in preparing souvlaki and gyros, passed down through generations.
Located just a short distance from Maisonneuve Market, Bagatelle is a BYOB restaurant known for its delightful French brasserie-style dishes. Meals are prepared using fresh, seasonal produce, crafting a daily menu for both lunch and dinner. In addition to its well-loved brunches during weekends, Bagatelle is cherished for its charming terrace.
4. Pizzeria Bros:
Pizzeria Bros opened back in 2016 and is known for serving a delectable thin-crust pizza. They take pride in creating their own dough, sauces, and dressings from scratch, ensuring a homemade touch to every pizza. Cooked in high-temperature ovens, the pizzas are delicious!
5. Hoche Glacé
Hoche Glacé offers an array of frozen delights including traditional and vegan soft ice cream, sorbets, refreshing beverages, and coffee. They are known for their gluten-free cones and chocolate dips.
6. Comptoir Sushi
Comptoir Sushi presents a menu of tartares, gourmet poké bowls, smaller sushi bites, and delicious maki. These recipes are skillfully prepared by a team of chefs who have perfected these recipes.
7. L’Olive Noire
L’Olive Noire is your destination for exquisite North African flavors, specializing in traditional Moroccan delicacies. The highlight of the menu is the couscous, offered in various styles including the classic lamb couscous. It is situated on Ontario Street East in the lively heart of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.
8. Canard Cafe
Canard Cafe is a local coffee shop with a gourmet menu and specializing in ‘third wave’ coffee. Their menu features options like breakfast sandwiches, soups, parfaits, and pastries. You’ll also find an array of coffee options from various roasters across Montreal.
9. Première Moisson
Première Moisson is a bakery featuring a selection of 40 handcrafted breads, a variety of delicious pastries, and a range of coffee options. For a light lunch, try their sandwiches and salads, leaving room to indulge in their beautifully crafted chocolates like the heavenly caramels or the Valrhona. They are also known for both their savory and sweet pies.
Hélico is a cafe known for its homemade pastries and coffee. Offering everything from croissants to chocolate chip cookies, possibly one of Montreal’s finest brownies, to delightful kouign-amann, brioches, cannelés, and more. Everything is freshly handmade every morning. While the sweet treats are undoubtedly a highlight, the savory offerings are equally impressive. Among the menu are the city’s top-notch breakfast sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Hélicoptère offers a dining experience with a rotating seasonal prix-fixe menu. It has a warm and inviting ambiance, complemented by a staff passionate about their culinary expertise. The modern and elegant interior and intimate lighting set the perfect tone for a cozy dining affair. Prices are reasonable, considering the top-notch quality of both food and service. The diverse menu presents an array of choices, including the renowned oyster mushroom dish, beef tartare, lamb ragù served over polenta, and a delightful olive oil cake paired with berry sorbet. The skilled bartenders craft delicious custom-made cocktails or refreshing mocktails. Wine aficionados can explore a wide selection from various corners of the world.
L’oeufrier is an all-day breakfast spot in HoMa. It is known for their poutine, bacon, eggs, and crepes. The restaurant is reasonably priced and renowned for its exceptional service and welcoming staff.
Outdoor Adventures in HoMa
HoMa is home to several parks and green spaces where residents and visitors can enjoy outdoor activities, picnics, and relaxation. These parks offer a variety of amenities and recreational opportunities for both locals and tourists, allowing for outdoor activities, social gatherings, and a connection with nature. Some of the notable parks in the area include:
- Parc Maisonneuve: Parc Maisonneuve is a significant green space in the neighborhood, offering various recreational activities. It features walking and cycling paths, a lake, sports fields, and open areas for picnics and relaxation. The Montreal Botanical Garden, a prominent attraction, is located next to the park.
- Parc Thomas-Chapais: Parc Thomas-Chapais is a spacious park with recreational facilities like playgrounds, sports fields, and outdoor workout equipment. It’s a popular spot for families and individuals to engage in sports or enjoy a relaxing day outdoors.
- Parc Pierre-Bédard: Parc Pierre-Bédard is a smaller neighborhood park with a playground and green space, providing a pleasant area for children to play and for the community to gather.
- Parc René-Lévesque: Parc René-Lévesque is a park that offers a beautiful view of the St. Lawrence River. It has walking paths, green areas, and benches, making it an excellent place for a leisurely stroll or to sit and enjoy the surroundings.
- Parc Gennevilliers-Laliberté: This is a public plaza located in front of Maisonneuve Market. Serving as the heart of the neighborhood, this grand square is a reminder of the neighborhood’s affluent history. The adjacent public market remains operational throughout the year, hosting a bakery, an organic grocery store, and a cheese shop. At the square’s core stands a magnificent fountain named “La Fermière,” crafted by sculptor Alfred Laliberté in 1915.
Shopping and Retail Therapy in HoMa
HoMa is known for its vibrant local markets, where you can find fresh produce, groceries, and artisanal products. Marché Maisonneuve is a prominent market in the area, offering a wide range of food items and sometimes hosting special culinary events. Open all year round, locals and tourists flock here to find fresh local produce—fish, meat, cheese, fruits, veggies, and just about anything else you can eat! The market is set up in an indoor venue, but it also has a large open-air section that comes alive in spring.
The Ontario Promenade is a great place during the summer time to take a stroll on Ontario street. Many local shopping, antiquing and excellent restos to grab some grub!
Sainte-Catherine Street and Ontario East Street are bustling commercial hubs with over 300 businesses, stores, boutiques, restaurants, and cafés. Immerse yourself in HoMa’s vibrant artistic and cultural scene as you explore these lively streets.
The neighborhood also boasts a number of independent thrift stores, each with its own character and selection. They offer a wide range of pre-owned items including clothing, furniture, accessories, books, and household items. Give them a visit for a trendy, thrifting experience.
Retail therapy is the term used to refer to the feeling of well-being that comes from shopping, often of a temporary nature. Some people use retail therapy to lift their spirits after a particular event or to celebrate a special moment. Physically shopping in conventional stores can also be a form of “therapy” by helping someone disconnect from the digital world and social media, which can reduce stress.
A survey found that 81% of Generation Z prefers shopping in physical stores, mostly for mental health reasons. The connection between retail therapy and digital services lies in the ability to shop online, which allows someone to shop anytime, anywhere, but can also trigger excessive shopping behavior. Therefore, it is important to strike a balance in shopping and use digital services wisely.
Nightlife and Entertainment in HoMa
The neighborhood features a variety of nightlife options ranging from bars, live music venues, lounges, and late-night eateries.
Established in 2015, Le Blind Pig has been known as the go-to spot in Hochelaga! They are known as the sole bar in the vicinity with their own smokehouse! If you’re seeking budget-friendly options for beer, you can order a never-ending magic tap tower.
Madame Smith is a raw bar with a selection of 30 local Quebec gins, cocktail pitchers, shareable platters, and a menu with numerous vegetarian choices. It’s a modern bistro-style eatery that blends flavors from diverse corners of the globe.
Bar de la Salle has a fun atmosphere with a pool table and serves Spanish cuisine. It’s a fun place to grab a drink and the staff is known for being very pleasant.
Family-Friendly Activities in HoMa
For those visiting HoMa(Hochelaga-Maisonneuve) as a family, here are a few activities the kids will enjoy. There is certainly no lack of entertainment to keep the family entertained.
Try exploring the Montreal Insectarium, part of the Montreal Space for Life complex. It’s a fascinating museum where you can learn about insects from around the world through interactive exhibits and displays.
For an outdoor adventure, visit the Montreal Botanical Garden, adjacent to Parc Maisonneuve, and discover its themed gardens, plant collections, and seasonal events. The garden often hosts family-friendly activities and workshops.
You can also head to the nearby Planetarium Rio Tinto Alcan to enjoy immersive space shows and educational programs about the universe and astronomy. It’s an educational and entertaining experience for kids and adults.
Situated within Olympic Park the Montreal Biodome is an attraction where visitors can wander through recreations of four distinct ecosystems native to the Americas: Tropical Forest, Laurentian Forest, Saint Lawrence Marine Ecosystem, and the Subpolar Region.
Montreal Action 500 Karting and Paintball is an indoor facility with go-kart racing tracks, paintball fields, and laser tag. Come here for a day of action packed fun.
Schools in the Neighborhood
For those looking to move to the neighborhood with children, HoMa(Hochelaga-Maisonneuve) is serving by various educational institutions ranging from primary schools to higher education facilities. Here are some schools located in the area.
- École Édouard-Montpetit is a primary school offering education to younger students. Primary schools in Montreal usually cover grades 1 to 6.
- École Secondaire Édouard-Montpetit is a public secondary school for students in grades 7 to 12.
- École Saint-Antoine-Marie-Claret is a private school that provides education to students in both primary and secondary levels.
- École Louis-Joseph-Papineau is another public primary school in the neighborhood.
- CEGEP (Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel), is a type of post-secondary educational institution in the Quebec education system. It offers pre-university and technical programs.
- Collège de Maisonneuve is another college-level educational institution offering various programs, including pre-university and technical courses.
Historical Landmarks and Architecture in HoMa
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, like many neighborhoods in Montreal, has a rich history and several notable landmarks that provide insights into its past and cultural heritage. These landmarks showcase the historical and cultural diversity of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, reflecting its past and contributing to its vibrant present.
The Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) is one of the most iconic landmarks in the neighborhood. It was constructed for the 1976 Summer Olympics. Its unique design, often referred to as the “Big O,” has made it a recognizable symbol of the city.
The Château Dufresne is a historic mansion built in the early 20th century. It’s an excellent example of Beaux-Arts architecture and serves as a museum, preserving the neighborhood’s cultural heritage.
St. Charles Church
St. Charles Church, established in the late 19th century, is a beautiful religious landmark that showcases historical architecture and is an important place of worship in the neighborhood.
While not a visible landmark, the Hochelaga Archaeological Site is historically significant. It’s believed to be the location of a 16th-century St. Lawrence Iroquoian village visited by Jacques Cartier, providing valuable insights into the area’s indigenous history.
The Maisonneuve Library is housed in the former town hall of the historic Cité Maisonneuve. Constructed in 1912 and showcasing the Beaux-Arts architectural style, the building was skillfully designed by architect Cajetan L. Dufort. Today, it stands as a testament to that era.
As far as architectural styles, much of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve features early 20th-century residential architecture. This includes row houses, triplexes, and duplexes characterized by their brick or stone facades, steep gabled roofs, and decorative elements such as cornices and bay windows. Some buildings in the neighborhood showcase Art Deco and Art Nouveau influences, with features like geometric shapes, ornate detailing, and stylized floral or organic motifs. Beaux-Arts influence is also evident in certain structures, characterized by grand facades, elaborate ornamentation, classical columns, and symmetrical designs. The Château Dufresne is a notable example of Beaux-Arts architecture. Additionally, while not traditional architecture, the vibrant street art and murals that adorn many buildings in HoMa contribute to the neighborhood’s artistic and creative expression.
Transportation and Accessibility in HoMa
Public transportation in HoMa provides an effective and reliable means of getting around, making it convenient for residents and visitors to explore the neighborhood and beyond. HoMa is serving by several metro stations on the Green Line (Line 1) of the Montreal Metro. Stations such as Préfontaine, Frontenac, and Viau provide convenient access to and from the neighborhood. Metro services run frequently throughout the day, and bus routes generally operate on a regular schedule, ensuring reliable transportation options for daily commuters and visitors.
The neighborhood also well-served by an extensive bus network operated by the STM. Various bus routes connect Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to other parts of Montreal, making it easy to commute within the neighborhood and to nearby areas.
Additionally, BIXI is a bike-sharing system available throughout all of Montreal, including HoMa. BIXI stations are strategically located to provide a convenient and eco-friendly way to explore the area.
Places to Stay in HoMa
If you’re coming to visit Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, here are a few of the top-ranked accommodations to stay at:
HoMa Hotel stands out as an excellent choice. The property offers various amenities including an on-site restaurant, a 24/7 front desk, a communal kitchen, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Every room well-appointed with modern conveniences such as air conditioning, a comfortable seating area, and a flat-screen TV featuring popular streaming services. Some rooms boast captivating city views, while others provide a scenic outlook onto the terrace.
Hotel Universel Montreal is a 15 minute drive from downtown Montreal and offers a range of top-notch amenities. With 230 cozy guestrooms, the Toit Rouge Restaurant, two indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, a spa, and free parking, guests can expect a comfortable stay.
It is conveniently located near numerous attractions such as the Olympic Park and Stadium, Montreal’s Biodome, Botanical Garden, Rio Tinto’s Planetarium, Saputo Soccer Stadium, Insectarium, Maisonneuve Park, and Montreal’s municipal golf course.
Auberge Manoir Ville Marie
Auberge Manoir Ville Marie is a 10-minute drive from both the Montreal Convention Centre and the historic Old Port of Montreal. For guests seeking outdoor activities, there are hiking and biking trails nearby. The stay includes complimentary amenities such as WiFi, self-parking, and a daily continental breakfast served from 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM. Additionally, key attractions like the Notre Dame Basilica and Bell Centre are a short drive away. Conveniently, public transportation is easily accessible, with Prefontaine Station just a 14-minute walk away.
Gite du Survenant is a bed and breakfast also located less than a 10-minute drive away from both the Montreal Convention Centre and the charming Old Port of Montreal. Additionally, key attractions like the Notre Dame Basilica and Bell Centre are a quick drive away. The property is a brief stroll from public transportation options, with Pie IX Station just 3 minutes away and Viau Station reachable in 11 minutes.
Maison Montplaisir is a charming bed and breakfast that offers a more intimate and personalized lodging experience compared to larger hotels. It’s often favored by travelers seeking a cozy and homely atmosphere. Free perks include WiFi and continental breakfast daily between 7:00 AM and 10:00 AM. Also, Notre Dame Basilica and Bell Centre are within a short drive.
HoMa(Hochelaga-Maisonneuve) known for its rich cultural diversity and strong sense of community. The neighborhood is home to a mix of cultures, languages, and traditions, creating a unique and inclusive atmosphere. It has a thriving arts scene, with various galleries, studios, and street murals that enhance the neighborhood’s appeal.
Compared to some other neighborhoods in Montreal, HoMa often offers more affordable housing options and a relatively lower cost of living. This along with recent urban renewal efforts has attracted young professionals, students, and artists.