In honour of Montreal’s current festa, Italian Week or Semaine Italienne, I’m posting the next in a series of features on Little Italy’s around the country. I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel a bit this summer and have taken pictures along the way. Already, you’ve seen Taste of Little Italy in Toronto and Pier 21 in Halifax.
Montreal’s Little Italy, or Piccola Italia, is memorable for its cafes, Italian specialty stores and it’s neighbour, the Jean-Talon Market.
Like Ottawa’s Little Italy, Montreal offers a grand entry way to the neighbourhood on Saint Laurent Boulevard between Jean Talon Street and St. Zotique Street. The opening mural isn’t so bad either!
While Italians have been in Quebec since the 17th century, Petite Italie in Montreal was established in the early 1900s as immigrants arrived to build railways and cities. They settled around the Market and Church of Madonna della Difesa, creating this community.
Great Italian food is available every few steps, it’s hard not take a seat and stay there the whole day. I also found something rare: an Italian bookstore!
The streets are lined with prerequisite Italian and Canadian flags, but even more telling that you are in the right neighbourhood is the collection of Nonni occupying the benches and chatting away. When we reached Milano’s, an Italian grocery store, it was a must stop. An hour, and a lot of cheese, later we finally pulled ourselves away.
The beauty of Montreal’s Little Italy is its calmness and dedication to all things Italian. You can feel it in the air. I also love that it’s all in three languages: Italian, English and French. You can’t get more Canadian than that. Thanks Montreal and enjoy Italian Week!