July 3 2017
A tightly woven neighbourhood in Pointe-Saint-Charles, through Louisane's eyes
The SHDM community has more than 4,700 tenants. We are sharing here the testimony of a committed and enthusiastic member of this community who speaks with love of her neighbourhood, Pointe-Saint-Charles, where the SHDM owns many rental units.
Louisane is 23 and has just completed her first year at Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts in the Digital Arts program. She welcomes us in an apartment owned by the SHDM, where she lives with her mother and her two brothers, aged 9 and 21 respectively. Louisane is a dynamic and genuine young woman. She describes her neighbourhood as a family-oriented and supportive haven of peace with a remarkable diversity of inhabitants living side by side.
“We moved here when I was 12 years old. Before, we lived in Saint-Henri in a 3 ½. We were therefore going from an apartment where my mother, my brother Christian and I slept in the same room to a 5 ½ where each of us had his own bedroom," says Louisane. This apartment is part of the SHDM rental park, which includes several 2- to 4-storey plex-style buildings that house several families.
Located in Le Sud-Ouest borough, in the heart of Pointe-Saint-Charles, the dwelling is at a five-minute walk from the Charlevoix metro station on the green line. In addition to this ideal location in relation to downtown Montréal, the neighbourhood offers a premium quality of life according to Louisane, because of its many municipal amenities and its tightly woven social fabric that is supported by community organizations.
“Just a few metres from our door step, there is the library, the recreation centre which includes a swimming pool and a winter arena, a basketball court, a baseball field, Saint-Gabriel Park, Hibernia Square or Des Apprentis Park. The neighbourhood also has great schools. My younger brother, who is still in primary school, is in an intensive music program inspired by the El Sistema philosophy and practices the violin three times a week thanks to a partnership between his school and the organization Partageons l’espoir” explains Louisane. “There are many organizations in the neighbourhood that make a real difference,” she continues, “I am thinking in particular of the Pointe-Saint-Charles Carrefour d’éducation populaire or Madame prend congé for which I have been volunteering for eight months and running a body expression workshop.”
Louisane is familiar with other boroughs in Montréal, having lived or studied in several of them. She pragmatically recognizes the assets of her current neighbourhood. “It’s my favourite at the moment because it fits my lifestyle. It is a quiet, very mixed neighbourhood, with many families, children, and seniors as well. Here everyone knows each other,” she says. The neighbourhood parks that host events, pétanque competitions or sports contests are the ideal place for community life and their continuous animation is a reflection of a tightly woven community. “I feel an attachment of the people for their neighbourhood, and this is perhaps due to the historical character of Pointe-Saint-Charles. This kind of attachment is not as common in other parts of the city. I also like that the organized events are not commercial, but rather, have as their primary objective the fostering of social links. The community spirit is very strong,” says Louisane.
The values of inclusion and solidarity of the neighbourhood are in line with the values of Louisane, but for her family, her parents are from Cameroon, the value of education is also very important. Their mother, a doctoral student in Educational Science, paved the way for her children who are pursuing their schooling with commitment. Christian, who is completing his college diploma, will also be attending Concordia University in September. Louisane does not yet know what she will do in the future, but she is determined to work for more justice, happiness, quality of life and equality. “Uplifting people’s lives in the broad sense is close to my heart,” she says. It’s all to her honour and you can bet that her neighbourhood would be proud of her.
This was an inspiring meeting with a young Montrealer who is open-minded, engaged and supportive of her community! We wish Louisane and her brothers much success and we sincerely thank them for this wonderful interview.
The testimony of Louisane inspired us to support the social and economic development efforts of organizations in the Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood and the SHDM donated $300 to the Partageons l’espoir organization.
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