It was in the early 20th century that the first Italian immigrants settled in what later became Little Italy. Even then, this location was convenient and welcoming: railway transportation was easily accessible, and many neighbouring factories and shops provided employment. The Montreal Italian community contributed significantly to the rise of the city’s cultural and culinary growth. You can see that the Italian spirit is still alive simply by taking a stroll around the streets and alleys: colourful vegetable gardens, authentic coffee places and pizzerias, and a variety of stores all embellish the landscape, and lend it a unique feel.
Formerly known as “Village de Villeray”, Villeray was considered independent of Montreal until it was annexed to the city in 1905. The neighbourhood is home to workers who had jobs in surrounding factories and quarries. By the last half of the 20th century, various cultural communities settled there: the Latin, Asian and French all contributed to the diversity that still characterizes Villeray today. Montreal is known for its multiculturalism around the world; Villeray represents one of the most culturally-diverse neighbourhoods of Montreal, and that is why it is a must! A strong sense of attachment is shared among the area’s residents, and a growing number of diverse businesses are established there.