Posted on June 29th, 2010 by .


Mile End is the soul of Montreal: “Here you have Italians, Greeks, Jews, Hasidics, Africans…you have bagels. You have a Mauritanian restaurant on Fairmount. Every one gets what he needs from Mile End” – Abdallah.

Abdallah is a Djiboutian-born Canadian who lives in the same neighborhood as me: the Montreal Mile End. As I was surfing the amazingly nourishing Who We Are blog, I discovered this film by Adam Shamash, which is an ode to Montreal’s cultural diversity and Abdallah’s sheer enthusiasm for life.

It inspired me to start a new feature on the Montreal Buzz that would explore the different cultural groups that make up and shape our city.

Abdallah’s playful metaphors for multiculturalism skillfully reflect the vibrant ethnic hodgepodge that is Montreal. Here, cultural exchange is a source of richness. Not only do different ethnic groups live side-by-side, they coexist and intertwine in truly elegant fashion.

As we celebrated Québec’s National Holiday this week, La St-Jean-Baptiste, and prepare to celebrate Canada Day this thursday, let us remember the hundreds of thousands of people who immigrated to Montreal, made it their home and had children, contributing to building one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America.

Over the next few months, I will meet some of the individuals who add color, music and spice to the DNA of our city. I myself have the privilege of being born in Montreal from a Moroccan mother and a Quebecois father, being raised by French-speaking parents in NDG, a dominantly English-speaking part of Montreal. Such an upbringing is not a rarity in the city. In fact, it is quite the norm. This multiculturalism creates open-minded human beings: people who greatly contribute to the feeling of openness and tolerance that permeates Montreal.

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