Griffintown, also known as “The Griff” is a vibrant part of downtown Montreal, Quebec. Starting in 2012, the city of Montreal revealed plans to revitalize the district, helping to bring new life to a historic part of the city. This revitalization effort is scheduled to continue through 2025. You will find many reasons to visit already.
hhGriffintown is named for Mary Griffin, who obtained the lease illegally and had the land subdivided and street plans laid for what would later become a powerful industrial district. In the early 19th Century, Griffintown became home to unskilled Irish labourers who worked on the Lachine Canal, the railways, and the Port of Montreal. The heart of the community was St. Ann’s Catholic Church, erected in 1854.
By the early 20th Century, the demographics of Griffintown changed, with the Irish becoming the minority in favour of Jews, Ukrainians, and other immigrant groups. Following World War II, additional changes would come to Griffintown, as the St. Lawrence Seaway overtook the Lachine Canal as a major transportation artery. In 1962, the district was rezoned and buildings demolished, the most impactful being the demolishing of St. Ann’s Church in 1970.
The Irish immigrants who congregated at St. Ann’s would not recognize Griffintown today. While they would not know what to make of this revitalized area, you will be able to find plenty to do, whether you are visiting on vacation or looking to relocate.
If you enjoy contemporary art, then the Arsenal is a must-see. Set in an 1843 Steamboat factory, the Arsenal features a gallery, video screening room, and exhibition space. Now through August 15, 2015, the Arsenal is featuring Jean-Francois Bouchard’s Transpose. This moving exhibition captures the personal stories of trans men in stark and powerful photographs. His goal was to take men who face prejudice and marginalization, and capture their amazing strength and courage. If you have a passion for LGBT issues or powerful photography that speaks to the heart and mind, this exhibit one you cannot miss.
Located along Notre-Dame St, Grinder is a steak house plus. You can find your cooked classics, such as New York Strip, Filet Mignon, and Rib Eye steak. If you have an adventurous and discerning palate, you can also sample their Tartare dishes – that is raw meats such as Steak Tartare.
The Griffintown Café
Griffintown Café serves up Quebec’s finest craft beers to Jazz. Nothing else really needs to be said. Few things go together more beautifully. If you do need a little more prompting, however, you can always try out a sample (of the Jazz) here.
New City Gas
If you are looking for exciting nightlife, look no further than New City Gas. A very popular nightclub, it features live music regularly. You can also celebrate your birthday or bachelorette party and get some extra swag.
In 1879, Susan Kennedy beheaded a prostitute named Mary Gallagher over the attention Gallagher received from a client. According to legend, Gallagher’s ghost returns every 7 years to Griffintown in an attempt to find her head. Residents gather every 7 years (the last was in 2012) to catch a glimpse of the apparition. If you are considering relocating, then you have something interesting and historical to look forward to in 2019, as well as a great opportunity to meet new people in the area.
Part of the revitalization of Griffintown includes new living space through the district. The largest of these is District Griffin, which is a combination of three different building projects. Each project offers residents and future residents a variety of locales. Residents can enjoy riverside living at the Peel Basin, live close to downtown, or near shops and entertainment.
Griffintown has much to offer visitors and new residents to Montreal. Explore, see what The Griff has to offer. For more information, or to keep track of future developments in the area, subscribe!