The borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville is located at the extreme north of the Island of Montreal with an easy access to the City of Laval, a populated and commercial suburb located across the Rivière-des-Prairies. Ville de Laval being a key centre with an economy based on the service sector and on a strong manufacturing sector.
Ahuntsic-Cartierville is a beautiful, affluent and recreational borough bordered on its North side by the Riviere-des-Prairies called the Back River in English.
Floods may happen when the snow melts in the spring, during a period of heavy rain or when a dam breaks. As a result, the municipal authorities are always monitoring the water levels of the Back River and having evacuation plans ready.
Borough boundaries that also include Montreal-Nord to the East, Saint-Laurent and Pierrefonds-Roxboro to the West and Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension to the South.
With its five bridges, the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville is the unavoidable crossing point between the North Shore, across the Rivière-des-Prairies, and downtown Montreal.
First the Canadian Northern Railway and then both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway contributed to the economic development of the territory we now refer to as Ahuntsic-Cartierville since January 1st, 2002.
The two commuter railway lines were transferred to AMT in 1996, AMT being the organisation that now operates Montreal commuter rail and express bus services all over the Greater Montreal area.
Railways that also created a physical barrier between the two territories, Ahuntsic in the East and Cartierville in the West.
Ahuntsic and Cartierville both offer a large network of roads, several bus lines and three metro stations in Ahuntsic, that is Henri-Bourassa, Sauvé and Crémazie, but none in Cartierville.
Unfortunately for the residents, the local system of roads and public transport places both territories in the heart of two major and busy networks, the Autoroute 15 that runs north-south and the Autoroute 40 that runs east-west.
A North-South network, that is from the Rivière-des-Prairies in the North towards the Saint-Laurent River in the South and an East-West network, that is towards the East or towards the West with the Saint-Laurent Boulevard in the middle.
A network system that creates a heavy traffic especially during rush hours. The two channels - North-South and East-West - both bring an important car flow to the borough, along with some unpleasantness to its residents. However, and despite the noise and the urban air pollution, the area did and still does offer an interesting way of life.
Ahuntsic and Cartierville continue to have the reputation of a beautiful, affluent and recreational borough of Montreal.
A reputation that is definitely a reality when one looks at the local water banks, the riverside parks, the bike paths, the sports facilities, the community urban gardens, the city parks and recreation, tranquillity...
The Bois-de-Saraguay in Cartierville provides an overview of the quality of the environment that once existed along the banks of the Rivière-des-Prairies, while l'Île-de-la-Visitation in Ahuntsic provides the possibility to observe a wide variety of birds and aquatic wildlife.
Two nature-parks that are must-see destinations in all four seasons. For a change of scenery or to appreciate the nature with its abundant flora, wide variety of trees, large assortment of birds, snowy paths, clean water...
The borough offers a large variety of urban parks and, the whole borough is secure. The residents feel safe in their respective area where an interesting residential and commercial variety can be found.
Ahuntsic is typically "montrealais" with its cottages, bungalows and duplex, while Cartierville offers a larger proportion of bigger buildings such as triplex, quadruplex and apartment towers.
The predominance of trees and green spaces on most residential streets, combined to the vitality of the local commercial areas, largely contribute to the quality of life of the residents.
Nowadays, the immigrants living in the borough are mainly from Italy, Lebanon and Haiti, and the immigrants who recently settled in are mostly from Algeria, Morocco and Romania.
In Ahuntsic-Cartierville, families with average to high incomes blend with families with low incomes, but unfortunately, immigration increased the contrasts between the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the educated and the uneducated, the workers and the unemployed.
Then again, and thanks to a massive arrival of immigrants from a large variety of countries, the borough now profits from an interesting cultural diversity as well as from a multiculturalism described by some as an "antidote for ignorance".
Montreal ISLAND Kit
Ahuntsic-Cartierville by Rachel Louise Barry