June 8, 2018 7:15 pm
Updated: June 8, 2018 8:32 pm

‘We’re like a big family’: How hopscotch in a Rosemont alley brought together a community

Fri, Jun 8: Neighbours in Rosemont have turned an alleyway into a small urban oasis which now includes an abnormally long game of hopscotch. As Global's Dan Spector reports, the game is drawing visitors and strengthening the bond between neighbours.

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There is a green alley in Rosemont with an abnormally long game of hopscotch that is attracting attention from residents in the surrounding area.

“I literally went on a mission today just to find this,” said Natalia Hucul, who had been searching for the alley with her daughter Olena after hearing about it on Facebook.

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READ MORE: ‘It’s kind of like a little oasis’: Montreal’s green alleys have environmental, community benefits, experts say

They were searching for the urban oasis where the familiar childhood game of hopscotch exists.

At 100 squares long, Olena flew across the grid like a pro.

“It looks like it’s long but it’s not when you do it,” she said.

The idea for the green hopscotch alley came from a design competition after UQAM students were challenged to re-imagine three alleys in the neighbourhood.

The alley includes planters, seating, and even a chalkboard where kids can play school. It was all brought in last year, funded by the city.

“I think I want to incorporate this into our alley, we live a couple of blocks away,” Hucul said as she marveled at the alley bordered by Holt, Dandurand, 5th and 4th avenues.

Natalia Hucul and her daughter Olena enjoy Rosemont’s hopscotch alley. June 8, 2018.

Dan Spector / Global News

‘We’re like a big family’

Marie-Hélène Arguin’s home backs on the alley. She and her neighbours manage it together.

“We’re like a big family,” she told Global News.

She said every day, parents have their happy hour on chairs and benches in the alley while their kids play.

READ MORE: Hungry? Grab fresh fruit off a tree for free in Kirkland’s ‘fruit alley’

The families who live next to the alley regularly organize events there together. They set up a sugar shack, play soccer games and organize spring cleanups.

“When I was young, there was a saying that everyone in the country takes care of each other and everyone in the city is this big anonymous crowd,” said Rosemont city councilor Francois Limoges.

“It’s not true anymore.”

Though they don’t all have hopscotch, Rosemont is home to dozens of green alleys.

“There are more than 100 actually right now,” said Limoges.

Rosemont says they have the most green alleys in Montreal, and that each unique one brings neighbours together.

“It creates a whole community where people care for each other,” said Limoges. “They know their neighbours.”

And in one of those alleys, community stars with a game of hopscotch.

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