450 booming: Suburbs overtake Montreal’s income

BROSSARD – The 450 is booming.

Where young couples used to look for their first homes in the city, now it’s all about the suburbs.

The reason: It’s cheaper, there’s more space and almost everything the city has to offer can be found just on the other side of the bridge.

“I love the city but it’s been degrading the last couple of years and I think that south shore Montreal is really appealing for new, young families,” said Sabrina Catala, owner of Lollipops Paris.

Catala  said she purposely moved her business out of downtown Montreal and into the 450 because that’s where the people are.

“Downtown Montreal was really starting to fade,” she said. “Especially our location in Les Cours Mont Royal. All the stores were closing, we were losing a lot of business clientele.”

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In depth, interactive: Mapping Canada’s shifting incomes

Brossard city councillor Alexandre Plante says the reason people move south is simple.

“The quality of life, I think, be it for families or young couples. They choose our city because Brossard is becoming an urban city, much more than just a suburb,” he said.

With more people moving to the suburbs, the regions’ average household income is rising.

A Global News investigation into reams of tax data yielded an interactive map exploring incomes in various neighbourhoods over a ten year period

“We get a tremendously detailed picture of not only rich, poor and middle in come in each Canadian city but also over time how those patterns have changed,” said Patrick Cain, senior web coordinator for the investigative desk.

And the picture of the 450 is green – in this case literally the colour of money – the darker green the richer the neighbourhood.

What’s attracting many to the south shore, and in particular Brossard, is the Dix30.

An outdoor shopping mall with everything from the Apple store to Holt Renfrew.

So residents are saying why go downtown when here, they have that suburban charm.

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“I was born on the South shore and I think I’m gonna stay there the rest of my life,” said one resident. “I think it’s a better place to raise a family.”

“As I’m getting older I need to be able to walk around and see stores and cafes,” added another.

Montreal is quickly increasing the number of condos built in the city to compete with the booming 450.

But the suburbs are growing just as fast – and with bigger homes and bigger yards the city may be a hard sell.