Register Saturday | July 13 | 2024
Back to Church Illustration by Sophie Lafleur

Back to Church

It’s Sunday morning, and Marché Jean-Talon is bursting at its seams. Scores of suburbanites arrive in their bulky SUVs and queue along Avenue Henri-Julien for the underground parking. I escape the pandemonium with my sack of vegetables as an elderly Italian woman rolls a wheeled shopping bag between the vendors’ stalls. Short but stout, she wrestles men twice her size out of her path as she handles bunches of parsley and rapini. She’s one of the true veterans: the final vestige of immigrants who never left the tight grid of low-rise apartments between Saint-Laurent and Saint-Denis.

I grew up a little ways away, at the eastern end of Rue Saint-Zotique, surrounded by the descendants of Italian immigrants who believed moving away from their first stomping ground meant they’d move up in status. Others stayed behind, laughing atop their real estate goldmines after the buildings rocketed in value ...

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