The Plateau-Mont-Royal takes its name from its location on relatively flat terrain north of Sherbrooke Street and downtown, and east of Mont-Royal. The borough is bordered to the north and north-east by the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks; to the west by Hutchison (north of Mount Royal Avenue), Park Avenue (between Mount Royal and Pine Avenue) and University Street (south of Pine Avenue); and to the south by Sherbrooke Street. It is one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in Canada, with 101,054 people living in an 8.1 square kilometre area.
There is a difference between the borough, Plateau-Mont-Royal—a political division of the City of Montreal—and the neighbourhood referred to as “the Plateau”. The borough includes not only the Plateau proper, but also the neighbourhoods of Mile End (bounded by Avenue du Mont-Royal to the south and the Avenue Henri-Julien to the east) and the McGill Ghetto (bounded by University, Sherbrooke, Saint-Laurent and Pine). Both neighbourhoods are generally considered distinct from the Plateau.
The Plateau was formerly a working-class neighbourhood, with the Eastern part being largely Québécois, and the Western part largely Jewish. The neighbourhood was the childhood home of Quebec writers Michel Tremblay and Mordecai Richler and both have set many stories in the Plateau of the 1950s and 60s.
The Plateau is characterized by brightly-coloured houses, cafés, book shops, and a laissez-faire attitude. It’s the location of some famous attractions on Saint Laurent Boulevard, including Schwartz’s Deli (famous for its Montreal smoked meat), and a weekend street fair during the summer that sees extremely crowded streets. In 1997, Utne Reader rated it one of the 15 “hippest” neighbourhoods in North America.
In the 1980s, the area’s bohemian aura and proximity to McGill University attracted gentrification. As rents increased, many of its traditional residents and businesses were dispersed to other parts of the city. For example, a historic local grocer, Warshaw, has recently been replaced by a Pharmaprix. The neighbourhood continues to gentrify, and it is now home to many upscale restaurants and nightclubs, and any number of trendy clothing stores have their place along this strip of St-Laurent and St-Denis.
It is bordered to the south by Ville-Marie, to the west by Outremont, and to the north and east by Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. Clockwise from the south, it is bounded by Sherbrooke St., University St., Pine Ave. (av. des Pins), Park Ave. (Avenue du Parc), the southward projection of Hutchison St., Hutchison St., Mount Royal Ave (av. Mont-Royal), and the CP railroad tracks.