Gentrify This! Guide (English)

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All That is Solid Melts Into Air... Or, What This Guide is All About Maybe you’ve been living in Saint-Henri over the past couple of years, watching abandoned Imperial Tobacco factories morphing into the impossibly luxurious ‘Imperial Lofts.’ Maybe you’re in Villeray, close to the almost-completed Castelnau condo project, where individual units are selling for as high as $1 million. But whether you’ve just moved to Montreal or you’ve been here for a while, as a student you’ve probably noticed two pretty consistent trends: it’s getting harder to find an affordable place to live, and the face of your neighbourhood is changing fast. These two dynamics are inextricably linked, and integral facets of a process known as gentrification. Literally, ‘gentry-fication’: the mass displacement of socio-economically marginal populations from traditionally working class areas in favour of upwardly mobile populations; the ever-persistent increase in rental prices and property values; the slow disintegration of working class social networks and forms of solidarity; the crowding out of small businesses in favour of upscale chains and speciality shops. What does this have to do with you? Whether we like it or not, students are part and parcel of the process of gentrification. As a generally low-income population, we tend to migrate towards the affordable rents of working class neighbourhoods. But we seldom stay in an apartment for long and usually don’t know our rights as tenants, allowing landlords to continue profiting from crumbling apartment buildings and then to increase the rent indiscriminately upon our departure. Similarly, our arrival in a neighbourhood foreshadows the arrival of new bars, cafes, and stores, often to the detriment of other local businesses, social organizations, and ways of life. Fortunately, as students we are also far from powerless against this rotten system of so-called development. This guide seeks to arm you with a multi-pronged analysis of gentrification, including its structural aspects (the housing market and the capitalist system) and its socio-cultural manifestations (how to resist alienation and become a rooted resident of a popular neighbourhood, etc.).


Above all, it’s the goal of this work to provide you with tools for getting involved in the popular struggle for the right to housing. The central focus here is on resistance, furnishing resources for getting to know your rights and tools for getting involved in your community (the organizations, collectives, and individuals struggling in different neighbourhoods), all the while privileging the reflections and analyses of anti-gentrification activists. As a microcosm of capitalism, gentrification makes the rich richer and the poor, well…more poor. And just like capitalism as a whole, it can seem overwhelming and unbeatable. But when we get together to defend our communities, we quickly realize that we can be very powerful. Gentrification isn’t inevitable. It’s up to us to defeat it!


Economic Models Come and Go, Greed Stays the Same Amongst the activists and academics who oppose gentrification, there’s an ongoing debate around the fundamental causes of the process: is it propelled more by production (the circulation of capital, construction and development, increasing property values) or by consumption (the circulation of people, i.e. demographic change – the influx of new consumers with an increasing demand for certain lifestyles)? This guide will try to avoid taking a position in that debate, emphasizing instead the intersection of different forms of power (we can’t separate the economic power, either of producers or consumers of gentrification, from gender, race, sexuality, and ability). Still and all, though, for practical reasons it seems useful to examine each body of causes on its own. Let’s start with some structural factors. Since the end of the 1970s and the overwhelming transition of the North American economy from production to consumption, and the concomitant rise of the famous ‘knowledge economy,’ historically industrial/working class neighbourhoods have undergone enormous changes. This is, at its root, a story based in the cyclical nature of capitalist production, with its implacable search for profit resulting in successive devaluations then revaluations of the areas in question. Faced with a brutal deindustrialization and the displacement of production to the Majority World, the post-War period has seen a significant decrease in property values in industrial neighbourhoods across the United States and Canada. Seeking still to generate a profit in this new context, landlords largely withdrew their investments and turned towards renting as a way to squeeze a few dimes out of increasingly unemployed residents. It goes without saying that this meant that tenants were for the large part living in deplorable conditions, and that the lack of owner upkeep and subsequent general 3

dilapidation of the housing stock contributed to diminishing property values in the area. Importantly, however, during the decades in which the actual value of these properties was decreasing, the potential value of former industrial neighbourhoods, especially those that were close to downtown or to the business sector, was increasing. As the major North American cities became centres of a new global neoliberal economic system, a new middle class was born: young professionals looking for chique housing opportunities and pleasant environments, but—unlike their parents—eschewing the suburbs for locales close to the urban offices and businesses employing them. In short, a gap developed between the infrastructural reality of working class neighbourhoods (that is to say, apartments that didn’t cost much in generally neglected buildings), and the rapacious hunger of developers to capitalize on this potential yuppy market in a new neoliberal era. It’s in this gap where gentrification was born, and its there, too, where marginalized populations are disadvantaged. Often, as briefly alluded to in the introduction, the first wave of new arrivals in the neighbourhood is made up of students, artists, and other creative types, attracted by reasonable rent. But the rent doesn’t stay reasonable for long. New demand for these cheap apartments and the influx of a much more transitory population causes a certain increase in price. However, the real motive driving the increase in property values, and by consequence property taxes and thus rents, is the construction of private condominium projects. In the neoliberal model of urban renewal, local government leaves the ‘development’ of working class neighbourhoods to large corporations, without consideration for the needs of long-time residents. All of a sudden, the same landlords who for years neglected the maintenance of their buildings are afforded the opportunity to capitalize on their paltry investments by selling them to big developers who accumulate properties and then convert them to condos. The vast majority of new construction projects on the urban housing market are dedicated to condos rather than rentable units. Quickly, low-income tenants find themselves in the middle of an urgent housing crisis : there are less and less apartments available that cost more and more (according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, for example, the construction of rentable housing in Montreal has decreased by 40% since 2007, while the construction of condos has increased by 73%!).


In a text written in 2011, residents and activists from Saint-Henri summarized what gentrification looks like from their corner of the city: By and large, gentrification means that there are now people with a lot of money who are moving into poor neighbourhoods. Abandoned factories and buildings are turned into luxury housing, and they build beautiful new dwellings on vacant lots. The problem is that the folks who already live in the neighbourhood don’t have the means to live in them. Same goes for the new restaurants and new stores…it’s all very nice, but it’s too expensive! [translated from the original French.] There are many examples of this process in working class neighbourhoods around Montreal, starting with the Southwest region (Saint-Henri, Little Burgundy, Pointe-St-Charles, Ville-Émard/Côte-Saint-Paul, and Verdun). In this sector, the vacancy rate on the rentable housing market is 1.9%, and only 0.2% for dwellings with three bedrooms or more (the general statistical consensus is that a region is experiencing a housing crisis when the vacancy rate is less than 3%). Moreover, the average rent in the Southwest is currently 632$ per month! Just in Saint-Henri, a neighbourhood primarily composed of low-income tenants (in fact 81.7% of residents in the area are renters), this means that 36.1% of tenant households are spending more than 30% of their revenue on housing. Note as well that 1030 households are putting more than 50% of their income toward rent, and 520 of these more than 80%! On the other side of the equation, more than 2000 condo units have been constructed in Saint-Henri since 2005 (as opposed to only 147 social housing units!). The big developers like Alliance Prével, Mondev Construction and Groupe Alta Socam propelled an increase in property values of 177.5% between 1996 and 2006, corresponding to a rent hike of 29%. In this picture, there are lofts-a-plenty for artists and the newly wealthy. Apartments for poor (and often single-parent) families? Not so much.


Turning more to the east and north of Montreal, we find the same story in other economically marginal neighbourhoods. In the Villeray/Saint-Michel/ Parc Extension region, the vacancy rate is only 2.7%; in Rosemont/PetitePatrie, 1.6%; in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, 2.2%. In these three sectors, the vacancy rate for apartments big enough for the average low-income family (i.e. at least three bedrooms) is so insignificant that it isn’t even provided as part of the market statistics generated by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. And in all three, the average rent is more than 600$— representing, for example, almost the entire monthly revenue of a person on social assistance. At the same time, condos are being constructed at a break-neck pace. Quickly, these neighbourhoods are changing composition. In an academic study from 2011, researchers affiliated with McGill University noted that: Adjacent to the Plateau Mont-Royal and Mile End neighbourhoods, which count as some of the most gentrified areas in Montreal (Walks and Maaranen 2008), Petite-Patrie has experienced a strong process of gentrification since the beginning of the 2000s. Property values and rents are markedly increasing, and many condominiums are being constructed on formerly vacant lots, bringing with them a younger and more educated population. In addition, the population of the neighbourhood is now more likely to have obtained a university diploma than the entire rest of the Montreal region‌ while the number and percentage of people over 65 is decreasing. Furthermore, people of visible minority backgrounds are becoming less and less numerous. [Translated from the original French.]


So, a historically working-unemployed neighbourhood is rapidly becoming the exclusive province of the young, white, and educated. More or less the same thing is happening in the east of Montreal. Listen to the testimony of comrades from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve: Briefly, the strategy of the City and the Borough Mayor is to leave the neighbourhood open to big corporations like Samcon so that they construct condos everywhere possible…as well as to attract buyers from outside the area and increase the number of property-owners in a neighbourhood majoritarily composed of tenants (more owners = more municipal tax revenue) while they let the existing rentable housing stock disintegrate. These promoters and the municipal administration fill their pockets, while those of us who can’t (or don’t want to) pay for a condo, no matter how ‘affordable’ they pretend it is, are left with less and less of a chance of finding decent housing (or even housing at all). It’s this that they call the ‘revitalization’ of the neighbourhood.[Translated from the original French.] We must, at the end of the analysis, avoid seeing this crisis in affordable housing (in both the private and public domain) as the inevitable and temporary product of a self-regulating market. In 2009, researchers from the Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS) affirmed that ‘Far from being re-absorbed, the lack of housing and the crisis of affordability are becoming a permanent fixture of the rental market in Quebec. Rents are increasing higher than inflation.’ [Translated from the original French.] They also noted that urban development across Quebec has become trapped in a strong tendency to construct condo units over rentable apartments, despite the housing crisis. In fact, this is a clear case in which the supply of a certain type of housing, driven by the irrational greed of the rich, does not correspond at all with demand. In 2012, we’re at risk of entering into a ‘bust’ period on the housing market, a generalized oversupply of condo units, motivated by the speculative construction practices of the big developers. When we add into the mix what we now know about the enhanced level of corruption in the construction business, in cahoots with the political classes and their friends in the Quebec bourgeoisie, it seems very likely that capitalism and its managers are leading us towards another cyclical devaluation of popular neighbourhoods. Gentrification, we come to see, is based more on haphazard attempts by the rich to get a bit richer than it is on any coherent strategy for urban development. It’s up to us to build real sustainable alternatives, founded in respect for marginalized populations. 7


There Goes the Neighbourhood: The Cultural Effects of Gentrification ‘Gentrification,’ writes scholar Sharon Zukin, ‘may be described as a process of spatial and social differentiation.’ The spatial recasting of working class neighbourhoods from centres of industrial production to bedroom neighbourhoods of the business classes has been addressed. We turn now to the social aspects of the gentrification process: what happens to the culture of popular areas as they’re increasingly taken over by more upwardly mobile populations? While the underlying dynamics of the gentrification process are undeniably rooted in economic and structural change, developers and gentrifiers also wage a sort of cultural war against existing populations. At its root, capitalism in the North American context is inextricably founded in the colonial theft of indigenous territory, and replicates the ideological patterns of this process in its present-day expansion. Much like the adventure-oriented frontier expansion of early Canadian society, modernday gentrifiers seek out housing in ‘edgy,’ working class neighbourhoods as a sort of culturally legitimizing corollary of the fast-paced knowledge economy – no suburban lifestyle for the new intellectual classes! Their relations to their neighbours are at best a kind of bemused consumption of an exotified Other, through whom they gain authenticity, and in effect, cultural capital. As Zukin notes, ‘Culturally validated neighbourhoods automatically provide new middle classes with the collective identity and social credentials for which they strive…Moreover, the ideology of gentrification legitimizes their social reproduction, often despite the claims of an existing population.’


And what happens to this existing population? As the neighbourhood and its socio-economic infrastructure becomes more and more oriented toward the mortgage-holders of new condos, a profound sense of disorientation and dislocation can set in. Take the example of Madame Pierre Forget, a long-time Rosemont resident interviewed recently for a piece on the gentrification of rue Masson, a principal commercial artery in the area. ‘I’d prefer to see family-owned grocery stores than Dollaramas and Pan-shops. But nothing is made for us. Just a few feet from here, there’s a restaurant so chic that I would never dare to go in. I don’t recognize my neighbourhood anymore. That’s how it is. [Translated from the original French.] Or we can look again to Montreal’s southwest, where green spaces like Parc St-Henri become inaccessible to neighbourhood children as they’re overrun by the well-groomed dogs owned by nearby Imperial Loft-dwellers. Economically marginal populations are faced not only with rising rents and fewer apartment vacancies but also with an increasing sense of cultural alienation as they are made to feel unwelcome in their own neighbourhoods.


What can you do about it? What role, if any, do students play in this process? Certainly they are not responsible for the introduction of the stale, prefab culture of the ruling classes into former industrial neighbourhoods, any more than are, say, immigrant populations who bring diverse cultural forms with them as they move into traditionally white working class areas in search of cheap rent. All the same, though, students and other young, generally creative people do play a role in transforming the culture of neighbourhoods. Firstly, as a largely transient population, the increasing number of students in a neighbourhood can contribute to the disintegration of social networks built around long-standing neighbourly relations and connections of family and friendship. Secondly, even amongst those progressive students engaged in radical organizing in their campus contexts, there is often a general lack of knowledge about the organizations and collectives already engaged in anti-gentrification struggles in the neighbourhood. Lack of collaboration between politically left students and community members creates needless parallel efforts and limits the capacity of the community to create longterm strategies of resistance to gentrification. The main fault in this whole process, of course, lies squarely with the big developers, who promote lifestyles foreign to and impossible for the socioeconomically marginalized to obtain, with the direct intention of creating profit through the establishment of pleasant environments for the wealthy. As the PrĂŠvel-developed Imperial Loft website brags, ‘There will be a terrace on the roof, a terrace with a swimming pool and an urban chalet with barbecue, kitchen, lounge, fireplace and billiard table to allow residents to take full advantage of their urban environment.’ In the gentrified landscape, the urban environment is not about building neighbourhood connections so much as it is a muted backdrop upon which to paint images of bourgeois socio-cultural perfection.


All of this cultural take-over is driven by a very specific vision of what these neighbourhoods should look like. We need only read the testimony of Avi Morrow, condo owner in the same Imperial Lofts, to get a good idea of what it’s all about. I think good property, good location, over time, always do well. That’s why they call it real estate, because it’s real and it never disappears. So if you buy quality and you buy good location you can’t go wrong. Places like Lachine, St-Henri and Verdun, which are being developed now, will become like the Plateau. You have to have the guts and you have to have the foresight. Like the Plateau – fancy, expensive, generally impossible for low-income populations to live there. This, then, is the openly-stated goal of gentrifiers moving into working class neighbourhoods like the Southwest. It is the responsibility of students on the left, even if they’re largely not behind the socio-cultural disintegration of gentrification, to resist contributing to the imposition of bourgeois culture in economically marginal neighbourhoods. This is hard work, and can only be done by reaching beyond their social and political boundaries to become rooted members of ongoing resistance in their communities, strengthening cultures of solidarity that can stand up to the socio-economic onslaught of gentrification. But how to do this? We turn now to the question of building resistance.


Getting Involved: Resources for Resistance, Tools for Struggle Since the early 1960s, successive municipal and provincial governments have pursued a variety of ‘urban renewal’ strategies in their incessant war on Montreal’s working class neighbourhoods, ranging from outright and total demolition of entire areas to expropriations for large-scale infrastructure projects for the benefit of suburban dwellers (such as the construction of the Ville-Marie Expressway), to the more subtle contemporary neoliberal strategy of privatized condo development. Throughout this period, community-based committees and collectives have maintained a vibrant culture of resistance. The ongoing struggle for dignified and accessible housing for poor and working people remains the most important bulwark against the neoliberal vision of Montreal dominating the urban planning agenda, a vision that seeks to progressively push socio-economically marginal populations from the city in favour of upscale developments, business towers, and slickly-packaged, tourist-oriented cultural centres. Since the late 1990s, in particular, grassroots anticapitalist activists have been engaged in a struggle against gentrification that has generated squats, countless demonstrations, occupations, and ongoing campaigns for desperately-needed public housing. What follows are some resources and information that can hopefully help students join the resistance against gentrification in their neighbourhoods.


Know Your Rights!

Knowing your rights as a tenant is an important first step in resisting gentrification. Like any other set of laws, of course, Quebec’s housing legislation is deeply tied in with systems of power and privilege that generally benefit the wealthy over the poor. Still, knowing what your landlord can and cannot legally get away with can go a long way toward keeping rents down in your neighbourhood and getting much-needed repairs done. Most importantly, being well-informed as to the proper legal relationship between landlord and tenant will prevent you from being manipulated and keep the lines of conflict clear – your landlord is not your friend, and generally shouldn’t be trusted or relied upon. Here are just a few things all student-tenants interested in fighting gentrification should know:

You have the right to refuse a rent increase. If you have signed a twelve-month lease, as most tenants have, your lease likely renews automatically every July 1st. If the landlord wishes to increase the rent, they must inform you, in writing, at least three months in advance of this date. You have a month in which to respond. Your landlord may very well try to negotiate in person, but never sign anything on the spot! Further, ‘Section G’ of your lease should indicate the rent of the previous tenant. If your rent is higher than the amount indicated, you have 10 days after signing the lease to apply to the Régie du logement for a ‘rent fixation’ hearing. If your landlord has not filled out section G, or you discover the previous tenants’ rent was actually lower than indicated, you have two months to apply for the same hearing. It’s important to make sure you leave a copy of your old lease for the new tenant, because landlords will often try to take advantage of this situation to greatly increase the rent.


If you decide to move, transfer your lease directly to the new tenant. Transferring your lease instead of terminating it means that the new tenant assumes the rights and responsibilities for the apartment in question and the terms of the lease –including the RENT – remain the same (subject to the minor increases permitted by law for tax increases, repairs, etc.). This is one of the most effective tools for keeping the rent down.

Keep up the pressure to get repairs done. If you do them yourself, charge the landlord! The landlord is legally responsible for all repairs to your apartment, be it urgent repairs (such as frozen pipes or mold problems) or major renovations. Let your landlord know of needed repairs as soon as possible, either by registered mail or by telephone with a witness present. In the case of urgent repairs, give the landlord 48 hours to do the repairs. If they don’t respond in this time, you can do them yourself and deduct the amount from your monthly rent (keep your receipts to prove your expenses!). Be careful here, though: what you consider urgent and what the law considers urgent might be different things. If you haven’t paid your full rent and the Régie du logement rules against you, you could be evicted. If there’s any doubt, contact your local housing committee (see below) before proceeding. It’s important to insist on repairs being done, for a few reasons. In a time of housing crisis, high demand for the few available apartments means landlords have very little incentive to keep up their properties. Making sure repairs are done is a crucial way to participate in the fight for dignified living conditions for economically marginal populations. Furthermore, as we’ve seen, the devaluation of rental properties/ degradation of the available rental housing stock is a crucial step in the gentrification cycle, so being insistent about repairs can throw a wrench in the spokes of stratified structural change of neighbourhoods. These items are just the tip of the iceberg that is the tenants’ rights movement.


The best strategy is to make sure you’re accompanied through the process by someone from your local housing committee or from a housing service at your university. For more information, consult : • • •

The ‘Tools for Defending Rights’ page of the Regroupement des comités logements et associations locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) at The Off-Campus Housing and Job Bank of the Concordia Student Union (CSU), at The Régie du logement du Québec, at

Housing Committees and Tenants’ Associations Knowing your rights as an individual tenant is an undeniably important part of fighting gentrification. Far more important, though, is getting involved in ongoing collective struggles in your neighbourhood. Generally, the best way to do this is to seek out your local housing committee or tenants’ association. These organizations are rooted in a grassroots membership of renters, are governed by a popularly-elected board of directors, and usually have at least one paid staff person. Housing committees run the political spectrum from soft left to more radical, but as democratic organizations they should take direction from YOU, the members! Most housing committees will be able to help you with your individual housing situation, an invaluable tool in a legal process that can be overwhelming and confusing. However, they are also crucial actors in a number of collective struggles for the right to housing in Québec. They can largely be broken down into two categories: (1) housing committees and associations affiliated with the Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) oppose the logic of privatization of the housing market and seek to ensure that housing is enshrined as a social right in Québec through the struggle for more social housing. The FRAPRU’s main demand at this time is the construction of 50 000 social housing units over the next 5 years; (2) associations that are a part of the Regroupement des comités logements et associations locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) are more concerned with collective rights on the private market, demanding among other things a freeze on rent increases and the creation of a standardized official register of rents. (In fact, most housing committees belong to belong to both organizations, but participate more actively in one or the other). 16

Below you can find the contact information for a variety of housing committees in Montréal (note though that this is not an exhaustive list!): • •

• • • • • • • • •

POPIR-Comité logement, 4017 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, (514) 935-4649,, (St-Henri, Little Burgundy, Côte-St-Paul, Ville Émard) Regroupement Information Logement (RIL) de Pointe St-Charles, 1945 rue Mullins, Bureau 110, (514) 9327742,, (Pointe St-Charles) Comité d’action des citoyennes et citoyens de Verdun (CACV), 4792 rue de Verdun, (514) 769-2228, (Verdun) Comité logement de Lachine-Lasalle, 426, rue StJacques, Lachine, (514) 544-4294, (Lachine-Lasalle) Projet Genèse, 4735 Chemin de la Côte-Ste-Catherine, (514) 738-2036, (Côte des Neiges) OEIL Côtes-des-Neiges, 3600 rue Barclay, bureau 344, (514) 738-0101,, (Côte-des-Neiges) Comité logement Ville-Marie, 1710 rue Beaudry, local 2.6, (514) 521-5992,, (downtown, Centre-Sud, the Village) Comité logement du Plateau-Mont-Royal, 4450 rue St-Hubert, local 328, (514) 527-3495,, (Plateau) Comité logement Rosemont, 5350, Lafond, local R-145, (514) 597-2581,, www. (Rosemont) Comité logement de la Petite Patrie, 6839A rue Drolet, (514) 272-9006, (Petite-Patrie) Comité logement Montréal-Nord, 11 379 Garon #2, (514) 852-9253, (Montréal Nord) Comité logement Ahuntsic-Cartierville, 10780 rue Laverdure, bur. 208, (514) 331-1773, www., (Ahuntsic) Comité BAILS, 1455 rue Bennett, (514) 522-1817,, (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve) Entraide Logement, 1500 av. d’Orléans, 514 528-1634, 17

• •, (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve) Action dignité de Saint-Léonard, 9089A, boulevard Viau, 514-251-2874, (St-Léonard) Comité d’Action de Parc Extension, 419, rue Saint-Roch, Sous-sol 15B, (514) 278-6028, (Parc Ex) Association des locataires de Villeray, 7378 rue Lajeunesse, local 213, (514) 270-6703, (Villeray) Centre éducatif communautaire René-Goupil, 4105 rue 47e, (514) 596-4420,, (St-Michel) Conseil Communautaire Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, 5964. venue N.D.G.,, (NDG)


Beyond the Community Sector, from Collectives to Assemblies to Dog Walking Notwithstanding their many advantages, the housing committees do also have many of the challenges associated with the community sector, including funding concerns and a tendency toward reformist analysis (focusing on fixing what we know is a deeply broken system, instead of organizing for more fundamental, long-term changes). Fortunately, now is an exciting time for the creation of radical grassroots neighbourhood organizing in Montreal. Over the last several years, community members across the city have been creating autonomous initiatives to fight against gentrification and for the right to housing. For cool examples, check out Petite-Patrie group Justice-Logement, at, or take a look at what Right to the City Montreal, a coalition of students and community members, is doing at Many other collectives target gentrification as a major threat to their neighbourhoods. In 2009 in Pointe St-Charles, for instance, anarchists occupied an abandoned factory in a bid to create an Autonomous Social Centre and block the proposed construction of two condo towers on the site. And while they were brutally evicted, the grassroots radical effort to build autonomous alternatives to gentrification is ongoing in that neighbourhood (check them out at Most recent, however, is the birth of popular autonomous neighbourhood assemblies around the city. In the wake of the Charest government’s brutal repression of the months-long student strike in the spring of 2012, the popular movement against neoliberal capitalism moved out into the neighbourhoods through the creation of local democratic forums for organizing community resistance. Getting involved in your neighbourhood assembly is an excellent way to hook up with other activists in your neighbourhood and to create long-term roots in the struggle against gentrification and capitalism in general. For a list of assemblies by neighbourhood, check out


Finally, there’s no real mystery to becoming a rooted member of your community, regardless of how long you stay in a given apartment. Be friendly! Learn the names of your neighbours! Leave the library and walk a dog, or do some babysitting! If you’ve just moved to town, it’s important to learn how to hold up your end of a conversation in French. You can learn French through the language department at your university, and the government also offers cheap or free classes for new arrivals in Quebec (for a helpful resource guide compiled by Concordia University, check out http:// external-resources/). At the end of the day, there’s nothing like getting involved and meeting new people when you’re trying to learn a language!


Gentrify This! Getting Mad, Taking Action So you’ve learned about your rights, gotten involved in your neighbourhood housing committee and popular assembly, and made friends with all your neighbours (or at least the nice ones). The job isn’t yet done! Collective action comes in a diversity of forms, and while we’d never advise you to do anything outside the bounds of the law, we’d like to point out all the same that developers, landlords, and yuppy scumbags are discouraged from moving into neighbourhoods when the political, economic, and social costs become prohibitive. Or maybe you’d like to pay an unscheduled visit to the sales office of a certain developer or slumlord! Bring some friends, make it an event! The possibilities for resistance are endless. To facilitate your creative process, we include here some information that we hope will be useful (again, not an exhaustive list. Do your own homework!). • • •

Condo Montreal, McGill immobilier inc. agence immobilière, 780 Wellington Vieux Montreal (Griffintown) Qc., H3C 1T7. info @ t. 514.255.0550, f. 514.255.0550 Alliance Prével, 32 rue des Sœurs-Grises, Montreal QC, H3C 2P8, t. 514.281.9696 #13, f. 514.281.9945, Samcon, 815, René-Lévesque Est Montréal, Québec H2L 4V5, t. 514. 844.7300, téléphone sans frais 1.855.726.2665, f. 514.844.5625, Mondev, 100 Boul. Alexis Nihon, suite 946, SaintLaurent, Qc H4M 2N9, sales office téléphone 514.998.1514, administration 514.998.1514, f. 514.744.9169 Placements Sergakis (notorious Montreal slumlord), 3800 Notre Dame O Montreal, QC H4C 1P9, 514.937.6137 Grinch Realties (seriously!), 1456 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal QC, H3G 1K4, 514.849.3311

For a nifty list of many different condo projects in Montreal, check out


text: fred burrill illustrations: kerri flannigan translation: sunny doyle layout: noah eidelman this guide was created in 2012-2013 as a summer stipend project of QPIRG concordia for more information about QPIRG:


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