Student Life

A creative storytelling series by Concordia students

Book author Léandre Larouche shares his short story, “Infrastructure”

The main street is walking down my body. I’ve been wandering around for too long now. Thanks to the downtown lights, I see the city’s true colours. I see the uncovered faces of churches, condos, skyscrapers and bridges; and the main street keeps walking down my body. I feel its heavy weight crash onto my soul. There’s something uncanny about being alone. It’s as if everything was more evident, more noteworthy. I notice how run-down our infrastructure is.

Simultaneous construction around the city is at an all-time high; it monopolizes the public space from the street level to the sky. Giant ladders stand still leaned up against building walls, while operating cranes and piles of materials occupy entire parking lots. Every corner, ostracized, finds itself hijacked by construction equipment. But at this time—it’s 11:30 p.m.—nothing’s going on, everything’s frozen. I see my city as a sad, grayish picture, one upon which I’m forced to lay my eyes, sad and bitter and resentful. I didn’t ask to see the city as it is. I didn’t ask to be alone tonight.

There are so many bars here, more than I thought. Never would I have expected to see so many of them, on just one street, although I know this city as no one else does. Nor would I have imagined so many people congregating inside them. My friends and I are of the most loyal, trustworthy regulars to the bars we cherish and call home; we never miss, at least not without a good reason, the rendezvous that has become tradition. We are earnest drinkers, fervent chatters and lovers of people; yet I was blissfully unaware that my city had so many choices.

Just to my left is a brewery I must have gone to a dozen times. As I walk by it, a group of men stand next to the door, smoking cigarettes, chatting and laughing loudly. These rather muscular guys, with beards and all, are clearly having a good time. I pass just in front of them, slow down and turn back. I shoot a glance inside the bar. I can see the people; I can feel the vibe. They walk and talk and drink in the laid-back atmosphere; the bar is half modern, half antique. I want to go in. I want to go in and sit down and have a drink. But I refrain and keep walking.

Further down the main street is another bar which I more or less know. I mean to enter that one too. The dim light at the entrance suggests a tiny ray of hope for me. I approach the door, stare at the doorman, and then decide to back off. This place isn’t for me, after all. I keep walking, paying more and more attention to bars and, as I remain in motion, I see plenty of them. I see plenty but they’re all full. As soon as I look in, if I dare do so, I don’t see any place for me to sneak in. The counters are unwelcoming and so are the tables. There’s no place where I might belong.

I accelerate my pace, throwing glances at bars I pass, and I don’t go in. I note each one’s crowdedness, biting my lips. Panic grows apace, my heart pounding, my head hurting and my mouth becoming dry. I grow dizzy and uncomfortable; I can’t see the surrounding light. After a while, I hit the end of the main street only to find myself faced with deep shame. There must be something wrong with me, I think. All the moments spent with friends in bars rush to my mind. Why am I so lonely? Why am I so abnormal? I thought I was someone.

The only place I can get into is a pizza place, empty and just about to close. Once inside, I sit down, slice in hand, and gaze at a condo building being demolished outside. They’re not done with it yet, but it already looks like a perfect wreck. I bite into my pizza and tomato sauce falls onto my shirt. The cashier is cleaning up behind me. It’s 11:59 p.m. now, and the dawn of a new day threatens me. In a minute, it will be Friday night no more, and I feel like a disappointed disappointment. I wonder what everyone might be doing right now. I sigh. My infrastructure isn’t any better than the city’s.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth


Being Canadian rather than ‘not American’

A reflection on Canada’s national identity and why we should just be ourselves

The celebration of 150 years since Canada’s Confederation does not come without a few controversial questions. Amid the festivities, people from across the country have been denouncing the treatment of Indigenous peoples. As well, some people in Quebec—citizens and politicians alike—have reiterated the need for the province to be part of the constitution or to become a sovereign state.

While reconciliation and constitutional issues are of the utmost importance, I’d like to bring forward an aspect of Canada’s identity that’s often omitted. It’s an aspect that is crucial to what we’ve become in the century and a half since Confederation.

I’ve always been interested in the different political ideologies in Canada. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I realized there is a hidden one. One that pervades and homogenizes other ideologies so well that all lines are blurred, making us oblivious to it.

Indeed, I think there are not two but three main ideologies in today’s Canada: Quebec nationalism, Canada’s British roots and American exceptionalism. The latter proposes that the American economic system, political culture and democracy are uniquely rightful, thus making them the default model to follow. This ideology is certainly the most entrenched in our public discourse, as we see Canada becoming more similar to the United States.

American exceptionalism has positive and negative sides, depending on one’s position. For many Maritimers, the ideology is a denial of their deeply-rooted identity, while for some Québécois, it may reinforce republicanism and the sovereigntist sentiment, stemming from a shared sense of British oppression. But for both groups, it entails the takeover of their culture by mass consumption as sold by large media and corporations. That said, the Americanization of Canada likely serves neither Québécois nationalists nor Maritime loyalists.

The United States is currently walking down the road of isolationism and protectionism, a road that none of Canada’s identity groups are fond of. This is why I believe uniting to assert our right to political independence is the best thing we can do. In many ways, the current U.S. president has proven his values conflict with those of our country, and yet it is very difficult to stand up against our closest ally and neighbour.

Most of the time, when I ask someone what it means to be Canadian, the answer either has to do with multiculturalism or not being American. But to what extent is the latter true?

Our economies are integrated to the extent that we can’t foresee a future without a trade partnership with the United States. From NAFTA to Netflix, we are annexed now more than ever––the result of decades of neighbour-friendly policy making. I think this is concerning, given the political polarization in the United States and the looming threat of a war with North Korea. No matter how different we Canadians think we are, we may one day begin to see the downsides of such a close link with our southern neighbour.

I’m not here to tell anyone what kind of Canada they should strive for, nor am I here to lecture the United States. What I’m here for is to claim that we don’t have to be like Americans to be more favourable as a world power. We can make our own path, we can be ourselves and we can stand for what we want.

Our government should be more receptive to different identity groups in Canada than to the United States’s influence. It should take Canada for what it is: a politically and geographically complex place rather than an attempted replica of the United States. But the first step is for the population to read and learn about the past, and realize how Americanized Canada has become.

Graphic by ZeZe Le Lin


The poetics of language should be stronger than its politics

Anglophones choosing French universities signifies a deeper change in Montreal society

“Montreal is home.”

That’s a statement I’ve heard on more than one occasion from native-Montrealers and newcomers alike. I’ve heard it from born-and-bred Torontonians and proud Vancouverites. I’ve heard it said in English, French and even Spanish.

As someone who grew up in the far-away town of Saguenay, Que., I am very aware of how great the city’s energy and culture is.

But Montreal, as one of my Canadian literature professors put it, is the centre of very complex, divisive politics. Indeed, language politics bring out the worst in people and foster a hostility I have a hard time wrapping my head around.

Last month, the Montreal Gazette published a compelling article about a Montreal lawyer who found herself choosing to study at Université de Montréal (UdeM) despite being an anglophone. According to the article, when Serena Trifiro wasn’t accepted into McGill University, she opted for UdeM. Today, Trifiro says she’s infinitely grateful for this turn of events, as it helped her pass the Quebec bar and facilitated her career in Quebec, according to the article. Trifiro suggested that she believes the perks were well worth the struggle at UdeM.

The Montreal Gazette’s piece addressed the fact that more anglophones are choosing to attend French universities. Among other statistics, the article pointed out that the number of English-speaking students at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) rose from 193 in 2012 to 519 in 2016.

I am a born-and-bred Saguenéen who loves the English side of Montreal, and I came to study English literature at Concordia with the goal of eventually leaving the province. In my opinion, the increase of anglophone students in Montreal’s French universities is significant.

Forty years after passing the controversial Bill 101, this increase shows that Montreal has successfully affirmed itself as a French-speaking city, and yet is still accessible to both French and English speakers.

Of course, Trifiro’s initial hesitation to study in French is both understandable and telling about the state of language relations in Montreal. Some francophones are often closed-off and even hostile towards English-speaking Montrealers. I myself have gotten the infamous dagger eyes for speaking English with a friend in public. Yet French can be a complex and difficult language, and many people in Montreal—especially English-speaking university students—live here with less than adequate French skills, which I think is regrettable.

Languages are meant to be learned with passion and interest. Unlike what many might think, even with Pierre-Elliott Trudeau making both English and French Canada’s official languages in 1969, Canada is not and will never be a truly bilingual country—except in Montreal.

To be fair, I’m fine with that. Not everyone needs to be bilingual, so long as we can be civil and accept each other. In a way, I do feel a sense of pride in seeing anglophones acknowledging that French is necessary to build a career in Quebec. I think that has always been the point of encouraging French education, at least for a portion of the population.

To get another perspective, I spoke with Alexandre Viger-Collins, a Concordia political science graduate. Despite what his first name suggests, he is 100 per cent anglophone. He grew up in an anglophone community where, he confessed, people don’t have much incentive to learn French.

Nonetheless, he ended up studying political science at UdeM, which was more or less an accident. While attending a French university was never his intention, he said he is now positive that it was for the best. Viger-Collins said he intends to work in provincial politics, and while studying in French will certainly have a positive effect on his career prospects in this province, he said he has also gained much more insight into Quebec’s culture. He said he now feels more integrated into the society.

The bridge between French and English in this province needs to be built on both sides. Although I believe we francophones have work to do in terms of accepting those who don’t speak French, I am confident in saying that Montreal has become a good place for both communities to live in, despite recurring tensions. Ultimately, I think the attitude of people like Trifiro and Viger-Collins encourages this generation and future generations to have a different outlook on the French language.

This recent surge in anglophones choosing to study in French seems to be an indicator that the city is changing for the better.

In light of this, my hope for the future is not only that more anglophones attend French

universities, but that they do so with motivation, for the love of the French language—not by force or as a last resort. When it comes to education, I believe we should let go of the politics and give more room to the poetics of language.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin

A previous version of this article indicated that details about Serena Trifiro’s experience had been quoted from a Montreal Gazette article rather than paraphrased. The Concordian regrets the error.


Does hard work actually get you anywhere?

Exploring the science behind luck, success and hard work in North America

There’s no way to achieve your financial goals without working hard. North Americans understand this fairly well—I think our economic system reward the hardest of the hardest-working individuals, which is partly legitimate.

However, luck and privilege are too often left behind when thinking about financial success. This shows when people approve right-wing economic policies such as austerity and major investments in the corporate sector. It seems absurd to me that in an already competitive society full of social inequalities, we want to advantage privileged people even more.

If we truly acknowledged external factors to financial success in Quebec, for instance, the Government of Quebec would not have invested billions of dollars in Bombardier while cutting in education. The year 2012 reminds us that protesting can turn things around. But the silent majority speaks volumes right now.

Although I am opposed to economic inequalities, I will define financial success, for the purpose of this piece, as earning significantly more money than the average Canadian or American person. This is not an easy project for everyone to undertake. The reason I think hard work is not enough is because no one can truly control his or her financial future.

The American Dream, the term coined by James Truslow Adams in 1931, proclaims: “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

In this definition lies the tacit assumption that hard work can get anyone anywhere. However, whether it is in the US or in Canada, attending the right schools and having the right friends, just to name a few, are likely to get someone further than just working hard.

What happens to those who also work hard but don’t have the same opportunities? They suffer from right-wing economic policies. With austerity and investment of tax money in the private sector, they end up living in world in which they cannot even afford basic necessities. Education and health services become market values, which increases already existing inequalities.

Social environment, education and the events that occur during our life—whether they’re positive and negative—shape how we manage our life. Additionally, many people contribute to our personal developmentteachers, parents and friends have an enormous impact on us. Thus it enables some to get where they want, while it disables others.

This is not even considering the fact that what most people want to do with their lives just pays average, if not less. Therefore, shaping our economic policies as if individuals were the sole determiners in their financial success is completely unfair.

It’s like giving all the credit to a chef for an extraordinary meal, never mentioning the farmer’s effort for delivering impeccably fresh produce. I believe we should take this into account when we position ourselves on the political spectrum.

We can afford to provide everyone who works hard with equal chances to be financially successful. Or at least we can make sure the lives of people who haven’t had great opportunities don’t get harder because of right-wing economic policies.

Being a Canadian or American citizen is a privilege in itself. It is unreasonable that one can have succeeded financially without the help of anyone, whether it is speaking about economic situation, social environment, and so forth.

People who struggle in life cannot be the sole responsible of their condition, just as the ones who are financially satisfied. If we acknowledge privilege factors, by opposing right-wing policies that just make rich people richer, then we will enable more hard-workers to reach financial success.


Why I think America needs Hillary Clinton

Exploring the possibility of electing Mrs. Clinton

While I was watching the third and final presidential debate in a downtown Montreal bar, one of my friends texted me: “Who’s winning?” I responded that the ultimate winner was cynicism. Although I am not enthusiastic about the Democratic nominee, I believe America needs to elect Hillary Clinton.

Most Canadians care about American politics as much as they care about their own. “Geography has made us neighbours, history has made us friends, economics has made us partners, necessity has made us allies,” John F. Kennedy once said in a speech. It seems, this year more than ever, as election day closes in, many Canadians are most interested in knowing how this reality TV-like campaign will end.

The two candidates’ personalities and past actions have undeniably stolen the show away from party policies. It is evident to me that we need to think of nominees as leaders of their own movement before leaders of their party. In fact, many Republican members of Congress have said they will vote against their nominee, Donald Trump, according to a report published by the American news outlet, The Daily Beast.

For the last month or so, we’ve been preoccupied with the three presidential debates. Although it allows candidates to expand on their values and ideas, I believe its main purpose is to reveal their demeanours their attitudes toward opposition. From this perspective, Trump proved to be downright unfit to be president. His condescending tone, his odious claims and his constant attempts to interrupt both his rival and the mediator spoke volumes about the kind of leader he would be.

The question I always ask myself when analyzing political ideas is fairly straightforward: does the candidate, or the party, advocate for equal treatment of every individual? Trump, for instance, claims that America needs his kind of thinking, which allowed him to turn the money inherited from his father into an enterprise worth billions of dollars. Reaganomics—economic policies introduced by President Ronald Reagan—proved marginal tax reductions to be successful for improving the middle-class quality of life.

However, I don’t believe that being lenient with corporations and the wealthiest citizens, banking on them to make it rain on the middle-class, is the right thing to do for a fairer country. Trump is offering a short-term solution, whereas Clinton aims to attack the loopholes in the corporate tax system and to implement regulations that ensure multi-billionaires pay not only a reasonable share, but also fair surcharges. Given that some corporations and individuals make more money than they spend, while some other are unable to live a decent life, there’s no way to make America a better place if there is no will to ease the greed.

Although Clinton is only a mild progressive, she appeals to me because Bernie Sanders’s ghost constantly follows her. The former Democratic candidate said in a video interview for NowThisNews, that he believes in about 80 per cent of Clinton’s platform. He encourages everyone who took part in his movement to stand up and ensure Clinton realizes this 80 per cent of the platform. I’m confident Sanders’ supporters won’t give up their cause.

Personal attacks between the two candidates have gotten slightly out of hand lately. Both of them have been involved in multiple scandals. I do not hold either of them in such high regards for that matter, though I’m aware there are wild manipulations from both parties’ establishments.

To be frank though, if I were American, I would rather have a president who does “politics as usual” and hides things from the population than a president who’s a complete misogynist. We tend to forget that there’s a large structure behind the president who, although it is theoretical, will ensure the transparency of a possible Clinton government. Because the president is America’s face, I worry more about Trump’s perpetuation of rape culture than Clinton’s little secrets.

My position pro-Clinton ultimately lies in her apparent perception of the American Way and the American Dream. Unlike Trump, who believes in equal opportunities for everyone to stamp on their fellows to get rich, Clinton claims she’ll advocate for equal opportunities for everyone to live a decent life, no matter where you come from. My trust in her has, of course, diminished, especially the since the Clinton Foundation donations, which question her ethic. Yet, I can’t not support her, given that Trump goes against everything I stand for in terms of fairness.

Moreover, The Democratic Party Platform plans to fight for women’s, LGBT and disabled people’s rights. Republicans have this frustrating propensity to want to impose their beliefs on everyone, especially when it comes to LGBT and abortion rights. Donald Trump has not held a consistent discourse regarding his views on same-sex marriage, according to the Human Rights Campaign. From this perspective, it would be no accident that he chose Mike Pence for Vice President running mate. Pence “has been an outspoken opponent of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens,” according to a report from the Washington Post.

Hillary Clinton is far from being an ideal candidate. But given the other option, I do think she needs to be the next president of the United States. As I consider the polarization of voters that will lead to an inevitable dissatisfaction, I hope to see a government that will be concerned with economic fairness and social justice.

Student Life

Making city living responsible living

University of the Streets Café hosted a talk on urban health, environment and social problems

University of the Streets Café held a discussion on the impacts of city living for Montrealers, and invited attendees to share their thoughts, experiences and ideas about how to improve all aspects of city living.

“We tend to forget that we live in the city at the cost of someone else,” said Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay, a guest speaker for the bilingual conversation, which took place at Montreal’s downtown YMCA on Oct. 10. Mukhopadhyay is a family doctor in Northern Ontario, a volunteer physician with Médecins du Monde Montreal and the co-coordinator of the Canadian chapter of the People’s Health.

Mukhopadhyay said that people tend to believe that cities like Montreal are self-sustainable urban organisms.  However, he said most resources come from outside the city, and cities may not actually be the healthiest places to live. “Cities are not the centre of our society,” he said.

For example, he explained that a lot of food travels a long way to get to cities, and as a result, it is often more processed than the food that gets shipped to rural or suburban areas.

Other factors, such as housing and public transit infrastructure in cities, can be damaging to physical health and have major influence on people’s well-being, said Mukhopadhyay.  These factors can result in sickness, such as asthma in kids.

Robyn Maynard, a Montreal-based activist, educator and writer, addressed the social and economic inequalities suffered by communities within Montreal every day. Maynard’s research focuses on gender and race issues, and her fieldwork experience includes street work within the disadvantaged communities of Montreal.  She said the city can be a discriminating place for minorities, and the at-risk population, which includes homeless people, drug addicts and sex workers. She noted that part of the population is often denied security.

She and Mukhopadhyay agreed what people think makes a city healthy may actually make it unhealthy.

Attendees discussed who is responsible for addressing these problems, and brainstormed solutions for making the city a better, healthier and safer place to live.

One of the proposed solutions was for people to attend their neighbourhood and city council meetings. Attendees discussed this solution as a good starting point for getting involved in the conversation of city health and security, and opposing elitist urban planning.

Abby Lippman, the event moderator, discussed violence and its toxic effects on Montreal and other cities. Lippman is an associate researcher at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute and a long-time feminist activist.

“I think about violence as what the system is doing to people. I think the system is being violent by taking money, by taking health away, by putting up lousy housing,” she said.  She suggested that if society and authorities worked on bettering people’s health, then violence control would naturally occur.

The next University of the Streets Café conversation will take place on Oct. 27 at Aux Deux Marie, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aux Deux Maries is located at 4329 St-Denis St. The conversation will explore the topic of rebuilding communities.

Graphic by Thom Bell

Student Life

Euros, Dollars, Pounds…what about Bitcoins?

A controversial digital currency leaves some users and experts optimistic and others skeptical

When digging into popular Canadian newspaper archives, searching for the keyword “Bitcoin” might bring up a scary overload of information on cyber-attacks and ransom payments.

Right about now, though, you might also be asking yourself, what in the world is a Bitcoin?

Created in 2009 by a developer who goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is an international digital currency. It started as an open, non-profit system. Today, it is most often associated with its affiliation to the black market, and how well it serves criminals.

It is virtually impossible for one person or one organization to control Bitcoin, according to Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift—a service that allows people to exchange money in different digital currencies. The Bitcoin system is different from all other government-issued currencies.

Montreal is home to the Bitcoin Embassy, an office where developers and entrepreneurs seek to educate the public about Bitcoin—a payment system that is both a bank and a currency.

Located on St-Laurent Boulevard, the embassy is open to the general public. Employees provide consultations and written resources from leading experts to help any interested civilian, or business leader understand what Bitcoin is and what it can do for them.

Bitcoin bypasses banks and government authority, said Voorhes. Transferring money with Bitcoin worldwide is free, no questions asked. The currency is stored in a digital wallet—basically a smartphone or a computer.  From there, the currency can also be printed out.  Only the account owner has access to the information contained in the “wallet.” A Bitcoin transaction is done by sending the payment to the address generated by the user’s Bitcoin wallet.

Canadians can buy Bitcoin from online sellers like Coinbase, or from one of the 117 Bitcoin ATMs across the country. One of them is located at Montreal’s Bitcoin Embassy.

The embassy has Bitcoin ATMs, and offers consulting services for people interested in using Bitcoin. Photo by Danielle Gasher

The list of corporations accepting Bitcoin payments is getting longer. For instance, you can add money to your Microsoft account with this currency. Students at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia can use Bitcoin to pay for their textbooks. It is also possible to pay your bills with Bitcoin using, a payment service firm that “was incubated at the Bitcoin Embassy,” wrote Danny Bradbury in an article for the specialized website CoinDesk.

“Bitcoins are created by the network itself, over time,” said Voorhees. The process is called mining, and it consists of resolving mathematical equations with sophisticated and powerful computers. The mining process is about creating a kind of track record for all Bitcoin transactions that have been made.  This process exists to prevent people from re-spending their Bitcoin. This mining process is available to anyone who has the appropriate computer software.

Bitcoin is a self-sufficient and self-regulating system—it creates a certain amount of bitcoins every ten minutes—this number is subject to inflation—and this amount is distributed among miners who have solved the equations.

According to yBitcoin Magazine, for the next four years, 12.5 bitcoins will enter the system every ten minutes. Voorhees wrote in yBitcoin that, as of October 2015, approximately 14 million bitcoins had been created, and that the system is capped at 21 million.

Chief architect for Bitcoin Store, David Perry, wrote in yBitcoin that Bitcoin is “a simple, elegant and modern replacement for the entire concept of money.”

A student uses the ATM to turn his money into Bitcoins. Photo by Danielle Gasher

“The effect will be to remove much of the current bureaucracy and barriers to entry, presenting a huge opportunity for the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked people,” said Tuur Demeester, an investor, analyst and expert on Bitcoin and blockchain technology, in the same publication.

Bitcoin is a decentralized system which can be used by anyone who has access to Internet. “It means a citizen of a tyrannical nation can hide his financial assets from seizure,” said Voorhees. “It means the wealthiest and the poorest of the world now have the same authority over their money.”

Bitcoin could undermine the current economic system, to some degree, if it started being used by the masses around the world. “It democratizes finance just as the Internet democratized speech,” said Voorhees.

While some experts like Demeester thinks Bitcoin belongs in everyone’s wallet because of its economic potential, others, like Voorhees, are most concerned with the fact that “private property can now truly be controlled by the owner.”

Student Life

Would anyone Fancé a coffee?

New Plateau business creates a hybrid of the classic dépanneur and café

It’s common knowledge that dépanneurs are meant to be convenient. However, François Ste-Marie, a young Montreal entrepreneur, thinks they should be so much more.

On Sept. 9, Ste-Marie opened the dépanneur he’s been longing to see in the city. The result, frankly, is impressive.

Dépanneur Fancé is located close to the corner of avenue Des Pins and Saint-Dominique street. Photo by Danielle Gasher

Located in Plateau Mont-Royal, just a few blocks away from Montreal’s iconic Schwartz’s Deli, Dépanneur Fancé is a one-of-a-kind spot.

At first glance, the quaint shop stands out on the residential street close to St-Laurent Boulevard. The street doesn’t have much hustle and bustle. However, once inside Fancé, the street’s quietness becomes a forgettable detail as you are immediately faced with a colourful array of carefully chosen products. Vegetable chips, locally-produced soda drinks, kombucha and craft beers share the shelves with high-quality household basics, such as organic juices and cereals. The shop also sells meals and desserts made in store, available for take-out.  Most importantly, behind the counter is Ste-Marie, the owner and sole employee of Fancé, ready to serve you like he would a friend.

The store sells mostly local products. Photo by Danielle Gasher

Although Fancé offers typical “convenience” products, it is also appealing as a place to satisfy your gourmet appetite. Fancé’s tasteful creamy and nutty lattes are delicious, especially coupled with their croissants, or homemade cookies. The spot also has a breakfast and lunch menu.  The breakfast menu includes classics with a twist.  You can choose toast on artisanal bread with your choice of spread, or an iranian breakfast which consists of toast with feta cheese and nuts.  The lunch menu includes items such as feta and watermelon salad, homemade sandwiches made with fresh, local ingredients, and salads.

Ste-Marie is an ardent supporter of local ingredients and products. Most of his products are Canadian. The coffee he sells comes from Montreal’s trendy Café Saint-Henri and Calgary’s Café Phil & Sebastian, and he buys his chips and cereals from two British Columbia-based companies.

Prior to opening his own business, Ste-Marie worked as a manager at a clothing retailer in downtown Montreal. “My dad had a dépanneur when I was young,” he said. “I’ve always fancied the idea of having mine, but with the products I’d like to find. I love good food, good beer and good coffee. I wanted to appropriate the concept.”

Photo by Danielle Gasher

Ste-Marie filled his shop with just that—you can tell right away by his small inventory that he only sells his carefully chosen, and high-quality favourites.

Fancé, Ste-Marie’s Québécois spelling of “Fancy,” is sure to become the new Plateau hotspot to grab some beer and snacks for a night in, or your go-to café to enjoy a velvety latte to help you get through a study session.

The spot’s seating consists of a stylish and sleek bar with five chairs along the large window of the shop.  The bar, made of concrete, features only a few computer outlets.  Wifi is also available.

For now, Dépanneur Fancé is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m, however, Ste-Marie said the opening hours are subject to change as Fancé gets a feel for the neighbourhood.

Dépanneur Fancé is located at 3764 St-Dominique Street.

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