Things are growing along Montreal's Jean-Talon Street and they're good enough to eat

·2 min read
Business owner Amie Barry said the projects have cost the street some parking, but she supports the initiative and even brings fresh veggies home to her kids. (CBC - image credit)
Business owner Amie Barry said the projects have cost the street some parking, but she supports the initiative and even brings fresh veggies home to her kids. (CBC - image credit)

Pedestrians strolling down Jean-Talon Street in Montreal's Saint-Léonard borough will see eggplants, tomatoes, lettuce, flowers and more growing in planters right along the sidewalk and roadside.

"It's not like every street in Montreal that's all made of no nature. This one is really nice and I like it," said Émilie Soulière as she walked the street Thursday.

The Saint-Léonard merchants' association is behind the project, striving to boost the commercial artery's appearance and add more green space.

At the same time, all those plants help reduce the impact of heat radiating from the concrete and asphalt.

"With the heat reflected from the asphalt, it gets a lot warmer," said Paul Micheletti, who founded the association, known in Montreal as a Société de développement commercial (SDC).

CBC
CBC

That reflected heat is uncomfortable for people, especially the seniors who live in the neighbourhood, he said.

"We want it to be more pleasant for everybody," he said.

While the association has already installed several features along the street, members are waiting for a promised $350,000 grant from the federal government, which is supporting the project, to finish the work by 2024.

The project will cost a total of $700,000, with the SDC covering the rest of the costs.

CBC
CBC

"We're putting sitting stations," said Micheletti. "When people walk around in the summer, and it's nice and sunny, they can be in the shade."

But business owner Amie Barry said the projects have cost the street something essential: Parking.

"That's the only thing that I don't like much about it. Our customers are complaining that they don't have a lot of parking space," said Barry, who owns a salon.

Still, she welcomes the initiative as it adds a bit of beauty to the street and fresh vegetables to her dinner plate.

"Sometimes, when I don't have time to go to the grocery store, I feel like making some salad for the kids in the evening time," Barry said.

"With my kids, we go here, we grab some tomatoes, some lettuce. You know, it's fun to have that."

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