Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our Home

Our home, built in 1964, is a semi-detached duplex in St. Leonard, Montreal. 

A little bit of history: In the post-WWII period many immigrants (from southern Italy, Portugal, Greece, etc.) came to Canada to preform manual labor in such fields as construction. Montreal's Little Italy district in the center of the city had been established in the pre-WWII period but the newly arriving Italian immigrants began establishing neighborhoods mainly in the eastern parts of Montreal- areas such as St.Micheal, St. Leonard, Montreal North, etc. These area were mainly farm lands when a few Italian-owned construction companies began building homes that would appeal to their clientele. These reflected the style of homes in Italy: simple square-shaped pale-colored facades. In addition, the homes were what is today referred to as income-properties. This allowed newly arriving families to live under one roof while adapting to their new country. (Read more about the Italian immigrant style home in Ann Cameron's article "The Contemporary Italian House in Toronto" Italian Canadiana 4 (1988): 84-93 and also in France Iacovetta's book Such Hardworking people: Italian Immigrants in Postwar Toronto)

St. Leonard is still referred to as an Italian ethnic enclave in Montreal but today it is much more diverse and is home to various new immigrants. The homes, built mainly in the 1960s and 1970s, are undergoing modernization efforts by their new owners.   

Mid-Century Homes: character- lots of character!

As a post-WWII home, built during the great suburban craze, our home had many of the fabulously modern features and styles of the 1960s. These include an intercom system complete with AM radio, a flashy feminine mystique pink bathroom, shinny wood wall paneling, and much much more!  Also, it had two kitchens!  (Read more about the two kitchen home, Lara Pascali completed a Master's project on the topic: )

Our home: The door on the left is for the tenant who rents the top floor of the building. The door on the right is our main entrance. We occupy the fist floor and the walk-down basement.  

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