Skip to content

Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Photo du jour: rue Demers in full bloom

Read more articles by

Last summer, I discovered this tiny house-lined, flora-filled  alley in the Plateau.  I ventured back to take photos to write a post about it until I discovered that former contributor Christopher DeWolf had written about it and its history last winter.

 Photo taken August 20, 2008.



  1. Chris,

    Thanks for this lovely pic. That tree is a honey locust — maybe even a doubly compound leafed one, meaning that it has 10s of tiny oblong-shaped leaflets per leaf, giving it that delicate feathery sihouette.

    Nice way to start the day!

  2. One more thing. The wooden houses on the left are some of the very few remaining in the city. After the great fire of 1852, wooden houses were outlawed although wood continued to be used for the interior structure.

  3. Even though those little houses are only two storeys high, it is another approach to densification because of the “skinny street”.

    Not all streets can be quite that skinny because of the need for access for fire trucks, emergency and delivery vehicles, but “skinny streets” and respecting old grids are an important measure in densification and creaging walkable neighbourhoods.

    Remember walking through Cologne (Köln). Much of the city centre was destroyed during the war, but it was decided to restore the pre-war grid. It is a bit jarring walking through narrow, pedestrian-friendly streets when few of buildings facing on them are much older than me (as a boomer) – the exceptions being some stone churches and other monuments saved and restored stone by stone. Still, it is more human than the rebuilt parts of Rotterdam, to take a city not far away. Rotterdam has some interesting contemporary architecture, but the central areas aren’t as pedestrian-friendly, and it is less bicycle-friendly than most other major Dutch cities.

    I’m wondering about the pretty wooden house. That area wasn’t developed before 1852 – wonder if they got away with the illegal materials because it was seen as kind of a “back lane”?

  4. I went to see this street after the first article,
    and I conclude it is tres special. Good work, and keep finding these gems in our city.

  5. Reminds me of a short story that takes place in Montreal maybe back in the 40’s. Can’t remember much except there is this little neighborhood behind a small door on a “regular” street.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *