22 September 2010

Quebec City: Hip area, Jewish roots

Cities live. Old neighborhoods are transformed and reborn, sometimes maintaining clues to their former inhabitants.

Quartier Saint-Roch, in Quebec City's Lower Town, has a long Jewish tradition and is one of the oldest boroughs in the city.

As businesses migrated to the suburbs in the 1950s, the Jewish neighborhood declined. Today, with an infusion of cash and vision, the Quarter Saint-Roch, with its Jewish roots, is enjoying a revival. The new hip area is detailed in this ShalomLife.com story.

Maurice Pollack, a leading Canadian entrepreneur and Jewish philanthropist, was first to arrive, establishing in 1906 a department store that would become one of Quebec’s top companies.

Other Jewish merchants followed, offering credit and serving a working class clientele.

Prominent Quebec figures such as labour leader Lea Roback and Jewish feminist Sadie Lazarovitz also helped shape the area’s early identity.
The story detailed what to see and do today in the area.

Soak up some Jewish history while strolling along rue Saint-Joseph and rue de la Couronne. In 1910, notary Jacques-Édouard Plamondon gave an anti-Semitic speech at a local church and hoodlums went on a rampage breaking windows in these shops. Two Jewish merchants sued Plamondon for defamation and their 1914 win, known as the Plamondon Case, was amajor victory for Canadian Jews. Today, few signs of this fiery past remain and the area is best known for the peaceful fountains of Saint-Roch garden, the cultural pursuits of Gabrielle-Roy library (site of an outdoor market in 1832) and the leafy plaza at Saint-Roch church, the largest in Quebec City.
Read the complete story at the link above. For more information, click here (for a detailed history of the area, although not mentioning its Jewish connections), here (for information on Quebec City's Jewish families) and here (for the official Quebec City website).

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