L'encyclopédie est le site du MEM - Centre des mémoires montréalaises

José-Louis Jacome: An Immigrant Childhood in Montréal

18 décembre 2019

José-Louis Jacome takes us on a tour of Little Italy and Villeray, the neighbourhoods in which, as an immigrant child, he first experienced Montréal.

In 2018, the MEM – Centre des mémoire montréalaises met with José-Louis Jacome, a Montrealer born in the Azores. Guiding us through the neighbourhoods of his Montréal childhood, he describes what it was like to integrate into Québec society as a young immigrant.

Mémoires des Montréalais : José-Louis Jacome et les quartiers de sa jeunesse

Mémoires des Montréalais : José-Louis Jacome et les quartiers de sa jeunesse

Une production du Centre d’histoire de Montréal.

Réalisation : 
Stéphanie Lessard-Bérubé

As he guides a walk through Petite-Patrie and Villeray, José-Louis Jacome describes his first days and years in Montréal. The landmarks on this tour include the family’s first apartments, the schools he attended, the park he played in for countless hours…

How does a child experience culture shock? Jacome recalls how disorienting it was to adjust to life in a third-floor apartment, attend a new school without knowing the language, and be the only immigrant in class. But there were pleasant surprises, too, like the abundance of food the family now enjoyed.

Jacome also talks about the places and events that anchored his family’s life in the neighbourhood and Montréal: rue Dante, the Italian religious celebrations that resembled the Catholic festivals of the Azores, his father’s vegetable garden, the Portuguese shops in the Saint-Louis neighbourhood, the lush greenery in Parc Jarry, and expeditions to buy live poultry at Jean-Talon market. These everyday experiences kept the family connected to its traditions and helped them integrate into the big city they now called home.

Thank you to Canada’s National History Society for its financial contribution to the filming and editing of this interview.

Référence bibliographique

JACOME, José-Louis. D’une île à l’autre. Fragments de mémoire, Montréal, autoédition, 2018, 255 p.