Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Suburbs, Stress and the Myth of the Good Life: More Evidence from North of Montreal

"Suburban" in North America conjures up visions of single family houses on streets lined with grass, good schools, a good life away from the struggles of the city. But that appears to be changing.

Stress is higher in the suburbs north of Montreal, according to The Montreal Gazette. Taking data from a Stats Can household health survey, researcher Jack Jedwab found that more than "half of people age 35-44 in the Laurentians said most days in their lives are quite a bit or extremely stressful." The figure was 36.6 per cent for Quebecers that age as a whole, compared to 31.9 per cent in Montreal, and 29.8 in Canada overall.

Why is this? A large part is due to the problems of commuting to work in Montreal. We saw a bit of that last year when most of the tradesmen working on our house repairs came from lower Laurentian communities. They'd leave home by 5:30 a.m. and on a good morning arrive shortly before 7 a.m., the hour when municipal bylaws say construction work can begin. Usually they'd call it a day by 3 p.m., but they were clocking in up to three hours a day on the road.

The effects on family life have got to be disastrous.


lagatta à montréal said...

We observed the same among the tradesmen (there was one tradeswoman, a plasterer!) working on the major infrastructure work at our housing co-operative. Most of them lived in the northern or southern suburbs - matters were worse still for those who had to cross the St-Lawrence at a bridge or the pont-tunnel. And yep, almost all the guys were "family men" of various ages.

Fortunately the métro stations in Laval have improved matters for workers (and students) living near them... though ironically it means that by the time a southbound métro train has reached Jean-Talon, it is always standing room only!

Mary Soderstrom said...

Good to hear from you, Maria. Hope you had a good holiday season.