Choosing to live in an all-French environment

CBC reporter Sean Henry chose to live in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough so that he would be surrounded by francophones.
Sean Henry is a CBC reporter who chose to live in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. (CBC)

Sean Henry is a reporter with CBC Montreal. He shares his story about returning to Montreal after living in Windsor, Ont. for some time.

I'm an anglophone Quebecer because everything I learned and lived through was in English despite being in french immersion for school and using French in the majority of the places I’ve worked. Still, English was, and still is, my base. I lived in Windsor, Ont. for seven years, where I actually maintained my French by watching French television and interacting with Franco-Ontarians.

Other Ontarians admit to knowing very little French (if I had a dollar for every time someone sang the chorus of ‘Lady Marmalade’).

I came back to the city for the opportunity to work at CBC Montreal and I chose to live in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, probably one of the least anglophone places in the city.

The reason is simple: I wanted to live somewhere different. I grew up in LaSalle and had lots of ties to the West Island. While my return to Montreal is a homecoming, I wanted a new adventure.

Despite the fact that I am fluently bilingual, francophones often want to speak to me in English when they hear my name. I answer in French, keep talking in French, but they just keep going in English.

Being a Quebecer is knowing people in the rest of the country either love you or love to hate you. It means enjoying every compliment about this awesome province and having a thick skin for the not-so-nice things people say about Quebec.