The Plateau-Mont-Royal takes its name from its location on relatively flat terrain north of Sherbrooke Street and downtown, and east of Mont-Royal. The Plateau is characterized by brightly coloured houses, cafés, book shops, and a laissez-faire attitude. It's the location of some famous attractions on Saint Laurent Boulevard, including Schwartz's Deli (famous for its Montreal smoked meat), and a weekend street fair during the summer that sees extremely crowded streets. In 1997, Utne Reader rated it one of the 15 "hippest" neighbourhoods in North America.
In the early twentieth century, it was working class neighbourhood. Over the years, spurred by economic growth, the working class population gradually deserted the area. By 1900, Coteau-Saint-Louis had become very cosmopolitan, and counted several Protestant churches and synagogues. Several Protestant traders opened shop on St. Lawrence Street (renamed St. Lawrence Boulevard in 1905). St. Lawrence was the linguistic border between the French-speaking east, and English-speaking west. At that time, Saint Joseph Boulevard became the first tree-lined street in the city. In the 1980s, the area's bohemian aura and proximity to McGill University attracted gentrification. As rents increased, many of its traditional residents and businesses were dispersed to other parts of the city. The neighbourhood continues to gentrify, and it is now home to many upscale restaurants and nightclubs, and several trendy clothing stores are located along St. Laurent Blvd. and St. Denis St.