The writer Gabrielle Roy published her first novel in 1945, entitled Bonheur d'occasion. It was an almost immediate success. The entire story of Bonheur d'occasion is set in the neighbourhoods that now make up the Sud-Ouest borough. In May 1947, her novel was selected as the book of the month by the Literary Guild of America. In December 1947, in Paris, she received the Prix Femina, the first time a Canadian author had received a major French literary award.
This novel, which is magnificently written, literally makes us re-live the daily lives of people of that time. Hopes, despairs, love, family solidarity and the fight against poverty. Gabrielle passionately loved the St. Lawrence River and this corner of Montréal. When she returned from France she spent two years, with her husband, in the Bronx neighbourhood, in LaSalle, near the river.