When I left my bike for repair at Cycles Fleury, I slipped a word about QuartiersNord to the boss. He discussed it with his staff, and then sent me an e-mail suggesting that I speak to Jean-François when I would come back to the store to pick-up my bike. JF and I actually had a good conversation at that time.
JF is a native of Québec City, but grew up in suburban Montreal. He lived, among other places, in Laval and St-Eustache, with a detour to Brussels where his father worked for two years, and later on in Gatineau. He began studying photo in Ottawa at the turn of the millennium, when digital had not yet clearly supplanted film photo. However, he abandoned the program because of the cost of equipment. He later completed a Diploma of Vocational Studies in institutional cooking at Centre Relais de la Lièvre in Buckingham, and then worked in restaurants in that area and in Montreal. Having partied a little too much during his passage in the restaurant business, he does not seem far from considering it today as a den of vice!
He arrived in Ahuntsic in 2005, an area he enjoys for its tranquility. Around 2008, he knocked on the door of Cycles Fleury to offer his photographic services. The owner of the time was looking for an employee and when he saw that JF was could handle bike mechanics, he immediately hired him. He said that this job had helped put him back on the right path, nothing less. The job, however, is gradually becoming a sideline for him. In 2011, he began a bachelor of education which he completed this spring. He still has to comply with certain administrative formalities in order to move from substitute to regular teaching in high school. The specialty to which he is dedicated is nowadays called the Social Universe program. This is the jargon of the hour for History, Geography and Contemporary World Study. Drawing on his background to help students, he intends to work with photos and comics to carry out various learning situations.
JF also had the opportunity to make an internship in Benin in Africa, as part of a Canada World Youth program. He told me with a mixture of amusement and pride that people came to hear him as if he was a specialist in pedagogy.
He still has a passion for cycling. On the Monday after my visit, a day off for him, he was planning a ride. He also said a good word about Julien, the new owner of Cycles Fleury for two years now. Julien has democratized the bike offer of the shop, which gives JF better tools to advise customers according to their personal resources.
A full-time teaching position would now be welcome. He and his girlfriend from Mexico City, Rocio, are parents of a baby girl named Sophie.