12 September 2007

sunset over griffintown

Last week I attended a thesis defense by a woman named Lisa Gasior, who has just completed some really interesting historical and sound studies work on Griffintown, a historic Montreal neighbourhood. From the mid nineteenth century until the 1970s, Griffintown was a predominantly Irish, working-class community in between downtown Montreal and the Lachine Canal. After the seventies, however, it was zoned industrial and people began to move away. Its impressive St. Ann's cathedral was torn down as it gradually lost its patrons. Now, in the cathedral's place lies St. Ann's park: a stone outline of the base of the former church, with public benches set up facing what used to be the altar.

It's very ghostly, walking through the remains of what was once a thriving community gathering place. Being from Canada, I haven't seen many stone ruins sinking into the ground. Most of our buildings are too new to have made it to that stage of decomposition. But, as I have said often since moving here, you never know what you will find if you take the time to explore this city's nooks.

Lisa's project is a listening guide to Griffintown. To take her audio journey, all one needs is 45 minutes, an mp3 player with decent headphones, and an interest in learning more about part of this amazing city. To learn more about her project, or to try the walk with her guide, check out Sounding Griffintown.

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