08 May 2008

my neighbourhood at night

One thing I have noticed about Montrealers is the neighbourhood identity. One of the first topics of discussion when meeting a new person is invariably "where one lives."

Now I don't get to caught up in the politics of chic that seem to be so prevalent here, but I have definitely recognized that certain neighbourhoods have more of a cool factor than others. In fact, when one of Montreal's weekly publications features its "Best of Montreal" section, the "Best Neighbourhood" category is always a hot topic.

Certain people get so attached to their locales that they refuse to leave them. To be fair, most of the fun stuff to do is in the Plateau or Mile End, but I think most neighbourhoods have something unique to offer.

A lot of people do not share my sentiment. When I tell people where I live, I usually receive a blank stare and an "...oh." I can see the person's wheels turning, picturing pigeon colonies, cuisine limited to dozens of low-end noodle restaurants, overpriced apartments, and a generally rushed, unfriendly atmosphere. All true. And, to be honest, I can't wait to move.

But sometimes, if you catch our 'hood in the right weather, time of day, or light, it can be charming. Last night I walked along Rue Sherbrooke, following the perimeter of College de Montreal, a 250-year-old walled seminary-turned private school. The rain had just stopped and there was that fantastic springtime smell in the air. At times like those, I am happy just where I am.

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