May 18, 2018

After six enchanted years in the Plateau Mont-Royal, I recently moved to literally greener pastures where I will graze more and probably eat out less. I used to live underneath the city’s famous cross and now glimpse it only from afar. It hurts a little, especially after seeing the Fringe Festival’s program come out this week featuring its trademark bee perched on said cross above the Plateau’s rooftops, seemingly electrified by its energy.

Here, then, is a little homage to the city’s bestest quartier and the things I especially loved about it:

The little green market in front of Metro Mont-Royal: This market is the neighborhood's harbinger of sprin...

May 4, 2018

I wrote back in December that spring was just around the corner and, sure enough, here it is. Two nights ago, as I was walking home from work, I heard a cat howling somewhere on the corner of Marie-Anne and St-Dominique: that springtime mating howl that gives you chills and goose bumps because it sounds like the cries of Rosemary’s baby.

Speaking of babies, I also witnessed a moving spring ritual unfolding between two toddlers in a café in the Mile End last Sunday. Like cats and dogs, toddlers are quick to recognize one another as members of the same species – the toddler species– and to display keen mutual interest either through repeated furti...

April 27, 2018

Much like "no means no" was the understated slogan for consent consciousness in the nineties, the simplicity of "me too" beguiles its complexity.  These two words have simultaneously brought down careers while  giving many women (& men) a little spike of oxygen in an otherwise suffocating environment, like a tank of air for scuba divers. Will the acknowledgment of systemic sexism in the workplace - and beyond - take us further than the well-intentioned but seemingly ineffectual 'no means no' movement?

One might think that Quebec has already achieved too much gender enlightenment to be susceptible to such s...

April 20, 2018

Commenting on Montreal’s landscape during a visit to the chilly metropolis in 1881, Mark Twain observed that it was the first time he’d ever been to a city where one couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window. Indeed, if the number of churches were any indication of piety, there would be more Montrealers in heaven than residents of any other city in North America (and rightfully so, because all those other cities suck).

Times have changed since the Twain visit, however, and so has the city's official religion which is now of the devil may care variety. Here, then, is a slew of the secular and immoral purposes to which various city...

April 13, 2018

Depression is a thing. A real thing, everywhere. Here too. Apparently it's so bad that the World Health Organization (WHO, for those of you in the know) has adopted a motto this year that hopes to provide verbal tools to combat it: "Talk to your neighbour." Why?

Because neighbours - and nobody, really - seems to talk much anymore. Let me rephrase that, people definitely talk too much. In the naval gazing self - aggrandizing world we've managed to build for ourselves, there's no shortage of verbiage (like mine, right now...ahem), but what they, we, don't do enough is talk to each other. It would seem t...

March 30, 2018

Napoleon Hill says free advice is worth what it costs. Well Mr. Hill was no doubt a brilliant entrepreneuralist (my word) but he did not live in the modern ("modern": current. It seems modern still refers to between 1500 and 1815; somebody please explain that to me) era. Mr. Hill lived and died before the sharing economy became formal, such as it is today. In today's world, one might argue that free advice forms the economic base.

Last weekend I was headed home after a satisfying evening of doing what modern ("modern": March 16, 2018) Montreal women do: writing at a friend's house. It was the nicest Uber I've ever b...

March 22, 2018

One of the principal reasons I moved to Canada was to be able to line up in a queue. A queue permits one to read a book while waiting as opposed to having to shove one’s way through a crowd toward a scarce resource while secreting stress hormones and maneuvering one’s way around other people’s elbows. In the Darwinian world I had previously inhabited, only the fittest managed to board the bus – or to get off it - and only the strongest made it all the way to the teller before the bank closed for the night. The bus in particular was a daily source of agitation as its arrival inevitably saw two hordes – those wishing to penetrate inside and those hoping...

March 16, 2018

Why should I lie? This week there is nothing to write about, but you must already know that - you've been around the block this last week too. A friend from Nairobi told me once about a poll result that showed Kenyans like to complain the most of any other nationality. In Montreal, it seems all we have to complain about these days are, you know, rich people's problems (leaving the allo/bonjour debate aside, of course). 

Last weekend I rented a four-wheel drive beamer, gliding, practically, into the snowy Laurentian hill-mountains. Just me and a friend. The ride was so smooth we didn't even need music to transport us into a better, cooler world. I did...

March 9, 2018

There are people with newspapers scattered around the city, usually at metro stops, usually outside if the weather permits and sometimes even when it does not, and this is most of the bloody time. On these non-permissive weather days, they are dressed in green and orange space suits provided by their patron paper – usually Métro or 24Heures - and endure the wind chill and the snow and hail in order to: hand out their newspapers. Some of them are temping, only passing through. For others, it is a permanent work station. For the camelots of L'Itinéraire, it is nothing short of salvation. But for all, it means integration, for to be standing in the traff...

February 26, 2018

Last week, when the dead of winter was still upon us (it will be again, have no fear), hunger forced me out of the stale comfort of my office.  As I often do, I walked to my lunchtime destination with my head thoroughly immersed somewhere else completely. Somewhere I had just been reading about in the news, and not in one of the cute places the free daily tabloid Métro, likes to write about; somewhere dark. Somewhere with Ebrahim Toure - somewhere -  but not the Old Port which always, snow or sun, brims with beauty.

I crossed the semi-deserted parking lot in front of the semi- abandoned/semi-renovated condo that's semi-built...

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