September 19, 2017

For those of you who don’t know it, the sporting brand Adidas is opening a new store on St-Catherine's and announcing it with a poster that says “Essence de Montréal.” Don’t you just hate it when some corporation making trifles attempts to appropriate the greater things in Life and purports to sell them to you in the form of a tennis shoe or a pair of sweat pants? Well, I’m telling you right now that shopping at that store will bring you no closer to the essence of this town.

First of all, this is not Vancouver. People here don’t make a lifestyle out of breaking out a sweat. There are runners on the Mountain, yes, and cyclists buzzing...

September 12, 2017

If you don't like pigeons we need to have words. 

Not let’s take this outside words, but words. Please hear me out.

Pigeons are despised and antagonized for no apparent reason. Don’t believe me? Ask someone around you if they like pigeons. What do they say? Ninety percent of the time the answer is no. I'd be surprised if they say they like them. Next, ask this same person why they don’t like pigeons? They might say they’re dirty (as if humans are not) but otherwise they’ll probably shrug and say, I don't know, I just don’t like them. 

I dated someone once who actively despised pigeons. Seeing a group of them on the sidewalk would cause him to...

September 4, 2017

Montreal is known in Canada for its smoked meat and poutine, but in fact, the city feeds on chicken.

The demand for chicken is so enormous in this city that it creates the kind of line-ups that the Soviet Union was once known for. All over the Plateau Mont-Royal, the Portuguese chicken rotisseries are overwhelmed with chicken-hungry queues that wrap around the block, interfering with sidewalk traffic and generating hungry noise late into the night.

Time is money and I’ve heard it passes faster as one gets older, but it must stand still at Ma Poule Mouillée ("wet chicken" = coward) on the corner of Rachel and Rue Boyer because its patrons young and o...

August 29, 2017

A bona fide tornado touched down in Montreal last week, bringing stuff up with it - the tree in this picture, for example, and many others - and causing destruction. It got me thinking about something I remember reading in an interview with Margaret Atwood. She said a theme in Canadian writing is survival, which I assumed must be because of our scary weather. Although now people say Canada is supposed to be a “good place to be”  for climate change. Never mind how fu####d that kind of thinking is, I wonder about the accuracy. Is it really better to be in a place where you could potentially face prolonged ice storms, flooding, rotting crops, arctic war…...

August 22, 2017

Every now and then, a mild (but vociferous, by Canadian standards) debate erupts about some crucifix adorning some public space somewhere in the province. The most controversial crucifix hangs above the Speaker's chair in the Quebec National Assembly, but other, lesser crucifixes have also had their share of glory such as, most recently, the one hanging in the lobby of a public hospital in Quebec City. That particular crucifix was abruptly removed by hospital officials as they did not wish to make the patients - a captive audience of sorts - feel under spiritual duress. This was at the Saint-Sacrement Hospital, so un...

August 15, 2017

This is something you’ll never hear anywhere else from anyone else; perhaps most of you don't know it’s happening at all. Montreal is trying to kill off the cappuccino, replacing it with another similarly milk-infused coffee drink, the “fauxppuccino.” In the grand scheme of things I can’t imagine this really matters, but why is it happening at all? Why do new school coffee shops in Montreal refuse (or not know how) to make foamy cappuccinos? 

I had my first fauxppuccino about two years ago. I was in desperate need of coffee, but was either in a bit of a rush or not feeling social enough that day to weather the long line at
Social Club cafe on St. Via...

August 8, 2017

There is enormous pressure nowadays to be present: present in the present moment, that is. This ancient Eastern wisdom was popularized by Eckhart Tolle in the Power of Now and now terrorizes the absent-minded western world. If you only pay attention – which, also, requires you to be present – you will notice that this insidious message rears its head at every turn, especially if you’re seeking some sort of wellbeing. Everyone’s all over it, from Tich Naht Hanh to Deepak Chopra to every other Ted Talk speaker and your local radio show host. To my horror, I recently pulled out a teabag from its box only to find the following wisdom m...

August 1, 2017

Remember when Tupac rapped, instead of a war on poverty, they have a war on drugs so the police can bother me? 

Well last night I watched a drug bust. A friend and I were eating at a restaurant in Jean Talon market, outside on the patio with several dozen others enjoying ourselves and what not. Looking up the stairwell, we noticed navy blue legs (the cops have stopped wearing their camo suits folks), shiny black shoes and one tanned hand clutching a green plant. We watched their six limbs, three sets of legs frozen in some kind of anticipation-lock-down; then the three bodies trotted down the steps. It was a bit like a movie next, two...

July 24, 2017

People in this town wear n'importe quoi. Winter is the worst, what with jeans tucked into wool socks, soggy Uggs stained with salt, and sweatpants bulging out of boots, but summer is about the same, only with less fabric. Having travelled far and wide, I can say with some conviction that Montreal is among the worst dressed cities in the world, barring west coast outposts where socks are still worn with sandals to achieve a look about as bland as the American highway. Eight years in, and I find myself making trips to the Depanneur in the aforementioned Montreal attire and I like it - because where I come from, people must get dressed up to th...

July 18, 2017

Montreal goes blue in the summer. It goes green too; a welcome reprieve after the complete white blanketing, or the grey grey.  But during the week of cirque festival this year (completement cirque, I think it’s called) there was blue: blue people prowling up and down all of St. Denis. I heard one woman exclaim with such sweet satisfaction when she saw them, “Thank you Montreal. Thank you.” She’s obviously not from here, her accent could be American or Torontonian. I’m pretty sure she was from the U.S.A.

You see, some people think this is a magic city. The city where buses that look like they've been tie-dyed transport us from one place to anoth...

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© 2017 Éli Bloom & Leslie Morgan 

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