Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A walk up the Lachine canal

Like lots of other cities, Montreal has apparently begun "revitalizing" its old industrial sites. A walk from Vieux Montreal to St. Henri (which, if this site is to be believed, is the "next Austin, TX, but with snow") makes this all-too evident.

This abandoned grain mill is still, well, abandoned, but according to a local community activist I met, discussions are well-underway to turn it into an artist space with a revolving cappuccino bar on the top.

(I'M LYING! But isn't it crazy that you thought it might be true, even for a second?) Actually, she said that people have been arguing about the mill for years, so I don't know what it will be eventually...but I wouldn't be surprised if cappucchino was somehow involved.

For now though, the Lachine canal is no longer the "factor that made Montreal the cradle of the Canadian manufacturing industry," but instead seems to primarily be a spot where old folks walk, yuppies with those creepy "jog strollers" run, and various people ride around on bikes. (Including some annoying dude who yelled--in English, of course--"On your left!" as he raced past me in his little cycle shorts, probably hepped up on smart drinks.)

No trains went by as I strolled along, but I did watch the grunt-inducing labors of this fellow, who rode by hauling what appeared to be 7000 lbs of ice cream.

Someone has to feed the sugar-cravings of all those kids being pushed around in jog strollers, I guess. Interestingly, just a generation or two ago, I bet this guy might have had a decent-paying job in the grain mill. Oh well--such is "progress" in post-industrial North America, right?.

Hipsterdom proper, though begins right around here:

I didn't stick around to see it, though, as I got creeped out and fled into the nearby Atwater Market. There my mood changed, dramatically, as evidenced by the switch to color:

The market, admittedly, is pretty bourgsie...but at least it had local produce, and an old gentleman who yelled "Bonjour Madame!" at me, which is much preferable to the cycle shorts, "On your left!" guy.

There were lots of older folks around here buying flowers:

And nearby you even see some regular joes among the swanky lamp stores:

Across town, as the sun set, I took some cliche-type "speeding car and headlight" shots:

Before moving along to investigating more industrial spaces:

after which, I returned to my native land, the United States of America. It's hot here. And people are really loud.

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