“Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy.
There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.”
― Charlotte Eriksson
When I was “Walking Turcot Yards” I was engaged in the extraordinary process of constantly discovering new things in the same old place. It seemed no matter how many times I walked Turcot there was always something new to discover, the details of which begat yet another load of possible narratives, and sometimes the possible narratives, such as a shipping/receiving log book found on the floor of an abandoned building, were compelling evidence of a world that used to be, that was of great significance in the overall scheme of things, and so here was some microscopic evidence that maddeningly suggested individuals had been important on some level at one time even if everything now appeared to have been frustratingly washed away by time and change and a potential coherent history of place and individuality was blurred, or suppressed, by the polarizing economics of conformity and desire. And who cared anyway?
Today I walk an incredibly, mind boggingly, dense road through an urban network I love. And each walk is like strolling through a small book which itself contains infinity.
Started out at the Atwater Metro.
And I am not trying to do this on purpose as some kind of an ongoing critique – you literally cannot walk anywhere in this city without bumping into a traffic cone!
The old Forum.
These bare concrete highrises were popular in the 60’s.
Turned on Lincoln, classic old grandiose apartment block.
There is a couple of these structures at the front.
Looking back towards the west side of downtown.
I wonder when this was built and how many people have stopped to reflect here, say, on a hot summer day?
The northwest end of the property goes back up towards Atwater which is loaded with tall apartment buildings.
It’s almost rural for a little stretch along here.
And on a very hot day this seemed like a nice little oasis but it also made me feel weirdly voyeuristic so I decided to backtrack east.
The view east.
There is a section of the grounds that has become parking for some Montreal General Hospital employees, and the hospital is a five minute walk from here.
Clothes on the line outside of what might be the most obscure home on the island of Montreal.
And the house has these awesome wtf foundations sticking out its north end.
Looking south on Cote des Neiges as I re-enter civilization.
This was a church until it gave way to condos around 2001. And this is as busy an intersection of roads as there is in this city, total madness to want to live amidst all that noise and pollution.
Old building on the corner of Cote des Neiges and Doctor Penfield.
Ivy on des Pins.
It’s hard to imagine what it was like along here when some of these places were built, but it’s also important to keep in mind that they were built upon the labour of poor people who toiled until their deaths in what were almost certainly what we would consider to be barbaric working conditions today.
Decided to go down McGregor.
A plaque in the park. Pierre Trudeau lived in this area.
And the tree.
This was a typical house in this area back in the day, maybe not even one of the more impressive ones.
Going up Redpath.
At this point the only way to get back up to des Pins is up these stairs.
It’s a healthy trek up. I took a break to, um, appreciate my surroundings, yea, that was it.
The view at the top.
Heading east again.
A little art deco never hurt any neighborhood but context is strange around here, all shoved in, almost clashing, somehow, it works.
It is so steep along here that your basement has a different postal code!
Another staircase with a group beginning the trip up.
Some architectural styles were a bit severe.
View south between two buildings.
Even along here…
Looking up Redpath Crescent.
Yet another staircase.
One of Montreal’s best unknown but very familiar buildings because it was always part of your standard view of downtown from the chalet on Mount Royal. McIntyre Medical Sciences Building, as we move into McGill, founded in 1821, territory.
Road up to Mount Royal Park.
Nice little corner spot.
House at des Pins and Peel.
Even the McTavish Resevoir is undergoing work, normally quite green with sports being played down there.
Coming up to Molson Stadium. Always going to be one of the coolest locations for a stadium on the planet.
It’s a bit of a buzz stepping up and out into the stadium.
Came here as a kid with my dad and with my pee wee team. No upper deck in those days but it was always a great atmosphere for football, perfect in many ways for this most collegiate of games.
They have added some new facilities over the years, bodes well for McGill and sports.
It really is cool to tour this site, for free, and you get to walk under an arch of sorts, well, I say that because it reminds of the sign you see at Reno, Nevada though that has been transformed in to some kind of a Vegas type kitschy thing.
Coming out on the east flank of Mount Royal, traffic on Park avenue starting to pick up.
Olympic Stadium tower in the distance.
Looking east on Duluth.
Heading north on Saint Urbain.
This is a very busy street *makes mental note to check out their back yards.*
Centre Communautaire Sant Cruz.
Geographical awareness, somehow it’s never a bad idea to connect to the big picture.
Moving north on Saint Dominique, former fire station, love it!
A whole lot of different happening here.
“Formal” is not always necessarily a negative implication but I think I prefer to see those balconies being balconies, housing needs to be from the inside out and if it looks good from the outside all the more successful it is!
I just gotta love this.
Nice fountain that actually works and, yes, those are fallen leaves.
I took a break here and was lucky enough to have two really good piano players go to town on the piano inside this gazebo.
Saint Dominique and Marie Anne.
Heading east on Marie Anne. Still brutal to me, concrete is among my least favorite (visible) building materials and the larger the scale the uglier it gets.
Sometimes the light just gets ya!
You know you are going to google that (wink).
Big double staircase going north on Laval.
At the corner of Mont Royal.
And heading east.
Looking down Saint Denis. Some of you may recall the long red terrace from Walk # 10.
And the Mount Royal Metro is the end of the road.
A good walk. There seems to be two basic types of walks developing for me – the first being the spontaneous let your feelings guide you, such as this one, and the deliberate route, such as is happening with my walk-every-street-in-Point-Saint-Charles project. Both are good. I love this city. Take care until the next time!