Tag Archives: Life in Montréal

Brain Drain

Pierre-Karl Péladeau during a press scrum - credit to Toronto Star
Pierre-Karl P̩ladeau during a press scrum Рcredit to Toronto Star

Today was just one of those days I suppose. Perhaps you’ve had them too. A day were you read the paper and see the headlines and wonder just what it is you’re doing living in Montreal. Today wasn’t even particularly cold out either.

Rather, it was the enlightened goons who (somehow) managed to get elected to represent the collective interests of Quebec, with an apparent total disregard for the interests of many of its citizens, particularly those noble enough to stick it out in what’s increasingly starting to look like a city on the verge of real failure.

And I’ve been accused of being an apologist, not only for Montreal but Quebec as well.

In case this has all been too glib allow me to get straight to the point.

In an era of heightened awareness concerning campus sexual assault, the education minister has given his own ringing endorsement to fully legal strip searches of minors without parental consent or even police involvement, so long as it’s done in a ‘respectful’ manner. If you’ve just spewed coffee out onto your laptop reading that last sentence take a moment because there’s more. The strip searches are justified in terms of the student’s security, just like every invasion of the state into the personal domain. Always for our own interests, legally speaking. The reason this is news is because a fifteen year old girl was strip searched by her principle and another woman who worked at her Quebec City high school. They were looking for pot. They found nothing. The girl was coerced into removing all of her clothing without legal representation, without the involvement of police, an without notifying her parents.

She complained to a newspaper she felt violated. No kidding. This is Quebec in 2015 and it makes my blood boil.

Especially because you’d figure Yves Bolduc would have the common sense to realize he’s opened the door to so much potential abuse of minors in Quebec schools. Did he learn nothing from the Residential Schools Scandal?

And that’s just for starters.

Then the enlightened (pure sarcasm) head of the poorly named CAQ decided to let us all know he thinks every mosque in Quebec should be investigated so as to determine whether or not the imam/congregation preaches values that are in line with Quebec values.

What Quebec values?

The discrimination of ethnic and religious minorities? Undue persecution? Are those the values of which he speaks?

François Legault co-founded Air Transat. He was an education minister during the Landry Administration. He is an accomplished individual by any standard. Yet in Quebec he can afford to make statements such as these and be taken seriously, statements that would void whatever political credentials one might have in just about any other political jurisdiction. A career-limiting move, in corporate parlance.

Not here. In Quebec saying ‘every Muslim is guilty until proven innocent’ is just fine for the leader of a provincial political party. The only other political party in all of Canada that came close to this type of nonsense was the wildrose Party in Alberta and they imploded under the weight of their own ineptitude. Is it any wonder some Muslims living in Quebec (and by that I mean Montreal, let’s be real) don’t feel welcome and may actually get pushed towards embracing the more conservative if not fundamentalist aspects of their faith? They come here expecting liberty and tolerance and discover they’ve immigrated to the part of Canada that still hasn’t accepted Canadian values as defined in our constitution and charter.

Quebec is governed by a collective siege mentality that has ruined our economy and has entrenched social, cultural, political and economic divides across the province (all of which intersect as if at a bull’s eye squarely atop Montreal).

And then, rounding out the shameful day that was February 18th 2015 in Quebec, the heir-presumptive to the throne of the Parti Québécois, Pierre-Karl Péladeau, said that a referendum would not be necessary to achieve independence, and that a PQ electoral victory would be sufficient. A few hours later his aide would insist that this was not the case, that he misunderstood the question.

Independence. Nothing’s working and we’re still talking independence.

Some days I hate living here. Some days I hate living in the place I have always called home.

I don’t know why I’m able to somehow force myself not to be bothered by it on some days, while on others it forces me into the pits of despair. I also don’t know why I put up with it. Everyone I know tells me to leave or tells me that’s what they’ll tell their children; that there are no opportunities here, and that it’s foolish and naive to think things will change for the better.

I know too many people who made the right choice and left.

How awful it is to live in a city as tantalizing and generally enjoyable as Montreal, only to be made ultimately untenable by poisonous and petty provincial politics.

A hipster doofus waltzes about the city…

Beaver Hall Hill on Muggy Summer Day
Beaver Hall Hill on Muggy Summer Day
Glass Supernova
Glass Supernova
Old Stelco Shot Tower, Saint Henri
Old Stelco Shot Tower, Saint Henri
Ken Dryden Inspired Mural in an Alleyway off The Main
Ken Dryden Inspired Mural in an Alleyway off The Main
Ginormous Tree Behind Buffet Maharaja
Ginormous Tree Behind Buffet Maharaja
LARPers in the Forest
LARPers in the Forest
Gaudy Cross
Gaudy Cross
Girls & Boys
Girls & Boys
The Changing Face of Sherbrooke West
The Changing Face of Sherbrooke West

Make Your Own Lookout

Beaver Lake
Beaver Lake
Sherbrooke Street Impressions
Sherbrooke Street Impressions
Afro-Cuban Mambo Allstars Collectable Figurines (buy four, get a free Tito Puente)
Afro-Cuban Mambo Allstars Collectable Figurines (buy four, get a free Tito Puente)
Sent by Francis the First; the man from Saint Malo
Sent by Francis the First; the man from Saint Malo

Montréal: The Basics

Rachel Street, Montreal - 2010

City population: 1.65 million

Island population: 1.89 million

Metropolitan population: 3.82 million

Metropolitan area: 4,259 square kilometers (larger than, among others, Hong Kong, New York City, Luxembourg, Singapore, Bahrain, Andorra, Liechtenstein – or conversely, roughly half the size of Puerto Rico or Cyprus)

City area: 431 square kilometers

Dwellings: over 813,000

Metro density: 898.1 people per square kilometer

City density: 4,500 people per square kilometer (comparable with Chicago)

Highest point: Mount Royal at 233 meters above Sea Level (no building in the city can surpass this height, and no land is zoned for buildings taller than 210 meters)

Lowest point: 6 meters above mean Sea Level. Toronto is about 70 meters higher up in elevation, as are most of the Great Lakes.

First inhabited roughly 4,000 years ago, with cultivation beginning around 1,000 CE, the moment of First Contact between the Saint Lawrence Iroquois and French Explorer Jacques Cartier occurred on the Second of October 1535. The village of Hochelaga, likely located within the vicinity of the Roddick Gates of McGill University, was home to some thousand or so people and welcomed Cartier and his crew. They took him to the top of Mount Royal, from which he surveyed the land that extended out in a massive plain in all directions.

The first maps of Hochelaga and Montreal Island date from this time, though they were prepared by a Venetian cartographer who had not himself taken part in the expedition and was working off of hand-written accounts. As such, to this very day directions in Montreal do not generally correspond to actual cardinal points, but are instead based off cartographical errors from hundreds of years ago.

As such, Montreal has the distinction of being one of the very few cities in the world where the sun sets in the ‘south’. Montreal’s street system is largely a grid with several major east-west and north-south axes, both vehicular and pedestrian in nature. Major streets, such as Sherbrooke or Notre-Dame are discussed in terms of east and west with Saint Lawrence Boulevard acting as the dividing line between traditionally French and English Montreal. In actuality, Sherbrooke runs NNE-SSW, while intersecting Parc Avenue runs NW-SE.

By the time Samuel de Champlain reached Montreal in 1608, there was no trace of the village Hochelaga, as it was likely destroyed as a result of on-going inter-ethnic warfare in the intervening 70 years. Paul Chomedy, Sieur de Maisonneuve, would establish Ville Marie in 1642, meaning the city has been permanently settled for 371 years (as of 2013) – one of the oldest cities in North America.

The city is the second largest predominantly French-speaking city on Earth, after Paris, with 68% of the metro population speaking it at home, compared with only 17% who speak English. Roughly 20% of the city population speaks a language other than English or French at home, and roughly 60% of the island population is bilingual in both of Canada’s official languages.

Other major linguistic minorities in Montreal: Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Creole, Mandarin & Cantonese, Romanian, Russian, Farsi, Vietnamese, Polish, Tamil, Tagalog, German, Armenian and Punjabi.

The iconic illuminated cross atop Mount Royal stands at about 100 feet tall and features a fibre-optic lighting system that can change colour. It was donated in perpetuity to the City of Montreal by the Société Saint Jean Baptiste in 1929. It was built to commemorate a wooden cross planted by Maisonneuve on December 26th 1643 in gratitude the Virgin Mary for protecting the village against a particularly bad flood. As the story goes the villagers had moved to the top of the modest church they had built when they realized a freak flood threatened to wash the village away, and spent Christmas praying they’d be saved by the intervention of the village’s namesake.

Though the city is the veritable centre of Catholicism and Christianity in Canada, it also has the lowest church attendance and once had, without question, the single greatest number of churches in the country. The ‘Catholic-in-name-only’ population is publicly secular though the city also boasts roughly equal sized Muslim and Jewish populations. Though Montreal’s historic Jewish community traditionally lived near the centre of today’s central business district and along St-Lawrence Boulevard, the community steadily expanded to the North and West, as if in a crescent around Mount Royal, moving into the Plateau, Mile-End, Outremont, Cote-des-Neiges, Cote-St-Luc, Hampstead, Ville Saint Laurent and further on into Laval and the West Island over the course of well over 150 years. A sizeable Chasidic community can be found in the Mile-End district.

The local Chinese community numbers some 72,000 people and can be found in three distinct parts of the metropolitan city. The largest concentration is in the South Shore suburb of Brossard, where Chinese-Canadians make up 12% of the local population. Montreal’s original Chinatown is roughly bordered by Boulevard René-Lévesque to the north, Viger to the south, and bounded by Sanguinet and Bleury to the east and west respectively, though today is more diversified, much like other ‘traditional’ ethnic enclaves and is better described as pan-East Asiatic in nature, though with a strong Chinese influence. A second Chinatown has grown over the past two decades immediately west of Concordia University, this one largely driven by the abundance of Chinese students attending Concordia. As such, the Chinese Consulate of Montreal recently moved into the LaSalle College building on Saint Catherine Street West. This ‘second city’ for the local Chinese community is co-located within Shaughnessy Village, roughly bounded by Boul. René-Lévesque, Sherbrooke, Atwater and Guy. Roughly at the centre of this area is a public square at the intersection of Guy and Boul. de Maisonneuve featuring a statue of Norman Bethune, the Canadian hero of the Chinese Revolution.

Norman Bethune is the single best known Canadian of all time; Chairman Mao’s eulogy of the doctor who revolutionized battlefield medicine and blood transfusions is known, by heart, by hundreds of millions of Chinese. He is almost completely unknown here in Canada, largely as a result of his staunch support of communism and socialism as a deterrent to fascism. There are no memorials to him in Ottawa or Toronto. In Montreal, the local Chinese population lays roses at the base of his statue. He practiced medicine in Montreal at the Royal Victoria Hospital from 1929 to 1936, during which time he became a leading thoracic surgeon. It was also in Montreal where he became a committed communist and sought to use his medical prowess to support the Spanish Republicans fighting Franco, and later Mao Zedong in his fight against the Imperial Japanese.

Near Norman Bethune Square is the main entrance of the Guy Métro station, arguably one of the ugliest in the entire 68-station system, but unique in how it serves a major urban university and has led to the construction of an ‘independent’ component of the Underground City. Guy-Concordia Métro is the fifth busiest in the network, though it was never intended for the traffic it actually handles. As a result of the development of Concordia University around the station, a network of tunnels connecting the buildings of the campus has now been connected to the station proper. In this sense, one can access Guy-Concordia Métro from as far away as Bishop – two streets east of the station’s eastern end, or as far south as Saint-Catherine and Mackay. The two principle entrances are both located within institutional buildings, on one side the operational nerve centre and administrative hub of Concordia, on the other, a major downtown free clinic and CLSC.

Concordia is not the only university in Montreal with it’s own Métro station, but I would argue it’s one of the best connected. McGill Métro station isn’t physically attached to the campus and it’s own limited network of underground tunnels, though curiously the station is near the epicentre of the main section of the Underground City and is a major underground hub. The Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) is built around the massive Berri-UQAM transit hub and directly attached to the station and main library, but whereas Concordia’s tunnel system is principally used by students, Berri-UQAM’s vast network anchors a major multipurpose traffic and transfer point, the eastern pole of the Underground City. The Université de Montréal is spread out along the northern edge of Mount Royal and as such can be accessed by three different Métro stations, including two directly connected to the university buildings (the namesake station is one of the best looking in the entire network, though is unfortunately located on the least used Métro line).

Other major universities or affiliated independent institutions in Montreal include the Hautes Etudes Commerciales (near Université-de-Montréal Métro station), the École de Technologie Superieur (on Peel south of Saint-Antoine), the Université de Sherbrooke’s Longueuil Campus (located at Longueuil Métro station), the Polytechnique Engineering School and Université Laval’s new satellite campuses. There are numerous private, for-profit colleges and specialty schools and a total of 21 CEGEPs, of which five are Anglophone and 16 Francophone.

Total student population is estimated at around 250,000 making Montreal’s student population one of the largest in the entire world (with more students per capita than Boston, access to eight or nine universities, not to mention the CEGEPs, private colleges and various institutes) and have been ranked as one of the world’s top ten cities to study and be a student. This comes with other international recognitions as one of the best cities to live and work, with a generally exceptionally high quality of life, exceptionally low violent crime rates, a well-respected, innovative and studied public transit system. The list goes on: A UNESCO City of Design. A major international conference and exhibition centre. The world’s largest individual producer of original French language media. A leading centre of medical and pharmaceutical research. The world capital of aviation.

Monocle has dubbed us Canada’s Cultural Capital, a recognition that makes me wonder when, at what point in the future, will we judge cities by their relative cultural wealth?

A city like ours could clean up. We’re well-established on the cultural and academic side of things, providing a concentrated mass of talent and human capital – corporations need access to this kind of talent, and while you’ll find this in most major cities, few provide the entire package as well as we do. It’s not just the brain power, it’s the civic engagement in further developing it, it’s the operational multilingualism, the presence of international organizations and UN bodies, the diplomatic presence, the ease and quality of living. All these factors combined with our city’s generous quantity of class-A office space may one day bring many new companies and corporations to our city, serving to breathe new life into an already heavily diversified and affordable local business environment. Whether we properly sell what Montreal has to offer is another issue altogether, but I would argue strongly we have more than enough top-flight ad firms in our city to get the message out.

Doing business in Montréal is comparatively cheap – the people don’t ask for much, rental properties are affordable and there’s a considerable amount of affordable housing within close geographic proximity of the city or its expansive public transit system. And there’s the human side of business – Montréal provides all the luxuries and entertainment of any major city, and it’s quite affordable to live a rather fun and exciting life here.

I’m confident, to say the least, that our city’s economic future looks bright, across diverse sectors. Whether we choose to make something happen by going on a major publicity campaign to secure new investment and new employment opportunities (to stimulate middle-class growth, raise living standards and services offered through proportional increase in municipal taxation and provide new sources for philanthropic donations, among others) is something for our next mayor to decide. Or perhaps its what the citizenry will demand. For all that Montréal is, its people an increasing disconnection from its apparent leadership. The elections slated for November of 2013 will determine whether or not the citizens will plot a course away from all that has encumbered us in the past. Namely, the overt corruption of the city’s political establishment and the long-standing belief our city is destined to decline.

Sometimes I think we forget how innovative, cutting edge our city really is. Of course there will be hiccups and unexpected challenges along the way – it’s better we deal with them rather than sinking into our colonial mentality of inferiority. Let Canada and Québec resign themselves to significance-by-proxy, let them wallow in the problems of dead foreign empires. We shine brightest when we have the resolve and confidence to go our own way. There is a palpable spirit of individual sovereignty in Montréal, but it exists, uniquely, within an equally palpable sense of local character and cultural significance, one that transcends mere linguistic barriers into the realm of the worldly and universal. This has been our orientation for quite some time.

I’d rather go the hard road with other equally determined individualists than rest on the laurels of past glory, as far too many have done for so long, taking along old hatreds and obsolete business practices along for the ride. Sometimes Montrealers need to stop living in the 19th century; let’s keep the buildings without keeping the nationalism or social conservatism – it doesn’t suit us.

Pensées & Observations

Have been exceptionally busy with work – of all the times to not be able to fully devote myself to all the going’s on of our fair city!

First of all – how about that flood?

I suppose my question is – why was she trying to cross McTavish? Did she get stuck there or did she figure it wasn’t nearly as strong and made a break for it? And why not turn around?

I guess we’ll never know – what would any of us do in such a situation as discovering you’re in the midst of a raging torrent of water where once a walkway stood? I think she hit it out of the park on the way down – is it me or does it seem she has her hand extended as if to say, (dare he say it?) …yolo!

A magic carpet ride to Sherbrooke Street.

Buddy’s comment at the end of the video irked a few who came out and said on social media it’s a damn shame no one did anything to help her, and how it’s indicative of x,y and z social pathology etc etc.

What could anyone do? McGill doesn’t come equipped with throw lines and life jackets (though I suspect some over-zealous helicopter parents will doubtless soon request it). Perhaps a human chain could have assisted her, but it could just as easily could have resulted in many more people tumbling down McTavish.

In any event. No harm no foul, one hell of an anecdote and 15 minutes of fame. Bully for her.

***edit – Feb. 17th 2013***

Had to replace the video and as you can see it looks like she was swept down from far higher up McTavish, but I can’t help but feel this may be done on purpose; it almost looks like she’s trying to surf down. If I were trying to get across, or had somehow been pulled down by the deluge, I doubt I’d be as calm. Certainly a lot more flustered, panicky even.


Nothing like a freak flood to brighten one’s mood.

Though I was quite literally at the epicentre of major downtown flooding when it occurred, I only saw the aftermath, having been far too engrossed in the task at hand (that pays the man).

The truth is I really didn’t notice it at all.

Leaving late at night my twitterfeed informed me of water infiltration at Gare Centrale and Place Ville-Marie, and that alternate routes should be considered. My hat’s off to the AMT tweeter who quickly responded to my questions (in both official languages); excellent customer service. I decided to have a look anyways, figuring I’d continue on to Bonaventure if the Deux-Montagnes Line was fully down and out. A detour through PVM’s expansive underground corridors led me to a tunnel I had never walked through, despite about a decade’s worth of regular commuter train use. The corridor on the easternmost edge of PVM running towards Gare Centrale is unique – softly lit, a long, well-proportioned, satisfyingly rectangular tube with tasteful black and white photographs all long the way detailing the evolution of this veritable heart of the city. Emblematic of what I’d call the best parts of the Underground City. The shopping centres are a bit much.

So bully for me I guess. I love how this city manages to keep me on my toes, and leave something left to discover after all these years.

For reference, this is where all that water was gushing out of. There’s a reservoir under Rutherford Park, and if I’m not mistaken it’s absolutely massive (37 million gallons). The four foot diameter pipe that burst is apparently a solid 100-125 years old, and the reservoir’s last major renovation occurred in (wait for it) 2008-2009. And a pipe burst in 2011 that also sent a torrent of water down McGill’s elegant spine, though it was not as severe. If I had to guess the on-going construction work around the reservoir on Docteur-Penfield may have had something to do with it, though Rad-Can indicates the wild fluctuations in temperature may have also played a role. They also note that Louisbourg Construction is involved in the multi-year $1.3 billion renovation of the complex.

Hmmm. Perhaps when public probes into corruption in the construction industry hit a little too close to home, accidents start happening. Isn’t that what the mob does? Protection rackets?

Interesting fact; the reservoir was built in 1852 and remained uncovered for just over 100 years. It was built after a devastating fire in the mid-1850s, replacing the former primary reservoir where Carré Saint-Louis stands today. It’s pump-house is Chateau-styled, in keeping with much of the architecture of the upper McGill Campus, and it uses the stone face of the mountain as its walls on three sides. When they were blasting it open large chunks of rock flew off and penetrated the roof of the Administration Building.

Ah, the good old days.


Hot off the digital presses, a story by local journalist Christopher Curtis concerning panic on a commuter train stalled in the Mount Royal Tunnel during Monday’s inondation.

Apparently the train was stalled with no power, lighting or ventilation for twenty minutes, and some people started freaking out. Admittedly, it would get pretty uncomfortable pretty quick, what with those train cars jam-packed with 1500 or so commuters, all cranky and hungry and what all. But twenty minutes? I suppose it’s an eternity if you have to take a piss, but otherwise it seems kinda quick.

Question now is how to make the high traffic tunnel a little safer. Some want emergency exits, while others point to industrial fire-fighting equipment and better lighting as the answer. Either way it’ll cost a lot and few seem inclined to move on it – Marois has other priorities. (I recommend listening to the podcast – like nice old time CBC radio news.)


I had a neat experience – also transit and weather related – last Wednesday. It was the coldest it’s been as long as I can remember, and more significantly a prolonged deep freeze at that. Truly miserable when compared to today’s balmy hint of springtime. My early-morning commuter train stalled on the Deux-Montagnes Line at Montpellier Station; I snapped off a picture, tweeted it, and by the end of the day had done an interview for the CBC. Managed to turn a pain in the ass commute to very small scale media domination – photo got tweeted about, put up on the old cathode-ray, interview was broadcast twice on the radio – it happened very quickly and was fascinating to watch unfold.Photo’s here.

What concerned me is that we are all told to get off the train and go to the other side of the station for the next one, a train which, as we all expected, was completely full. The next two were as well. People huddled in the waiting room and café adjacent the station while others waited for slow moving buses and others still crowded into the small kiosk of a shell station. I milled about in the freezing cold waiting for cab that never showed. When I spotted a group haggling over who called the cab I lept at my opportunity, stating unequivocally that it was mine and I was getting the hell out of there.

Twenty-five dollars later I had managed to get from Montpellier to de la Savanne Métro station; the cabby told me not to waste my money, that the Métro would be far faster trying to get across town at 9:30 in the morning. By the time I reached Lionel-Groulx, already pissed at the lost productivity (I had taken a train to get me to ork for 8:00) I heard the dreaded ‘attention a tous les passagers’ as I was half way from one side to the other, the Métro doors of the orange line train slowly closing behind me. Fortunately it was in the other direction, at the other end of the Green Line. My heart was sunk anyways – such an ordeal and so far from ideal.

Many thanks to the fine people at the CBC for making it so worthwhile…


Urbania‘s Anglo edition is a must-read. Visit their site for free content but I recommend actually having a physical copy. It’s an exposé on Québec’s duality as seen through the looking glass – a minority’s viewpoint of a hidden minority, a series of revelations about the nuances of Québec society on the whole and with special respect to an Anglophone community that is increasingly seeing itself as Québecois. The magazine does a superb job crafting an intelligently designed report on the complex web of inter-relations, demonstrating, in my eyes, the immense socio-cultural wealth we glean from Québec’s special relationship.

In their cheeky and rambunctious style, Urbania threw open the door and welcomed a potential new readership base most francophone media would otherwise ignore. I think they’re on to something – Anglophones in Québec are sufficiently proficient in French all they really need to take it a step further into fluency is to be extended a hand to read something hip. I’m impressed. I’m more than impressed. From what I’ve heard the academic community specializing in the philosophy of inter-culturalism is also quite impressed.

So bully for us.


I’ve come to the realization that should Québec ever vote to secede from Canada, there’s really no reason why Montréal should find itself as no longer being a part of Canada. I don’t mean to argue in favour of the partition of Québec (the Cree, Mohawk and Inuit have already made their positions quite clear on the matter, and ultimately I think it’s their call to make given our hydro dams are on their territory, but I digress), but simply to say that Montréal is as much a part of Québec as it is Canada, and that we would not recover economically from the population loss, wealth transfer, reduction in property values and loss of key Canadian corporations, including the substantial crown corporations and federal agencies operating out of Montréal.

So why even bother going down that road? The people of the region don’t want to be stuck (again) between the opposing views of Ottawa and Québec City (and frankly we’ve been held back by both for too long as is), and have deep cultural, social and economic links stretching across provincial and national borders. So if Québec were to pull-out of Confederation, so be it, I won’t be happy, but there’s no reason Montréal can’t be shared by both. Berlin without the Wall; a post-modern solution to what is in essence a festering 18th century scab we just can’t help ourselves from picking at.

Let it be.
Let it be.
I’d like to see how this city moves and shakes when all the pistons are firing and we’ve abandoned our inefficiencies, our indifference and our self-imposed incompatibility.


A couple weeks back, a conversation between two people on the commuter train (yes, I do nothing but ride the rails all day in a suit and tie, as you might expect) I saw one of those quintessential Montréal moments. Two middle aged people, colleagues, a man and a woman. He with Baltic features and a former Soviet Bloc accent, she multi-generational Chinese-Canadian, the two of them having a splendid little conversation in both English and French. And manke no mistake – they were both speaking both, interchanging as if on a whim. Both spoke both languages with such fluidity I couldn’t tell which they used more frequently. Fully intelligible and intelligent too. They say bilingualism is good for the brain.


Last points – two recent small business discoveries I’m quite keen on.

Crossover Comics at 3568 rue Notre Dame West (a hop, skip and a jump from Lionel-Groulx) – excellent selection, affable, knowledgeable staff, highly recommended.


Freak Lunchbox, a confectionary funhouse at 3680 the Main. While it’s pricey and very easy to spend a lot of money there, you’ll have a blast doing it. Excellent place to pass by if you’re off to see a flick and want something to nosh on that’s actually considerably less expensive and more satisfying than most multiplex offerings. They also have a lot of high-sugar treats most of us generally don’t have access to. Highly recommended for people seeking the ideal gift for the ‘hard-to-buy-gifts-for’ people we all know and love, as well as those who enjoy 1980s power pop.