Reflections: Montreal Life
Fifteen-two, fifteen-four, fifteen-six, fifteen-eight, double-run, sixteen and one for the jack, is a typical way to chant and to count a Cribbage hand.
While enjoying the coolness of the basement during the hot, sweltering heat of July, a white rectangular box briefly catches our attention. Wrapped tightly with butcher’s string and strapped between the upper floor joists with bunjee cords, this is its home for eleven months of the year. For now, just one of the many pieces of winter storage, quietly awaiting the arrival of the first snow.
It was a hot summer’s day in the early 1970’s, as we rode our bikes off 31st Avenue in Lasalle onto Centrale Street heading east. Crossing the boundary fence of Riverside Park, meant leaving civilization behind, as we pedaled our way into the wild. Dirt paths, one-tire wide, would wind you through the tall grasses to many different destinations at the edges and within the natural mazes of plants and flowers. As we turned on to any of these paths, we were surrounded by nature, not being able to see over the foliage from the “banana” seats on our bikes.
Whether we realize it or not, when travelling through the streets of our towns, we are in fact travelling not only through local history, but in many cases our world history. When we ask ourselves, "What’s in a name?", we are already "en route" to discovering what binds us all today, a proud heritage in our past, whether we were born here or not.
The waitress placed down a cup of coffee and a huge chunk of apple pie onto your green checkered paper placemat, and asked if that was all. Looking out across the floor, it was difficult to believe that you were dining, high and above a busy department store. The restaurant at the rear of the old Miracle Mart, in LaSalle, not only gave you a 180-degree bird’s eye view, it also gave you your own personal window to watch the action below.
The clock in the metro station remained still, as if it were frozen in time on an unknown day at exactly 17:11. With both glass facings now gone, the once-futuristic, half-flip digits looked as if they were still awaiting their one last command from "central clock control". At one time many of our public clocks, in office buildings, on street corners and in clock towers were controlled by a "central" system, where one adjustment to the master clock would reset a network of connected "slave" clocks in unison.
It was chilly cold night in the dead of winter, a night of frost warnings and of sheer black ice covering the streets. The old stone house, near the corner of Lasalle Boulevard and Crawford Bridge Avenue, continued to sit in an almost eerie silence amongst a blanket of early-rising stars on a Saturday evening. With all four of its shuttered windows and its one main door closed, the Old Crawford Park Legion (No.202) stood as a lone dark silhouette along the riverfront side of the boulevard.
The Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network will be celebrating its tenth anniversary on June 25, 2010, a decade after its founding conference in Lennoxville where over 130 delegates gathered from all corners of the province to launch the new organization. QAHN was born of a desire to explore and promote the history and heritage of Quebec from an Anglophone perspective – or, put another way, to advance awareness of that portion of our history that was the result of people who expressed themselves in English.
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer” – Zora Hurston
I don’t remember the knives but the smells are still sharp, and part of the memories. Growing up Black in Little Burgundy: did I grow up Black, or did I grow up and become Black? Where did it all begin? My experiences of being Black-are entwined with my sense of belonging, of community.
It was a multi-ethnic community, with Chinese families sharing my street with French families. And right around my corner was a whole new world: Italian neighbours who lived in their own enclave with smells of wine, spices and other herbs I still don’t have words for.