It’s spring, the snow has melted and Montreal is undergoing its annual awakening. “Spring is like an autopsy,” Leonard Cohen wrote in his 1966 novel, Beautiful Losers. “Everyone wants to see the inside of the frozen mammoth. Girls rip off their sleeves and the flesh is sweet and white, like wood under green bark. From the streets a sexual manifesto rises like an inflating tire, ‘The winter has not killed us again!’”
On Spacing Montreal, Alanah Heffez puts it another way: “The seasons in this city are seasons of forgetting and every April we Montrealers make a pact to uphold this joint delusion that winter — what winter? We don’t even believe in snow anymore.” She goes on to rave about the sudden infusion of music into the soft spring air. Everywhere, it seems, there’s someone playing music.
To me, the place that best captures Montreal’s summertime Montréalité, its estival Montrealness, is the carré Saint-Louis, properly known as the square Saint-Louis or St. Louis Square. Its large maples have long sheltered an eccentric crowd of itinerants, layabouts, suburban teenagers and students skipping class. (Blork has some good stories about the square.) I used to head there in the summer to read in the afternoon and drink beer with friends at night, staring at the beautiful Victorian fountain.
Tags: Exploring the City, Montreal, Parks, Spring, Streetlife