I feel the city I grew up in doesn’t exist anymore.
the plateau is completely gentrified, so is Rosemont. South-central is ridden with condos even though it’s still the poorest place in Canada. There was an article a few days ago about how 36% of Montreal’s population was deemed “at risk” by social services. That means the rest of us are getting squeezed while the rest of them (mainly, the 1%) buys larger apartments or drains us as much as they can until we fall off the island.
but I’m not bitter (never!!!) so let me take a moment to express what I miss about the city.
1) all age venues : l’x is dead, so is the black dot, l’inco, even that church basement in pointo doesn’t hold shows anymore. Sure, if you’re 18 you can go to foufs or katacombes (the last two punk places in town) but WTF are my kids gonna do when they grow up?
2) mini-puts. You can’t find a mini-put ANYWHERE! within an hour of Montreal. There are rumours that there’s still one in Longueuil, I visited it a few years ago, but it might be gone by now. Good clean fun is gone, man, it’s just fucking gone!
3) batting cages: speaking of good clean fun, NO BATTING CAGES anywhere! Baseball is as dead as CD’s and cassettes. Ok! it’s a boring sport to watch and a boring sport to plan, BUT, going to the batting cage was a lot of fun. The last one I knew of was in the suburbs and it got razed to build a new arena (god damn you hockey!)
4)independent stores: Ok! there are STILL some around, but if you look, it’s all mostly Dollaramas and Jean Coutu everywhere. St-Denis, a place where I used to purchase all my used album and foreign films, is now filled with GAP, MAC, Renaud-Bray and Brulerie St-Denis. Speaking of which, where have all the coffee shops gone on the stretch between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal? There’s like two left and they’re yuppy-expensive (I’m talking $6 for orange juice).
5)interesting people: OK! we’re still supposedly a creative city but shit, my commute doesn’t feel like it. Maybe it’s because I live in the (now) gentrified “old rosemont” where I escaped from yuppies years ago (they keep following me!) and, well, I don’t know if it’s a trend, but the strange looks I get for being the only guy in the extended bus to have tattoos are getting to me. Also pointing out the fact that today in the metro, there were THREE unrelated women reading 50 shades at the same time – creepy – also, the middle-aged man next to me was playing SMURFS on his phone – see what I mean?
Runner ups : skateboarding, graffiti, fights and working-class-people
That’s it for now, I’m not as pissed as I used to be. Might be moving either to the south-west or back east, where people are still fucking crazy!