Sunday, December 18, 2005


Photos taken around 9:30 in the morning of this Friday's snowstorm. Below, the drifts by my front door; above, the view from my front room window. About 20 cm had fallen in little more than an hour; about as much again was yet to fall. Yet the view is about as pristine as daylight afforded. Soon people would be shovelling their stairs and digging their cars out (some have already, presumably to go to work: two students of mine said they spent four hours in traffic jams that day). Ploughs (except for the little ones that do the sidewalks) haven't come by even now as I write.

These walk-ups, by the way, are humble examples of "Montreal vernacular" architecture. Far more spectacular streets of twisting spiral staircases, ornate balconies and funky cornices exemplary of the style are just blocks away... but this street is pretty typical of the Plateau and Mile-End areas of the city. (To see more Montreal architecture -- a major reason I enjoy living in this "ville des balcons" [city of balconies] -- check out this webshots site. Click on "View Slideshow" and you'll get a virtual "tour de ville".)


Pris said...

Oh wow. You DO have snow. I followed the link for the shots of Montreal , too. I was there years ago and have strong memories of an open plaza downtown that was very beautiful, a high park area that looked down across the city, and what I believe was called old town...very artsy and beautiful area also. I really enjoyed my visit there. I also remember being told that, at least at that time, there was a strong anti-English speaking sentiment there. I brushed up on my college French enough to make an attempt at directions, etc and did have to use it a couple of times. The attempt was enough to at least turn the 'je ne comprend pas' gaze of the eye to an answer to me in English, obviously knowing that I was trying:-)

Peter said...

OMG that's a lot of snow, and it's not even winter yet.
I guess you don't need to go to the "make your own snowflake" site. ~grin~

Brian Campbell said...

Pris: There was very little Old Montreal in that "tour de ville", although obviously the picture-taker had been in the Notre Dame cathedral.

In this town, everyone has their own English policy in their heads. Over the last number of years, the anti-English sentiment has died down considerably, esp. with the loss of the referendum and the election of the provincial Liberal government. However, since the Liberal government has been a rather bad one, and since the Parti Quebecois has a new, charismatic young leader, the spectre of separation is rearing its head once again. (It would require a very lengthy blog post for me to articulate my opinions on that one...)

Peter: one more snowflake and I think this city would go the way of the proverbial camel's back. On the street, esp. where lanes have been cleared by bulldozers, the snow has been piled into mountains ten or eleven feet high. Many people have simply not bothered to dig their cars out, leaving them buried under the drifts. (This, by the way, was the second largest one-day snowfall on record ...)

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz said...

I fart in the general direction of your so-called 'blizzard'. Pshaw.

Brian Campbell said...

After your fart, I looked up the definition of blizzard, and I stand (or sit, or fart) corrected. The winds weren't high enough. It was a dense but gentle snowstorm that lasted a few hours. So I revised it back to "snowstorm". Shows you the effect of planetary warming -- me, Canuck (who like most of us, lives about as far south as his citizenship permits), & I've forgotten what a blizzard is.

Actually, your fart has had a curious effect: some of the snow has melted, and people here have been complaining of a peculiar smell in the city. "Ça sent comme un mojocrat," they've been saying. "Oui, un mojocrat journalier!" has been my rejoinder.

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz said...

My gas is both sylish and powerful. Small wonder, then, that the French-Canadian--a powerful and stylish animal--would find it remarkable. I am intrigued.