Friday, September 22, 2017

Montreal on the Street

I visited Montreal once 25 years ago. It's amazing how much I didn't remember about it. I mostly had just an impression of its Europeanness, that there was a big hill park somewhere in the middle of it all, and there were a lot of restaurants and cafes that had front walls that opened to the street during the summer.

After spending a week there recently, I promise not to forget it again.

This is a representative look at a residential street, at least in the area east of downtown and southeast of the park.

I stumbled upon Wilensky's Lunch, an institution since 1932, still run by the same family that started it. I got to talk to the son and daughter of the founders, in fact. They have their original soda fountain and serve basically one food item: the special, which is a toasted kaiser roll with bologna, salamy, and mustard (cheese optional). No, you cannot get get it without mustard.

The Mile End area was full of funky shops and holes in the wall like this.

The weathering on these creatures caught my eye.

There is a huge amount of public art in the city, including murals...

... and less formal street art:

One thing Montreal has that all cities should also allow: large posters pasted onto temporary structures, like this fence along a construction site:

Why don't we have these? Why do these kinds of walls always say, instead, "post no bills"?

I'm sure this poster on a light pole wasn't legal, but its active design sure added to my experience on the street:

Montreal is famous for its public markets, of which there are more than a half dozen. I managed to get to two of them. This is Jean-Talon:

This was the best vegetable stand I saw at either market. The attention to color arrangement was beautiful:

At McGill University, I noticed a couple of cool things inside the student center building:

This clever student club name is in English, but its acronym sounds the same as the French word for "with."

And this, from the student office door of the Plate Club. They exist to loan plates and glasses to other student groups in order to minimize waste at McGill. Wow!

I spent a lot of time on the Metro, and will have a later post about that and other pedestrian and transit infrastructure, but this bit is just an amusing visual:

That pregnant lady icon makes me laugh. She could just as easily be carrying a French horn, I think.

Three more from the street:

This green guy is the symbol of Just for Laughs, the Montreal comedy festival, which I first heard about during my previous visit. It was not running while I was there this time, but I guess he inhabits this restaurant I saw along the way all year long.

This creative reuse of ketchup cans highlights the beautiful graphicality of Heinz's packaging, especially against a white brick wall.

And finally, from Sid Lee, an ad agency down near the waterfront:

That's some beautifully designed neon, and a perfectly good description of about 90 percent of all advertising.

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