17 August 2011

Come Take a Walk With Me

Long overdue, I know but I wanted to continue my Montreal fangirl crush.

What I loved most about Montreal was that it's a city that accessible. You can walk, take the Metro, the bus or ride a bike.

As a non-driver, it's a quality I always look for in a city. In addition to all the ways to get around there's so much to see as you travel. Most of the buildings have winding staircases and wrought-iron balconies. I will admit I am a circular staircase junkie, so I'm a bit biased but it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the city. And it makes even the simplest building seem luxurious. Since it's summer, you often see people having a drink or gathering on their stoops, which lends an air of comfort. It reminded me of how I grew up in Brooklyn with everyone out on the streets interacting (something that I definitely miss in California). You don't have to go some place to interact, you just have to step outside your door.

On Duluth Street, between St. Denis and Boulevard Saint-Laurent, the street was similar to Mission Street in San Francisco. There were murals, small coffee bars and restaurants and tiny mom and pop grocery stores. The murals were particularly interesting. They sprung up out of the landscape organically often emphasizing what was already around them. They also captured the irreverent spirit of city with witty little phrases like the "I ♥ Cheese" sign.

What also struck me was that people spoke to each other. People often said hi to me. Store workers asked where I was from and what I'd seen and suggested other places to check out. I've experienced this in New York and the Bay Area but it was consistent in Montreal. You can tell that people are proud of their city and eager to show it to you.

When walking I did stick to about a 20 block radius but I would say it was a pretty lively 20 blocks and I always found something new to see so I cannot complain. By the way, I've already looked up apartment prices and it's also a pretty affordable city :)

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