A Year Downtown

Well, actually that’s not true. My original idea was to give my impressions of working downtown after a year, but I never really got around to it. Now it’s actually a month short of two.

So almost a couple years ago our office moved from the southeast part of Plateau Mont-Royal to the west end of downtown Montreal. Being in the Plateau was fun, but we were a good 20 minute walk away from the east end of the action of Mont-Royal Avenue. So unless we took a long lunch there was very little chance to enjoy or take advantage of the shops and restaurants. There were a few restaurants that were closer and some have become my favorites, but you can get bored with a limited selection like that quite quickly. Though one advantage about being away from the action was that parking was quite easy. But we were quite a hike from the nearest metro station. Not fun in winter. The area was largely francophone while often English or other languages could be heard on the street. This along with working in a primarily francophone office greatly helped my learning of French.

Although I enjoyed many aspects of living in that area, after four years, the prospect of moving downtown was a welcome change. I’ve always loved working downtown despite some of the downsides. Having the wide assortment of restaurants, shops, and cultural establishments make life so much more interesting. I guess I’m just a city boy and love having all of that at your fingertips.

Of course, working downtown offered all of that. But what has been interesting is seeing the difference. We are not far from both of the large anglophone universities (Concordia and McGill). So a large number of the people behind the counters at many stores are college kids working part-time. Even though I can speak French quite well, it is nice to be able to walk into a store and speak English. Not something I’d do in other parts of Quebec out of respect for the language, but this area seems slightly more anglo than franco.

Another difference is the wealth. It’s hard to miss. Luxury cars are everywhere and teenagers from money seem to spend their days walking up and down Ste Catherine from fashion store to fashion store. I don’t have a problem with the wealthy, but I am annoyed at the aire of superiority and entitlement that often accompanies it. But that’s nothing new.

One aspect that I’ve really enjoyed is the influence of the universities nearby. It’s like it infuses elements of that college atmosphere into the overall energy of the city. You have the combination of socializing and studying in coffee shops. You have many cheap eats shops nearby. Plus there’s the addition of both the youthful energy and looks. It’s a welcome dynamicism.

So it’s been a blast moving back downtown. Exploring the different restaurants, taking photo strolls, climbing Mont Royal, or just hanging out at a cafe. I just enjoy the energy.


~ by Frank on September 21, 2009.

4 Responses to “A Year Downtown”

  1. It seems like once you cross St Laurent, it’s more English than French. I’m busy next week but maybe we could do lunch the week after that?

  2. Enjoy the hustle an bustle of downtown. I wish our office was downtown not only because I would be so close to home but to able to experience all that the downtown has to offer especially in summer. Out here is suburbia there is a waide range of restaurants, shops etc but not much on the cultural scene.
    So no matter the city or country, Chicago or Montreal life seems very much the same. Enjoy being downtown!

  3. This is a quite boring blog 😦

  4. As both tornwordo and Frank the elder already know, I’ve now been working in Old Montreal for the past year and it has also been a fun learning experience.

    As for LM: If you don’t like it, don’t read it. I’m not writing this for you.

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