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2006 05 19
Gilford Explained
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Photo: Xavier Chardeau

My first posting for Reading Montréal last October (You are Here?) was an urban exploration of Gilford Street, which continues to perplex and lead astray through its deviance from the grid. Futher muddying matters, the name Gilford bears no similarity to those of neighbouring streets. Today, at least part of the riddle is untangled: Gilford, it turns out, was a spelling mistake.

"Le nom de Gilford est une déformation du nom de Guibord. Ce dernier nom fut mal transcrit sur les plans de Montréal préparés par Henry W. Hopkins en 1879, et cette erreur s'est reproduite par la suite sur les plans subséquents. Ce nom rappelle Joseph Guibord (1804-1869), imprimeur de Montréal et membre de l'Institut canadien. Son enterrement donne lieu à un procès célèbre qui épuise toutes les juridictions, dure cinq ans, suscite des manifestations les plus diverses de la part des citoyens et les plus ridicules de la part de certaines autorités, et amène une jurisprudence et une législation nouvelles en matière de relations entre l'Église et l'État. Année officielle de dénomination : 1876. Anciennement : Rue des Carrières, Rue Verchères, Rue Paul-Kruger."

For deciphering other urban mysteries, check out Les rues de Montréal : répertoire (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/19
2006 05 18
Anxious Attention to the Weather
image Illustration by C.E Brock
for Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

“If you can't think of anything appropriate to say you will please restrict your remarks to the weather.” Mrs Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility

Canadians, sensible creatures that we are, are prone to discussing the weather. It is perhaps even fair to say that our relationship to fronts and systems is more than interest and decorum but one of passion.

We are so preoccupied with, dependent on, affected by, the weather that the yearly appearance of spring seems not inevitable but something to be prayed for. In a recent conversation with a New York-based Montrealer, we reflected on the seasonal explosion proper to Montréal in the springtime – that instantaneous conversion to shorts and skirts and sandals, proud baring of flesh and limb, languorous occupation of café terraces, and the imbibing of sangria, beer, and nachos in the sun. Inhabiting an extreme climate like that of Montréal, where the difference in temperature between summer and winter can exceed 60 degrees, results in extreme reactions.

It may have been raining forever (ok, as Lian Chang noted, it has not been raining forever) but we can take comfort in the fact that when that first (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/18
2006 05 17
Paris-Montreal Vol AF438
By Xavier Chardeau

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Mercredi 17 mai 2006, 07:51
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Mercredi 17 mai 2006, 07:53
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Mercredi 17 mai 2006, 07:54
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/17
2006 05 16
Weather Report Part 2
By Lian Chang

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daisydingletoy

Monday, May 8, 2006. Sunny, a high of 23°C. A repeat of last Monday: a brilliant, naïve, exuberant summer day. All is forgiven.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006. A few clouds, a high of 22°C. I wake up to a yellow sun, stretch in bed, and lazily rub my eyes. Game over. There must have been some pollen on my fingers because my eyes puff up and narrow into ridiculous slits through which I can barely see. I check the mirror and see a racist caricature of my Chinese self.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006. High humidity, fog, a high of 19°C. Another blank day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006. No rain, a high of 24°C. The morning is humid, and I fear afternoon rain, so I swallow some antihistamines and boot it to the library, where I march about photocopying articles and locating 60 lbs of books to bring back, swinging slowly, dangerously from the handles of my bicycle. The books look at me defiantly from my desk. I stare back. I fully intend on reading them all by my deadline at the end of May. That could have gone on all afternoon, with much posturing and little reading, (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/16
2006 05 15
Weather Report Part 1
by Lian Chang

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Monday, May 1, 2006. Sunny, a high of 23°C. Seven months of slush, snow and general grayness evaporate under a cajoling sun. For days, if not weeks, subtle shifts in the chromatic structure of the universe have been quietly developing, but this is the first day I notice it. I’m not talking about the forced cheer of underground malls in February, or the obscure shades of brown under the retreating snow of early spring, but the kind of color that enters your pores when you boldly step out in shorts for the first time in the season, the colour that catches you in the lungs when you see green on the mountain. In the evening, I gather my coat and mitts into a suitcase, and let my leaky and salt-stained boots retire, after two long Montreal winters, to the trash.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006. Windy, with heavy rain and a high of 13°C. A minor setback. I return, soaked, from a run on the mountain and step into another, much hotter, shower inside. Several hours later, I am dry. Body ecstatic, body sore. Sniffles.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006. Light rain and a high of 12°C. Just enough rain (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/15
2006 05 14
Pigeon Patrol
By Trudy Wong

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pmboy

The apartment was perfect…except for a tiny oversight that escaped us on our initial, giddy visit. The back balcony had bits of chicken wire and white drippings along the wall; sure signs of problems with pigeons.

Our neighbour across the courtyard hired someone to enclose his whole balcony in chicken wire. We thought we would be more resourceful (and cheap) and I got on the internet.

Pigeon Patrol Attempts to date: Sprinkling crushed moth balls all over the balcony. Propping up old CDs to scare them off. Spraying WD-40 on the balcony floor. Chicken wire on the BBQ. Chicken wire around the BBQ. Long toothpicks in the flower boxes. That hideous, useless, plastic owl. Chicken wire along the base of the balcony railing. Chicken wire above the balcony railing (attached to the laundry line).

But throughout we’ve seen more white drippings, 4 eggs, and the constant gur-gur-gurgling of roosting pigeons. I always thought that pigeons were stupid. They seem pretty resourceful to me. Is it possible that a couple of pigeons can hinder my domestic bliss? Can this be the dark underbelly of the city dweller? Pests, rodents, critters that dwell in our household tools, our garbage (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/14
2006 05 13
Rear Window (between 4006 st dominique and 4007 st laurent)
By Suresh Perera

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“By its very nature, a window is meant for looking out, not in. A view of the inside from the outside confuses and perverts the ontology of the window and makes it a voyeuristic instrument, as the subject is not conscious of being under external scrutiny. The inside is always definitely somebody’s territory, whereas the outside is anonymous...

An object or place becomes horrifying and unreal when we are able to see through its normal realism...Subconscious, forgotten, and suppressed images seep through the ordinary consciousness dominated by the superego...Architecture, too, leads our imagination to another reality.”

From Juhani Pallasmaa’s reading of Hitchcock’s Rear Window (in Chora 4)

Unlike the suburban house, in which one dwells alone within the inside-ness of the house, the city-dwelling affords a constant, sometimes voyeuristic engagement across many separate insides. Night light opens views, invites responses. Day shadows create curtains of transparency. At the window is a pause, not a delineation of an end: the enclosed alleyways; illegitimate patios with illegitimate herbs; the fire-escapes for smoking; the conversations on roofs; the glimpses of intimacy. The space between two insides is no longer merely the space of outside.

Alec Suresh Perera is an architect living (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/13
2006 05 12
Exploring the Old Mill
By Clea Haugo

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"The Win a Glorious Getaway to Factory No. 2! project explores architectural spaces and our human relationship to those spaces - whether the connection is through history, workplace, or simply the environment of urban living."

Clea Haugo was born in the countryside of southeastern Ontario. In 2003 she graduated from Concordia University with a joint Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and Art History. She is fascinated by urban decay and inspired by industrial warehouses, antiquated strip clubs, factory districts, and abandoned buildings. She currently lives in Montréal.
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/12
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