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2006 03 23
Big House. Big View. Big Deal.
Image: Eli

Recently, a friend gave us a ride home from a concert that had taken place at the Université de Montréal. The most expedient way to get back to our place in St. Henry was to scoot over the Mountain and drive (sort of) through Westmount.

As we drove along through the streets filled with the large, the overly large, and the frankly WAY TOO large homes, it occurred to me that Westmount was, from an urban planning point of view, a bit of a disaster.

Average income, house style and size, available view, relative safety and tax rates aside, it seems to me that at a minimum, a neighbourhood should have:

1. A decent place to buy a few groceries (just the necessities--milk, paper, beer, bread) within a few minutes walk of your house.
2. A decent place to walk a dog or take a small child to play.
3. A decent connection to public transportation.

Typically (especially on the first two counts) Montreal as a whole excels on these fronts. Within the city itself, it is pretty hard to find a place that doesn't have a decent (OK, even a crappy) dep nearby, a small park or a walk of at the most 300m to a Metro. But Westmount doesn't seem to have any of these things. One would think that with all the combined financial and political power that is accumulated there, there would have been a push long ago to have some of these amenities nearby.

I'm sure Rosalie Parsons-Brown would be horrified to hear me say this, (and really, if you have a nice car, who cares if the nearest dep is a 45 minute walk away?), but it strikes me as odd that the most 'prestigious' and expensive part of the city is just a large, very expensive, rather hilly suburb.

[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 03/23 at 06:32 PM

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