North America Part 3: Montreal

Montreal, what can I say. It took all of about three hours for Montreal to become my new favourite city in the world. High praise, I know, but it is well deserved. The picture below is a shot I took of Habitat 67, a housing complex originally designed by an architecture student, designed to amalgamate urban apartment living with having the qualities of suburban life, such as open space. I spent quite a lot of time walking around it and it was so interesting. Just one of the things that makes Montreal unique.

Montreal is an overwhelmingly vibrant, cultural city and it’s very different to any other city I’ve visited. I think it’s a perfect mix of manmade North America and European influence and it seems like a very cosmopolitan place. Cyclists whizz by, there are staircases on the outside of buildings, there are brutalist buildings mixed with red brick apartments. I would move to Montreal in a heartbeat.

This is Montreal in a nutshell.

Street art. It is everywhere. Somehow, this graffiti isn’t a mark of territory or a set of subliminal messages. Instead it is a city-wide collection of honest, colourful, fun, painstakingly detailed murals. They’re inspiring, splashed from the floor to the rooftops, and such a joy to discover when exploring. I could post a hundred pictures of art that we stumbled upon, but I’ll just pick my favourites to give you an idea.

These colours!

This one was actually on building hoarding. It's great to see something as utilitarian as hoarding being made into something creative while it's there.
This one was actually on building hoarding. It’s great to see something as utilitarian as hoarding being made into something creative while it’s there.

The green spaces. They’re wonderful and it was great to see how well used they are by Montrealers. One of my favourite days was when we visited the Parc Jean Drapeau which is a park on its own island. You get a great view of the industrial buildings on the city’s waterfront and the park itself is full of interesting sites to explore. One of my favourites was the Biosphere, an environmental museum housed inside a giant metallic sphere.

The Biosphere in Parc Jean Drapeau. Beautiful, non?
The Biosphere in Parc Jean Drapeau. Beautiful, non?

This is a view onto an old industrial building from the Promenade de Vieux-Port which is a long, slim green space running alongside the Old Town.
This is a view onto an old industrial building from the Promenade de Vieux-Port which is a long, slim green space running alongside the Old Town and waterfront. I loved the views onto these historical buildings.

It’s so quirky. There are such fun and playful eccentricities dotted around the city.

A banana bench outside a metro station.
A banana bench outside a metro station.
This was a piece of art created to embody movement and sound. There were a few sets of swings and each swing back and forth created a sound. Each set of swings were a different section of the band; a percussion set, guitars, brass and trumpets, etc. The swings were full of children swinging back and forth and when all of the sets were used it created a melody. It was lovely.
This was a piece of art created to embody movement and sound. There were a few sets of swings and each swing back and forth created a sound. Each set of swings were a different section of the band; a percussion set, guitars, brass and trumpets, etc. The swings were full of children swinging back and forth and when all of the sets were used it created a melody. It was lovely.
Check out this beautiful street sign.
Check out this beautiful, colourful, illuminated street sign.

I was sad to leave but if you’re going to leave somewhere you may as well go to somewhere you know you’re going to enjoy. So it was onto our next stop, New York City! 

 

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