Montreal is incredibly hot right now, the type of hot where you want to mix a mint julep and sit out on the veranda and, realizing no good can come from traveling anywhere in such heat, fatalistically resign yourself to staying locked inside for days while the world turns on its axis - a practically spiritual apathy that Tolstoy and the well-read listeners of Ekho Moskvy might call обломовщина. [And with one graceful pirouette, I meet my monthly quota for Southern and Slavic rural gentry references.]
I'd been watching the heat approach in weather forecasts for days, and yesterday, I decided to do some urban exploring while the going was still good. I started off with a long bus and metro ride to the "southwest" of Montreal to have breakfast at the only pink-and-orange standalone Dunkin Donut's restaurant on the island. Occasionally I feel nostalgic for Connecticut culinary culture, and since CT runs on Dunkin, and Connecticut has literally no other culinary culture or (I hate this word so much) terroir, the experience was a straight shot to the characterless suburbs of my homeland. I was reminded of other exotic places where I've grabbed coolatas, from Columbia, SC to Granada, Spain to the stadium-sized arrivals hall of Xi'an International Airport, where after a long and gloomy taxi ride through the industrial coal-powered wasteland of the central Chinese winter, I indulged in the same quality coffee and coffee roll as the ugly Route 1 commercial strip of linking Branford to East Haven. In Montreal, the only difference was a free copy of the Journal de Montréal, where I read 6 (six) whole pages about the marriage of Parti Quebecois leader Pierre Karl Péladeau who previously, though perhaps not entirely previously, owned the Journal de Montréal.
After breakfast, I walked to the northeastern corner of southwest Montreal to visit the former site of "Goose Village", a.k.a. Victoriatown. The area used to be the site of a booming low-income Irish neighourhood until Mayor Jean Drapeau repurposed and demolished everything for reasons of "health", though it was awfully convenient that the neighbourhood was also the powerbase of his political adversary. The only evidence that Goose Village ever existed is an old war memorial, now surrounded by low-density zoning (e.g., a Costco and Canada Post sorting facility), rail and car lots, and a big Hydro Quebec substation.
This area is a transit desert, for lack of a better term, so I had to walk a long and winding way through a neglected built environment to reach any sidewalk. There was a lot of construction, and I had to tread carefully around all sorts of detritus and speeding cars in an area that wasn't pedestrian-friendly to begin with. I kept heading "north" until I hit the Lachine Canal.
After jumping out of the way of cyclists for a bit along the canal trail, I found a sidewalk that integrated into the downtown area. It was getting very hot by this point, so I didn't stop until I hit the metro. I got home about an hour later, opened a can of PBR, and sat on my balcony reading Knausgaard on my trusty kindle (for a short and sweet taste of his work, check this out).