So What If It’s Winter — Montréal Style
Montréal becomes a city of non-stop festivals at the May Two-Four long weekend — officially Victoria Day except here in Québec where it’s La Journée nationale des Patriotes (National Patriots’ Day). But even through the rest of the year, this city knows how to keep itself entertained. The Montréal High Lights Festival, which culminated with last night’s Nuit blanche, is a case in point among many.
Mark of Mark My Words has posted an excellent set of images of the artwork installed throughout the “Underground City” during this festival. I can’t help thinking how Stephanie and BeeGoddessM would enjoy this event.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I took advantage of the fact the métro was running all night to go out without the car, thereby not having to worry for a change about how many drinks I could have. It was quite amazing to see the métro so busy throughout the night, to the point where I wonder if it wouldn’t be cost-prohibitive to always keep it running around the clock through Friday and Saturday nights. I know that the closure from 1:00 to 5:30 am is meant to allow maintenance, plus the only city to my knowledge that can sustain an all-night subway service is New York City. But it seems to me it could work. I know several people who don’t own a car and whose weekend evening outings have to revolve around night buses and taxis; all-night métro service would certainly be an advantage to them and to someone like me, too.
It was cool to be riding the métro at something like 4:00 am. The only downside is that when I took it from Beaudry to come back home, the westbound train was immobilized in the station. I had also noticed a higher than normal police presence outside the station upon entering. As it turns out, the surveillance cameras picked out some punks who decided to venture into the tunnel between Beaudry and Berri-UQAM. Not only could they have been hit by an oncoming train, but they also risked electrocuting themselves on the high-tension rail.
The wait allowed me to strike up a conversation with two young guys: the short one was from Calgary and is currently studying here in Montréal; the tall one was an Australian who’s visiting cross-Canada from — get this, Damo! — Melbourne. Just previous to Montréal, he had been to Halifax, which he claimed to have enjoyed. I don’t know what would possess him to come to Canada in the dead of winter, but there you have it.
What they didn’t know is that the term nuit blanche, correctly translated, means “sleepless night.” Indeed, literally translated, it would mean “white night.” But the play on words for a winter festival is definitely ingenious.
All this to say that I don’t go out much, especially late at night, but I do enjoy living in a city where there’s no need to fold up the sidewalks at night. That’s certainly the difference with the other cities where I lived.