In my long career as an OD consultant, I have had the opportunity to work in Montreal about a dozen times.
I used the time in Montreal to visit my parents and grandparents graves, meet with old friends, ski at Mt Chevreuil and speak as much French as I could. I also walked for hours and hours on the mountain.
Today, of all days, I have been inundated by pleasant memories from Montreal. Today, Montreal has been visiting me today. Today, Montreal chose what I remember.
- The Montreal snow has a very squeaking sound when underfoot. I loved walking in the extreme cold, and few things in life are as piercing cold as the Montreal winter.
- The 17 bus used to take me to Parc Belmont Park in Cartierville The driver called out all the stations along the way in French and English. Finally: “Parc Belmont-Belmont Park. Tout le monde descend svp, please get off the bus.”
- My grandfather owned a boxing ring at the Medical Arts Building on Sherbrooke and Cote de Neiges. When I was a boy, I would visit him at the gym. In those days, telephone numbers had a name as a prefix. The telephone number of his gym was Fitzroy 4022. This was in 1957.
- When the Metro opened in Montreal, I learnt all the names of the stations by heart. And I remember the smell of the rubber tires on the Metro. I worked at the Worlds’ Fair in 1967 at The Human Cell, La Cellule humaine. My supervisor, Art Laurent, was French Canadian. We used to talk a lot after work in French. I learnt more French from old Art than from all the years in the Protestant School Board’s schools that I attended.
- I spent many summers at Lac-des-Écorces far north of Montreal. In the evenings, I used to go either to Val Barrette or Mont Laurier to eat. And believe you me, that was a very good way of learning French. I miss having French all around me.
- Garland Terminus was a bus interchange station.The trip to the dentist entailed 3 buses: 116, 17 (change at Garland) and 62. Everyone interchanged at Garland.
Sorry to have bored you all. Next time, back of OD. Promise.