I was waiting in a car on a frigid Sunday morning in Montreal and this lamp post caught my eye. It is one of hundreds on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, one of the historic streets of the city. Also known as "The Main," a portion of this boulevard was already in existence inside the old city walls in the late 1600s. It became one of the principal north-south arteries of the city.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the street attracted many immigrants who entered Canada through Montreal. According to Heritage Canada's web page, "Saint-Laurent Boulevard pulled them like a magnet. The Main's factories, affordable housing, groceries and stores, and community institutions welcomed each group in turn. First the Jews from eastern Europe, then Italians, Portuguese, Poles, Greeks, Chinese, and Latin Americans, and more recently Africans and people from the Caribbean moved to The Main and made their mark."
Today the street is alive at all hours of the day or night with people visiting a rich variety of restaurants, coffee houses, night clubs and shops of all kinds. At 1:30 on a Saturday or Sunday morning, things are just getting started on Saint-Laurent. I know from personal experience. Despite temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius last Saturday, there were so many people and cars on the street in the middle of the night, that we got struck in traffic trying to reach my daughter's apartment.
1. For more on the boulevard, read "The Main of Montreal."
2. Why not go on a virtual trip? See the city through this web cam portal.
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