Monday, November 30, 2015

Queen Victoria in St-Henri

Yesterday I saw Queen Victoria between a pedestrian and a bike path in St-Henri.
Queen V, her consort, and some architectural knick-knacks rimmed with the winter's first ice, on a bed of dead leaves.   

There are so many old and stately buildings in Montreal that stand neglected and empty, until they're eventually knocked down to build yet more condos. I love that someone reclaimed these pieces and put them on display, though you almost have to be a local to know where to find them. I only happened on them by chance. 
St-Henri is the poor, working-class neighbourhood Gabrielle Roy described in her novel Bonheur d'Occasion (1945). In English, The Tin Flute. The book won the Prix Femina and the Governor General's Award, among others. In it, the inhabitants of the miserable tenement houses of St-Henri look up at the rich English houses on the mountain. 

All these years later, you can stand in the mean, garbage-strewn parkette the city has named after Gabrielle Roy, and look up at the same fine stone houses on the mountain. I suppose there's social progress of sorts. Francophones live in Westmount too now.       

No comments:

Post a Comment