A collection of painted memories of our time in this city
It has come time to say farewell to Montreal. I will miss the couple who sit on a bench in the park gently plucking their banjos, the people who ride or walk down our street singing (it happens so often we call it ‘the singing street’), the patchwork of houses and shops, sitting in coffee shop windows, the tumble of gardens and green laneways… these have formed an impression of life that is beautiful and textured. For this experience, I will always be grateful to this city in which we have lived for the past five years.
When we moved to Montreal, it was almost gleefully, on a whim. We had our reasons, of course: we had always liked the city, it was more affordable, we felt a compatibility to the people and culture, and we liked the style of stacked flats rich with historic character. Looking back now, though, I can’t help but feel a mixture of amusement and exasperation at myself of that time. As we settled in and fell in love with this place, we thought we had arrived. What we didn’t realize was that we’d just begun a totally new trajectory.
The city it seems, had work to do on us, and it changed who we are and how we see the world in a deep and fundamental way. Montreal has taught us so much. It taught us the joy of shopping at small, local stores. We woke to the sound of church bells, a crow, city crews shouting jokes to each other down the street. We began to detach from consuming, shopping, appearances. We learned to enjoy simpler pleasures: a fresh baguette and cheese, maybe a bottle of wine, shared in the park with good conversation. We learned to downshift, to enjoy a slower pace of life. We began to unearth who we were under the layers of social presentation. We found ourselves creating more abundantly, learning to live with more quiet space, and with more intention.
In the summer, the city is green everywhere, balcony gardens spilling over, vines climbing beautiful old houses, green laneways and parks filled with big trees. Streets of colourful houses, magnificent stone buildings, soaring spires, and the ever-present hump of Mont-Royal in the background.
This is a city where business is left to the downtown core and the neighbourhoods are thriving, vibrant, textured places teeming with life. In the summer, the city is green everywhere, balcony gardens spilling over, vines climbing beautiful old houses, green laneways and parks filled with big trees. Streets of colourful houses, magnificent stone buildings, soaring spires, and the ever-present hump of Mont-Royal in the background. In winter, we bundle in big parkas and learn to love the snowy cold as much as any other season.
Our time here in Montreal has taught us so much and I am deeply grateful to this place and for this period in our lives. Below is an album of memories composed of my drawings and paintings. It is a small gesture of gratitude and appreciation to this magnificent city.
I share more about where we’re headed next in another blog post: We bought a farm.