For one thing it has always been, for me, a more walkable city – with much more to see in terms of historic architecture, interesting neighbourhoods, the natural beauty of the mountain park and its look-outs, as well as the river and the necessary bridges to cross it.
So I’m looking forward to another long walk or two next week when I again visit Montréal for the presentation of Craig’s Memorial Award.
This item in a Gazette blog caught my attention tonight as it reminded me of a conversation I had with Craig while his little car rumbled over the cobblestones of Vieux-Montréal one evening during a visit more than a few years ago now I guess. I said I didn’t understand why cars in this day and age were allowed to drive willy-nilly through the old streets when they ought to be shut down, in my humble opinion, for tourists. Ah, he explained, even the oldest parts of Montréal are not some kind of Black Creek Pioneer Village/Upper Canada Village (choose your reference) but are, in fact, stll functioning, dynamic parts of a working city.
Of course he was right. Not even Montréal’s most historic quarters could function with calèche drivers alone. Courier vans alone are buzzing all over the place servicing the Court House, civic offices, and so on. So I get it. Still, it will be interesting to see how far the city goes toward giving pedestrians a break from traffic they could find in much less appealing cities.