Montreal, enslavement and mismatch

The sky of downtown Montreal is split by more than a dozen gigantic cranes, sinister praying mantises that bear witness to the frantic construction taking place across the city. Condo towers with pompous names and marketing concepts and quickly outdated architectural qualities are springing up like mushrooms. We could rejoice in this era of housing crisis. But in reality, these condos or apartments, few of us will be able to rent or buy them. From holdings foreigners, wealthy investors and others very well off will seize it and settle there long before average Montrealers. Worse yet, some of these will not even hesitate to bypass the affordable housing program for themselves or their family members (according to a recent survey by Journal of Montreal). Speculation has a city.

The city is gutted, unrecognizable. Crucial and emblematic arteries, such as Saint-Denis, Saint-Laurent, Sainte-Catherine, etc., have lost all their charm. Many unique businesses and restaurants have lost the battle and COVID-19 and urban “maze” (I’m making up a word to illustrate the difficulty of getting around town by car, and even by bike and on foot). The big winners are chains and cheap franchises, which have seen their profits explode. Not to mention the champions in all categories: the SAQ and the SQDC… Americanization is going well. And uberization too. There is now an hourly pool rental app, where “clients” pay up to $ 50 an hour to swim in strangers’ homes. When will we have an app for tedious tasks, such as cleaning the barbecue grill or the cat litter box? Nonetheless, a sad observation emerges: when I was little, pool owners invited their neighbors… for free. Funny economy of services (or enslavement) which makes everything redeemable.

In addition, citizens who undertake to travel in the city by car must cross strange tolls. Homeless people are popping up on every street corner, cup in hand. Bows, music, dance, they engage in a dangerous bullfight in the middle of the traffic to collect coins. Disturbing spectacle (and I am not laughing at it) which leaves room for a great feeling of helplessness.

And let’s talk about summer in Montreal. Only a few years ago, every Wednesday and Saturday evening during the summer months, joyous backfires echoed in the sky. Fireworks have now been replaced by daily shots. Dirt, stifling heat, noise, pestilential garbage cans overflowing with small bags of dog excrement, ground strewn with blue masks, vestiges of a joyless carnival that never ends, the summer season has become a season in hell.

Meanwhile, politicians have been churning out their strings of promises of the day: climate change, security, improved infrastructure, public transport, so many unfulfilled wishes (baseball stadium? Pink line?) For years … Montrealers, them, are no longer fooled; only the nostalgia for the city they loved can still sustain them.

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