McGill College, once upon a time, was a narrow one-lane street, crumbling on both sides with the remnants of the residential buildings and small-scale businesses once typical of St. Andrew and St. George’s ward. By the 1970s, a good portion of this stretch featured surface parking lots.
As you can see, the back-and-forth between the city, the developers and the public continued for some time, featuring a wide variety of different proposals, which included some plans to block off the view of Mount Royal entirely, while others proposed odd looking bridges to connect retail shopping centers and department stores overhead, and then underground.
Last Spring I discovered this fantastic trail along the edge of the mountain, overlooking the vast expanse of thick mixed forest behind the Cartier Memorial. I found it after forcing myself to climb the steep rocky incline leading up the side, under the Eastern Lookout. From it’s shape, I thought it may have been carved out by one of the early-thaw streams that pour down the rock-face, but as I pulled myself up by means of exposed roots, I realized it was more likely to be the remains of a small landslide. The pile of boulders and freshly churned earth at the bottom should have been indication enough. The climb up was more challenging than I had anticipated, but upon catching my breath and turning around, I was delighted to see the Plateau and the East End stretching out to the horizon, the flames of the oil refineries and the orange floodlights of the port outlining the river. There are several small, informal trails which run between the Cross and the Eastern Lookout, with several small clearings along the very edge of the mountain, each affording spectacular views of the city below. What’s perhaps best of all, is the relative silence. Here, there is no noise pollution, as all I could hear was the delightful symphony of forest life. The view provided a fascinating juxtaposition; despite being acutely aware of my relative isolation and bucolic surroundings, the city – teaming with life and vibrancy – was never out of sight.
Always liked this statue, though I’m not sure why he’s walking away from campus. Maybe he got word Wanda’s is having a two-for-one special on lap dances? That or there’s beaver pelts to be traded unscrupulously to the Americans at Fort Albany…
Andy Riga has excellent coverage of this issue, which can be found here: Metropolitan News
I think Michael Fish really nailed it when he asks if the corporatist elements of our society have any shame left. No, clearly they don’t – the STM won’t make more than $155 million over ten years. When you compare that to the billions of dollars per year in the operations budget, you begin to get that queasy feeling the corporate branding will be going to line the pockets of city administrators and STM corporate governance. It certainly won’t speed up the deployment of our new trains, that much is certain.
The system was designed to put art and architecture to the forefront, but gradually, we’ve let the STM remove artwork and alter the design of the stations without adequately consulting the artistic community which designed the stations in the first place. Initially the system was designed to act as a new kind of public art gallery, in which each station could be experienced for its own artistic merit. What happened to that?