Monday, August 30, 2010

Pleasant surprises

You can live your whole life in a city and only get to know small parts of it.

If you had asked me in years past if I knew where Wellington street was, I would have told you that it was either in Point St-Charles, or Verdun, or somewhere vaguely southwest of the downtown core.  I couldn't have told you much else.

If you have no reason to go to the place because you don't work there, you don't live there, it's not along the route to work, or the route home, and you don't have friends or relatives there, well, it might as well be on Mars.
 An alternate route that I now take to work on my Vespa, when I have 5 minutes to spare, is to continue along the water, past Lachine, through Lasalle and into Verdun.  I veer off the water route and take Wellington street towards downtown.

 What a pleasant surprise Wellington street is.

Even during the hustle and bustle of the morning commute, the pace on Wellington is leisurely.  It's a nice mix of higher density residential property and small retail outlets.

One of the surprises is to find lovely Locust trees lining the street.  Locusts are my favorite trees.  Their lacy foliage filters the light in a very pleasant way.  When it rains, the bark goes almost black and the pale foliage provides a beautiful contrast.

Densely populated urban thoroughfares are not generally tree-friendly, especially in a northern city like Montreal.  Snowplows are the sworn enemy of trees, particularly young trees.  Yet, as you can see, the Locusts of Wellington street are doing allright.  Maybe better than allright.

Traditionally, this part of town was home to persons of modest means. I doubt that it will stay that way much longer.

Montreal's population has been slowly shifting back to the city.  As real estate prices in the suburbs and the price of gasoline have soared, thirty-something professionals have been gentrifying some of the older neighborhoods on the Plateau, the Mile-End east of the mountain, and all along the Lachine Canal.

I look at Wellington street with fresh eyes.  It has a lot to offer.  I'll bet that, before long, this area will be re-discovered and property here will rank among the new trendy sought-after places to live in the city.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.