Showing posts with label Lasalle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lasalle. Show all posts

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.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Another sunny but thoroughly chilly morning. Barely 3 degrees, just above freezing, a light frost on the cars in the driveway at 7:00 a.m. as I fired up the Vespa. I am wearing a fleece under the Corazzo 5.0 jacket and ski gloves on my hands. The visor on my Nolan N-102 is snapped firmly shut.

I stopped to snap this picture of one of the points that reach into Lake St-Louis along the route.
Scenes like that are a big part of the pleasure that the scoot commute affords.

When I pulled up a wheelchair ramp and onto the sidewalk to park for that shot, I heard a scrape and clunk. Checking the scoot revealed that the kick stand had grazed the curb. The impact shaved the cupped foot off the right leg of the stand.

I've noticed on Modern Vespa that many people name their scooters.

The smartest people I know always bestow names on their cars. I have never personally felt compelled to name my rides.

I was once tempted to name my bicycle ( I thought I would call it "Bernie" for reasons I won't explain, nothing to do with heat or fire). Oddly, I still think of it as Bernie, but frankly, I think that I never actually uttered the name, and this is definitely the first time I am sharing that. It's just not that relevant or important to me.

It occurred to me though, as I rode on and thought about the consequences of the missing foot (can't park on soft ground safely? What, if anything, to do about it?), that a fitting name for the Vespa would be "Peg Leg". I've now posted that on one of the Modern Vespa threads about scooter names. Now that I've thought that, this Vespa will always be "Peg Leg", even if I never actually utter its name.

When I got to the Lachine Canal today, I chose to continue along the river instead of taking the usual route along the canal.

Intuitively I figured that the alternative route would be substantially longer and tack an extra 30 minutes on the ride.

Assumptions are frequently wrong. It turns out that the time penalty for the longer route is only about ten minutes.

Continuing to follow the road along the water brings fresh pleasures. New sweeping views of the lake and the broad St-Lawrence rendered in shimmering silver by the morning light, and new interesting landmarks to admire like the Fleming Mill in Lasalle.The Fleming Mill was built in 1827 and operated until 1891. It now belongs to the City of Lasalle and is a classified cultural monument.The view of the lake across the road from the mill is truly beautiful and restful.
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.