Coolopolis: Montreal’s Finest Blog

I wish this was a piece about my first New York or LA apartment, those places were cool. But this is about my first Montreal apartment; the story here is pathetic and honest.
I grew up in the West Island. I has an older brother and sister. My first exposure to living on your own was through them, and some of the shit-holes they inhabited. My sister moved out at age 18 and lived in a place on St. Charles boulevard near the Trans Canada. This would have been around 1977; she had dropped out of school and was working at some ski factory near Point Claire (she would later return to school, attending CEGEP at Champlain College… that experience killed her, but that’s another story).
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Theresa in the St Charles apartment
Shortly after this, around 1980 my brother was attending McGill and lived in this place, I think it was around Metcalf and de Maisonneuve (near where Ben’s was). Anyway, you would remember it because it actually crossed over de Maisonneuve, and he lived in this hovel above the road. I might have the location wrong, but some of you will remember it. Anyway, I remember going up there and staying with my brother. I definitely stayed there the night we saw The Police together at the Sports Center at U of Montreal. 
My First Montreal Apartment
1982. I was in Montreal for the Summer doing an internship at some computer company before going of to school at the University of Toronto. I lived at the corner of Aylmer and Avenue des Pins, in a place affectionately called “The Wedge”. It’s still there, a white, 12-story building across from Molson Stadium. I lived there with my father, who had rented the place because he was travelling back and forth on business from Saint John, New Brunswick (I’m still not convinced that my mother hadn’t turfed him out, and this was some sort of punishment before they reconciled). Anyway, on weekends I would get the place to myself, but this was my first experience alone in Montreal (I was 18) so I really didn’t know what to do with it. I remember getting a six-pack and sitting on the roof of the “The Wedge” watching this concert at Molson Stadium (The Police, English Beat, The Go-Gos?).  I would wander down to Phantasmagoria and buy records. One time I saw King Crimson at La Ronde. I saw Steel Pulse in an area of town that I don’t even remember.
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The Wedge
It should have been a great Summer, but the whole experience was lonely and pathetic. I’d take the bus in the morning to some industrial complex in Lachine. Sit in a cubicle all day and get ignored (they weren’t going to give an 18-year-old intern NOTHING to do). Take the bus back to The Wedge, wander around downtown, do it all over again. The apartment was on like the 8th floor, it was really Spartan; my dad was re-living his Jesuit days at Loyola… I think we had 2 spoons, 2 knives, 2 forks, a can opener and a toaster oven. Nothing on the walls. 
That was my first, and only experience living on my own in Montreal. I had received a partial scholarship to McGill, and by the time the Summer was over, I changed my mind and opted for U of T. 
I since moved to the States and have lived here in North Carolina for the past 10 years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Montreal, because I LOVE MONTREAL. I was back in July with my three daughters. We did Mount Royal and La Ronde. We saw Beaver Lake before they drained it. I loved looking through the carnage that was Expo, now resembling a set from Planet of the Apes. I love that Wednesdays are still Classic Car nights at the Orange Julep. I love that the Kraft sign is still there. And if I have it my way, one of my daughters will attend McGill in the next five years. 

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