Montreal Marks a Milestone

While we’re on the subject of birthdays, it’s worth remembering that I’ve had the (good?mis?) fortune of spending time in Montreal these past two months (minus a week or so), while it’s been marking a momentous anniversary.

At least that’s what I’ve been told. 375th birthday of the founding of the city, from when it was first called Mont Royal.

But really?

What gives?

Is 375 years in a city’s history the equivalent of, say, an asteroid’s 4 millionth light year?

Or a baby’s 66.5th day on earth? It’s like pulling out all the stops for someone’s 37.5th birthday.

Huh? I’m still scratching my head.

A joke?

This oddity of a birthday perhaps explains the outrageous way that the city elders (or decision makers) chose to mark this year.

Sure they went all out (as in, into debt) to the tune of 40 million dollars for a one-night light show on a bridge spanning the St Lawrence River. And sure, this year’s Just for Laughs (comedy) festival is sure to be a sellout – in no small part due (I believe) to the fact that none-other-than-Seinfeld will grace the stage.

But seriously, mes amis de Montreal, you couldn’t do better than set out a city-wide warren full of streets, pockmarked with an infinite number of dangerous and obstacle-making potholes?

And what about those striped traffic pylons that have invaded the city, gracing nearly every intersection of this city, causing widespread havoc, detours upon detours, a maze of missed turns and blocked roads that can only ensure that nobody reaches any destination on time and with sanity intact?

Are you trying to run your OWN people out of town long before the province’s unique and somewhat notorious “construction holiday”?

Do we really need a collection of orange-and-white candles reminding us of this event, like birthday candles at every turn? Oh, another Rue Barree! Let’s Sing Happy Birthday Montreal!

Surely, M. le Maire, there are more joyful, less predatory ways of encouraging your cityfolk to mark Montreal’s not-quite-400-year-old birthday?


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