Rue St-Catherine is the primary commercial artery of downtown Montreal. The endless street that stretches over the city crosses the central business district from West to East. It is home to many flagship stores, such as Apple, Roots, Chapters, Future Shop etc. It also features some of Montreal’s prominent department stores, including Hudson’s Bay Company and Complexe Les Ailes.
Monthly Archives: March, 2010
On Saturday morning, I escape from work for an hour to go visit a church I had noticed the night before, as I was pacing St Catherine street up and down looking for food. St-James United Church is a national historic site of Canada and a Quebec religious heritage building. The church was hidden behind commercial buildings for 70 years before they were finally demolished in 2006. The church was thereafter opened to St Catherine, in the heart of Montreal, and came to life again.
It’s only when I showed up at Starbucks that I realized I had no idea how to order in French. And ordering my coffee in English in Montreal would look back, wouldn’t it. But I needed coffee: this is a working weekend for me and I haven’t had much sleep the last few days.
Canada welcomes about 250,000 new immigrants a year. I doubt all of them eventually stay and make Canada their permanent home. Life isn’t always easy at first and immigrating is much more than getting a residence permit. After the honeymoon period, the hugeness of the task ahead can be scary: learning to live in a new language, adapting to new traditions, social norms and visions, recreating a network of friends… I really don’t blame those who go back home.
Since we switched to daylight saving time, it’s no longer dark when I finish work. I appreciate the extra daytime, and I love the warmer temperature.
The only downside is that it’s not as easy to catch sunsets downtown anymore! I can no longer carry my camera with me and pop on Parliament Hill to shoot nice river sunsets after work. Or I have to wait until 7:30 pm… and frankly, after a long day at work, I just want to go home.
I’m 27 years old today. Not a single white hair… yet.
My plans? None, really. Keep on taking pictures, enjoying the world, traveling, creating… you know, the usual.
Khatia Odzelashvili is from Tbilisi in Georgia, a country located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. She studied law in Germany for four years, hoping to eventually come back home and work in Georgia. But while in Germany, she met her husband. They were both foreign students and they decided to move somewhere together to a third country where they could settle. After much consideration, they agreed on Canada.
When I exited The Bay, he was standing here, playing the harmonica. I stood here for a minute, looking at him. I grabbed the camera which was slung over my shoulder and our eyes met briefly. He nodded, still playing. He first slowly turned on his side to show me the cat perched on his shoulders, safe from my camera’s peering eye. I smiled and waited. Eventually, he looked straight into my eyes. I snapped two pictures quickly, gave him a couple of bucks and walked away.
Overall, we are in a pretty good mood right now. Canada took gold medal against the U.S.A in men’s hockey at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Sidney Crosby is now God, the snow is slowly melting and Spring is coming soon. In short, the country is doing fine. But eh, we still have our pet peeves, especially with both the tax season and the construction season coming soon…
Let me introduce you to Mourad, from Oujda, Morocco. Mourad applied for permanent residence through the Québec skilled worker program and was granted his visa in the summer of 2009. He is a patient guy… His immigration process took an astonishing four years and a half!
Just a few weeks ago, it was all ice and snow in Canada’s national capital. The weather had been mild by Canadian standards but we were still shoveling snow and wearing winter boots. We attended the Winterlude festival and we were skating (or eating beaver tails…) on the Rideau Canal.
And suddenly, it got warm. It surprised us all.
On March 4th, I went to accomplish my duty as a new Canadian citizen: I voted for the first time in Canada at the provincial bylection in Ottawa West-Nepean.I drove to the polling station slightly honored I could now vote. I know, I’m weird.
By comparison, voting in France is more ceremonious. I received my carte d’électeur when I turned 18 and I couldn’t wait to use it.
In France, the saying goes that “le client est roi”. But in fact, the customer is anything but a king: at best he is an idiot, a minor annoyance in your day. As this funny article on “How to play the French service game … and win” explains: “The customer is king. But we all know what they did to their royal family. The guillotined head of Louis XVI bounced across the Place de la Concorde as a few thousand Parisians laughed at it”.
Everybody knows that Canadians are peaceful and polite people. Yet, I noticed my fellow citizens can be quite annoyed by a few things… that are Canadian in essence.
Disclaimer: this post is to be read with your morning/ afternoon coffee. It is not meant to be taken literally. I know some Canadians are going to disagree (but I’m sure they will apologize about disagreeing).