Montreal Urban Kit is, in many ways, about urban spaces such as streets, parks and neighbourhoods as well as about our many urban ways of living.
Compared to villages and small towns, cities are central mostly because of the large variety of products and services they offer along with university education, employment jobs and real estate property listings.
Cities are central because of the unlimited social
potential for friends, interactions and networking they offer.
Montreal is where we meet, relate and interact and, it is where our urban emotional availability is lesser than in any smaller rural population. The reason is quite simple, there are a great many of us and we tend to stick to our families, our friends, our co-workers and our neighbours.
For some, graffiti art is vandalism, for others like me graffiti art is sometimes beautiful, sometimes interesting, sometimes mischief. Whatever the reasons as to why urban art and street art are great arts for many of us, to me they surpass all the disapproval, the criticisms and the illegalities.
Urban art is a non violent form of expression that serves as a voice. Urban artists use graffiti art as a means of expressing themselves. Graffiti art can be a cry for attention, an attempt to reclaim urban spaces, or a reaction to social injustice.
Talented graffiti artists add beauty and expression to urban chaos. Colourful graffiti cover the walls of highways, bridges and buildings and, for many of us, they beautify Montreal Urban Kit by making it more unique and more personal.
Whether your preferences go towards museums, local theatres, music venues, beautiful buildings, green spaces or any other cultural attractions, Montreal has an array of urban areas where to spend time, any kind of Montreal leisure time, loving time, quality time, exploring time, shopping time ...
From ethnic food stores, to cafes, to boutiques and department stores, living in Montreal provides a large choice of unique dining and shopping experiences.
Montreal hosts many annual sporting events and sports enthusiasts get to cheer on their favourite teams. Sports in Montreal has always played a major role in our history, our youth and our spare time.
As someone, a Spaniard, once told me, every city in the world has four different seasons, not just Montreal. True, but every year in Montreal Urban Kit we definitely have to go through four very distinctive seasons.
Despite global warming, our autumns still range from warm to chilly, winters are cold, snowy and windy, springs range from chilly to warm and summers bring a warm and hot humid weather.
Montreal is an Island, everybody knows that, an island located between two rivers.
The Saint-Laurent River that flows in a north-easterly direction and the Rivière-des-Prairies also called the Back River in English that flows into the Saint-Laurent River at the eastern tip of the Island of Montreal.
One of our distinctive features is that in Montreal, North is referred to as East and South is referred to as West. Montreal is the only city in the world where the sun sets in the North.
What we did is to simply adapt our street system and grid to our geography.
Streets that are perpendicular to the two rivers are referred to as North, the Rivière-des-Prairies or South, the Fleuve Saint-Laurent. Streets that are parallel to both rivers are referred to as East to West, both being set-apart by the Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
Montreal Urban Kit is probably the only island and city in the province of Quebec to hold as many subcultures and lifestyles.
In terms of languages, the population of the Island of Montreal can be divided into four categories, English only, French only, English and French and neither English of French. The most widely non-official language spoken at home is Arabic followed by Spanish and the Chinese languages.
Non-immigrants, those who are Canadians by birth account for approximately two-thirds of our population, while immigrants and permanent residents form the last third of that same population. Non-permanent residents account for only 2% of the total population.
The City of Montreal is home to approximately nine-tenths of the immigrant population of the entire Island of Montreal while the Cites are home to the last tenth of this same population.
The Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough hosts the largest number of immigrants, followed by the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension, Ahuntsic-Cartierville and Saint-Laurent boroughs.
It's not all sunshine and roses in our urban vision Montreal.
The City of Montreal needs to increase transit to its downtown core. Montreal also needs to build new primary schools, at least one new public secondary school, new dwellings with three or more bedrooms, new social and community housing units and new urban bike paths.
The City of Montreal also needs to plant trees to reduce heat islands and urban air pollution, encourage urban gardening, implement a comprehensive program for affordable housings, promote the construction of energy-sufficient buildings and encourage car-sharing.
Canada has become a "country of suburbs" and Montreal is no exception. Many Montrealers are now leaving the city and moving to the suburbs, Laval in the North and Longueuil in the South where most if not all the public services and urban facilities are easily accessible by car just they are in the City of Montreal.
The Island of Montreal is more and more compared to a "donut hole" in terms of population that lives in the suburbs and works in Montreal, especially in downtown Montreal. An urban sprawl that already brings damaging consequences.
More roads mean more cars and more cars mean more greenhouse gas emissions. Constant traffic congestion has a negative impact on our local economy and one of the possible solutions relies heavily on public transportation.
What we actually need to do is fight against urban sprawl, improve our public transportation, promote cycling and walking and support residential development in accordance with our present and future public transit networks.
Montreal URBAN Kit
Thank you for Visiting Montreal Urban Kit
by Rachel Louise Barry