Montreal Urban Kit is, in many ways, about urban spaces such as houses, parks, commercial streets, buses, railways, neighbourhoods...
It is also about our many urban ways of living.
Compared to villages and small towns, cities are central mostly because of the large variety of services they offer.
Services such as university education, employment jobs, 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, where relate and where we interact.
It is also 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 mostly 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 vandalism.
Whatever the reasons as to why urban art is art for some and vandalism for others, in my opinion, graffiti walls surpass any kind of disapproval, criticism or illegality.
Urban art is a non violent form of expression that serves as a voice. Graffiti artists use graffiti art as a means of asserting themselves, of making a statement or of expressing an opinion.
Graffiti artists bring art to the streets and peace to the public. Graffiti arts can be a cry for attention, an attempt to reclaim urban spaces or a reaction to social injustice.
Colorful graffiti that cover the walls of our highways, our bridges and our buildings. Graffiti walls that are unique, personal and vibrant.
Talented graffiti artists add beauty and expression to our urban chaos. Graffiti arts that are part of our urban environment and of our Montreal Urban Kit artistic culture.
Whether your preferences go towards museums, local theatres, music venues, beautiful buildings or green spaces, Montreal has an array of urban areas where to spend all kinds of leisure time.
From ethnic food stores, to cafes, to boutiques and department stores, living in Montreal provides a large choice of unique shopping experiences.
Then again, sports in Montreal have always played a major role in our history, our youth and our spare time.
Montreal hosts many annual sporting events and sports enthusiasts get to cheer on their favourite hockey, football or soccer teams.
Every city in the world has four distinctive seasons, but in Montreal Urban Kit we definitely go through four very contrasting seasons and wardrobes.
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 located between three rivers, the Saint-Lawrence River, the Ottawa River and the Rivière-des-Prairies River.
The Saint-Laurent River flows in a north-easterly direction and the Rivière-des-Prairies also called the Back River flows into the Saint-Laurent River at the eastern tip of the Island of Montreal.
One of our distinctive features is that East is referred to as North by Montrealers and West is referred to as South.
Montreal is the only city in the world where the sun sets in the North. What we did is simply adapt our street system and grid to our geography.
Streets that are perpendicular to the two rivers are referred to as North, in the vicinity of the Rivière-des-Prairies or South, in the vicinity of the Fleuve Saint-Laurent.
Streets that are parallel to both rivers are divided by the Saint-Laurent Boulevard and are referred to as East and West.
For example, the Lachine and LaSalle boroughs are West and the Saint-Léonard and Anjou boroughs are East.
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 those who speak French and English, those who speak French only and those who speak English only.
Arabic, Italian and Spanish are the most widely non-official languages spoken at home.
In terms of Aboriginal groups, the First Nations people is the largest group living in Montreal, followed by the Métis and by the Inuit people.
The Aboriginal population living in Montreal is slightly younger than the non-Aboriginal population.
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.
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 other 15 Cites are home to the last tenth.
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.
It's not all sunshine and roses in our Montreal urban vision. 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 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.
The Island of Montreal is now compared to a "donut hole" in terms of populations who live in the suburbs and work 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
Montreal Urban Kit by Rachel Louise Barry