McGill, Old Montreal, & Social Awareness
16.04.2006 14 °C
Spending this Easter weekend with family in Ottawa, I decided to take the Greyhound over to Montreal for the day to see McGill University and a bit of the city in general. Am I a bad Canadian for never having been to Montreal? Maybe. Mind you, I have driven through it once or twice... Anyways the bus over is pretty quick, but the weather was a tad frightening as rain thudded down on the bus for half an hour. Nevertheless, we arrived in downtown Montreal to beautiful weather, sunshine, and HEAT! We managed to figure out the metro, the system was much simpler than I expected (being a country boy of course).
We reached Roddick Gates (of McGill) and strolled around the beautfiul campus for a bit. That area seemed pretty English-dominant (excuse my ignorance if this is not the case). We went up the hill... and up... and up... and didn't manage to find the residences as they were somewhere way the hell on the other side of the hill (I use the term 'hill' rather loosely).
And so, because it was a gorgeous day, and we had no umbrellas or extra clothes packed, it started to pour. Hopped the metro to Old Montreal- took in some sights, had a quick meal in one of those quaint Old Montreal restaurants, and took the Metro back to the bus station. I have to say that for a city as big and bustling as Montreal, it felt almost calm... maybe it was just the breeze getting to me- I'm not sure.
Montreal also makes you a bit more aware of the social situation in Canada, unlike in Ottawa where things seem a bit more sheltered (no pun intended- seriously), in Montreal homeless people were not brushed out of the Metro station where they lay sleeping or begging for change. Although I read a paper there that explained how a homeless man had managed to incur $20,000 in fines for sleeping in a Metro station. So many of us Canadians think that poverty is minimal in Canada, and others even think it is non-existant. Poverty is relative to each country, and while poorer people around the world certainly need our help, we must not also forget the many problems around us. It was a homeless man in Montreal who really got me thinking about this. "Change for the poor" he called out as a couple walked by. He then corrected himself with a smirk: "Wait, there are no poor people in Canada!"