This weekend was a bit of a mad one. I got a text on Thursday afternoon, probably a little closer to dinner time, offering me a ticket to go to the Nike iF3 International Freeski Film Festival in Montreal. That text was good in so many ways, it had snowsports, a weekend of partying and the chance to go see Montreal. I was hardly going to say no, was I…?
So I took my first proper foray in to exploring Canada, I hopped on several buses and made my way to the Greyhound bus station and took the (not quite as uncomfortable as it could’ve been) two and a half hour journey to Montreal. I’ll post a little more on the actual film festival later, this is just about how I found the city. Montreal was awesome, it was strange because it was like a little bit of France, that reminded me of Glasgow, but all in Canada…
My favourite part of Montreal had to be all the graffiti, whereas in Glasgow it’s moaned about (even the art that’s done well), Montreal has embraced the spray can. So I couldn’t help but take a lot of photos of all the different styles, they’ve been uploaded to my Flickr account. The best find of the weekend came on Saturday afternoon. It had just gone 1pm and all the guys I was staying with were still sound asleep, so I went a wander through downtown Montreal.
While walking down St Catherine, taking photos of all the graffiti, I saw a building who’s front was covered in art. Next thing I noticed was the English translation of what the sign said “Fresh Paint Gallery, graffiti exhibition”, thanking whatever deity floats your boat for my natural curiosity I wandered up through the run down doors and up the rickety stairs. The guy manning the donation box gave me a short explanation of the space, there’s a lot of graffiti. But mostly now it’s of large scale installations, most of which have a graffiti style to them. Also, if I donated $5 I get a lanyard and $10 I get a print. Well, life in Canada is on a budget so I settled for a lanyard.
The gallery is split into three zones, the first I looked at had an artist painting a mural on the wall with timed photographs going off (I assume he’s doing a live action documentation but I didn’t want to interrupt to ask). The second zone was upstairs, you walk through a tiny door and up the narrowest stair case I’ve ever seen. My favourite exhibit was up here, it was a corner of the room completely covered in torn out book pages and they were all made up into a mural. There was a concept written up beside it, but again I don’t speak French but I liked it all the same.
The final zone was a massive gorilla made out of torn up cardboard, I have no idea of the meaning behind it but it was pretty sick.
Other memorable moments from my trip to Montreal would be my first tastes of poutine. For anyone that doesn’t know what that is, it’s a Canadian delicacy, so to speak. Basically you get some fries, chunks of cheese and pour gravy over the top. In Scotland we call it chips, cheese and gravy…
My poutine was from La Belle Province at about 3am, and as you can see it was pretty ghetto. The fries looked like they’d been cooked in oil that hadn’t been changed. Ever. I think I’ll need to give it another go, perhaps in a different diner.
I did find some tasty food though, coming home from an after party I tried to get a slice of pizza from the take out place nearest our hotel. It was closed and I found a tiny little downstairs place called Chef On Call. For $12 I got a can of Orange Crush, an awesome handmade burger with all the trimmings and some tasty fries. All in all, best $12 of the weekend.