Posts Tagged ‘parc-extension’

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Julia and I moved to Parc-Extension this month from Point St. Charles and what a difference.  Dense and bustling it couldn’t be much farther removed from The Point’s quiet village-ness.  But, it wasn’t always the exciting urban space that it is today.  By the late 1920’s developers were trying to sell people on the peaceful suburban character Parc-Ex had at the time.

The area above the tracks was sparsely populated especially above Jean Talon (or Hopper Ave.) as can be seen in this 1929 insurance map.

It wasn’t until the 1950’s during the post-war boom period that the area really started to fill out, mostly with Jews moving up from Mile-End or coming straight from Europe.  By the late 1960’s the Jewish population began to be displaced by Greek settlers who by the late 1970’s had come to dominate the cultural landscape.  But as South Asian immigrants began to move in in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, the neighborhood began to lose it’s Greek character and today during a walk down Jean Talon you’ll encounter one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Canada.

During a minor respite from the oppressive heat last week Julia and I took a walk around our new neighborhood up Durocher and then down Jarry, Ball, and St. Roch before finally heading back down Birnam to Jean Talon.

Parc-Ex-ers are apparently into street cleanliness.  You wouldn’t know it from the toilet on the sidewalk, though, just a few feet from that “propre pole.”

Parc-Ex has quite a few one story houses.  The McMansions of a half-century ago.

When we got up to St. Roch we noticed a grade crossing into Jarry Park.

Jarry Park was not always public property.  The Bagg family, which owned much of the land in the area leased it to the city for $1 a year provided the city use it as a public park with the option to buy in the future.  In 1935 the Bagg family  broached the subject of purchasing the land for a suggested price of $750,000.  The city, not being able to afford it opted for another lease.  But on September 11th, 1945 it was announced that the city would finally buy the property from the Bagg family for $509,173.  Jarry Park was here to stay and crossing the tracks into it from the west made for a nice, green change from the hanging laundry, ambulances and police cars and traffic of St. Roch.

We walked north along the edge of the park up to Jarry, hung a left and walked its length to l’Acadie.This is as close as we get to street food here in Montreal and it’s a real shame.  The smell wafting off that meat was amazing.  The city could only be improved by street food vendors and our lack of them upsets me to no end.  Get your heads out of your asses City Hall!

There’s so much left to explore here and this grocery store on Jarry had some great looking sweets as well as fresh produce and a large supply of malt beverages.

Doesn’t that look delicious?  Well, yes, it kind of does but unfortunately they were closed at the time.

A pre-security cameras anti-shoplifting sign in Marche J.P.A.

In the mood for some ice-cream and unable to turn down a $1 cone we stopped in at Bismallah on St. Roch.
Bismallah is also a casse-croute and serve $1.25 hamburgers!

The ice cream was quite good.  I got pistachio and Julia had vanilla.   Fresh meat (!) at a grocery store on St. Roch.

And an ancient beer fridge at Steve’s depanneur also on St. Roch.Finally a decked out apartment building on Birnam.  And home we went to to our Mickey’s vs. Guinness Extra Stout taste test.

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Matt:  Can you believe what we just ate?

Julia: Mmmm…uggg….mmmff. Soooo fullllll.

Matt:  So, for $14 we got three Kothu Parotta meals and we could only finish one between us.  Good deal?  I’d say so.  This is some serious poor people food.

Julia: And quite delicious. I guess the “parotta” is the flatbread part. It’s like a spongy, chewy naan that they then chop up and fry with meat, vegetables, spices, chilis, and egg. With lime juice on top.  There’s something dumpling-esque about it, doncha think?

Matt:  Kind of.

Julia:  And extremely filling. This stuff sits solid in the tum.

Matt:  And it is not un-spicy.  Those big chunks of green chili they throw in are hot.  Not un-deliciously hot.

Julia:  Don’t stop not using double negatives.

Matt:  But I am using them.  Not un-annoyingly so.

Julia:  On to the decor/atmosphere. I love the bright yellow walls and the tiny little gnome door leading into the kitchen. It looks like an old diner or maybe a tavern.

Matt:  I liked how they had two radios playing two different stations at once.  And the cook was happy to answer all of our questions, like what the hell everything was.

Julia:  Plus he made me touch a piece of parotta. I liked touching the parotta.

Matt:  I could tell.  Anyway, since we got take-out we didn’t get to enjoy the experience of eating there.  Sometime we will, I’m sure but the fact that it’s only two blocks away and that the take-out menu offers all kinds of free stuff means that this is our new go-to take-out place.  I mean, for $14 we got enough food for SIX meals!  That’s just ridiculous.

Julia: And we gotta try the biriyani! And all those mysterious variations on fried patties of things and breads and stuff.

Matt:  I give V.I.P, which I believe serves Sri Lankan food five thumbs up.  What do you think?

Julia: I give V.I.P. a golden mango award.

Matt:  What’s a golden mango award?

Julia:  It’s in the title, silly. It’s a golden mango that you award someone who gives you something good to eat.

Matt:  That is also what my thumbs mean.  And by thumbs I mean hands.  Hands to mouths.

Julia:  Yay!

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On a Sunday stroll round the neighborhood we picked up a couple of beers, unusual ones in this part of town (Parc-Ex).  First up is Mickey’s, bought at Marche Africaine on Jean Talon.  Mickey’s is brewed in Milwuakee by the Miller company.


Matt:  It has a certain ephemeral quality.

Julia:  You mean watery?

Matt:  Yeah.

Julia:  PBR-esque.

Matt:  PBR’s better, though for what that’s worth.

Julia:  It’s so bad I don’t even want any more.

The Guinness Extra Stout comes to us from Halifax and was bought at  J.P.A. on St. Roch.

Guinness Extra Stout

Matt:  Wow, what a difference.

Julia:  Mmmm, now that’s a beer,

Matt:  I forgot what flavour tasted like.

Julia:  Did you know that Guinness is actually pretty low in alcohol and calories? People are always like, “Oooh, arrg, a meal in a bottle!” But that’s just cause it’s dark in color.

Matt:  Colour.

Julia:  And it has a certain creaminess.

Matt:  Creaminouss.

Julia:  Creaminouss?

Matt:  That’s how we spell it up here.  This is the Queen’s English, not your mongrelized, bastardized and despised “American” english.

Julia: Eh?

Matt:  I’m disappointed that we can’t get my favourite Indian beer, Cheetah out here.  What’s up with that?

Julia: Just in restaurants. I’m also disappointed that we can’t find Mythos, that Greek beer, in any deps.

Matt:  Fail.  Total fail.  Utterly Fail.

Julia:  (silence)

Matt:  Well, we may not have a great dep beer selection but some good stuff can be had at the Loblaws near Parc Metro, including one of my all-time favourites, Blonde d’Achouffe.

Julia: That Loblaws reminds me of my long-lost and beloved Wegman’s.

Matt:  Ah, yes, Wegman’s.  The last refuge of the scoundrel.  Well, the last refuge of the average Syracustian.

Julia: Syracustian? No one says that. It’s Syracusan. Duh.

Matt:  Since I had to down that entire bottle of Mickey’s all by my lonesome I think I’m entitled to some made up titles.

Julia: This is getting long and pointless.

Matt:  You’re long and pointless.

Julia: Your face is long and pointless.

Matt:  I’m the onyl one drinking hjere.  whty dont you shut op.

Julia: Time for a nap.

Matt:  (snore)

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