Friday, 21 January 2011

No Longer Hot Stuff: Fireplaces and Urban Living

One of the interesting things about our temporary digs is the fireplace. The building was built in 2000, and it's clear from bits and pieces that we've come across (papers written for a class and stuck in the bookcase, for example) that the Brazilian who owns the apartment passed the winter of 1997-98 in Montreal. That was the year of the Ice Storm, when most of Montreal was without power for two weeks, and aftewards there was a big jump in the number of people who put in wood stoves and fireplaces, just in case it happened again. My guess is that the owner wasn't going to live through another time like that either, and made sure the condo he bought came equipped with its own source of heat: there also are sconces for candles and oil lamps place strategically around the flat.

But we've been spared a system breakdown like that, hasnt and there has been much talk since about the problems of smog in the winter from smoke from those fire places and whatnot. Even though there is wood in the fireplace here, we didn't even consider lighting it over the holidays--and not only because we've become more cautious about fire lately.

So it was no surprise yesterday when The New York Times made it official: a fire place is no longer on the must-have list for urban living. "The Love Affair with the Fire Place Cools," was the headline.

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