Saturday, 19 February 2011

Saturday Photo: Saturday Morning Walk on the Plateau, an Urban Neighborhood That Almost Was Destroyed

The part of Montreal's Plateau district where we're living for the duration once was quite industrial. Not big factories, it seems, but many small little workshops. Old maps even show a tannery just about where our building sits now.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, city planners wanted to tear down--"urban renew"--the area. Some land was acquired and cleared. There is a little low rise social housing to the east and just up the street from this park is a building dating from 1970 which houses the Conservatoire de musique du Québec as well the Université du Québec á Montréal's public administration school.

Why more urban destruction did not occur is any interesting story, too long for a Saturday morning. Suffice to say that the Portuguese immigrants who settled around here in the same period and repaired the old housing with love and skill are partly responsible.

In time the message got across to planners that a tightly woven urban landscape has great benefits. Some of the cleared land was saved for open space. Today there are three little parks in this two block area which are used heavily by the day care centers and young families living in the neighborhood, even in winter.


deBeauxOs said...

Love your posts about Montréal, and the photographs that accompany them.

One small point, I believe the correct term is "Université du Québec à Montréal".

Mary Soderstrom said...

Of course, of course. My mind was elsewhere--maybe outside already. Have made the change.

Thanks for your careful reading.