Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay

Well, this magazine Moneysense has release its annual list of Best Places to Live in Canada, and Montreal is low, low on the list at 149.

And I can't find Western Suburb of Montreal on the list. I guess the entire island was considered as one.

Toronto's low on the list, although not as low as Montreal, but Burlington is high, and that's a surburb. An ugly suburb as far as I can remember, but Hey.

The magazine explains its methodology on its website: it's about economics/vs quality of life, health, crime, community,etc.

It's doesn't matter to me. This morning I'm sitting on the dock of the bay, gazing out from a patio on Belvedere, California.  Someone is selling an Italianate villa with a million dollar, no billion dollar view. I stole the View. I captured Beauty.  And if I play the image on a giant HD screen, it feels as if I am right there on that billionaire balcony. Looking out at what might be the Best Place to Live in the World. (Except for Quakes.)

I guess the pic belongs to Sotheby's.

Anyway, this Moneysense list claims Ottawa is the best place to live in Canada. My son and his girlfriend live there, on a tree-lined street near the Market, where students, the wealthy in their condos and the drug-addled down and outs freely mingle. Ottawa is a big sprawling place, a place that technically includes a lot of 'burbs and farmland.

My son says some rampaging students ripped the railing off his balcony on St. Patty's Day. So bad behavior by students wasn't confined to London, Ontario.

My son is a chef at one of Ottawa's high end restaurants. He sees citizens and tourists everyday experiencing the Good Life of the Capital.

His girlfriend is a criminologist who works in support of local at-risk youth. She would say  Ottawa is a nice place to live, for sure,  but not necessarily for everyone.

Ottawa is an hour away and my husband and I visit often. Yes, it's a beautiful place and it belongs to all Canadians.

Kingston,Ontario is high on the Moneysense list. That is where I lived in 1982 (I worked at the radio station) and where I met my husband and where I conceived my firstborn, in a slummy lower apartment in a two story duplex, a few blocks away from Princess, on the wrong side of downtown. The place reeked as if there was a dead body in the basement. We joked about it and held our noses.. It was probably only the garbage, come to think about it.  I often visit Kingston in the summer, but it's a 2 and a half hour drive away. Along the seaway. Still very pretty, along the water, although a much bigger city today. Our old area has been gentrified, of course.

My niece lived in Kingston (fourth on the list, I think)  for while in the 90's  (married) and hated it, she lived on the wrong side, you see, being a poor student.  She moved to London, Ontario, 47 on the list I think,  and now lives on the right side.

You see, if you have money, almost any place is a great place to live.

Montreal West is a gorgeous community, a peaceful enclave. Westmount.  The Plateau. NDG. There are gorgeous, exciting places to live in the City. (And I would happily move there from this Western Suburb if I could afford it.)

But, it's very true. The cost of living has risen greatly in Montreal. especially the cost of  FOOD. A basic.

I find myself shopping at the gross grocery stores, where the meat is not nicely packaged and actually looks like DEAD animal. I dream about having a Whole Foods out here. The closest I can get is Adonis.

I can't wait for the markets, Atwater and Jean Talon, to open.

 All things considered, Montreal deserves to be higher on the list of places to live in Canada. Even if there are no jobs, not for anglophones.

Threshold Girl is a story I have written about Montreal in 1911/1912 the Titanic Era.  It takes place in Montreal, Westmount, Richmond, Quebec and Ste. Anne de Bellevue. Montreal in that era had the worse slums in the Western World, so it was believed. I think in 1910, Richmond Quebec might have made the top 50 of nicest places to live in Canada.

Milk and Water is my eplay about Montreal in 1927, the  era of US Prohibition and a typhoid epidemic.

Montreal was always a place of contrasts, with  bad bits and good bits. Cities are like that. That's why people like to live in them.