One of the things that is so great – and so overwhelming – about this city is that a zillion things tend to be going on all at the same time and that time is Saturdays in the summer.It must be impossible to take advantage of everything that’s going on even harder to wander around without having some kind of surprise encounter. None-the-less, I set out yesterday with a rather epic checklist of events to discover, all of which appropriated public space in some way or another.
First stop, I headed out the two new artsy markets that are taking place Saturdays in the Plateau:
Marché La Récré (left) is located in a school yard on Saint-Urbain above Bernard had mix of local crafts (I picked up some handmade pottery) and collections of second-hand vintage-y trinkets, on a background of chill music and cold drinks.
Marché Montréal (right) is in a parking lot on Saint-Dominique below Prince Arthur. Here the offer was even more ecclectic, with jewelry, garage-sale-style vintage clothes, $1 records, designer t-shirts, really really good deals on socks and mexican-style bbq tacos (3 for $5 and super delicious).
How do they pull it off in a city that is not particularly open to street vendors? They sidestep the red tape by hosting the event on private property, renting the space from a parking lot. The market organizers only have to pay for the spaces they set up shop on, a cost which is transferred to the vendors who chip in between $45 and $65 for a spot.
After a nap in Carré Saint-Louis, I had a lucky find: the Under Pressure International Graffiti Convention in Place de la Paix. I’ve never seen Peace Park so full of life with little kids running about, teenagers popping breakdancing moves, skateboarders flying through the air, rainbows of spray-paint cans, fresh murals, hip hop crews, dogs, punks, and families of curious tourists all mingling.
Under Pressure is working with the City to put on this event for its third year. The festival continues tomorrow in a lot behind Foufounes Electriques (more on the event’s Facebook page).
I also swung by Chinatown for to check out the new carnival which is on for the next three weekends. Although there were dozens of people walking around in very extravagant, manga-like costumes, I must have missed the exciting bits: the only action was some pretty horrid Karaoke in Sun Yat-Sen park (no photos supplied).
Finally, I headed down to catch an open air concert at the new DALHOUSIE art space, literally wedged between the New City Gas Co. building and the CN viaduct.
The Corridor Culturel Griffintown, a grassroots citizens’ group with an interest in the neighbourhood’s heritage and future development, was able to secure a permit to hold artistic events in the cul-de-sac after impressing the Sud-Ouest borough councillors with their Nuit Blanche event last February. Check out their calendar for the coming weeks – I am planning to go to the poetry event on August 24th and may even read a piece.
Of course while I was at this final stop, I ran into someone who informed me that there was a Japanese festival going in the old port today, and that reminded me that I’d forgotten to zip up to Little Italy for the street fair there…it’s all too much for one person. Good thing there are a whole lot of us.